Best Hiking Trails in Shenandoah National Park
If you travel nearby Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains without visiting (only 75 miles west of Washington D.C.), you will perpetually ask yourself, “Whyyy! Why didn't I stop!” Just search the internet for Shenandoah and peruse the gorgeous images of quintessential (yet very special) east coast wilderness to see what you're missing.
This is a very skinny and long park running north-south, and thus gets pretty congested. Even so, eat, lodge, camp — do it all at Shenandoah. Just try and make advance arrangements, especially during peak season. Or, pack your backpacking kit and head for the hills, with over 500 miles of trail to explore.
Check out the beautiful (and long) Skyline Drive to get a great sense of the park from the comforts of your vehicle, or hike up Old Rag Mountain for the more adventurous. And if you'd like to say you've “hiked” some of the famous Appalachian Trail running from Georgia to Maine, try out the very short Mary's Rock section.
When to Go
Visit year-round, but for a spectacular show of autumn colors, go in October. Just be prepared to jostle elbows with everyone else gawking at the incredible displays of reds and oranges amongst the chestnut, red oak, maple, birch, ash and other trees.
Fees apply, and go towards maintaining and preserving our national park system.
Surprise! Unlike most national parks, Shenandoah is a very dog-friendly park! Dogs are allowed on most trails, and there's even pooch-friendly lodging options. Get the full scoop, here.