12 Finest Hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park


The US has some unbelievable nationwide parks, and Shenandoah Nationwide Park is considered one of them. Only a 1.5-hour drive from Washington DC, Shenandoah has over 200,000 acres of wildlife and spectacular surroundings. The park extends throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, with the well-known Skyline Drive chopping by the center. Shenandoah Nationwide Park has tons of wildlife, together with black bears. It additionally has dramatic mountains, and Outdated Rag Mountain and Hawksbill Mountain provide among the greatest hikes in Shenandoah.

What are one of the best hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park moreover summit hikes, although? Shenandoah has over 500 miles of mountaineering trails to discover, so you aren’t in need of choices.

High Hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park

From waterfall hikes to mountaineering, we’ve picked the best possible hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park. These mountaineering trails are positive to get you feeling impressed.

1. Mill Prong Path

Mill Prong is a scenic, fairly woodland hike. Hikers are surrounded by wildflowers like mountain laurels and shaded by the bushes round them. The path additionally runs alongside Mill Prong River, and also you’ll cross over the river by way of a number of footbridges all through the hike. A return hike takes round two hours, and Mill Prong is an out-and-back path.

So, why do you have to hike this path? Nicely, its Rapidan Camp’s endpoint was as soon as the vacation dwelling of President Herbert Hoover and First Woman Lou Henry Hoover. The couple spent many a contented time within the woodland camp, and now you possibly can view the camp as a historic attraction. There are three cabins in whole, with one signposted because the Prime Minister’s and informative indicators dotted round with tales and details in regards to the camp and the way Hoover spent his time there.

Mill ProngTrail Map

The path begins reverse Milam Hole Parking Lot, located alongside Skyline Drive. You briefly be part of the Appalachian Path earlier than almost instantly turning left onto the blue-marked Mill Prong Path. After following the riverside path for a short time, you make the primary river crossing, after which you retain proper on the yellow marked Mill Prong Horse Path. From this level, you persist with the path till you attain Rapidan Camp.

Mill Prong is a implausible hike of average problem. The path distance is simply 3.7 miles return, brief sufficient for households or much less match hikers to deal with. Should you fall into these classes, simply enable an additional hour or two to finish the hike.

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Prepared for some quickfire details? These are the statistics that you must know

  • Path distance: 3.7 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 223 meters
  • Trailhead: Milam Hole Parking Lot

2. Rose River Loop Path

Rose River Falls Trail Hikes in Shenandoah National Park

Rose River Loop Path is one other lovely riverside hike. Nonetheless, not like Mill Prong, this route hops alongside completely different waterfalls. The dramatic endpoint is Rose River Falls – considered one of Shenandoah’s most well-known waterfalls. Hikers can benefit from the Rose River Path at a sedate tempo, because the average hike is simply 3.8 miles lengthy on a loop path. You must enable round two hours to finish your complete hike.

Rose River Falls is a surprising 67-foot waterfall, hidden away in woodland and solely accessible by way of the loop path. After following Rose River for a lot of the route, reaching the large waterfall is an appreciated reward. Some individuals select to swim within the waterfalls plunge pool, and also you’ll most likely be simply persuaded on a heat day. Both approach, pack a picnic and plan to take a seat for some time for a break subsequent to the falls.

Rose RiverTrail Map

Rose River Loop Path sits reverse Fishers Hole parking space, which is situated on Skyline Drive. When you’ve parked, cross the street and head straight down the fireplace observe, aka Rose River Fireplace Highway. After a couple of minutes, you attain a yellow marked lefthand flip off for the Skyland Huge Meadows Horse Path. Taking this flip, you proceed for simply over half a mile earlier than recognizing the blue-marked Rose River Path. It’s right here that the journey begins, and you’ve got numerous cascades ready for you alongside this route part – together with Rose River Falls itself.

Rose River Path is a stupendous average hike of simply 3.8 miles. The spherical journey is definitely tackled in half a day, so it’s excellent if you’re brief on time however need a rewarding mountaineering expertise. Deliver your mountaineering boots and a swimming costume, and also you’ll have a implausible time.

