Shenandoah National Park on map
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Shenandoah National Park
In northwestern Virginia, near Luray
Skyline Drive, which winds along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Front Royal and Waynesboro, is the central feature of the park. Along the 105-mi drive are 75 pullouts that overlook mountain peaks, gorges, and hollows. The heavily forested park also has 500 mi of trails, including a section of the Appalachian Trail, along which are streams, waterfalls, black bear, and deer. The 196,466-acre park was authorized in 1926 and established in 1935.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Auto touring, bird-watching, fishing, hiking, horseback riding (guided rides, Skyland), picnicking, taking field study seminars. Facilities: 3 visitor centers: Dickey Ridge (mile 4.6), Harry F. Byrd (mile 51), and Loft Mountain (mile 79.5). Overlooks, wayside exhibits, amphitheaters, 500 mi of hiking trails. Book and map sales areas, fire pits and grates, gas, gift shops, laundries, picnic tables, showers. Programs & Events: Ranger-led nature and night walks, talks, evening programs (mostly late May-Oct.). Wildflower Weekend (mid-May), Butterfly Count (early July), Civilian Conservation Corps Reunion (late Sept.), Christmas Bird Count (late Dec). Tips & Hints: Plan to spend one to two days for visit. Go in spring for wildflowers, migratory birds, and full streams leading to waterfalls; summer for more deer and bear sightings; fall for foliage; and winter for clearest views. Stay off rocks above waterfalls. Avoid fall weekends when the park is crowded with leaf-peepers. Park is usually 10 degrees cooler than valley below. Busiest July and Oct., least crowded Jan. and Feb.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
Camping: 5 campgrounds in the park: Big Meadow (mile 51.3, tel. 800/365-3267; 217 sites; $19; flush toilets, showers; reservations required; closed Dec-Apr.), Dundo (mile 83.7, tel. 800/365-3267; group site; $32; pit toilets; reservations required.), Lewis Mountain (mile 57.5; 32 sites; $16; flush toilets, showers; closed Nov.-Mar), Loft Mountain (mile 79.5; 219 sites; $16; flush toilets, showers; closed Nov.-Apr.), Mathews Arm (mile 22.1; 179 sites; $16; flush toilets; closed Nov-Apr.). Potomac Appalachian Trail Cabins (tel. 703/242-0693; 28 cabins; $25-$60; pit toilets). Backcountry camping allowed (permit required, see below). Hotels: In the park: Big Meadows Lodge (mile 51.3, tel. 800/999-4714; 69 rooms, 11 cabins, 17 suites; $75-$123; closed Nov.-mid-Apr.), Lewis Mountain (mile 57.5, tel. 800/999-4714; 10 cabins; $64-$99), Skyland (mile 41.7, tel. 800/999-4714; 177 rooms, 20 cabins, 6 suites; $62-$100; closed Dec-Mar.). Restaurants: In the park: Big Meadows Lodge (mile 51.3; $4-$7), Big Meadows Wayside (mile 51.2; $4-$8; closed Nov.-Mar), Elkwallow (mile 24.1; $4-$7; closed Nov.-Mar.), Loft Mountain Wayside (mile 79.5; $4-$7; closed Nov.-mid-Apr.), Skyland (mile 41.7; $4-$7; closed Dec-Mar.). cS Groceries & Gear: Elkwallow (mile 24.1), Big Meadows (mile 51.3), Lewis Mountain (mile 57.5), and Loft Mountain (mile 79.5).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Entrance fee: $10 per vehicle or $5 per individual. Backcountry permit (free) required. Virginia fishing license required. Reservation required for horseback rides (tel. 540/999-2210). Reservation required for one- to two-day field-study seminars (June-Sept., tel. 540/999-3489). No hunting or feeding wild animals. Leashed pets only. No pets on some trails. No bicycles or motorized vehicles on trails. No open fires except in campgrounds and picnic areas. Park open daily. Park headquarters (on U.S. 211 east of Luray) open weekdays 8-4:30. Visitor centers open Apr.-Nov., daily 8:30-5. Skyline Dr. closes during bad weather and at night during hunting season.
HOW TO GET THERE
The park is between Front Royal and Waynesboro. The north entrance is on U.S. 340 in Front Royal. The south entrance is just east of Waynesboro on U.S. 250 and 1-64. Closest airports: Charlottesville-Albemarle (45 mi), Staunton (20 mi), Dulles (80 mi).
Shenandoah National Park (3655 U.S. 211 E, Luray, VA 22835-9036, tel. 540/999-3500, fax 540/999-3601). ARAMARK-Shenandoah National Park (Box 727, Luray VA 22835, tel. 800/778-2851). Front Royal Chamber of Commerce (414 E. Main St., Front Royal, VA 22630, tel. 540/635-3185 or 800/ 338-2576). Harrisonburg Chamber of Commerce (10 E. Gay St., Harrisonburg, VA 22802, tel. 540/434-2319). Madison County Chamber of Commerce (R.R. 8 Box 40, Madison VA 22727, tel. 540/948-4455). Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce (301 W. Main St., Waynesboro, VA 22980, tel. 540/949-8203). Shenandoah Valley Travel Association (Box 1040, New Market, VA 22844, tel. 540/740-3132).