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Smyth County is located in the lower portion of the Great Valley of Western Virginia. Interstate 81 runs through the county's central valley, and intersects with Interstate 77 approximately 25 miles northeast of the Town of Marion. Three towns are located in Smyth County: Marion (the county seat), Chilhowie, and Saltville.
The county has three major valleys carved by the three forks of the Holston River, and a large portion of the county is located within the boundaries of a popular tourist destination, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Every year, thousands of visitors and county residents alike enjoy Hungry Mother State Park and the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.
You want a mountain experience and we have mountains. Visitors to Virginia's rooftop can view awesome vistas here throughout each of the four seasons. Mount Rogers is one of the eastern United States' highest mountain areas and Virginia's highest peak. The summit of Mount Rogers lies at 5,729 feet and is part of a large forest district of more than 100,000 acres, the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (NRA).
The NRA area encompasses 400 miles of maintained trails, including a 60-mile stretch of America's scenic Appalachian Trail and 10,000 acres of wilderness. Jefferson National Forest, one of eight forest systems in the national network, surrounds the recreational area with approximately 700,000 acres.
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SKYLINE DRIVE... The Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and is the only public road through the park. You can enter Shenandoah at four places: Front Royal near Rt. 66 and 340, Thornton Gap at Rt. 211, Swift Run Gap at Rt. 33, and Rockfish Gap at Rt. 64 and Rt. 250 (also the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway). It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day.
As you travel along Skyline Drive you will notice mileposts on the west side (right side if you are traveling south) of the road. These posts help you find your way through the park and help you locate areas of interest. The mileposts begin with 0.0 at Front Royal and continue to 105 at the southern end of the park.
The speed limit is 35 mph, so you can roll down your windows, feel the breeze and experience every curve and turn of this beautiful drive. There are 75 overlooks that offer stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east. The park purposely leaves the roadsides unmowed so wildflowers put on a show all year long.