Just in case you still need convincing that it’s worth it to visit Shenandoah National Park in central Virginia after seeing these ten photos, I have listed the four major features of this exceptional park below.
Shenandoah National Park is a super-accessible national park on the east coast of the United States, only a couple of hours by car from Washington, D.C. and merely thirty minutes east of Charlottesville. It’s both a great day trip destination and a place where you could spend a week or longer.
4 Reasons to Visit Shenandoah National Park
Protecting a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park is dotted with many scenic waterfalls. They are reached via hiking trails of various lengths and difficulties. Dark Hollow Falls, for instance, is both one of the most beautiful and most easily accessible waterfalls in the park, while Overall Run Falls, the park’s tallest waterfall, requires undertaking a 6.4-mile hike. Other fine falls in Shenandoah National Park are Whiteoak Canyon Falls, Cedar Run Falls and South River Falls.
An Abundance of Wildlife
Wildlife is exceptionally abundant in Shenandoah National Park. The park is home to no fewer than 50 mammal species, more than 50 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 190 different birds. The mammals and birds of Shenandoah National Park are of particular interest to visitors as they are the most visible animals. They include real icons such as black bears and white-tailed deer as well as wild turkeys and red-tailed hawks. Visitors are advised to try and visit the park in the very early morning or late evening, around sunrise or sunrise, for the best chances to spot wildlife. Simply driving along Skyline Drive (see below) should result in various wildlife sightings, including black bears, at these times of the day.
Skyline Drive is unquestionably one of the United States’ most scenic roads. This extraordinary road alone would be a great reason to visit Shenandoah National Park. Winding its way along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, from south to north through the heart of the park, this 109-mile road is lined with more than 70 lookout points offering truly marvelous views of the mountains and the valleys that characterize central Virginia. This epic road can be covered in just one day, but it really does deserve at least two days. There are a number of campgrounds and lodges along the way.
Hundreds of Miles of Hiking Trails
There are more than 500 miles of hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park, which is rather a lot as it is not a particularly large park. These 500 miles include 101 miles of the iconic Appalachian Trail, which basically runs more or less over the mountain peaks along Skyline Drive. The beauty of Shenandoah’s hiking trails is their variety. There are pleasant walks in Big Meadows and short strolls that lead to viewpoints, but there are also challenging full-day hikes and overnight treks deep into the wilderness.