Beauty of Shenandoah National Park

Wonders of Shenandoah National Park

If you enjoy nature vacations the Shenandoah National Park offers it all, which includes great hiking trails, mountain climbing, mountain biking, campgrounds, horse riding, camping cabins and absolutely gorgeous scenery. You can also fish if you have a VA fishing license. While I was on vacation visiting my son and daughter-in-law we decided to drive to VA from MD to spend a day in this gorgeous national park.

Beginning of N. Skyline Drive

Planyo visit in north valley
Planyo visit in north valley

History of Park

Shenandoah National Park was fully established on Dec 26, 1936. Initially the land was acquired through eminent domain by the state of Virginia, but then it was given to the U. S. Federal Government with the provision that it remains a national park. It is a long, narrow park of 105 miles with gorgeous views of the Virginia mountains and hills. The crest of the ridge divides the Shenandoah River drainage basin with the Potomac River drainage on the west and the James and Rappahannock River drainage basins on the east side. The Skyline Drive connects with the Blue Ridge Parkway at the southern end. The highest peak is Hawksbill Mountain at 4,051 feet at the 45-mile marker.

Before the park was established people would come and stay during the summer to avoid the heat. President Herbert Hoover and the First Lady built their Rapidan Camp as a retreat to escape the heat in the capital during the summer. The Rapidan Camp has been restored and can be seen. You will also notice other remnants of home sites from long ago.

Rolling Mountains

My Photo
My Photo

Beautiful Mountain Top Views

As we entered the park we noticed 8 campgrounds listed and cabins; all were filled, which is typical from spring to autumn. The park does offer back country and wilderness camping. Of course, campers are expected to leave no trace. As we began our drive we pulled over at numerous scenic overlooks where you could see the beautiful ranges of mountains showing the beginning of autumn colors. We took numerous pictures; it seemed like each stop was more beautiful than the last. There were a lot of visitors, although traffic was not too crowded. We noticed people speaking at least six different languages while we were hiking.

Me Standing on Top the Mountain

My Photo
My Photo

Luray Caverns

Cavern Book
Cavern Book

Luray Caverns

Shenandoah National Park’s scenic Skyline Drive follows the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is 105 miles long with 75 scenic overviews with 60 mountain peaks. In addition, there are the Luray Caverns, which have shimmering white formations of pure calcite.

Beginning of Autumn

My Photo
My Photo

Mountain Scene

Marys Rock Tunnel

My son and daughter-in-law climbed the rocks and are sitting on top the tunnel on the left side. I bet them they wouldn't do it, they showed me!
My son and daughter-in-law climbed the rocks and are sitting on top the tunnel on the left side. I bet them they wouldn't do it, they showed me!

Marys Rock Tunnel

The Marys Rock Tunnel was built in 1932 going through 600 feet of rock with a 13’ clearance is located at the 32.4 mile marker.

Another Scenic View

My Photo
My Photo

Waterfalls

Wildlife is plentiful and you might see black bears, deer, numerous birds, snakes, squirrels and chipmunks frequently while hiking.

There are numerous hiking trails marked with concrete trail markers, with some that lead to beautiful waterfalls. We took some short hikes and decided to hike down to Dark Hollow Falls. This was a hike of .9 miles mostly downhill to see these beautiful waterfalls, but the hike back uphill felt like 5 miles! It was so beautiful at the falls and on the trail, so it was worth the effort. There are nine waterfalls all together.

Dark Hollow Falls

The video features a hike to Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar run waterfalls. The hike is strenuous and takes at least 5 hours. This video is featured by LunaTurd.

Shenandoah National Park - Waterfall Hikes

Path Through the Woods

My Photo
My Photo

Summary

This national park is a fabulous place for a day or a week’s vacation. Skyline Drive is a designated National Scenic Highway with good reason. Visiting this beautiful site is truly a treat.

© 2011 Pamela Oglesby

More by this Author


Comments 36 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

What a beautiful place. Congrats on your 2 years at HubPages. Voted up, useful, beautiful and interesting.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Susan, Thanks for your comments and I didn't even realize I was at the 2 year mark. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate the comments.


Rosie2010 profile image

Rosie2010 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hiya Pam, oh I'd missed you! Here we are working hard (I really wanted to say.. working our bu**s off, but I won't), while you were having a great time. lol Very interesting hub about the Shenandoah National Park, and beautiful photos. I enjoyed watching the video as well. Voted up and awesome. Cheers!

Have a nice day,

Rosie


susan54 profile image

susan54 4 years ago

my husband and I love to travel the back roads of America. National park are so beautiful. Love your work!

Susan


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Rosie2010, I loved being away on vacation but of course, I didn't have time to write. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate the comments.

susan54, I love traveling the back roads of America also. Thanks for your comment.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hello Pamela, How I would love to visit here, it sounds fabulous and your photos are amazing.

Thank you for sharing and voting up, best wishes MM


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Movie Master, I am glad you enjoyed the hub and hope you get a chance to visit there some day. Thank you for your comments.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Thanks for your beautiful photos of this spectacular national park, Pamela. Would love to visit the Luray Caverns and the Dark Hollow Falls. Not sure about that returning uphill hike, though.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

I appreciate your comments annd hope you get to visit the area.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada

Hi, Pam - pressed all the appropriate buttons :D - lovely photos!