Statistics about this hike:

  • Path distance: 4 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 267 meters
  • Trailhead: Fishers Hole Overlook Automobile Park

3. Darkish Hole Falls Path

Rose River Falls Trail Hikes in Shenandoah National Park Dark Hollow Falls

Darkish Hole Falls Path is among the most gorgeous waterfall hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park – particularly in spring when mountain laurel dots the path with pink and autumn when the leaves flip yellow. The 70ft Darkish Hole Falls is among the most well-known points of interest in Shenandoah Nationwide Park. The waterfall’s path is considerably of an area icon within the mountaineering scene.

The identify ‘Darkish Hole Falls Path’ makes it sound fairly gothic. It’s true that the river stays within the shadows for a lot of the day. Nonetheless, that is rather more exaggerated in autumn and winter. Throughout these months, the low lighting is ideal for long-exposure pictures. It cuts a stupendous distinction towards the moist rock and autumnal leaves. Darkish Hole Falls is an atmospheric, scenic brief hike.

Dark Hollow Falls Trail

Darkish Hole Falls Trailhead is within the parking space, which sits at mile 50.7 on Skyline Drive. Park up and head to the north finish of the parking space. You’ll entry the trailhead, crossing a stream and heading downhill alongside the Hogcamp Department River. After round half a mile, you’ll emerge at Darkish Hole Falls, and you may spend a second admiring the 70ft waterfall up shut.

Strolling to Darkish Hole Falls is ideal should you battle with instructions. The out and again path is one route down and one route again – simple and easy for a soothing brief stroll. Other than the uphill return hike, the observe is undemanding and suited to freshmen. Keep in mind that it may be slippery in moist months and that venturing off the path might be dangerous due to all of the hidden drops.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 1.4 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 172 meters
  • Trailhead: Darkish Hole Falls Parking Space

4. Higher Hawksbill Path

Hawksbill trail Shenandoah National Park

Are you extra of a panorama particular person than a waterfall lover? Take our recommendation and climb considered one of Shanandoah’s mountains. Hawksbill Mountain is among the greatest hikes for lovely viewpoints in Shenandoah Nationwide Park. It has gorgeous views over the encompassing mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Higher Hawksbill Path is an thrilling summit hike, but it solely takes round an hour to finish a spherical journey. The Hawksbill summit hike is brief and candy – packing a punch right into a 2.1-mile path.

So, you’re most likely questioning how tough tackling Hawksbill Mountain actually is. The route is a little bit of a mix and has some difficult hike sections, however it’s a simple path for probably the most half. The one tough half is within the final quarter of the hike, the place the trail turns into steep, rocky terrain that you need to choose your approach by rigorously. Put on sturdy mountaineering boots, and also you’ll be completely tremendous. It helps that the path distance is low, and the elevation acquire is comparatively gradual.

Upper Hawksbill Trail Map

Park up on the Higher Hawksbill car parking zone and head straight to the blue-marked Higher Hawksbill Trailhead. The preliminary part is a large path that weaves by dense woodland. You then head barely downhill to intersect Hawksbill Fireplace Highway and be part of the street for the ultimate climb to the summit. This part is probably the most difficult underfoot, with rocky terrain to navigate.

The Nationwide Parks Service maintains the path nicely, however you ought to be ready for this part to be a bit of extra tough and prepared than the opposite sections. Walkers emerge triumphantly on the summit and are met with sweeping views of Shenandoah Valley, Outdated Rag Mountain, and Betty’s Rock. If you’re feeling formidable, you possibly can attempt time reaching the summit with the dawn for the last word views.

Tackling the Hawksbill summit is superb if you would like a hike that offers you a powerful sense of accomplishment. The route can also be good and brief – excellent for squeezing right into a busy itinerary. Did we point out that Hawksbill Mountain summit is the best level within the nationwide park? Finishing this hike is sort of an achievement.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 2.1 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 149 meters
  • Trailhead: Higher Hawksbill Trailhead

5. Bearfence Mountain Path

Bearfence Mountain Trail Shenandoah National Park

Bearfence Mountain won’t be as huge as Hawksbill, however the peak nonetheless has spectacular summit views. You may attain the summit by way of the Bearfence Mountain Path – an intense, single-mile path incorporating a rock scramble. Bearfence Mountain Path is an thrilling hike for individuals who need an journey and good views.

