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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
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.
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
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
Marys Rock Tunnel
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
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
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Path Through the Woods
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