Overlaying 197,439 acres, Shenandoah Nationwide Park is a protracted stretch of land inside Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains—as vast as 13 miles at factors and narrower than one mile at others. All through all of it, lush rolling hills, breathtaking hollows, excessive peaks, and cascading waterfalls welcome guests as they’ve since 1935 when the park was established (Shenandoah was one of many first parks created east of the Mississippi).

Some 1.5 million guests every year now enter Shenandoah Nationwide Park for its bucolic landscapes. In fall, leaf peepers from throughout the state and effectively past inch alongside 105-mile Skyline Drive, all jockeying for the very best foliage views at greater than 75 scenic overlooks and pull-offs. Count on to share this land with wildlife, too: Lumbering black bears are well-known throughout the boundaries of this nationwide park, as are white-tailed deer, purple foxes, raccoons, and the uncommon Shenandoah salamander, which may solely be discovered on three mountain ridges inside Shenandoah Nationwide Park. No marvel this space first served as searching grounds for early Native People, way back to 15,000 years ago. The park can also be the ancestral house of the Massawomeck, Manahoac, and Monacan tribes; right this moment, the Monacan Indian Nation sits simply south of the park. 

Right here’s the right way to benefit from a visit to Shenandoah Nationwide Park, Virginia’s one and solely.

Getting there

Nearly all of guests enter Shenandoah Nationwide Park by the Entrance Royal entrance on the north finish of Skyline Drive. This entrance is 70 miles west of Washington, D.C., and the closest main airport is Washington-Dulles Worldwide Airport, simply 55 miles east of the park. The Rockfish Hole entrance, on the south finish of Skyline Drive, is 90 miles from Richmond.

When is the very best time to go to Shenandoah Nationwide Park?

No marvel many take into account Shenandoah among the many best national parks in the US—it has one thing to supply park-goers in each season. In spring, wildflowers, like phlox, buttercups, and trillium, come into full bloom and line the hiking trails. Summer time brings lush inexperienced foliage and comparatively cool temps because of the elevation—the highs not often exceed the mid-70s. It is a very talked-about national park to visit in the fall, when swaths of golden yellow and fiery amber leaves attract guests. 

Winter is crisp and quiet, however it will also be an unpredictable time to go to the park. Skyline Drive ceaselessly closes to motorists, whether or not because of snow or ice or the necessity to clear tree particles. From November to February, temperatures usually run within the 30s Fahrenheit.

A hiker in Shenandoah Nationwide Park’s 

Amanda Klamrowski/Unsplash

The most effective issues to do at Shenandoah Nationwide Park

Begin by getting the lay of the land. Shenandoah Nationwide Park is damaged up into three districts: north, central, and south. Every district is round 30 or so miles, with park entrances punctuating every. Shifting from north to south: Entrance Royal is the northernmost entrance, at milepost 0.6 on Skyline Drive; the Thornton Hole entrance at milepost 31.5 is a brief drive west of Sperryville and east of Luray on State Route 211; (it’s additionally a stone’s throw from the favored Mary’s Rock hike on Skyline Drive.); State Route 33 cuts throughout Skyline Drive on the Swift Run Hole entrance at milepost 65.7; and the Rockfish Hole entrance at milepost 105.4 is the southernmost level of entry, from the place it’s a brief drive to Waynesboro for eating places, wineries, and accommodations. 

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