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Shenandoah National Park Trails

The Shenandoah National Park is a national park in north-central Virginia that protects part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park is 199,100 acres in total, and about 40 percent of the land is protected as wilderness. Skyline Drive, a scenic route that traverses the length of the Shenandoah National Park, is perhaps the most well-known attraction the park offers. Skyline Drive mainly stays near the ridgeline, and numerous vistas offer visitors views of the Shenandoah Valley. Nearly two million people travel on Skyline Drive annually, and it is especially popular in autumn as the leaves turn. The road was designated a National Scenic Byway in 2005.

The Shenandoah National Park also has a trail system of over 500 miles, including a 101-mile portion of the Appalachian Trail, which traces the Blue Ridge Mountain ridgeline, often following the same route as Skyline Drive. The trail crosses Skyline Drive numerous times in the park.

The Shenandoah National Park is also famous for its many waterfalls, some of which reach 80 feet or more, and its abundant wildlife, including black bears. Due to the number of park visitors, there have been problems with bears that have become habituated to humans. All backcountry visitors are required to hang their food or use park-approved bear canisters on overnight trips.

Shenandoah National Park: Moormans River

This 4.2-mile out-and-back hike is a local’s favorite, climbing gently from the flood-torn banks of the Moormans River to one of the most impressive waterfalls in the park.

Shenandoah National Park: Little Hogback to Overall Run Falls

Take this 8.8-mile out-and-back dayhike or overnight to escape high-season crowds; it stitches together a lesser-known route leading to a photo-worthy waterfall.

Shenandoah National Park: Riprap Trail

Gurgling mountain streams and peaceful vistas line this 9-mile loop in southern Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park: Whiteoak Canyon Trail

This 6.6-mile out-and-back canyon hike is fantastically verdant and loaded with glistening cascades, including the park’s second highest waterfall.

Shenandoah National Park: Turk Branch Trail

Solitude rules on this 6.2-mile out-and-back past the headwaters of a lively mountain stream where deer and black bears roam by the skeleton of a weatherbeaten homestead.

Shenandoah National Park: Mathews Arm Loop

This rugged, 16.8-mile, 2-day backpacking trip reveals classic Appalachian wonders: idyllic waterfall-laden hollows, reborn woodlands, and scenic backcountry campsites.

Shenandoah National Park: Big Devils Stairs

This 5.6-mile lasso loop departs the popular Big Devils Stairs hike, scramble upstream to waterfalls and connecting with a forgotten trail free of crowds.

Shenandoah National Park: Hazel Mountain

This 9.6-mile hike into a narrow wooded valley passes through old settler farmlands, impressive waterfalls, and mountain overlooks to a quiet creekside lunch spot.

Shenandoah National Park: Thornton Gap to the Pinnacles

Go 5 or 10 miles on this dayhike, which features skyline views of migrating hawks, the Shenandoah River Valley, and nearby towns.

Shenandoah National Park: Skyland to Big Meadows via Appalachian Trail

Save this 13.6-miler for a weekday in the spring when crowds are thin and haze-free views stretch for miles (patches of flowers and wildlife, too).

Shenandoah National Park: Beahms Gap to Thornton Gap

Mature oaks, overgrown homesites, a mountain hut, and a scenic viewpoint highlight this 3.6-mile dayhike on the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail: Bootens Gap to Fishers Gap

Link the wooded summit of Hazeltop Mountain, the rugged cliffs of Blackrock, and Big Meadows (home to deer and black bear) on this 6.9-mile route in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Fishers Gap to Stony Man Overlook

This 8.5-mile hike passes vertical cliffs, weaves through spruce and fir stands, and traverses the northern slopes of Hawksbill Mountain, the highest peak in Shenandoah.

Appalachian Trail: Stony Man Overlook to Thornton Gap

Treat yourself to far-reaching panoramas from Marys Rock—arguably some of the best views in Shenandoah National Park—before a steady descent to Thornton Gap on this 6.9 miler.

Appalachian Trail: Swift Run Gap to Bootens Gap

Countless views, fragrant pines, and a worthy side trip to South River Falls highlight this 11.6-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Doyles River Overlook to Pinefield Gap

On this 8.8-mile hike, you’ll wind around Big Flat Mountain and gaze at Shenandoah peaks from Ivy Creek Overlook. Kodak moment: Take the side trip down Doyles River Trail to photograph several waterfalls.

Appalachian Trail: Pinefield Gap to Swift Run Gap

Savor postcard-worthy views of the Blue Ridge from Hightop Mountain on this 10.9-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Blackrock to Doyles River Overlook

This quick 3.2-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park traverses the Blue Ridge to Doyles River Overlook, where views extend south across wooded slopes.

Appalachian Trail: Beagle Gap to Blackrock

Find your rhythm as you ascend, descend—again and again—between rocky overlooks and deeply cut gaps on this 15-mile trek in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Gravel Springs Gap to US 522

Travel through white ash and yellow poplar, skid down steep ridges, and sing Hallelujah at the scenic outposts on this 12.3-mile leg in Shenandoah National Park.

Appalachian Trail: Thornton Gap to Gravel Springs Gap

Frequent overlooks, lush landscapes, and three Blue Ridge summits highlight this 14.3-mile section in Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park: Sugarloaf Loop

A fantastic four-season trek, this 5.5-mile hike near the Appalachian Trail roams around Hogback Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park: Old Rag Mountain

Navigate switchbacks, boulder scrambles, and rock mazes on this 8.6-mile loop that ascends Old Rag Mountain, one of Shenandoah’s most famous peaks.

Shenandoah National Park: Knob Mountain Loop

Sample both high ridges and stream-filled valleys on this challenging 12.1-mile dayhike in Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park: Overall Run

Follow this cascading stream to scenic Shenandoah vistas along this 12.1-mile loop.

Shenandoah National Park: Lewis Spring Falls

This *3.3-mile loop behind Big Meadows Lodge drops past rocks and ridgelines to Shenandoah’s 4th highest falls.

Shenandoah National Park: Rocky Top Loop

Escape Skyline Drive to discover secret summits and hidden valleys.

Shenandoah National Park: Rocky Top Loop

This seldom-travelled loop hike in the Southwestern section of Shenandoah National Park offers an incredible sampling of what the park has to offer (wildlife, rocky ridges, trout steams, lush forested valleys) without the crowds and traffic that can take the “wild” out of the Shenandoah wilderness.

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