Sandy spoiled us. When the Frankenstorm dumped 30+ inches of snow on West Virginia mountaintops in late October, we were chomping at the bit in anticipation of the greatest ski season the mid-Atlantic has ever seen. But here we are in mid-December and Old Man Winter has yet to show his face in earnest. Realistically, this is fairly normal for this time of year, so lets not lose our heads and let flashbacks of last year invade out thoughts. We still have a long way to go, and as we know, anything can happen in the Blue Ridge. Time to look on the bright side: trails are dry, the leaves are down, and the sightlines are long. Take advantage of the mild weather by getting in another weekend of non-snow related outside adventure. Winter may be holding itself back, but there is no need for you to.

A mild early winter is a great time to drink in the views of the Shenandoah National Park. Taking a high elevation hike would get you the vistas you desire, but you can also get your downhill exhilaration you crave by hopping on the bike and cycling Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive. Skyline winds 105 miles through the park, a primer for the longer Blue Ridge Parkway tour. The climbs can be just as brutal, but Skyline is gentler in general with amenities such as restaurants and rest stops spaced about 25-miles apart from Front Royal to Waynesboro where it links up to the BRP. With the campsites and lodges closed, and traffic at a minimum, a point-to-point day ride makes for a great Saturday. From Waynesboro north to the intersection with Route 33, and the Appalachian Trail, outside Elkton is 40 miles of the best scenery the Shenandoah Valley has to offer.