Sky Meadows State Park lies amongst the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains in Northwest Fauquier County in Delaplane, Virginia. This 1,862 acre public recreation area contains an historic 1860s farmhouse that shows life from colonial times until the present, and an access point to the Appalachian Trail.
This Virginia State park’s name comes from former owner Robert Hadow, who named the property Skye Farm after an island in Scotland. Visitors to this picturesque pastoral setting enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, star gazing and primitive camping.
Most visitors to Sky Meadows State Park come for the trails and access to the larger Appalachian Trail that extends into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park’s picnic areas, children’s activities, gift shop, historic site and primitive camping areas give guests a reason to stick around for a while.
The historic Mount Bleak House dates from the mid-19th century and is a special feature inside the park. Guests can discover more about this area as they tour this house and its log cabin, wash house, ice house and kitchen garden.
The visitor center has a gift shop and nature exhibits. You can purchase souvenirs, maps, guides, outdoor gear, snacks and drinks at the gift shop and discover nature and history programs inside the visitor center.
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Sky Meadows State Park:
Trails at Sky Meadows State Park
Inside Sky Meadows State Park you’ll discover access to 22 miles of hiking trails, 10.5 miles of bridle trails and 9 miles of biking trails that range from easy to difficult. You can also access the Appalachian Trail here to many more miles of multi-use trails.
Overnight parking is available for Appalachian Trail hikers but you must register at the visitor center. Sky Meadows State Park is a 3-day hike from Harpers Ferry and a 2-day hike from Shenandoah National Park.
Here are a few of the popular trails at Sky Meadows State Park:
- The Sensory Explorers’ Trail – An easy .3 mile trail that starts near the main picnic area. Explore and learn about nature, history, billion-year-old geology and wildlife using your senses on this engaging and fun path.
- Whitehouse Overlook via Piedmont Overlook Trail Loop – A moderate 4.6 mile loop through woods, wildflower meadows and up a steep incline for spectacular views.
- Sky Meadows Loop – A moderate 6.8 mile loop up towards the overlook. This trail is steep in a few places but benches are scattered along its pathway.
- Lost Mountain Loop – Another moderate trail, 3.9 miles long, that crosses rocky streams and wildflower meadows.
Children’s Discovery Area at Sky Meadows State Park
A Children’s Discovery Area is located next to the picnic area inside Sky Meadow State Park. This open and safe play space includes a Nature Explore Certified Outdoor Classroom (the first of its kind in the state) with play stations. These stations encourage kids to create art, build, move freely, make music, dance, climb, dig and crawl.
Also in this area is a Kids in Parks TRACK Trail, an easy .7 mile loop that crosses streams, passes through woodlands and wildflower meadows.
Fishing at Sky Meadows State Park
Sky Meadows State Park’s Turner Pond has fishing piers and a picnic area. No boats are allowed on this 3.5 acre pond but you can fish from the shore or pier. The pond contains largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish, crappie and bluegill.
Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license ahead of time (Virginia residents 15 and under are not required to have a fishing license).
Star Gazing at Sky Meadows State Park
This unique park has been designated as an International Dark Sky Park (by the International Dark Sky Association) and holds monthly astronomy programs. During these monthly programs an astronomer guides visitors on a visual tour of the celestial skies. Telescopes are also used to see deeper into space.
These programs aim to provide information on the importance of light conservation. Check the park’s Events/Programs tab for upcoming astronomy programs.
Wildlife Viewing at Sky Meadows State Park
During your visit to Sky Meadows State Park you will see many species of wildlife. White-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, black bears, wild turkeys, opossum, ducks, turtles, snakes, frogs and salamanders are all common in the area.
While exploring the trails keep a lookout for the bright red plumage of Virginia’s state bird – the cardinal. And also see if you can spot a Carolina chickadee, blue jay, sparrow, wren, red-tailed hawk, bald eagle or a red-tailed woodpecker.
Camping at Sky Meadows State Park
Sky Meadows State park has 18 primitive tent-only campsites located along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These sites are available year round but are only accessible by foot – campers must hike-in or bike-in the one mile journey (Hadow Trail) from the overnight parking area.
Fifteen of these sites are for individual use. Each site has a 16’ x 16’ tent pad, picnic table, bear-proof locker, lantern post and fire pit with a small grate. Eight campsites also have hammock posts.
One site (Buddy) is intended for two families (up to 12 people) to camp together and has 2 tent pads and a shared picnic and grill. Fees include parking for up to 4 vehicles.
A small primitive tent group area (Camp Slater) can accommodate up to 24 people on 4 tent pads. It also has a bear-proof locker and a shared picnic and grill area. Fees include parking for up to 6 vehicles.
A large group camping area (Camp Washington) can fit up to 36 people and has 6 tent pads, a bear-proof locker and a shared picnic and grill area. Fees include parking for up to 8 vehicles.
The campground has pit toilets, non-potable water and firewood available.
Pets at Sky Meadows State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. Please clean up after your pet and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln
Delaplane, VA 20144
Here is a YouTube video showcasing several attractions and trails at Sky Meadows State Park: