Plan your Visit to
Shenandoah National Park
Nature at its Unbridled Best
The commonwealth of Virginia established the park in 1935, but not after a lot of controversy from the people living and farming the area. Eminent domain was enforced to seize land from the people living there, but many refused to leave the homes they loved, so a compromise had to be struck between the government and the land owners. The owners did have to sell their land to the government, but they were allowed to remain on the land until they died or decided to move on their own. The last remaining person living in the Shenandoah National Park died in 1979 at the age of 92. Those stubborn individuals gained the right to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and Shenandoah National Park is still breath taking today for visitors of all ages.
When to go
April – May – June – July – August – September – October
Wild flowers – Hiking – Family – Fishing – Scenic Drives – Day Trip – Biking – Stunning Vistas – Wildlife – Waterfalls – Bird-Watching – Horseback Riding
Take a Drive
There are some national parks that restrict the use of vehicles within the park for fear of degrading the natural setting, but at Shenandoah National Park visitors are highly encouraged to enjoy the park in every way possible and that includes a scenic drive through Skyline Drive. The entire length of the drive is 105 miles and will take approximately 3 hours to drive the entire length at the posted speed of 35 miles per hour. At this slow speed, visitors can roll down the windows and watch for the wildlife that so frequently cross the road. Deer are among the most prevalent animals you will see during your drive.
There are over 75 different overlooks on Skyline Drive that offer a place to stretch your legs and take a few pictures. Picnic areas the the Shenandoah National Park are also available along the road for visitors, but if you happen to forget something to eat, there are a number of stores along the road that have refreshments. The drive changes with the seasons so during the fall you can view the beautiful aspects of the fall foliage and during winter you can see the quiet nature of the surroundings covered in a blanket of snow. Lush greenery and new life is a part of the viewing experience during both spring and summer so plan your trip according to what you want to see during your journey.
Old Rag Mountain
A trip to any national park would not be complete without a hike and Shenandoah National Park has the mountain hike you have been waiting for. Old Rag Mountain is the premier attraction within that park attracting hikers from all over the world for the chance to take part in this very taxing hike up the mountain. The entire hike takes an average of 7 to 8 hours depending on your hiking speed so allow plenty of time to complete the hike. Dehydration is often one of the largest dangers of the mountain and park rangers recommend that you take at least 2 quarts of water per person for the length of the journey.
It should also be noted that there are a number of rescue missions into this part of the park each year simply because people are not as careful and watchful on the mountain as they should be. Falls are possible and rocks are not always as stable as they look so keep your group together especially children who may want to run ahead. A watchful eye and a bit of caution will ensure that you and your group have the most enjoyable hiking trip to be found within Shenandoah National Park.
Things to Know
The national parks found throughout North America should not be missed, but there are certain things that you should know before venturing to see any of them. The national park service wants to maintain the land in pristine condition. They do this by Shenandoah National Park staffing rangers to maintain the parks at all the national parks. To pay for these rangers as well as projects to beautify the park they charge entrance fees. The entrance fees vary by park, but in Shenandoah National Park they are, $20 for a passenger vehicle, $15 for motorcycle, and $10 for anyone arriving on foot or non-motorized transportation. The fees allow for you to enter and leave the park at your leisure for 7 days. Camping fees are also charged and they range from $15 to $20 depending on which campground you choose. Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful place to visit at any time and rangers encourage visitors to have fun, but also take everything out of the park that they bring in. This keeps animals safe and pollution from manmade objects at a minimum.