Whereas not technically difficult, you’ll need to be completely happy to attempt new issues and get caught in if you’re a newbie. Rock scrambles require endurance, confidence, and a constructive angle. However should you can tick these qualities off, you’ll have an incredible hike. Scrambling up Bearfence Mountain is ideal if you would like a memorable journey in Shenandoah Nationwide Park.

Bearfence Mountain Trail Map

Begin your hike by parking in Bearfence Mountain Parking Lot, simply off Skyline Drive. You then cross Skyline Drive to the trailhead reverse the car parking zone to start the stroll. Bearfence Mountain Path shortly modifications terrain from a steep slope to rock scrambles. From a navigational perspective, it’s a simple hike because you simply preserve heading up in direction of the summit. Be ready to really feel out of breath, however the climb is so brief that you’ll handle so long as you have got a fundamental health stage. You’ll be richly rewarded, too, because the summit has 360-degree views over the nationwide park.

Bearfence Mountain won’t be the tallest, however it’s the most enjoyable. No different path in Shenandoah Nationwide Park has the identical distinctive construction as Bearfence Mountain Path. The rock scramble is ideal for adventurous freshmen and intermediate hikers.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 1 mile
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 74 meters
  • Trailhead: Bearfence Mountain Parking Lot

6. Stony Man Path

Stony Man Trail Shenandoah National Park

Fancy a simple hike? The Stony Man Path is the one for you. It is among the greatest hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park and is simply 1.5 miles lengthy. Even higher? The path has minimal and gradual elevation acquire, but among the greatest views within the nationwide park. Stony Man is a hike that rewards you for primarily the naked minimal.

Stony Man Trail Hiking Map

So, let’s check out the route. You begin your hike on the Stony Man Parking Space, becoming a member of the Appalachian Path briefly earlier than turning off on the blue-marked Stony Man Path. The path right here is simple, and also you quickly attain the Stony Man Viewpoint. The Stony Man Viewpoint is a bit of rocky outcrop overlooking the valley. Normally, there’s a tiny rainwater pool on the summit. After appreciating the view, you simply retrace your steps to the car parking zone since it’s an out-and-back path.

Stony Man Path is implausible. And, if you would like a brief stroll, it’s simply considered one of your greatest choices. Stony Man is a match made in heaven for mountaineering freshmen with the spectacular summit viewpoint, clearly marked path, and brief path distance.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 1.5 miles
  • Problem: Simple
  • Elevation acquire: 97 meters
  • Trailhead: Stony Man Parking Space

7. Cedar Run Falls Path

Cedar Run Falls Shenandoah National Park

Cedar Run Falls Path is a difficult waterfall hike that requires round 5 hours to finish. It’s best to allocate an entire day to this hike, as it’s simple to get distracted by the various waterfalls and pure swimming swimming pools dotted alongside the out-and-back path. Cedar Run Falls Path is a enjoyable, longer hike appropriate for these wanting a problem or whole-day exercise.

Many hikers use the path’s well-known pure water slide and problem themselves to some common cliff jumps. It’s possible you’ll want to pack swimwear to hitch in (at your personal danger). It’s value noting that Cedar Run Path has skilled some closures over latest years. Verify the Nationwide Park Service web site earlier than visiting to test if the path is open and welcoming guests.

Cedar Run Falls Trail Hike Map

Begin your hike at Hawksbill Hole Parking Space. Quickly you cross a footbridge throughout Cedar Run River, and from this level, you observe the river and spot waterfalls alongside the way in which. When you cross the primary few waterfalls, the route will get very steep and slippery, so that you’ll want wonderful footwear. Cedar Run Cascade is close to the endpoint and value reaching if doable.

