Shenandoah National Park Travel Guide

  • Even this might be too close for a bear viewing
    Even this might be too close for a bear...
    by PR-7
  • Shenandoah National Park
    by alycat
  • Shenandoah National Park
    by alycat

Shenandoah National Park Highlights

  • Pro
    Shihar profile photo

    Shihar says…

     Lovely waterfalls, strenous trails, and wildlife... 

  • Con
    matcrazy1 profile photo

    matcrazy1 says…

     Fog and rain, otherwise crowds of visitors, I suppose; slow Skyline Drive 

  • In a nutshell
    Karnubawax profile photo

    Karnubawax says…

     Get off the road at least once! 

Shenandoah National Park Things to Do

  • Jones Run Falls

    Jones Run Falls is accessible by a 3.4-mile round trip trail starting from the Jones Run trailhead. I hiked to this waterfall as part of a 6.6-mile loop with the Doyles River Falls, which I would highly recommend; the trailhead for this hike is at Browns Gap. My previous tip, on Doyles River, describes the hike from Browns Gap to the confluence of...

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  • Falls of the Doyles River

    The Doyles River is a wild and beautiful stream that plunges down the side of Big Flat Mountain near the Loft Mountain development in the South District. A hike along the river takes you to two major waterfalls, as well as numerous smaller plunges. A combined hike of this trail and Jones Run is easily one of the most spectacular waterfall hikes of...

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  • Furnace Mountain (from SR 663)

    An enjoyable hike that doesn't require driving on Skyline Drive is the trail to Shenandoah's Furnace Mountain. It's 4.2 miles round trip and requires an elevation gain of 1300 feet, and leads to a good rocky viewpoint near the summit of Furnace Mountain. The trail starts a hundred yards past the park entrance at the Madison Run Fire Road, leading...

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Shenandoah National Park Hotels

Shenandoah National Park Restaurants

  • THE place in town

    This is an amazing place. We were staying at a local B&B and the owner recommended Apartment 2g and made reservations for us. When we got there, we were a little thrown off by the different doors to the building, then pleasantly surprised. Apparently, the chefs and owners of 2g (David and Stacy Gedney--- who have previously worked at both the Ashby...

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  • Ugh

    I usually don't worry about reviewing chain restaurants, but I had to after this experience. We ate at Applebees in Waynesboro (just south of the park). Their new section of the menu refers to a Steakhouse experience. Any steakhouse that would serve the piece of meat Applebees did would shut down in days. It was rubbery and full of gristle. The...

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  • Art and Eats

    In downtown Luray, Va we ate at the Artisan Grill which is located on a corner next to an art gallery (hence the name). Most of the menu items were named after famous artists. I had the Gaugin sandwich- basil, fresh mozzarella, tomato and Balsamic vinegar. Dave ate a blue cheese burger. The food was decent ;nothing really special.. Both of our...

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Shenandoah National Park Nightlife

  • Deer Hunting

    Note that parts (and sometimes all) of Skyline Drive are (is) closed at night (5PM - 8AM) during deer hunting season. Unless you want to be mistaken for a deer by an overzealous hunter, stay away. Check the website for details.

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  • Mountain entertainment

    Located at in the Dining Hall at Skyland Resort. This is a small bar located next to the eating area. There is live music nightly when we were there. Come as you are casual

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Shenandoah National Park Transportation

  • How to get to Shenandoah National Park

    Especially since the park is centered along a 105-mile long road, the most practical way to get here is to drive. The park has 4 entrances: the Front Royal Entrance just off of US Route 340, the Thornton Gap Entrance just off of US Route 211 between Luray and Sperryville, the Swift Run Gap Entrance just off of US Route 33 between Elkton and...

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  • Only by car

    Whenever I see an entrance gate to National Park in the USA my heart starts to beat stronger and faster. As I was going to visit a few more National Parks during my southern trip I bought annual pass to all US Parks which cost $50 (valid for one vehicle). I was asked to show my identity and to sign my credit card size pass and I got to know that...

