Where to Watch the Sunset in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

In terms of places to watch the sunset in Shenandoah National Park, there are myriad options. There are numerous awesome Skyline Drive overlooks for sunset, while a couple of short hiking trails lead to gorgeous views atop a mountain. As you’ll see in the images below, you have plenty of choices.

Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Shenandoah National Park

Unlike sunrises, to watch the sunset in Shenandoah National Park, you don’t necessarily need to spend the night in the park, although it’s definitely recommended. I’m just saying it’s possible to leave the park after nightfall and drive to a nearby city. Especially Charlottesville is a wonderful place to visit after your time in Shenandoah.

There are many Skyline Drive overlooks for sunset watching. I’ve selected the absolute best for you guys and listed them below. Honestly, as much as I love watching the sunrise in Shenandoah National Park, it’s the sunsets that are typically the most colorful. While sunrises are definitely gorgeous and quiet, particularly if it’s a cool morning and a blanket of mist lingers in the valleys, the sunsets in Shenandoah National Park tend to be warmer and all kinds of gold and orange. Obviously, they’re also more popular among people who hate getting up early in the morning!


Stony Man Summit (MP 41.7)

Skyline Drive seen from Stony Man, Best Sunset Spots in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

It’s no stretch to say that Stony Man is the best sunset spot in Shenandoah National Park. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post about just that. The trailhead lies near Skyland Resort, its accessibility only adding to its appeal. The rocky summit commands spectacular views down on Shenandoah Valley and of Skyline Drive to the south. It’s one of few places in the park where you have this great a view of Skyline Drive.

  • Location: Milepost 41.7 on Skyline Drive, 1.6-mile (2.6-kilometer) lariat hike
  • Orientation: West
  • Features: Epic vista of Shenandoah Valley and Skyline Drive, photogenic rock-strewn summit, direct sunset views, fun little hike

Hazeltop Ridge Overlook (MP 54.5)

Hazeltop Ridge Overlook, Overlooks on Skyline Drive for Sunset in Shenandoah National Park

I’ve enjoyed a couple of sunsets from this Skyline Drive overlook. Its expansive views make it a stop-worthy viewpoint in the late-afternoon, but to actually watch the sunset in Shenandoah National Park I recommend driving south on Skyline Drive for a few minutes and check out the next overlook.

  • Location: Milepost 54.5 on Skyline Drive
  • Orientation: West
  • Features: Direct view of the sunset, endlessly rolling mountains, woods

The Point Overlook (MP 55.5)

The Point Overlook Sunset on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

I can confidently say that The Point Overlook is, by far, my favorite Skyline Drive overlook for sunset watching. With the risk of giving away what may actually be my preferred spot in the entire park, let me tell you exactly what to do there.

Almost everyone stops at the overlook itself, which does offer exceptional views. However, there’s also a gap in the middle of the stone wall, from which a short trail leads down to a rocky outcrop. I was there for about an hour and a half earlier this fall and—literally—not a single person made the effort to walk down. It takes only two minutes to walk to the outcrop, but either people don’t realize it’s there or are too lazy to go there. Either way, it’s an absolute gem of a sunset spot.

I can only say that you will not be disappointed if you do make the effort to walk down. The views are just sensational.

  • Location: Milepost 55.5 on Skyline Drive, plus short hike down the slope
  • Orientation: West
  • Features: Spectacular views of undulating mountain ranges, woods, picturesque rocky outcrop, hidden gem

Bearfence Mountain Summit (MP 56.4)

Bearfence Mountain Sunset in Shenandoah National Park

This is only spot in Shenandoah National Park that, I think, qualifies as one of the best places to watch both the sunrise and sunset in Shenandoah National Park. The summit offers 360-degree views, but the widest panorama is directed to the west, to Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, the trailhead lies conveniently close to Lewis Mountain Cabins, arguably my favorite place to stay in Shenandoah National Park.

The hike to the summit of Bearfence Mountain is no longer than 0.4 miles (650 meters). You can either retrace your steps or continue down to the Appalachian Trail and loop back to the parking lot that way. The mountain’s name is appropriate—I saw a black bear down one of the slopes on one of my hikes to the top.

  • Location: Milepost 56.4 on Skyline Drive, 0.4-mile (650-meter) hike and rock scramble to summit
  • Orientation: All directions
  • Features: Complete panoramic view from the rocky summit, direct view of sunrise and wide vista of Shenandoah Valley, rolling mountains, woods, occasional wildlife

Brown Mountain Overlook (MP 77.0)

Brown Mountain Overlook, Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Shenandoah National Park

What’s so great about the Brown Mountain Overlook is that, in addition to boasting wonderful views, it’s also a trailhead. This is the starting point of the Brown Mountain Trail, which leads down the mountainside and can be combined with other trails to make a long loop. I recommend going for a short walk down the trail for more solitude, quietness and undisturbed vistas.

  • Location: Milepost 77.0 on Skyline Drive
  • Orientation: West
  • Features: Trailhead, direct sunset views, rolling mountains, forest

Rockytop Overlook (MP 78.0)

Rockytop Overlook Sunset in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

A mile south of the Brown Mountain Overlook, the Rockytop Overlook offers a stunning panorama of mountains and ridges, and a glimpse of the Shenandoah Valley beyond them. If the conditions are right—as in, thin patches of cloud in the sky—, spending an hour just sitting on the stone wall and enjoying the landscape is as wonderful as a sunset in Shenandoah National Park can get.

  • Location: Milepost 78.0 on Skyline Drive
  • Orientation: West
  • Features: Close views of stunning mountain ranges, direct sunset views, forests

Sunset Spots in Shenandoah National Park Locations


More About Shenandoah National Park

If you’re interested in more Shenandoah National Park goodness, I suggest checking out these blog posts:


Pin It!


Recommended Books


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *