Shenandoah National Park
Located just 75 miles from Washington, DC, the Shenandoah National Park is an amazing perk of living in Northern Virginia. With over 200,000 acres of protected lands, it boasts spectacular views, quiet wooded hollows, cascading waterfalls, visitor centers, and outstanding hiking trails. There are over 500 miles of trails for every level. The website will help you choose the right hike for you. Consider how much time you have, where you are going in the park, your physical ability, and what you want to get from your experience. Pets are allowed on some of the trials so be sure to check first .
In the area, the most notable treat is the Skyline Drive – the only public road that runs over 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the park. Many say that the best time of year to visit is in the Fall when the leaves have changed and the views are bathed in glorious colors. It takes about three hours to complete the entire length of the park on a clear day. There are mileposts along the way to help visitors locate areas of interest. The mileposts starts at 0 at the Front Royal Entrance Station (near Rt. 66 and 340) and continue to 105 at the southern end of the park .
The largest developed area is called Big Meadows and is located near the center of the park, at mile 51. The speed limit is 35 miles per hour, making it easy to open your windows, enjoy fresh air and take in all the amazing sites. If there are no staff at the entrance stations, you may proceed into the park and pay your fee when you exit. Monies go toward projects that have direct benefit for the visitors.
Local wildlife such as deer, black bear, wild turkey, and a host of other woodland animals call Shenandoah home and regularly cross Skyline Drive in their daily travels. I got to see a mommy bear with 3 cubs once at the entrance in Front Royal. It was amazing. Be sure to look carefully for these animals who may dart across your path without warning. Also, it is unlawful to feed the wildlife.
Shenandoah National Park is always open. However, portions of Skyline Drive, the only public road through the park, are periodically closed during inclement weather. Visitors may still enter the park on foot to hike even when the drive is closed. Check Alerts for Skyline Drive closures and other conditions that could impact your planning. Most facilities in the park, including visitor centers, lodging and dining, campgrounds, and picnic grounds begin opening in March and close by late November.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Times: Usually – Always Open.
Location: 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835
MORE INFORMATION ON FACILITIES AND OPENING HOURS