So, do you have to select Cedar Run Falls? Sure, if you would like a strenuous hike that may push you to your limits. The stroll most closely fits skilled hikers with good technical means, health, and mountaineering gear. That stated, although, the route is filled with pure points of interest and really entertaining to hike.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 5.8 miles
  • Problem: Difficult
  • Elevation acquire: 685 meters
  • Trailhead: Hawksbill Hole Parking Space

8. Appalachian Path

Appalachian Trail Shenandoah National Park

Now the Appalachian Path isn’t any stroll within the park. The path truly stretches by a number of states, Virginia being considered one of them. Should you wished to finish the entire path, you’d want between 5 and 7 months! Nonetheless, you possibly can full Shenandoah’s part of the Appalachian Path in lower than sixty hours. Should you love multi-day hikes and have a powerful sense of journey, tackling this part of the path is among the greatest hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park.

The path has many shelters alongside the way in which. You should use them for in a single day tenting and filling up water bottles at freshwater faucets. You’ll go to most of the points of interest from our different prime hikes on this listing – together with Stony Man and Loft Mountain (which we are going to cowl shortly). Mountaineering Shenandoah’s Appalachian Path is a implausible solution to mix plenty of completely different points of interest in a single expertise.

Appalachian Trail Hiking Map

If you’re mountaineering the Shenandoah part, the path begins at Dickey Ridge Trailhead within the north of the park. You narrow by the nationwide park, passing points of interest like Swift Run Overlook, Turk Mountain Overlook, and Sawmill Run Overlook earlier than reaching your remaining waypoint at Beagle Hole. We advocate buying a bodily copy of a path map moderately than a digital one, particularly since that is such a long-distance hike.

The Appalachian Path is the last word hike in Shenandoah Nationwide Park. Hikers will must be decided, match, and wholesome.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 115.5 miles
  • Problem: Difficult
  • Elevation acquire: 6,939 meters
  • Trailhead: Dickey Ridge Trailhead

9. Lewis Spring Falls Path

Lewis Spring Falls Trail Shenandoah National Park

It’s no secret; Shenandoah Nationwide Park is filled with spectacular waterfalls. Lewis Spring Falls Path is among the greatest waterfall hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park. Towering 81 ft excessive, Lewis Falls is the crowning jewel of the path – and the fourth tallest waterfall within the nationwide park. The observe is stress-free to hike and has picnic areas dotted alongside the way in which. If you need a hike that you would be able to amble alongside leisurely, Lewis Spring Falls is the one for you.

Lewis Spring Falls Trail Hiking Map

The path begins on the car parking zone and instantly takes you into woodland. Flip left on the first path marker after which proper on the blue-marked observe, persevering with by dense forest and previous many small waterfalls. On the path endpoint, you’ll attain a big statement deck, and it’s right here that you just’ll discover one of the best views of the principle waterfall – Lewis Falls.

Preserve your eyes out for wildlife as you hike. There are deer and bears to identify, plus plenty of lovely flora, particularly in spring. Lewis Spring Falls Path is a superb hike to immerse your self in nature.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 3.5 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 267 meters
  • Trailhead: Milepost 51.2 within the Huge Meadows Space

10. South River Falls Path

South river Falls Shenandoah National Park

South River Falls is one other movie star on Shenandoah’s waterfall scene. The 83-foot waterfall is an actual sight to behold, and should you love pure points of interest, this path is a high-reward path to deal with. You’ll observe lovely riverside trails and full one stream crossing – ending on the viewpoint.

The path is simply 2.4 miles in size and takes round an hour and a half to finish. The out-and-back route is the proper morning hike and is definitely squeezed right into a busy itinerary. South River Falls is a superb candidate if you would like a brief stroll to finish as a stretch of your legs after a strenuous hike the day earlier than.

South River Falls Trail Hiking Map

The trailhead is a blue-marked path south of the South River Picnic Space. Navigating a mountaineering path has by no means been simpler. Simply ignore any turn-offs and keep on South River Falls Path till you attain the perspective.

