Visiting Shenandoah National Park: The Complete Guide in 2024

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.

Best of Shenandoah National Park in a Nutshell

TWO DAYS: Two Day in Shenandoah National Park

LODGING: Shenandoah Hotels

NEARBY PARKS: New River Gorge, Mammoth Cave, Great Smoky Mountains

Table of Contents
Are you planning a trip to Shenandoah National Park? Click here for the complete guide to visiting Shenandoah National Park written by a National Park Expert. 
about shenandoah national park shenandoah national park in virginia shenandoah valley national park visit shenandoah national park where is shenandoah national park	visit shenandoah valley virginia shenandoah va what to do at shenandoah national park

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! Read the full disclosure policy here

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?

Yes, Acadia is one of the most dog-friendly National Parks. Dogs are welcome on most of the park’s trails and carriage roads. Please review the Acadia Pet Policy before bringing your dog to Acadia.

Where are Shenandoah National Park’s visitor centers?

Dickey Ridge Visitor Center – Year round

Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center – Year round

Looking out over a stone wall to the rolling forests and mountains of Shenanodah.

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
Sunset at an overlook looking down on a valley

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?

The National Park Passport Book is the BEST and cheapest National Park souvenir. Every National Park Obsessed person should have one of these books.

If you are new to the National Parks, you can learn more about the National Parks Passport program here or jump right in by ordering:

IMPORTANT: Do NOT stamp your government-issued passport.

There are seven official stamps for Shenandoah National Park. Here is the list of National Park Passport Stamps you can get in Shenandoah National Park:

  • 75th Anniversary 1936-2011
  • Big Meadows
  • Dickey Ridge
  • Loft Mountain
  • Luray, VA
  • Mobile Visitor Center
  • NPS Centennial

Bonus Stamps

  • Junior Ranger
  • Night Sky Festival
  • Wilderness
  • Wilderness Weekend
  • Wildflower Weekend

Shenandoah National Park Passport Stamp Locations

Here are all the locations to find the Shenandoah National Park Passport Stamps. Not every stamp is available at every location.

  • Dickey Ridge Visitor Center
  • Front Royal Entrance Station
  • Harry F Byrd Visitor Center
  • Headquarters
  • 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

National Park Obsessed’s Detailed Guides to Shenandoah National Park

Itineraries for Shenandoah National Park

Other Articles featuring Shenandoah National Park

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
A scenic overlook with some trees in the foreground and rolling mountains in the back.

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

Check out this great 63 National Parks and get a FREE National Park Checklist. Count how many National Parks you have visited.

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!

More Information for your trip to VIRGINIA

Pin for Later: Visiting Shenandoah National Park: The Complete Guide (2022 Update)

Are you planning a trip to Shenandoah National Park? Click here for the complete guide to visiting Shenandoah National Park written by a National Park Expert.  about shenandoah national park shenandoah national park in virginia shenandoah valley national park visit shenandoah national park where is shenandoah national park	visit shenandoah valley virginia shenandoah va what to do at shenandoah national park
Hi, I'm Jennifer!

Welcome to the wonderful world of National Parks. I'm here to help you plan your NEXT amazing adventure through the United States National Parks and beyond. I want the national parks to be accessible to all.

I live in Tennessee, and when I'm home, you can find me hiking in the Smokies and the Cumberland Plateau.

58/63 National Parks

250+/423 National Park Units

Want to know more? Start Here.

Explore More
Snag one of my National Park Ebooks and Downloadable Itineraries
Talk with an Expert
Share your love of the parks with a shirt, ornaments, hoodies, frames, and more.


On this site, we promote travel to the United States and beyond that are the traditional lands of  Indigenous and First Nations peoples.

With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to these lands’ past and present people.

To learn more about the people who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.


National Park Obsessed assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site ( The information contained in this site is provided with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness. You are encouraged to conduct your own due diligence before acting on the information provided on this site and should not rely on the opinions expressed here.

There is an inherent risk in all outdoor recreation activities, the reader assumes all responsibility for their own personal safety.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Privacy Policy • About Us • Contact

Select stock photography provided depositphotos

Copyright ©2023 National Park Obsessed, LLC