Shenandoah National Park is a 101 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Afton, Virginia that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and scenic driving and is accessible year-round.
A truly amazing drive with views on both sides. The National Park has the AT running the length and lots of short trails to views, to summits, to waterfalls and just plain trails. Breathtaking views, animals large and small and a resturant with a view at Skyland.
Beautiful part of Virginia. Crosses over Skyline Drive in several places making for easy access. Difficulty is moderate to easy.
I went from Black Rock Gap to Pine Gap (AT shelter there), approximately 15 miles. It was hilly in a couple places, but nothing major. The trail went through vegetation tunnels and we saw bear scat, but didn't run into any bears. There were numerous places to stop and enjoy the view which really helped the enjoyment factor. About halfway, there is a stream with a good water supply. Since it crosses Skyline Drive several times, you never feel like you're too far away from civilization - but all the places were closed. Since we went off season, we only saw two other people on the trail. Nice!
Gorgeous drive at any time of the year! Also, there are plenty of trails to hit up right off of Skyline Drive, it's well worth the trip if you're visiting the D.C. area and want to get away to nature.
One of the prettiest drives you'll find.
Forgive me for reiterating my review from Skyline Drive, but it is an inherent part of any visit to Shenandoah, unless your hiking the AT (Which crosses the drive several times).
How could anyone not love this drive at any time of year. Though I am fanatically devoted to New England in the fall, this would be my top alternative. One of the great things about Skyline Drive is the numerous places to stop and enjoy the vistas. These stops also make the traffic bearable. Even when the park isn't very crowded, the two-lane thoroughfare attracts slow drivers like a magnet. With limited opportunities to pass, the pull-offs mean you aren't stuck behind anyone for long. It's not that I recommend being a speeding Griswold, but it can be a really long several hours of driving if you don't stop to enjoy the scenery.
Aside from the drive, there are a lot of hikes from the road that vary from easy to difficult. They give you access to scenery and history that the drivers largely miss. Also, don't forget that a lot of people lost their homes to create this park. I believe that the off-road hikes show respect for their loss, and teach something about a nearly extinct way of life. I have hiked here several times, and every hike is a pleasure and a new experience.
We hiked from Swift Run Gap to Big Meadow via the AT. Shenandoah was packed due to Memorial Day weekend. The trail was very nice and the climbs were moderate since the mtns were relatively small. (3500ft avg.) There were reports of bear sightings eventhough we didnt witness any. I got to experience my 2nd hitch-hiking experience at the end of this trip.
Many beautiful trails, waterfalls and views to experience. I've mainly done hike in the lower and central portion and have rarely been disappointed except in severe draught at a couple of the waterfalls.