Rich in history, this 1,864-acre park has scenic views, woodlands and the rolling pastures of a historic farm that captures the colonial through post-Civil War life of Mount Bleak House. Nature and history programs are offered year-round. Hiking, picnicking, fishing and primitive hike-in camping for families and groups are favorite activities in this peaceful getaway on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park has 10.5 miles of bridle trails, 24 miles of hiking trails, 9 miles of bike trials and Appalachian Trail access.
8 a.m. - dusk.
The park is less than two miles south of Paris, Va., via U.S. Route 50 to Route 17 South; or seven miles north of I-66, Exit 23 on Route 17 North. The park's main entrance is on State Route 710.
Its address is 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane, VA 20144-0710.
Latitude, 38.988703. Longitude, -77.968913.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia, 45 minutes to one hour; D.C., over one hour; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/ Norfolk/ Virginia Beach, three hours; Roanoke, two and a half hours
Enjoy a unique and peaceful camping experience at Sky Meadows. The park offers year-round primitive hike-in tent camping nestled against the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Guests must hike a mile from the overnight parking area to get to the campsites via Hadow Trail. The campground is accessible by bike, but no vehicles are allowed near campsites. Reservations are required.
The park has no cabins or drive-to campsites.
Camping (all primitive)
Campers must keep all equipment on the site's camping pad. Check-in, 4 p.m.; checkout, 3 p.m.
Total sites: 18
Those interested in other parks' overnight accommodations, rental rates for cabins and camping should know that offerings vary by season and park. Rates are subject to verification by DCR's state parks reservations staff (1-800-933-PARK). First determine the park, the season (which varies by park), then the rate. Click here for park system fees.
The park has 24 miles of hiking trails, 10.5 miles of bridle trails and 9 miles of biking trails ranging from easy to difficult. In addition, the park offers access to the Appalachian Trail. The park is a three-day hike from Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., and two days from Shenandoah National Park. To protect our wildlife, all pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet. Vehicles are permitted only on paved park roads. Bicycles and horses are allowed only on designated trails.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Sky Meadows' trails.
None at this park.
Freshwater fishing is available at the 3-acre Turner Pond. Fishing is permitted from the shoreline only. A valid Virginia State Fishing License, which can be purchased online or through local retailers, is required. Turner Pond is periodically stocked with a variety of fish including: largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish and bluegill. Watercraft are not permitted.
No rentals, but the park has more than 10.5 miles of bridle trails for those bringing horses. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.
Click here for the park's trail guide.
Wineries, seasonal “pick-your-own” produce farms, the Virginia State Arboretum and Experimental Farm, Civil War sites and various historic sites.
The park rents one shelter and an uncovered group picnic pad. Mary’s Shelter is a 20 by 40 foot covered picnic pavilion that rents for $130. The pad is 20 by 40 feet and rents for $64. Both accommodate up to 60 people at 10 picnic tables, and both have grills and access to vault toilets. Mary’s Shelter is universally accessible. Call 800-933-7275 to reserve a shelter.
This park has a small meeting room.
The visitor center has nature and history exhibits and a gift shop. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The visitor center is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
None at this park.
None at this park.
None at this park.
The park's 3.5-acre Turner Pond has fishing piers and picnic tables. Visitors with a valid Virginia fishing license may fish for bass, bluegill and catfish. Fishing regulations apply.
Lost Mountain, on the east side of Route 17, has an equestrian parking area and about 8 miles of hiking trails, 7 miles of horse trails and 4 miles of biking trails. Equestrians may also access nearly 4 miles of bridle trails on the west side of Route 17 via the Corporal Morgan Trail. These trails offer equestrians scenic views and access to the park's historic area.
The historic area features the mid-19th century Mount Bleak House, which is open for tours by request at the visitor center. A log cabin, wash house, ice house and an active agricultural area are also there. Enjoy interpretive programs nearly year-round there and stop by the visitor center and gift shop for souvenirs and camping and hiking gear.
Included in Sky Meadows’ 24 miles of hiking trails is access to about 3 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Overnight parking is available for AT section hiking. Overnight AT hikers should register at the visitor center during open hours or at the overnight parking kiosk near the park’s main entrance after hours .
The park offers interpretive programs, activities and special events that highlight the history, natural diversity and agricultural heritage of Crooked Run Valley. The program season begins in March and runs through December. Highlights of the season include: the Delaplane Strawberry Festival, held on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend; the Great American Campout, held annually on the fourth Saturday in June; and the Fall Farm Days, celebrated each full weekend in October.
Small gift shop; beverage vending machines.
Settlement of the area can be attributed to nearby Ashby's Gap, which gave settlers access to the Shenandoah Valley.
In 1731, Lord Fairfax sold a 7,883-acre tract of land just south of Ashby’s Gap to James Ball. Ball died in 1754, and his land was divided among his daughter and five grandsons. One grandson sold his land to John Edmonds in 1780. Edmonds died eight years later, and his land was divided among his five children.
Isaac Settle of nearby Paris bought land from two of those children and in 1812 built a large brick house called “Belle Grove.” In 1842, he sold Belle Grove farm to his son in-law, Lewis Edmonds, who shortly thereafter sold 148 acres to Settle’s son, Abner, who built Mount Bleak House.
In 1868 Mount Bleak became the property of George M. Slater, who had been one of Mosby's Rangers under Confederate Col. John S. Mosby during the Civil War. Slater and his son lived there for 55 years.
The property changed owners several times in the 1900s. In 1975, Paul Mellon of Upperville, Va., purchased and donated a 1,132-acre tract to the Commonwealth for the development of a state park. Another 248 acres were acquired in 1987, thus providing a corridor to the Appalachian Trail. In 1991, Mr. Mellon donated another 248 acres, designated the Lost Mountain Bridle Trail Area.
The name Sky Meadows comes from former owner Robert Hadow, who named the property "Skye Farm" after an island in Scotland.
The Friends of Sky Meadows (FOSK) is a citizen support organization that helps the park serve visitors and protect park resources. FOSK also raises money to help the park and assists with stewardship projects, educates visitors about the natural and historic importance of the park, recruits volunteers and promotes the park at outreach events.
Friends members have diverse interests and backgrounds. Meetings are held quarterly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Master plans must be written for parks before they're built. The plans are updated at least once every 10 years thereafter. The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources. Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan. Click here for this park's master plan.
Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at Sky Meadows State Park.
View all wildlife encounter photos from Sky Meadows State Park.