Sky Meadows State Park

Sky Meadows State Park

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 9.5 miles of bridle trails, 19 miles of hiking trails, 8 miles of bike trials and Appalachian Trail access.

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 Backyard Campout, held annually on the fourth Saturday in June; and the Fall Farm Festival, celebrated each weekend in October.

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Image Credit: Virginia State Parks / Flickr

Hours

Open daily from 8:00 AM to dusk.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

Admission is free. There is a daily parking fee of $5.

Activities

Trails: The park has more than 17 miles of hiking trails and horse 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 are allowed only on paved roads and designated trails. Horses are not permitted on hiking trails.

Fishing, Boating: 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.

Horses: No rentals, however the park has more than 7 miles of bridle trails for those bringing their own horses. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.

Water Flow Info:

Facilities

The park has a small meeting room.

The visitor center has nature and history exhibits and a gift shop. Hours of operation are 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday; 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday and Sunday. The visitor center is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Historic Mount Bleak House, Turner Pond, Lost Mountain Equestrian trails and three miles of the Appalachian Trail within park boundaries.

This park offers year-round primitive hike-in tent camping. Reservations are required.

Accessibility

  • Two designated parking spaces in the historic area and one in the picnic area
  • Wheelchair-accessible restrooms at the visitor center and the picnic area
  • Visitor center and gift shop
  • Mary's Shelter and several picnic tables
  • Fishing pond (no paved sidewalk access)
  • Although motorized vehicles are not permitted on park trails, electric wheelchairs and electric scooters that meet the federal definition for wheelchairs are allowed to enable people with disabilities to use the trails.

History

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.

Mount Bleak in 1868 became the property of George M. Slater, who had been in Mosby’s Rangers 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., 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.

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Last updated: October 09, 2019
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