|Sky Meadows State Park, Virginia, USA|
Fall in Sky Meadows State Park
|Nearest city||Front RoyalNearest city: Front Royal|
|Area||1862 acres (754 ha)|
|Governing body||Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation|
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.
The park was formed when Paul Mellon donated 1,132 acres (458 ha) of land in 1975. 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, Va off US 17, one mile (2 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 primitive walk in campground, over 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails and 6 miles (10 km) of bridal trails. 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. Normally 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.