Post Summary: Visiting Shenandoah National Park
Just a stones throw away from Washington D.C is the Blue Ridge Mountains. The crown jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Shenandoah National Park. This 200,000 acre National Park is a long and narrow park that protects the main mountain range. The highlight of the park is the 105 mile Skyline Drive. This road provides access to numerous cascading waterfalls, scenic vistas, and many hiking trails.
In this guide, we will be exploring Shenandoah National Park providing helpful hints and tips for planning a trip to Shenandoah. We will help you avoid the crowds as well as find the best Shenandoah hikes, and where to stay. Here is the National Park Obsessed guide for visiting Shenandoah National Park.
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The Quick Guide to Visiting Shenandoah National Park
Map of Shenandoah National Park
Click on the Shenandoah Map above to download the official brochure map. If you’d like a PDF copy of this Shenandoah Map click here.
Shenandoah National Park Basics
Region: Northeast / Mid-Atlantic
State: Commonwealth of Virginia
Park Size: 199,173 acres (311 sq miles) (806 sq km)
Location: Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Rappahannock, Madison, Greene, and Albemarle counties.
Closest Cities: Front Royal
Busy Season: April to October
Visitation: 1,666,265 (in 2020)
How much does Shenandoah National Park Cost?
Shenandoah National Park costs the following:
- 7-day Passenger Vehicle Pass – $30
- 7-day Motorcycle Pass – $25
- 7-day Individual Pass – $7
An annual Shenandoah National Park Pass cost $55 but it is not recommended you buy this pass. For an extra $25 you can get an American the Beautiful Pass. This $80 pass offers free admission to all 116 fee-charging National Park Units.
When is Shenandoah National Park Open?
Shenandoah National Park is open year-round.
Are dogs allowed in Shenandoah National Park?
Where are Shenandoah National Park’s visitor centers?
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center – Year round
Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center – Year round
Land Acknowledgments for Shenandoah National Park
The National Park known as Shenandoah National Park sits on Monacan and Manahoac land.
Thank you to the Native Land Digital for making the Indigenous territories accessible to all. They have mapped the known territories to the best of the current knowledge and is a work in progress. If you have additional information on the Indigenous nations boundaries, please let them know.
Native Land Digital is a registered Canadian not-for-profit organization with the goal to creates spaces where non-Indigenous people can be invited and challenged to learn more about the lands they inhabit, the history of those lands, and how to actively be part of a better future going forward together.
When was Shenandoah National Park Created?
Shenandoah National Park was authorized in May 1925 as part of a push to create a national park in the southern United States. The one provisions of the legislation was that NO federal funds could be used to acquire the land. So all the land had to be acquired via private or state funds along with eminent domain. The original plan was to acquire the land and allow long time residents to live out their lives but when Stephen Mathers died, Horance M. Albright decided that only vacant land would be accepted by NPS so all residents were forced out.
By 1930s construction on Skyline Drive had started and more of the landowners had been forced out. The park was officially established on December 26, 1935 and was formally opened by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on July 3, 1936.
Shenandoah national Park preserves and protects nationally significant natural and cultural resources, scenic beauty, and congressionally designated wilderness within Virginia’s northern Blue Ridge Mountains, and provides a broad range of opportunities for public enjoyment, recreation, inspiration, and stewardship.Shenandoah National Park Foundation Document
Fun Facts about Shenandoah National Park
- The highest point in Shenandoah National Park is Hawksbill Mountain which is 4,051 feet (1,235 m) above sea level.
- The lowest point in Shenandoah National Park is unnamed stream at north end which is 530 feet (160 m) above sea level.
- Shenandoah by the numbers
- 236 miles of paved roads
- 70 overlooks
- 516 miles of hiking trails
- 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail
- 200 miles of horse trails
- 2 National Historic Landmarks
- 351 Buildings and structures on List of Classified Structures
- 609 Significant, recorded archeological sites
- 100+ cemeteries
- Shenandoah Plants
- 1046 native vascular species
- 62 state rare species
- 8 globally rare species
- 1026 herb species
- 55 ferns and club moss species
- 139 shrub species
- 132 tree species
- 54 vine species
- Shenandoah Animals
- 53 species of mammals
- 38 species of fish
- 26 species reptiles
- 24 species of amphibians
- 200+ species of birds
- There are 69 peaks with an elevation of 3,000 feet
How Much Time Should I Spend Visiting Shenandoah National Park?
>>> Further reading – How much time should I spend in a National Park?
Where to stamp your National Parks Passport Book in Shenandoah National Park?
Looking for a cheap National Park souvenir? The National Park Passport Books is one of the best and cheapest souvenirs. If you have don’t have a National Park Passport Book click here to learn more about the program or click here to buy.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT stamp your government issued passport.
There are 11 official stamps in Shenandoah along with a handful of bonus stamps in the park.
- 75th Anniversary 1936-2011
- Big Meadows
- Dickey Ridge
- Loft Mountain
- Luray, VA
- Mobile Visitor Center
- Night Sky Festival (Only Available during the Night Sky Festival)
- NPS Centennial
- Wilderness Weekend
- Wildflower Weekend (Only Available during the Wildflower Festival)
Shenandoah National Park Passport Stamp Locations
Here are all the locations where you can find the Shenandoah National Park Passport Stamp.