SusieQ42 profile image

SusieQ42 4 years ago from Lakeland, FL

Hi Pamela! I've been down the Skyline Drive. It is everything you've said and more. My late husband and I decided to get off the main route one day and regretted it. We managed to drive 17 miles an hour and it took us a whole afternoon to find a way back up to the main road. It was long and curvy, very narrow and our nerves were shot by the time we found our way off these mountain roads, however, we did get some wonderful pictures.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

Wow, truly beautiful. I've never been there but would like to some day. I love hiking and this would be a great opportunity to hike and catch beautiful scenery along the way. Rated up and beautiful.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is beautiful Pam. I love waterfalls. The pictures are beautiful, a place i would love to visit..Thank's


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

RedElf, Thanks for the comment.

SusieQ42, Thanks for sharing that story I'm sure you'll always remember that afternoon. We didn't take any of those side roads.

anglwu, The park is especially beautiful in the fall and spring as I understand the forces covered with beautiful flowers. I hope you get to visit as I know you love it. Thank you for your comments.

Always exploring, I wish I could've seen all the waterfalls really wasn't up to those long hikes as they're my favorites also. I appreciate your comments.


LydieRVgirl profile image

LydieRVgirl 4 years ago from Pa in summer sebring fl winter

I love it right up my alley. I have been many places with the RV. good job


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 4 years ago from Tennessee

up and beautiful! Great read, well written and very interesting information.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia

Love hiking and would love to visit America once, thank you for giving me great idea where to start:)....magnificent park in a great country:)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

LydieRVgirl, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Sampsons1, Thank you so much for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

Beata Stasak, I hope you get to make the trip as you can certainly do all the hiking your heart desires if this national park. Thank you so much for your comments.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

What a beautiful place. Hiking isn't really my thing, but after seeing all these wonderful pictures, I'm quite tempted to give it a try. Rated up and bookmarked for future reference. :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Om Paramapooyna, The nice thing about this park is its 105 miles long and you can enjoy numerous scenic views, have a picnic or buy food, so you don't have to hike to enjoy the park. Thank you for your comments.


susan54 profile image

susan54 4 years ago

My husband are starting to plan our next summer tip. I thinking about Shenandoah National park.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

susan54, I don't think you will regret that choice. It is one of the most beautiful national parks I've visited. Thanks for your comment.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Great article Pamela and it is greatly reviewed. I have been in this area a few times traveling from West Virginia to Virginia to see family. The scenic nature is beautiful there. I always enjoyed looking down in the valley from the observation post. I remember seeing a tunnel from the highway, but I am not sure if it is the same one as your picture. This is a fantastic article, as all your articles are. I know you have worked hard on all them and I commend you for your hard work. Well done Pamela. up and across the board but funny.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

thelyricwriter, I agree that Virginia is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for you kind comments.


susan54 profile image

susan54 4 years ago

Pamela99, what's the best time of the year, to go to this park. Thanks


Simon 4 years ago

Wonderful photos.. The article is well written and very interesting.thanks


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

susan54, I would suggest autumn as the leaves are so gorgeous. I have also seen pictures of the spring where wild flowers grow. Summer is good for camping also. Enjoy.

Simon, I'm glad you enjoyed the article and I appreciate your comments.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

Gosh, that was beautiful. Thank you for sharing this magnificient piece of earth.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Hello, I'm so glad you enjoyed in and I appreciate your comments.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love hiking and Shenandoah National Park is the best place for hiking. We can learn about nature at the same time. I love all the pictures above. I hope I can see this national park one day! Would you be my guide, Pam? Vote up and useful!

Prasetio


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

prasetio, I would love to show you the park. I hope you get to see it some day as it is very beautiful. Good to have your comments. Take care.


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US

I love Shenandoah national park. I have seen many black bears there. It is always a beautiful experience. This hub is a good overview.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

stephaniedas, I really looked for a black bear but didn't see one. It is so beautiful there. Thanks for your comment.


acc12 profile image

acc12 4 years ago

Luray Caverns looks amazing! Hope to get to Shenandoah eventually. I've been to Peaks of Otter outside of Roanoke and that was also beautiful. Voted up!


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US

Pamela- Some people I know see black bears almost every time they go. Even the babies and adolescents, which are so adorable (just don't linger too long lol). Others have gone numerous times and never seen a black bear. My mom is a big outdoorswoman (I wish I had her stamina!), so she's taken me to a lot of remote areas of the park. She said you never see bears on Old Rag and seldom on Skyline drive because there are so many people. Also, she says that if you go with another person, you don't generally see bears as long as you keep up the conversation.

So, maybe you can get some info from my rambling that will help you to run into bears in the future :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

acc12, I think Virginia is such a beautiful state anyway. Thank you for your comments.

stephaniedas, I think you do have to hike further in away from other people than we did. I hope to return for another visit some day. Thank you for the information.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working