It may be best known for its fall colors, but there’s something to love during every season at Shenandoah National Park. During winter, the park glistens when covered in snow and ice. Spring means wildflowers, and in the summer, the park’s elevation calls for cooler temperatures. But regardless of the time of year, visitors should expect to see wildlife. More than 50 species of mammals live in Shenandoah, and although they do a good job remaining hidden, the park has one of the densest populations of black bears within the United States.
White-tailed deer are frequently seen along Skyline Drive, the scenic roadway that runs through the park, which is in total 105 miles long, running from the Front Royal (North) Entrance Station to the Rockfish Gap (South) Entrance Station in the Waynesboro-Charlottesville area. It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park, but with 75 overlooks, your time results may vary. The speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35 mph, and mile markers are used to help visitors locate places along the way.
With more than 500 miles of hiking trails (some of which include waterfalls), be sure to spend some time out of your car. The park is also one of just a few that allows leashed pets on most trails. There is an assortment of lodging choices available in the park, ranging from hotel-style rooms to cabins. There are also four campgrounds, and while backcountry camping is allowed, a free permit is required.
Shenandoah National Park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, 75 miles from Washington, D.C. There are four entrances (and exits) to the park, so directions will vary depending on what entrance you are headed to.