- Dickey Ridge Visitor Center
- Front Royal Entrance Station
- Harry F Byrd Visitor Center
- Loft Mountain Campground Registration Station
- Loft Mountain Wayside
- Mathews Arm Campground
- Mobile Visitor Center
- Old Rag Satellite Trailhead Kiosk
- Rockfish Gap Entrance Station
- Swift Run Entrance Station
- Thornton Entrance Station
- White Oak Canyon Ranger Booth at Boundary Trailhead
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center is located at Skyline Drive mile marker 4.7. It is open from April to November. Stamps located here:
Front Royal Entrance Station
Front Royal Entrance Station is located at Skyline Drive mile marker 0.0. It is open from year round, pending weather. Stamps located here:
Harry F Byrd Visitor Center
Harry F Byrd Visitor Center is located at Skyline Drive mile marker 51. It is open year round (only select days during winter). Stamps located here:
Loft Mountain Campground Registration Station
Loft Mountain Campground Registration Station is located at Crozet, VA. Stamps located here:
Loft Mountain Wayside
Loft Mountain Wayside open from when Skyline Drive is open. Stamps located here:
Mathews Arm Campground
Mathews Arm Campground is located at Mathews Arm Rd, Rileyville, VA 22650. It is open from year round. Stamps located here:
Mobile Visitor Center
Mobile Visitor Center is located is frequently be stationed at Beagle Gap (mile 99.5) but may be found elsewhere. Stamps located here:
Old Rag Satellite Trailhead Kiosk
Old Rag Satellite Trailhead Kiosk is located at State Route 600, Etlan, VA 22719. It is open from year round. Stamps located here:
Park Headquarters is located at 3655 US Highway 211 East, Luray, VA. It is open from daily. Stamps located here:
Rockfish Gap Entrance Station
Rockfish Gap Entrance Station is located at Skyline Drive mile marker 105. It is open from year round, pending weather. Stamps located here:
Swift Run Entrance Station
Swift Run Entrance Station is located at Skyline Drive mile marker 65.5. It is open year round, pending weather. Stamps located here:
Thornton Entrance Station
Thornton Entrance Station is located at Skyline Drive mile marker 31.5. It is open from year round. Stamps located here:
White Oak Canyon Ranger Booth at Boundary Trailhead
White Oak Canyon Ranger Booth at Boundary Trailhead is located at Cedar Run Trail, Syria, VA 22743. It is open from year round. Stamps located here:
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Frequently Asked Questions about Shenandoah National Park
What is so special about Shenandoah National Park?
Shenandoah National Park is home to Skyline Drive this 105-mile road runs down the spine of the park offering many amazing panoramic views and recreational opportunities.
Is Shenandoah National Park worth visiting?
Of course. It is a National Park. Shenandoah National Park is an amazing park. The park is a great all-around park with plenty of hiking for all skill levels as well as options for non-hikers.
Is it free to go to Shenandoah National Park?
Shenandoah National Park has an entrance fee. It is $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, and $15 per individual. Free entry is offered on certain days usually 5-6 days. Here are the fee-free days for 2021.
- January 18: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 17: First day of National Park Week
- August 4: One year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 25: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
How long does it take to drive through Shenandoah National Park?
It takes a minimum of 3 hours to drive the 105 miles of Skyline Drive. This does assume there are no traffic jams along the way. The speed limit along the road is 35 miles per hour.
What is the best time to visit Shenandoah National Park?
The best time to visit Shenadoah National Park is in the spring (March to May) and the fall (September to November). The spring is when everything is in bloom and the fall is leaf peeping season.
The summer is a popular time to visit and the crowds are some the highest. Durning the winter, parts of Skyline Drive will close due to weather but a winter visit can still be a fun time.
How many waterfalls does Shenandoah National Park have?
There are more than a dozen named waterfalls in Shenadoah National Park. There are many smaller waterfalls that don’t have a name.
Is it safe to hike in Shenandoah National Park?
It is safe to hike in Shenandoah National Park as long as you are prepared for your hikes. Carry the 10 essentials, know your route and tell someone where you are going.
As for wildlife, the park is home to black bears. Keep your distance and respect their space and you are fine. Black bears are not aggressive unless provoked.
National Parks Near Shenandoah National Park
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National Park Service units within a 4 hours drive
- Antietam National Battlefield
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
- Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
- Assateague Island National Seashore
- Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Bluestone National Scenic River
- Booker T. Washington National Monument
- Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site
- Catoctin Mountain Park
- Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
- Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
- Clara Barton National Historic Site
- Colonial National Historical Park
- Constitution Gardens
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial
- First State National Historical Park
- Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site
- Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
- Fort Monroe National Monument
- Fort Washington Park
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
- Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
- Gauley River National Recreation Area
- George Washington Birthplace National Monument
- George Washington Memorial Parkway
- Greenbelt Park
- Hampton National Historic Site
- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
- Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
- Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Lincoln Memorial
- Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac
- Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
- Manassas National Battlefield Park
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
- Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
- Monocacy National Battlefield
- National Capital Parks
- National Mall
- New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
- Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
- Petersburg National Battlefield
- Piscataway Park
- Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
- Prince William Forest Park
- Richmond National Battlefield Park
- Rock Creek Park
- Theodore Roosevelt Island
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Thomas Stone National Historic Site
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Washington Monument
- White House and President’s Park
- Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
- World War I Memorial
- World War II Memorial
Final Thoughts on Shenandoah National Park
Do you have any questions about Shenandoah National Park or need help planning your National Park trips. Let me know in the comments or join me in my National Park Trip Planning Community!