National Park Cliff Notes: Shenandoah NP – Virginia



Shenandoah National Park protects a long range of the of the greater Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia.


In fact, where the famous Blue Ridge Parkway ends, Shenandoah NP picks up and continues north. It’s interesting to note that much of the land that would become Shenandoah was methodically acquired by the Virginia Commonwealth against the will of many local residents before the park was officially established in 1935. Skyline Drive follows the complete length of the park, creating a 105 mile backbone from which most of the hiking trails are accessed. Paralleling Skyline Drive is 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The fall color change between late September and mid-October is amazing.


Shenandoah Loc

Must See:

Skyline Drive is the park’s main attraction. Annually over 2 million visitors cruise its length. There are no stop signs and no traffic lights – only bliss.


Off the Beaten Path:

Hiking trail networks extend down from Skyline Drive. I recommend doing 30 minutes of research to find the right length, difficulty, and crowdedness. That being said, South River Falls Trail (moderate, 3.5 mi), Doyle River Trail (moderate, 7.7 mi), and the popular Old Rag Mountain Trail (Strenuous, 9 mi) caught my attention.


Next Time:

To put it simply, I’d like to see the Shenandoah during its Fall color transition. There are 75 scenic overlooks along the Skyline Drive, and while the roadside vistas I stopped at were great, I’m told they are nothing short of spectacular when the landscape is flush with autumn’s warmth.


For more information on my visit, check my post.


Park Information:

National Park Service Website / Map


Google Maps Location

Trail Information:

Old Rag Mountain Trail



Appalachian Trail.

Low clouds.

Rose River Loop Trail.




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