Photographing Shenandoah NP: Spitler Knoll Overlook
Spitler Knoll Overlook
Location: Shenandoah National Park: Central District
Best time of year to photograph: Year Around
Subject Focus: Sunset, Landscape
Mile Maker: 48 on Skyline Drive
Spitler Knoll Overlook is a great place to enjoy sunsets because, unlike most other places in the Shenandoah, Spitler Knoll is a large grassy hillside leading down to views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley.
(24mm, 1.3sec, F/11, ISO 100)
The Spitler Knoll is one of 72 overlooks for people to enjoy as they travel through Shenandoah National Park along Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive is the road that winds through the heart of Shenandoah National Park, starting at Front Royal in the north and ending at Rockfish Gap in the south. This 105 mile long road offers great views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and valleys while simultaneously offering photographers the chance to glimpse the outstanding scenery of Shenandoah. Spitler Knoll Overlook is located at mile marker 48 along Skyline Drive in the Central District of Shenandoah. It is also 3 miles north of Big Meadows, and because the overview looks west, it allows viewers to enjoy the amazing sunsets while in Shenandoah National Park. The quickest way to reach this outlook is through the Thornton Gap entrance off of Route 211 if you’re traveling from the north or the Swift Run Gap entrance off of Route 33 if you are traveling from the South.
(22mm, 0.5sec, F/8, ISO 100)
At an elevation of 3285 feet, Spitler Knoll Overlook has a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. The proximity of Spitler Knoll to Big Meadows campground makes this a very popular spot in Shenandoah, but most people never leave the pull off. Climbing over the stone wall will allow you to walk around this very large grassy knoll until you find the perfect composition (click here to lean some photography composition tips). The knoll is a ideal place from which to photograph because each season of the year will allow you capture different foreground elements. The Spilter Knoll view to the southwest, in my opinion, is the best view because you are able you capture multiple layers, which can include: the mountain where Big Meadows Camp Ground is located, some rolling hills that lead to the Shenandoah Valley, as well as Massanutten. Looking west to north is a view of the Shenandoah Valley and Massanutten Mountain Range. Around the winter solstice, December 21, the sun sets in the southwest behind the mountain where Big Meadows Camp Ground is located. There are also a few trees spread out throughout the knoll, which can make a wonderful foreground element, and with the right angle, you are able to capture a lone tree image (click here for some landscape photography tips).
(26mm, 3sec, F/16, ISO 100)
To learn more landscape photography tips click here.
To learn about more locations in to Photograph in Shenandoah National Park click here.
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