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  • Mary's Rock Tunnel

    Mary's Rock Tunnel, at Mile 31 of Skyline Drive, is a 600-foot long tunnel with a 14-foot clearence that cuts through a ridge of Mary's Rock. The tunnel is one of the more interesting man-made sights in Shenandoah National Park. Tunnel Parking Overlook is at the south end of the tunnel; I did not stop there, but the pullout probably allows you to...

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Shenandoah National Park Shopping

  • Gifts at reasonable prices

    This relatively small gift shop is located at Skyland Lodge that is at the highest point on Skyline Drive (elevation 3680 ft, 1122 m). It's open from 8 am until 9 pm (!) and offers different items, including various gifts and souvenirs like ceramics, paintings as well as jars with some local food (jam, honey). I found the location and architecture...

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  • Big Meadows- One stop shop

    If you are in need of any camping supplies, you can purchase them at the Big Meadows wayside. There is no store like this located at Skyland resort.There is a little gift shop right next to the small diner where we ate.You can also fill up at the little gas kiosk. We bought SNP two plastic drinking glasses, postcards, wine and beer. They also have...

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  • Skyland Resort- Dining Hall

    This gift shop has more craft type stuff than Big Meadows wayside. It is not as comprehensive with the variety of goods it offers. We bought a SNP marbled coffee mug and red SNP baseball hat.Right as you walk in there is Java City kiosk in front of the Dining Hall eating area and Taproom. Java City kiosk had possibly the best scones I ever had!...

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Shenandoah National Park Local Customs

  • Trail Markers

    In addition to the rectangles of various colors you will see on trees and rocks, you will also see posts at intersections of trails, indicating which way to go. The metal bands on the posts will indicate trails, directions, and distance to landmarks. Be sure to look at all sides of the post to make sure you don't miss anything.

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  • CUSTOM FALL COLORS

    Midweek in October is very fine for the magnificent colors. I have heard that 100000 people climb Mt Monadanock in southern New Hampshire every year and 80000 of those climb on the weekend falling in the middle of October. I would not be surprised if similar numbers occur here along the Skyline Drive. Go in midweek if you can to avoid the traffic.

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  • Skyland Drive

    Skyland Drive is the scenic road that goes through the entire park. Tourists go either very slow(for sight seeing) or very fast on the this road. Use caution!

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Shenandoah National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Help Maintain Shenandoah's Record

    In the entire history of Shenandoah National Park, no visitor has been seriously injured by a bear attack. As in all national parks, the dangers of bear are FAR less than that of careless climbing or driving. If the humans (you know, the so-called smart animals) will do THEIR part, Shenandoah can maintain this streak.The only type of bears in...

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  • Don't rely on a cell phone for help

    This URL http://www.shenandoah.national-park.com/hike.htm#horsays it best: "Cell phones have limited range from many trails"If you begin a hike any distance from Skyline Drive, make certain that you are prepared to handle any emergency ON YOUR OWN. Do NOT assume you can use your cell phone to summon help and get you out of trouble. Plain and...

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  • SHENANDOAH PARK WARNINGS

    If you really care about the deer and bears and other wild animals in the Park - DO NOT FEED THEMDeer Ticks transmit Lyme Disease. Do frequent body checks for ticks. Tuck your pants under your socks.Dispose of waste properlySlow the spread of Emerald Ash Borer by not transporting firewood into the Park. Firewood can be purchased at camp stores and...

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Shenandoah National Park Tourist Traps

  • Bad weather

    I visited Shenandoah National Park about 20th October. It seemed to be perfect time to see amazing fall trees with leaves turning colours. Well, that day in 2004 the Blue Ridge Mountains were covered by fog, thick fog at some places in upper parts. So, I could not amaze spectacular views at overlooks and no-one used these binoculars in my picture...

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  • Caves are fun!

