Shenandoah National Park Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Shenandoah National Park

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    Follow the Trail..- Bearfence Trail

    by Shihar Updated Sep 21, 2005

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    Bearfence trail pinnacle
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    Most of our time was spent on the trails. Here I will briefly describe the trails that we ventured on. I only wish that these pictures could capture the total effect of the trail enviroment.

    Bearfence Trail- My Favorite!
    1.2 mile roundtrip to 360 view. Short hike with rock scramble.

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    Hogback Overlook / Sugar Loaf Hike

    by travelfrosch Written Nov 12, 2006

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    The beginning and end of the hike
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    The hike we took started at a parking area just past Hogback Overlook at Milepost 21. From the parking area, you follow the Appalachian Trail (white trail markers) southward toward Rattlesnake Point Overlook. At Rattlesnake Point, you cross Skyline Drive and continue downhill until you come across the Piney Branch Trail (NOT to be confused with the Piney Ridge Trail). Turn left on the Piney Branch Trail (light blue trail markers) and continue winding downhill until you come upon the Sugar Loaf Trail. Turn left (uphill) on the Sugar Loaf Trail (blue trail markers) until you rejoin the Appalachian Trail, which you follow south back to the Hogback Overlook.

    This hike is 5.2 miles, or a 2 1/2 to 3 hour light to moderate hike. Note there is some altitude gain/loss, and that you are required to ford small streams. Be sure to bring proper footwear and a map. Also be sure to check in at a Visitor Center for the most up-to-date information.

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    Range View Overlook

    by travelfrosch Updated Nov 12, 2006

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    This is one of the more scenic overlooks. The Range View Overlook is at an elevation of 2,610 feet. It gives you a view to the southwest along the ridge line you are traveling. You'll see a series of rolling hills that's quite impressive.

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    Visitors Centers

    by matcrazy1 Updated Sep 21, 2006

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    BYRD VISITOR CENTER, SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
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    I stopped at Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center at milepost 51 on Skyline Drive. The old looking, stone, one-floor building looked mysterious being partly hidden in fog. There were almost no visitors that dark and foggy October afternoon.

    I've got to know more about the area chatting with the ladies at information desk and shortly reading some books (some for children) on the park. I've got to know that Harry Flood Byrd Sr., whose portait was hang above information desk, was a Governor of Virginia in 1926-1930 and senator from 1933 - 1965 (32 years!). He strongly supported road building in Virginia and creating the Shenandoah NP established in 1935.

    Video introduction movie in the visitors center was not played that time. I've got to know that many ranger-led programs and hikes begin here. But the most interesting was a group of 3 female deer (does) I saw close to the center.

    There are three visitors centers in the Shenandoah National Park at mile 4.6, 51 and 79.5 on Skyline Drive. But they are not always open. Hours vary from season to season and year to year, check them here.

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    Rose River Trail

    by Shihar Written Sep 20, 2005

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    One of the many waterfalls on this trail
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    The beginning of the trail you will find yourself decsending to a trail of waterfalls. Save your energy ,because like most of the trails here, it's all uphill on way back!

    Dark Hollow Falls is a side trail off of Rose River. It is a short steep uphill climb that can be exhausting after the Rose River trail.

    Near the end of the trail on the fire road you will notice the Cave Cemetery. The most recent grave there was from 1996!

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    SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK

    by LoriPori Updated May 6, 2011

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    Our first Overlook

    Sunday, October 24, 2010
    We entered SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK at the Thornton Gap Entrance Station, which was just off the U.S. Highway 211 near Luray VA
    At the entrance we were charged $15.00 for an Auto/Week Pass just to drive through the Park. US Senior Citizens are charged $10.00 for the pass.
    The Shenandoah National Park, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, features forest, wildlife, hiking trails, cultural sites and outstanding views along the 105 mile of the historic Skyline Drive. This mountaintop park consists of more than 197,000 acres of land and in excess of 500 miles of hiking trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
    Along the 105-mile long Skyline Drive - a national Scenic Byway - visitors have access to 75 scenic overlook, four campgrounds, three lodging facilities and educational features. Numbered concrete mileposts on the west side of Skyline Drive help you find facilities and services. Many of the drive's Scenic Overlooks are marked with a dot, in the map that was given to you at the Park Entrance.
    We entered the Park at 1:22 (time shown on our Park Pass) and we exited around 5:00 p.m. at Waynesboro, where we would look for accommodations for the night before going on to the Blue Ridge Parkway the next day.

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    Shenandoah Valley Overlook

    by travelfrosch Written Nov 12, 2006

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    This overlook, at an elevation of 1,390 feet, is the northernmost overlook in the park. From here, you get a fine panorama of the valley. It's especially scenic in the fall when the leaves have changed color.

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    Historical trails

    by matcrazy1 Updated Sep 21, 2006

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    JACKSON'S LAST MOUNTAIN CROSSING, SHENANDOAH NP
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    In many places of the Shenandoah National Park I've seen historical information on the Civil War and I could follow trails on which Conferate troops marched in 1861-1863. Well, due to thick fog and lack of time I didn't do that. It's a pity as over 300 of Shenandoah National Park’s structures are listed in the National Register of Historic Places! It's an impressive number of architect-designed buildings such as Big Meadows and Massanutten Lodges, stone-lined ditches, bridges, log comfort stations etc.

    The Shenandoah Valley west of Blue Ridge Mountains was the scene of much of Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's activity, during the first two years of the Civil War. His swift and secret marches earned his troops the name of "foot cavalry." Jackson's brilliant Valley Campaign in spring 1862 supplied the lean Confederacy with captured materials of war. His victoried resulted in many Union troops being withheld from the first sustained campaign against Richmond, for the defence of Wshington, DC. Jackson moved his 25,000 troops through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the last time in November 1862 and was mortally wounded by friendly fire in the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.

