Sky Meadows State Park is a 1,862-acre (754 ha) park in the Virginia state park system. It is located in extreme northwest Fauquier County, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Paris, Virginia. It is about an hour outside of the Washington, D.C. metro region.PutSky Meadows State Park into our Delaplane tour planner and find out what's close by, where to stay, and where to head next.
The park was formed when Paul Mellon donated 1,132 acres (458 ha) of land in 1975. The name Sky Meadows came from former owner Sir Robert Hadow, who named the property "Skye Farm" after an island in Scotland. It has expanded its borders twice since then—248 acres (100 ha) were added in 1987, containing the Appalachian Trail, and in 1991 Mellon donated an additional 462 acres (187 ha), bringing the park to its present size.
It is located near Paris, Virginia off US 17, one mile (1.6 km) south of US 50 and seven miles (11 km) north of Interstate 66.
It starts in a valley between the foothills and the Blue Ridge Mountains, then has meadows and forests stretching up to the ridge of the mountain and the Appalachian Trail.
There is a basic walk-in campground, over 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails and 6 miles (10 km) of bridle paths. The horse trails are east of US 17 and the hiking trails (and most of the park) is west of US 17.
With a combination of meadows, grazed fields, forest, scrub, and streams, it has a wide variety of ecological zones.
Most of the year, there are monthly "astronomy nights" where amateur astronomers bring their telescopes and use them to show attendees various celestial objects. Typically, an astronomer from the Smithsonian Institution is among the leaders.
Sky Meadows is a year-round bird watching site. It is known for a colony of red-headed woodpeckers that live in an oak grove just past the contact station. Depending on the time of the year, it is almost certain that this and the other six species of woodpeckers—downy, hairy, red-bellied, yellow-bellied sapsucker, pileated, and northern flicker—commonly found in this part of Virginia will be present.
Except for "astronomy nights", the park closes at dusk, and campers must be in the park and others out of the park at that time.
Sky Meadows State Park reviews
This state park is just off the main road and a convenient long lunch stop. So pack a picnic and enjoy a lunch in the picnic area (off to the right just as you turn into the park). There is a loop... more »
The park has numerous trails, and tent camping. There is also a gift shop and bathrooms. You can hike up to the Appalachian Trail. The hike up may be strenuous for some. This trail extends from... more »
Very friendly ranger who took time from rushing to a talk on the ridge to speak to us about the area. I taught him about using a weather rock to forecast for the evening. The views of the historic buildings and mountains were wonderful amongst the intermittent showers. The rain and passing clouds made for some nice "atmosphere" in the park. I only regret leaving my hiking stick at home (2 hours away). I'll be back and a little more prepared.
Nice little tucked away park that's big enough to challenge and keep all hikers busy for about a day. Has a border with the Appalachian Trail, so you're able to extend your hike if you would like. A little camping is also available.
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