Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which form the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains between Pennsylvania and Georgia. The Shenandoah River flows through the valley to the west, with Massanutten Mountain, 40 miles long, standing between the river's north and south forks. The rolling Piedmont country lies to the east of the park. Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that winds along the crest of the mountains through the length of the park, provides vistas of the spectacular landscape to east and west.
The park holds more than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Trails may follow a ridge crest, or they may lead to high places with panoramic views or to waterfalls in deep canyons. Many animals, including deer, black bears, and wild turkeys, flourish among the rich growth of an oak-hickory forest. In season, bushes and wildflowers bloom along the Drive and trails and fill the open spaces. Apple trees, stone foundations, and cemeteries are reminders of the families who once called this place home. Shenandoah National Park has many stories waiting to be told, and a world of beauty that can renew and bring peace to the spirit.
Bicycling is permitted along Skyline Drive and on paved areas in the park. Bicycling (road and mountain bikes) is not permitted on trails, unpaved roads or in grassy areas.* Because Skyline Drive is a two-lane road with steep hills and numerous blind curves, bicyclers are urged to use extreme caution.
The Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and is the only public road through the park. You can enter Shenandoah at four places: Front Royal near Rt. 66 and 340, Thornton Gap at Rt. 211, Swift Run Gap at Rt. 33, and Rockfish Gap at Rt. 64 and Rt. 250 (also the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway). It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day.
As you travel along Skyline Drive you will notice mileposts on the west side (right side if you are traveling south) of the road. These posts help you find your way through the park and help you locate areas of interest. The mileposts begin with 0.0 at Front Royal and continue to 105 at the southern end of the park. The largest developed area, Big Meadows, is near the center of the park, at milepost 51. All park maps and information use these mileposts as a reference.
There are four campgrounds in Shenandoah National Park.
Mathews Arm (mile 22.1) Big Meadows (mile 51.2) Lewis Mountain (mile 57.5) Loft Mountain (mile 79.5)
The mountain streams of Shenandoah National Park are inhabited by a variety of species of fishes and these pristine waters provide some of the best protected strongholds for native eastern brook trout. Recreational fishing regulations have changed significantly in order to ensure effective protection and management of fisheries resources in the park. These recent changes eliminate many of the differences that have existed between Virginia fish regulations and park regulations.
In order to provide protection for gamefish populations and enhance angling opportunities, Park Rangers strictly enforce regulations. If you see someone violating the regulations, please tell a ranger or call (800) 732-0911. Thank you and happy fishing!
Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Some trails lead to a waterfall or viewpoint; others penetrate deep into the forest and wilderness.
Shenandoah National Park offers over 180 miles of trails open to horse use. Some of these trails are relatively smooth, wide, gravel paths, while others are steep, narrow, rocky mountain trails that will challenge the experienced horse and rider.
There are over 200 resident and transient bird species, over 50 species of mammals, 51 reptile and amphibian species, and 30 fish species found in the park. The opossum, groundhog, gray fox, and eastern cottontail are more commonly seen mammals in the park. Other species, including the eastern timber wolf, the eastern cougar, the white-tailed deer, turkey, black bear, and bobcats are seen less frequently.
Spring and fall are generally comfortable with precipitation possible.
Summers can be hot and humid with average temperatures in the high 80s and with sudden thunderstorms possible. July and August are the hottest months.
Winters can be cold with average temperatures in the winter of 41 degrees with variable precipitation.
The Shenandoah National Park Association (SNPA) supports the interpretive and educational activities of Shenandoah National Park. The support comes from the sales of books, maps, videos, and other items about Shenandoah National Park and the National Park Service. These sales items help park visitors in planning and enjoying their experience in this great national park.(540) 999-3582
Aramark runs the food, lodging and campgrounds in the park. The Lewis Mountain Cabins, Big Meadows Lodge and Skyland Resort all offer accommodations within the park. Aramark offers a variety of dining options, including restaurants located in Big Meadows Lodge and the Skyland Resort. Aramark also operates Wayside food stops along the Skyline Drive. Elkwallow Wayside is located a mile 24.1 and offers carryout food, groceries, gasoline, camping supplies and a gift shop. Big Meadows Wayside sits at mile 51.2 and offers a full menu of hot food. Also available at Big Meadows Wayside are groceries, camping and hiking supplies, gasoline and a large gift shop. Loft Mountain Wayside at mile 79.5 is the final wayside of the drive. Grab some food from the snack counter, souvenirs from the large gift shop, or to gas up your vehicle. Stock up on groceries, and camping and hiking supplies at the large Campstore located near the campground.(540) 843-2100
The four entrances to the park are at I-66 and Route 340 to the north entrance at Front Royal, Route 211 to the central entrance at Thornton Gap, Route 33 to Swift Run Gap, and I-64 to the Rockfish Gap entrance at the southern end of the park and the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Speed limit for the Skyline Drive is 35mph.
The closest airports are in Washington, DC, Weyers Cave, VA, and Charlottesville, VA.
There are no bus, taxi, or shuttle services through the park.