Top things to do in Shenandoah National Park

Top Things to Do in Shenandoah National Park


Shenandoah National Park is a breathtaking destination located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. With its stunning vistas, abundant wildlife, and numerous recreational activities, it offers something for every nature enthusiast. This article highlights the top things to do in Shenandoah National Park, allowing you to make the most of your visit.

1. Hiking

Shenandoah National Park boasts over 500 miles of trails, making it a hiking paradise. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice, there is a trail perfect for you. Explore the famous Appalachian Trail, which stretches over 100 miles through the park, or opt for the popular Old Rag Mountain hike, known for its challenging rock scramble. The diversity of trails ensures you’ll discover breathtaking views, cascading waterfalls, and stunning wildlife throughout your journey.

2. Scenic Drives

For those who prefer a more leisurely exploration, Shenandoah National Park offers a range of scenic drives. The Skyline Drive is the park’s most iconic road, stretching 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With 75 overlooks along the way, you’ll have endless opportunities to admire panoramic vistas of the valleys below. Don’t miss the sunrise or sunset drives, when the landscape is drenched in dramatic hues of orange and pink.

3. Wildlife Viewing

Shenandoah National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, making it a fantastic destination for animal lovers. Keep your eyes peeled for white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and the elusive Shenandoah salamander. Numerous bird species also inhabit the park, including the iconic peregrine falcon and the enchanting scarlet tanager. Consider bringing binoculars to enhance your wildlife viewing experience.

4. Camping

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Shenandoah National Park by camping under the stars. The park offers several campgrounds, providing a serene and rustic experience. Wake up to the sounds of nature and enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the park at your doorstep. Whether you prefer a fully-equipped campground or a more remote backcountry camping adventure, Shenandoah National Park has options to suit every camper’s preference.

5. Waterfall Exploration

Shenandoah National Park is dotted with picturesque waterfalls, creating perfect spots for relaxation and photography. Visit Dark Hollow Falls, one of the park’s most popular cascades, or embark on a hike to discover the serene beauty of Whiteoak Canyon Falls. Each waterfall offers a unique experience, providing a soothing and refreshing oasis amidst the lush forest.

6. Ranger-Led Programs

Make the most of your visit to Shenandoah National Park by participating in ranger-led programs. These guided activities offer educational and entertaining experiences for visitors of all ages. Join a nature walk to learn about the park’s flora and fauna, attend a wildlife talk to gain insights into the animals that call Shenandoah home, or take part in a stargazing event to admire the night sky in all its glory.

7. Fishing

If you enjoy fishing, Shenandoah National Park offers abundant opportunities to cast your line. The park’s clear mountain streams and rivers are ideal for trout fishing. Obtain a fishing permit and spend a peaceful day by the water’s edge, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Fishing is not only a relaxing activity but also a wonderful way to connect with nature in this picturesque setting.

8. Picnicking

Take a break and enjoy a picnic amidst the beauty of Shenandoah National Park. Choose from several designated picnic areas, each offering stunning views and tranquil surroundings. Pack a picnic basket filled with local delicacies and find a spot to unwind with your loved ones. Whether you prefer a casual lunch or a romantic sunset picnic, the park’s idyllic settings are perfect for creating lasting memories.

9. Photography

If you’re a photography enthusiast, Shenandoah National Park is a paradise waiting to be captured. From sweeping mountain vistas to intimate details of flora and fauna, the park offers an infinite number of breathtaking subjects. Whether you’re using a professional camera or simply your smartphone, be sure to carry it with you as you explore the park. Sunrise and sunset hours provide magical lighting conditions for capturing truly remarkable shots.

10. Backcountry Exploration

For the adventurous souls, Shenandoah National Park offers the opportunity for backcountry exploration. With over 196,000 acres, the park is a wilderness enthusiast’s playground. Obtain a backcountry camping permit and embark on a multi-day hike, immersing yourself in the tranquility of the park’s remote areas. Discover hidden waterfalls, serene meadows, and secluded trails that will leave you with unforgettable memories.


Shenandoah National Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re seeking thrilling hikes, serene picnics, or peaceful encounters with wildlife, this park has it all. The top ten activities mentioned in this article offer an excellent starting point for exploring and experiencing the wonders of Shenandoah. Pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to embrace the captivating landscapes of this remarkable national park.

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