Discover Shenandoah National Park

Tucked within Virginia’s majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park is a sanctuary of natural beauty. Here, every twist and turn reveals another picturesque vista. Isn’t it wonderful that such an expansive network of trails and scenic overlooks is practically in your backyard?

Shenandoah’s protected landscapes ensure you’re in for a treat—like gazing at a cascading waterfall taller than a five-story building! Have you ever seen anything quite like it?

If you’re eyeing an adventure or a peaceful break, Shenandoah has you covered. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a family seeking quality time, or an RV enthusiast looking for generous camping spots, you’ll find your haven here.


Top 3 Facts About Shenandoah National Park


Skyline Drive

One of the most iconic features of Shenandoah National Park is Skyline Drive, a scenic roadway that stretches for 105 miles through the park. It offers breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the Piedmont region to the east. The drive is particularly popular during the fall when the foliage transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold.


Appalachian Trail

The famous Appalachian Trail, which stretches over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, passes through Shenandoah National Park for about 100 miles. Hikers from around the world come to experience this portion of the trail, enjoying both the natural beauty of the park and the challenges of the rugged terrain.



The park spans an impressive 200,000 acres of protected wilderness, providing ample space for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Camping and transportation in Shenandoah National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Shenandoah National Park

Getting to Shenandoah National Park is relatively straightforward, and there are several options depending on your starting point and preferred mode of transportation:

  • By Car:
    – From the north: If you’re coming from northern areas such as Washington D.C. or Baltimore, take Interstate 66 west to exit 43A (Gainesville), then follow Route 29 south to Warrenton. From Warrenton, take Route 211 west to Shenandoah National Park’s Thornton Gap Entrance.
    – From the south: If you’re traveling from southern areas such as Charlottesville or Richmond, take Interstate 64 west to Route 340 north in Waynesboro. Follow Route 340 north to the park’s south entrance near Waynesboro.
  • By Air: The closest major airports to Shenandoah National Park are Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), both located in the Washington D.C. area. From either airport, you can rent a car and drive to the park following the directions mentioned above.

Places to Stay Near Shenandoah National Park

Here are some options for places to stay or camp near Shenandoah National Park:

  • Campgrounds within Shenandoah National Park: Shenandoah National Park offers several campgrounds, including Big Meadows Campground, Lewis Mountain Campground, and Loft Mountain Campground. These campgrounds provide various amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic areas, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty.
  • Skyland Resort: Located within Shenandoah National Park, Skyland Resort offers a range of accommodations, including rustic cabins and lodge rooms. Situated along Skyline Drive, Skyland provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Guests can also enjoy dining options and outdoor activities organized by the resort.
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Best Time to Go to Shenandoah National Park



Summer, from June to August, brings warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours to Shenandoah National Park. It’s an ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Many visitors enjoy swimming in the park’s streams, fishing in its rivers, and exploring the park’s extensive network of trails. Additionally, the park offers evening programs, including stargazing events and campfire talks, providing opportunities for educational and recreational experiences.



Winter, from December to February, offers a quieter and more serene experience in Shenandoah National Park. While some facilities may be closed or have reduced hours during this season, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy, including hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing on designated trails. The park’s landscape takes on a different kind of beauty, with snow-covered mountains and icy waterfalls providing unique photographic opportunities. Additionally, wildlife watching can be rewarding in winter, as animals are often more active and easier to spot against the snow-covered terrain.



Spring is a great time to visit Shenandoah National Park, typically from March to May. During this season, the park bursts to life with colorful wildflowers, budding trees, and flowing streams. Hiking is a popular activity as many of the park’s trails offer beautiful views and opportunities to spot wildlife such as deer, black bears, and migratory birds. Visitors can also enjoy scenic drives along Skyline Drive, picnics at overlooks, and ranger-led programs focusing on the park’s natural and cultural history.

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Fall is perhaps the most popular time to visit Shenandoah National Park, typically from September to November, due to the stunning display of fall foliage. The park’s forests transform into a vibrant palette of red, orange, and gold, creating a breathtaking backdrop for hiking, photography, and scenic drives along Skyline Drive. Visitors flock to overlooks and hiking trails to witness the spectacle of autumn colors, making reservations for lodging and camping well in advance is advisable during this busy season.

Must-See Attractions

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Skyline Drive

This scenic roadway stretches for 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. Visitors can enjoy leisurely drives, stopping at numerous overlooks to admire the sweeping vistas and take in the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont region.


Shenandoah National Park has several picturesque waterfalls, including Dark Hollow Falls, Whiteoak Canyon Falls, and South River Falls. These cascades are accessible via hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, providing opportunities for both casual strolls and more challenging treks through the park’s lush forests.

Old Rag Mountain

Considered one of the most popular hikes in the park, Old Rag Mountain offers a challenging but rewarding trek to its summit. The trail features rocky outcrops, boulder scrambles, and stunning panoramic views from the summit, making it a favorite among experienced hikers and adventure seekers.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Shenandoah National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s attractions, hiking trails, and facilities before your visit. Consider downloading maps or guides from the park’s website and familiarize yourself with the park’s regulations and safety guidelines.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Essentials

Pack essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first-aid kit. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots and dress in layers, as weather conditions vary throughout the day.

Respect Wildlife

Be Bear Aware

Shenandoah is home to a healthy population of black bears. Familiarize yourself with bear safety guidelines, such as storing food properly, making noise while hiking to alert bears of your presence, and never approaching or feeding wildlife.

Stay Informed

Visit During Off-Peak Times

Shenandoah National Park can get crowded, especially during weekends and peak seasons like fall foliage. Consider visiting during weekdays or early mornings to avoid crowds and find parking more easily.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Shenandoah National Park

Some popular hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park include Old Rag Mountain, Hawksbill Summit, Dark Hollow Falls, and Stony Man Summit. These trails offer diverse terrain, stunning vistas, and opportunities to experience the park’s natural beauty up close.

The peak of fall foliage season in Shenandoah National Park typically occurs in mid to late October. During this time, the park’s forests explode with vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a breathtaking spectacle that attracts visitors from around the world.

Yes, Shenandoah National Park offers several campgrounds for visitors. These campgrounds include Big Meadows Campground, Lewis Mountain Campground, and Loft Mountain Campground, among others. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons.

Yes, during peak seasons, Shenandoah National Park offers shuttle services along Skyline Drive. These shuttles provide transportation to popular attractions, trailheads, and campgrounds within the park, helping to reduce congestion and minimize environmental impact.

Shenandoah National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, deer, wild turkeys, and various bird species. Visitors may also encounter smaller mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons.

Yes, fishing is permitted in Shenandoah National Park with a valid Virginia fishing license. The park’s streams and rivers offer opportunities to catch trout and other freshwater fish, providing a serene and scenic setting for anglers to enjoy.

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