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    Skyline Drive

    by chewy3326 Updated Nov 24, 2011

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    Morning at Eaton Hollow Overlook
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    Skyline Drive is the reason most visitors come to Shenandoah. This mountaintop road traverses the entire park, running 105 miles between Front Royal and Waynesboro with over 70 overlooks along the way. The road is an engineering marvel: it literally hugs the crest of the Blue Ridge through the entire park, yet none of the grades are too steep, though the road is certainly a bit windy. This is one of the most scenic roads in the state and the way most people experience the park.

    I will recommend a couple of overlooks along the length of Skyline between US 512 and I-64 that I believe are particularly worthy of stopping at, from north to south.

    Pinnacles Overlook has one of the grandest views in the park: Old Rag rising at the southern end of a deep valley. Jewell Hollow Overlook has a beautiful view north to the very pretty shape of Neighbor Mountain. Stony Man Overlook has a commanding view of Shenandoah Valley. Crescent Rock Overlook has a pretty view of Hawksbill, the highest peak in the park. Rockytop Overlook, in the southern part of the park, has a stunning view of the Big Run Valley. Moorman's River Overlook has a very wide view of the Piedmont.

    However, to best experience the park, I recommend that you park at a trailhead and hike at least one of the park's many great trails.

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    Entrance to the Park

    by travelfrosch Updated Jan 21, 2007

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    To enter the park, you need to pay a fee. The standard fee for 7 days of access is $15 per car, $10 for a motorcycle, and $8 per person for those biking or walking into the park. Entry fee for cars is $10 December - February. Also note that the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass ($80) is valid.

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    75 overlooks along Skyline Drive

    by matcrazy1 Updated Sep 21, 2006

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    SKYLINE DRIVE IN FOG, SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
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    I entered Shenandoah National Park driving Route 211 from Luray through Thornton Gap Entrance Gate when I paid $50 for National Park Pass (pass exclusively for this park cost $10 per vehicle in 2004, $15 in 2006). I also got a brouchure with park map which was very helpful. The road that took me southwards up to Rockfish Gap when I left the park was completed in 1939 and is called Skyline Drive.

    It runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains (the highest elevation: 3680 ft, 1122 m) and is the only public road through the park. There are mileposts on the west side (right side if you are traveling south). These posts helped me to find my way through the park and helped me to locate areas of interest. The largest developed area, Big Meadows is at milepost 51. All park maps and information use these mileposts as a reference.

    There are 75 overlooks along the Skyline Drive which offer amazing mountain views in clear weather, similar at each place though, I suppose. Well, I couldn't see anything but fog that October afternoon.

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    Common in America, named after Virginia

    by matcrazy1 Updated Sep 20, 2006

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    VIRGINIA DEER, SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
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    During only a few hours in Shenandoah National park, I saw female deer three times, always in a group of 2-3 animals. I think they are as much common roadside visitors in the park as around my hometown.

    In Harry F. Byrd Sr. Visitor Center I've got to know that the deer is White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the Virginia deer. Well, I have never seen them anywhere else in Virginia. But whenever you find this medium-sized deer in the continental United States, southern Canada, Mexico, Central America and northern portions of South America as far south as Peru, remember from which state their name derives. Virginia deer can be recognised quite easily. Pay attention to the characteristic white underside to tail, which the Virginia deer shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape.

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    Chipmunk

    by matcrazy1 Written Sep 20, 2006

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    CHIPMUNK, SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
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    By Skyland Lodge (Skyland Drive, mile 42) I suddenly heard leaves rustle on the ground behind me. The suspicious noice stopped when I turned around. The ground was covered by thick layer of fallen leaves. I didn't notice anything till small, squirrel-like rodent started to run through the leaves making that noice. He suddenly stopped for a moment luckily long enough me to take him pictures.

    It was a chipmunk, a rodent unknown in Europe and quite common in the USA. I have already seen them in western states but this one - called Eastern Chipmunk - looks a bit different. It has reddish-brown fur on its upper part with dark brown stripes and contrasting light brown stripes along its back. Its tail is dark, legs are short but equipped with long paws that help chipmunk to dig and construct expansive burrows. Chipmunks are mainly active during the day, spending most of their day foraging for food, mainly on the ground although as I noticed they climb trees very well. They transport food in food pouches in their cheeks.

    If unmolested chipmunks sometimes become bold enough to take food from the hands of humans. But it's illegal and for many reasons a very bad habit to feed any wild animal. Additionally chipmunk bites can transmit virulent and dangerous bacterial infections.

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    Lewis Falls Trail

    by chewy3326 Written Nov 22, 2005

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    Lewis Falls

    This 3.3-mile loop leads to a nice waterfall. It's not the best trail in the park, but if you have extra time, consider this hike. Beginning in the ampitheater of the Big MEadows Campground, the trail leads downhill through decidious forest to the falls. The bad part of this trail is climbing uphill about 500 feet on the way out. Along this trail, there are some good views of the Shenandoah Valley.

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    Dickey Ridge Visitor Center

    by travelfrosch Written Nov 12, 2006

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    View from the grounds
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    A little over 4 miles south of the Front Royal Entrance is the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. Here, you can get information on hiking and camping, as well as pick up backwoods permits for camping (free). The center has rest rooms and a small gift shop. The grounds also have some impressive views of the surrounding area.

    As of November 2006, the visitor center is open Thursday - Monday, 8:30AM - 5:00 PM. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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