This path is completely newbie pleasant. Simple to navigate, brief, and fulfilling, South River Falls Path is a perfect path to stretch your legs and benefit from the sunshine.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 2.4 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 230 meters
  • Trailhead: South River Picnic Space

11. Loft Mountain Loop Path (by way of Frazier Discovery Path)

Loft Mountain Loop hike in Shenandoah National Park

Loft Mountain Loop Path is one other brief hike on your itinerary. The path is in a useful loop and is a breeze to finish at simply 2 miles in size – appropriate for even probably the most inexperienced hiker. The observe has a surprising viewpoint on its descent part and quiet, peaceable woodland paths.

Loft Mountain Loop Hike Map

So, let’s dive straight into some instructions. Beginning at Loft Mountain Wayside, be part of the paved path on the alternative aspect of the street. Virtually instantly, you attain a fork within the path, and from right here, flip left on the blue-marked Frazier Discovery Path. Preserve left and start your uphill stroll, turning left on the second concrete path marker that you just see. At this level, you’ll begin descending, and it’s this part that it is advisable to preserve your eyes out for the ‘endpoint’ view. The view is attractive – overlooking the nationwide park, surrounding mountains, and woodland.

Proceed on the loop to get again, holding left to remain on the blue marked Blue Spring Path. Finally, the path turns into a hearth street, and also you’ll flip left when it intersects with Skyline Drive to achieve your place to begin, Loft Mountain Wayside.

Loft Mountain is among the greatest hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park if you would like a simple loop path. Positive, it requires a little bit of navigating, however the observe itself is brilliantly untechnical, and the path size is good and brief at solely 2 miles lengthy.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 2 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 151 meters
  • Trailhead: Loft Mountain Wayside

12. Whiteoak Canyon Path

Whiteoak Canyon hike in Shenandoah National Park

Whiteoak Canyon is our remaining hike and contains a stupendous number of cascades and waterfalls. Whiteoak Canyon is a superb possibility if you’re the form of hiker who loves having heaps to see. You’ve got waterfall after waterfall and numerous plunge swimming pools for swimming. Whiteoak Canyon is the form of dreamy hike you absorb your summer season holidays.

The primary purpose for marking Whiteoak Canyon as a average hike is its path size. The path takes over 5 hours to finish, so that you’ll want a great stage of health and stamina. Moreover, the observe can turn out to be slippery and slender in sections. The spray from waterfalls and fallen leaves turns into a difficult mixture when discovering positive footing, so deliver sturdy footwear with a great grip. In any other case, Whiteoak Canyon Path is simple and untechnical.

Whiteoak Canyon Hiking Map

Beginning on the Whiteoak Canyon Parking Space, you instantly take the Whiteoak Canyon Path. Comply with the trail alongside the riverside, pausing at scenic spots as you would like alongside the way in which. The endpoint is a rocky ledge; from right here, you possibly can take a surprising view of the Higher Falls. If you need, you can even make your approach right down to the plunge pool on the base of the Higher Falls, which is common for swimming.

Whiteoak Canyon Path is considered one of Shenandoah’s hottest hikes for a lot of good causes. It’s enjoyable, comparatively difficult, and has loads of issues to see alongside the way in which.

Mountaineering particulars that you must know:

  • Path distance: 9.5 miles
  • Problem: Reasonable
  • Elevation acquire: 734 meters
  • Trailhead: Whiteoak Canyon Parking Space

Ultimate Ideas

Are you able to deal with these greatest hikes in Shenandoah Nationwide Park? Shenandoah Valley is among the most lovely locations in Virginia, if not the US as an entire. You must positively add it to your listing of the greatest locations to go to within the US. You’ll have the pleasure of having fun with among the greatest hikes within the nation.

We hope you have got discovered your match amongst all these wonderful mountaineering trails. Whether or not you select a brief hike or deal with a strenuous path just like the Appalachian Path, admiring the rolling hills of Shenandoah Nationwide Park shall be memorable.

Plan Extra Nice Mountaineering Journeys within the US


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