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Shenandoah is one of the eastern US's best known national park, and for a reason. The park sits on top of a mountain ridgeline and runs along it for aroun 105 miles at about 3500 feet above sea level. It's also stunningly beautiful, as the height means you get awesome views down into the Shenandoah mountain, and to Massanutten mountain beyond. The park is about 70 miles from Washington, and is pretty busy year round because of its accessibility. There is a road called Skyline Drive which closely follows the ridgeline, which Americans seem to love because they can enjoy the views without needing to leave their cars. I'm not stereotyping, but in the few weeks I spent working there, I lost count of the number of cars and RVs I saw driving along with a camcorder held out the window, pointing at the view! The benefit of this is that if you venture off onto one of the park's many trails, it is likely to be peaceful. The Appalachian Trail also runs the length of the park, and is a good, simple way of finding your way - just follow the white blazes! Failing this, there are a number of good hikes, up mountains and to waterfalls. Buy an NPS map and don't get lost! In terms of facilities, you don't have to rough it at Shenandoah, there's a resort called Skyland which has all kinds of accommodation which doesn't involve camping. If it's camping you're after, I'd recommend getting away from Skyland and finding a quieter campsite, or just wild camping if you feel like it..... Shenandoah NP is $10 for a 1-7 day permit, bargain! It also accepts the America The Beautiful pass, which you can use to visit all national parks in the USA in a year.
This National Park which contains a sea of trees stretching as far as the eye can see is a beautiful place to visit in the summer but it is in the autumn that it really comes to life with the foliage of these trees gradually turning gold, yellow, reds or brown. Amongst the trees there are countless waterfalls and fast surging rivers that add an element of other-worldliness as you walk through its natural beauty. There are many hiking trails to be followed should you wish to exercise yourself. Entry to the park is a nominal amount of 10 dollars for cars and each permit lasts for six days so there is plenty of time to explore. Cutting through the Shenandoah (“river of high mountains”) National Park is Skyline Drive, a roadway that follows the spine of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains and it is on this road that the three lodges that provide accommodation in the park can be found. When travelling to the National Park and wishing to stay overnight book well in advance as the citizens of Washington book the cabins as fast as they become available. I stayed at Big Meadows Lodge which has a visitors centre and was lucky enough to get an upgrade as the cabin I had booked the week before needed servicing. Facilities in the cabins are very basic so if you have children that like their TV this is not the place for them. The restaurant provides good staple food a lot of which is home made on the day and at a very reasonable price. This is a magical place that I would highly recommend to people going to Virginia. Enjoy Shenandoah!
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East Luray, Virginia 22835-9036. Visitor Information Recorded Message - 540-999-3500. Headquarters ¿ 540-999-3500 Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge Mountains which form the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains between Pennsylvania and Georgia.