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Shenandoah National Park

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Overview

Located within easy traveling distance from Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, and quiet wooded hollows are just a few of the natural features that entice visitors from near and far. Take a hike, meander along Skyline Drive, or picnic with the family in the quiet scenery of the park. The 200,000 acres of protected lands are a haven for deer, songbirds, bear, and night sky enthusiasts/astrophotographers. Take leave of the every day, and get back to your wild side in Shenandoah.

To learn more about Shenandoah National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
  • Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center: Open seasonally, 9:30 am to 4 pm
  • Dickey Ridge Visitor Center: Open seasonally from 9 am to 5 pm

For more information on current operating hours, click here.

Visiting Tips

Shenandoah National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. While the park is open year round, much of Skyline Drive is subject to seasonal hours. Even when the road is closed, visitors can still enter the park on foot. For more information on operating hours, seasonal closures, and road conditions, click here.

Fees and Passes:
For more information on park fees, click here. For more information on park passes, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Extending your visit in Shenandoah is encouraged, and there are multiple options for every comfort level. Whether you prefer to stay in a comfortable resort or choose to get back to your roots in a backcountry campsite, there are many options available.

Camping:
Shenandoah hosts four campgrounds, scattered throughout the park. The campgrounds are open in the spring, summer, and fall. Camping reservations can be made online, or phone reservations can be made by calling (877) 444-6777.
  • Mattews Arm: Dates subject to seasonality
  • Big Meadows: Dates subject to seasonality
  • Lewis Mountain: First-come, first-served, dates subject to seasonality
  • Loft Mountain: Dates subject to seasonality

Backcountry campsites are available through a free permit attained at a visitor's center during regular business hours. More information about backcountry campsites can be found here.

Lodging:
Shenandoah has four lodging options available, click here for more information. Reservations can be made through online through Delaware North at Shenandoah National Park, or by calling (877) 247-9261.

Food & Drink

Shenandoah National Park offers a variety of dining experiences for visitors, and you won't be disappointed by any of the choices.

  • Elkwallow Wayside: A variety of breakfast selections, sandwiches, and grilled lunch and dinner items are available. Seating options include an outside patio and picnic tables.
  • Skyland: A full-service dining room with a varied menu of appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts.
  • Big Meadows Wayside: This wayside features both carry-out and table-service options, with a varied menu of regional and contemporary favorites.
  • Big Meadows Lodge: The lodge features contemporary dining in a rustic setting.
  • Loft Mountain Wayside: This wayside offers counter service, a dining room, and both indoor and outdoor seating. The menu offers a variety of breakfast items, grilled items, and sandwiches.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Exploring Shenandoah with a park ranger can be an informative and eye-opening experience. There are many seasonal programs, all of which are offered free of charge, unless otherwise noted. More information about programs and the events calendar can be found here.

Other Activities

Visitors to Shenandoah have a myriad of activities open to them. While driving on Skyline Drive is a perennial favorite, getting out of the car and off the beaten path is recommended. Explore hundreds of miles of backcountry trail, enjoy a quiet afternoon of bird or wildlife watching, or unwind at any one of many spectacular natural features.

If thrill seeking is more your style, rock climbing, cycling and fly fishing are also permitted within the park. Seasoned adventurers are welcome, or there are a host of approved guides who can teach you the basics of any activity. More information on approved guiding services can be found here. Visit the park's website for more information on the park's other activities.

Maps & Guidebooks

If you're interested in learning more details about great hikes, weather, camping/lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive online Guide to Shenandoah National Park.

To download a variety of guides to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Shenandoah National Park - 14

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gem Favorite Foggy Old Rag. Still beautiful!

Old Rag Summit

(79) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite The second of 6 waterfalls in Whiteoak Canyon (the 1st being the very upper falls).

White Oak Canyon Swimming Hole

(40) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite It's almost unfair to not have to work for this view from Stony Man Summit in Shenandoah National Park.

Stony Man Summit

(40) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite Night shot of Dark Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls

(49) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite Sunset view from atop Bearfence.

Bearfence Mountain

(30) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite View from Hawksbill Peak

Hawksbill Mountain Summit

(33) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite Sunrise view from atop Mary's Rock

Mary's Rock Viewpoint

(30) Luray, VA
gem Favorite Upper Rose River Falls.

Rose River Falls

(24) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite Overall Run Falls, the tallest waterfall in SNP.

Overall Run Falls

(19) Washington, VA
gem Favorite Remnant of an old building at Rapidan Camp. with permission from rootboy

Rapidan Camp

(13) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite A whitetail deer grazing in Big Meadows at sunrise.

Big Meadows

(13) Stanley, VA
gem Favorite Doyles River Falls

Lower Doyles River Falls

(9) Grottoes, VA
gem Favorite No Photos

Elkwallow Picnic Area

(6) Washington, VA
gem Favorite The Passamaquoddy Trail leaves right from the Skyland Resort backyard.

