Shenandoah National Park
Driving the scenic Skyline Drive is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the park; the route offers 75 overlooks along the way. You can also opt to explore via the park’s 500 miles of hiking trails, which include 101 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail. Other options include horseback riding, fishing, camping, and picnicking. To learn more about the park’s historic sites or the local wildlife, opt for a ranger-led hike or presentation.
Things to Know Before You Go
You must pay a fee to enter the park; once you’ve paid, you can access the park for seven days.
Gas is available at the Big Meadows Wayside in Stanley.
Cell phone reception can be very spotty inside the park.
If you’re planning to hike, wear sturdy shoes and bring sun protection and plenty of water. Temperatures on the mountain are colder than in the valley, so make sure to bring layers.
Pets are allowed on most trails but must be on a leash.
Most facilities and services in the park are accessible or accessible with assistance. The Limberlost Trail is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
There is no bus or shuttle service through the park, so you must use a car or taxi to visit. There are four entrances: Front Royal is accessible via Highway 340; Thornton Gap is accessible via Highway 211; Swift Run Gap is accessible via Highway 33; and Rockfish Gap is accessible via Highway 250 and I-64.
When to Get There
Although the park is always open, most park facilities are closed from December to March. Skyline Drive is also closed periodically due to inclement weather. Fall is one of the most popular times to visit the park; visitors come for the fall colors, which usually peaks in mid- to late October. Many visitors also come in the spring, when the wildflowers are blooming.
Wildlife in Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is home to more than 200 resident and transient bird species, 50 mammal species, 30 reptile and amphibian species, and 30 fish species. White-tailed deer are a common sight. The park also has one of the densest populations of black bears in the United States; if you’re camping, make sure to use a food-storage locker or a bear pole and dispose of garbage in the park’s bear-resistant trash cans.
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