    Now it is really unfair of me to put this as a tourist trap, But... almost $20 to enter into is touristy little place in a tiny town forces me to place this tip.You will see want I mean once you enter the parking lot.http://www.luraycaverns.com/ The tours are informative and enjoyable. After all is said and done this is worth a visit.

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Shenandoah National Park What to Pack

  • Comforable clothes a must for hiking!...

    Small day pack for hiking, suitcases of course if you're staying in Shenandoah National Park's lodging or nearby. If your camping, it's a much longer list. Pets have now been welcomed to certain rooms in the park's lodging! Good hiking boots! cool and warm weather clothing (nighttime gets chilly sometimes, and daytime heat can be brutal on the...

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  • Bring water and a change of clothes!

    Bring a backpack large enough to hold food, water, and spare clothing. Good, high-topped, waterproof hiking boots are a must. Also, bring rain gear, a change of clothes, and a change of socks. If you get wet, hypothermia can be a real danger Be sure to bring sunscreen and insect repellant. Bring a camera with lots of film / storage. You'll need...

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  • Hiking Gear

    If you going to be hiking in Shenandoah NP, Here is some must haves:1) Layers of clothing- morning are cold, afternoons hot2) bug spray3) water4) good hiking shoes/sneakers5) camera6) backpack shorts/ jeans for hiking. Good hiking boots! Bug spray We just brought digital camera

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Shenandoah National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • The Stony Men

    If you have the opportunity, definitely try to take in the Stony Man & Little Stony Man hike! Both summits offer great views of the eastern side of the Shenandoah Park, and most of the hike follows the Appalachian Trail. Check out the pics from my trip there last summer!

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  • The Uphill Climb

    Don't be fooled by how easily a trail can be traveled when you start heading downhill. The trail to Dark Hollow Falls is all flowers and cotton candy on the way _down_... But coming back is a different story altogether! The climbs can be steep and can really take the wind out of you when climbing _up_hill. So be prepared for the return journey!

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Shenandoah National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    by LoriPori Updated Nov 11, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On the Sunday that we were visiting Shenandoah National Park, it was such a warm, sunny day that folks were out and about and doing some hiking in the Park.
    Shenandoah offers in excess of 500 miles of Hiking Trails, some of which are:

    Fox Hollow Trail (mile 4.6)
    Traces Trail (mile22.2)
    Stony Man Trail (mile 41.7)
    Limberlost Trail (mile 43)
    Dark Hollow Falls Trail (mile 50.7)
    Story of the Forest Trail ( mile 51)
    Bearfence Rock Scramble ( mile 56.4)
    Frazier Discovery Trail ( mile 79.5)
    Old Rag Ridge Trail
    Old Rag Saddle Trail

    Equipment: Mountain weather can change quickly. Come prepared for cold, wet conditions and fog in any season Even a warm sunny day may be followed by a cold night. Bring plenty of water when you hike and dress appropriately and wear good hiking boots or sturdy footwear. I also like to bring some granola bars in case I get hungry.

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Shenandoah National Park Favorites

  • Fall in Shenandoah

    Fall is everyone's favorite season to visit Shenandoah! The Blue Ridge Mountains turn gold, red, and brown this time of year, the weather cools down, and the skies become a beautiful blue. The crowds are out, too- during weekends on peak foliage times, expect trailheads and overlooks to be crowded. To catch the best of the fall foliage, come after...

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  • Winter in Shenandoah

    During the winter, views all over the park open up. Even though most trees no longer display any spectacular foliage, they still look peaceful and beautiful during the winter. It gets cold- expect temperatures below freezing every night, and temperatures that barely hover above freezing during the day. Snow is common and Skyline Drive will close...

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  • Summer in Shenandoah

    Summer is probably the second most popular season at Shenandoah, though it may be the least pleasant. The heat can often become oppressive during the summer, reaching the 90s or on occasion even 100 degrees Fahrenheit (upper 30s C). Add to that Virginia's intense humidity and you'll have weather that often isn't fun! Summer weekends are especially...

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