Skyland Resort

(11) Stanley, VA

Recommended Routes in Shenandoah National Park - 43

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Favorite More fog along Dickey Ridge.
Intermediate

Dickey Ridge Loop

4.9 mi 7.9 km 833' Up 253.75 m Up 829' Down 252.58 m Down

Front R…, VA
Favorite Sunset in Shenandoah
Intermediate/Difficult

Neighbor Mountain - Jeremys Run Loop

14.0 mi 22.5 km 2,503' Up 762.95 m Up 2,509' Down 764.82 m Down

Washington, VA
Favorite The Hickerson trailhead is marked by this post.
Intermediate

Lands Run Gap to Hickerson Hollow

2.1 mi 3.4 km 565' Up 172.13 m Up 566' Down 172.39 m Down

Front R…, VA
Favorite The Overall Run upper cascades.
Intermediate/Difficult

Overall Run Falls

6.3 mi 10.2 km 1,348' Up 410.97 m Up 1,348' Down 410.94 m Down

Washington, VA
Favorite Fire road leading north from Compton Gap Parking Area.
Intermediate/Difficult

Compton Gap to Compton Peak

2.3 mi 3.7 km 617' Up 187.93 m Up 617' Down 188.17 m Down

Front R…, VA
Favorite Lands run falls
Easy/Intermediate

Lands Run Falls

1.2 mi 1.9 km 289' Up 88.06 m Up 289' Down 88.04 m Down

Front R…, VA
Favorite Fire road leading north from Compton Gap Parking Area.
Intermediate

Compton Gap North

1.5 mi 2.4 km 235' Up 71.73 m Up 235' Down 71.72 m Down

Front R…, VA
Favorite Ridge lines in the distance from North Marshall Mountain Lookout. with permission from rootboy
Intermediate

North Marshall

0.6 mi 1.0 km 152' Up 46.21 m Up 151' Down 46.08 m Down

Washington, VA
Favorite Couldn't walk for a couple of days afterwards but boy was it worth every step! - October 2010
Difficult

Little Devil Stairs Loop

5.5 mi 8.9 km 1,453' Up 442.8 m Up 1,429' Down 435.54 m Down

Washington, VA

Shenandoah National Park Hiking

  • 890 Miles 1,433 Kilometers of Trail
  • 43 Recommended Routes
  • 14 Gems Gems
  • 63 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 169 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 121 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

Areas Within Shenandoah National Park

Weather Averages


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Trails in Shenandoah National Park - 310

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243.4 mi 391.7 km #1AT: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PA/MD/VA/WV)
Intermediate/Difficult
Waynesboro, VA
Intermediate/Difficult
Waynesboro, VA 14 
0.9 mi 1.5 km #2Fox Hollow Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Front Royal, VA
Easy/Intermediate
Front Royal, VA 10 
9.2 mi 14.8 km #3Dickey Ridge Trail
Intermediate
Front Royal, VA
Intermediate
Front Royal, VA
1.4 mi 2.2 km #4Snead Farm Loop Trail
Intermediate
Front Royal, VA
Intermediate
Front Royal, VA
6.7 mi 10.7 km #5Jeremys Run Trail
Intermediate
Washington, VA
Intermediate
Washington, VA
3.0 mi 4.8 km #6Little Flat Mountain Loop
Very Difficult
Crozet, VA
Very Difficult
Crozet, VA
0.4 mi 0.6 km #7Blue Ledge Trail
Difficult
Grottoes, VA
Difficult
Grottoes, VA
1.1 mi 1.7 km #8Crooked Tree Trail
Difficult
Grottoes, VA
Difficult
Grottoes, VA
1.0 mi 1.6 km #9Blackwell's Trail
Difficult
Grottoes, VA
Difficult
Grottoes, VA
0.8 mi 1.2 km #10Great Mountains Trail
Intermediate
Grottoes, VA
Intermediate
Grottoes, VA

Photos of Shenandoah National Park - 407

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Couldn't walk for a couple of days afterwards but boy was it worth every step! - October 2010
Mar 30, 2016 near Washington, VA
Morning twilight view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Tunnel Overlook.
May 24, 2016 near Luray, VA
Autumn view from the cliff near Crescent Rock Overlook.
May 24, 2016 near Stanley, VA
A section of the Rapidan Road on a foggy Summer morning.
May 24, 2016 near Stanley, VA
The milky way over Big Meadows.
May 24, 2016 near Stanley, VA
Sunrise view from atop Mary's Rock
May 24, 2016 near Luray, VA
View from Hazel Mountain Overlook.
May 25, 2016 near Luray, VA
Sunset view from atop Bearfence.
May 25, 2016 near Stanley, VA