Shenandoah National Park is a national park located in the US state of Virginia. With over 1.4 million visitors every year, it one of the most prominent tourist attractions in eastern USA. This national park was established in 1935 and presently covers over 300 square miles. It is criss-crossed with several hiking trails that attract nature lovers from all over the US. If you are not much into hiking, then you can enjoy the scenic beauty by driving along the famous Skyline Drive – a 105-mile drive through the heart of the park. But there is no doubt that the best views are reserved for some of the nature trails of the park. In this blog, we list some of the top trails of the Shenandoah National Park where you will not only be rewarded with stunning natural scenery, but refresh your mind and spirit in the cradle of nature.
- Bearfence Mountain Trail
The Bearfence Mountain Trail is a challenging trail inside the Shenandoah Park. Its length is short, but it offers some of the best views of the park and its surroundings. The summit of the trail is rocky and barren just like that of the Upper Hawksbill Trail. However, the summit is not a smooth one and you may have to struggle a bit to take in the view. There are some difficult sections which you need to climb using both your feet and hands. However, it is nothing an average hiker cannot do. Some hikers choose to start from the Appalachian Trail, although most start from the other end.
- Stony Man Trail
The Stony Man Trail takes you to the Stony Man peak, which is the second highest point of the park. Just like the Upper Hawksbill Trail, it offers a beautiful view of the Shenandoah Valley, the Allegheny Mountains and of Luray, a small town. It’s quite an easy trail and is suitable for all types of hikers. The trail has a large parking area attached to it and can be quite crowded at times. With the exception of the summit, the ground is normal. The total length of the trail is about 1.6 miles. You will need more than an hour to cover it.
- Old Rag Trail
The Old Rag Trail is quite a challenging trail and cannot be accessed from Skyline Drive. The trail runs for over 9 miles and is a favorite with hikers. It takes you through rocky corridors, natural staircases and huge boulders. This is the trail for you if you are fond of long and strenuous hikes. At the end of the journey, you are rewarded with an outstanding view of the surroundings. It takes about 6 hours to complete the hike. Access to the trail is located toward the east of the park.
- Whiteoak Canyon Hiking Area
The Whiteoak Canyon Hiking Area offers plenty of hiking trails. One of the most popular trails is the Cedar Run to Whiteoak circuit. It takes about six hours to complete this trail which passes through as many as eight waterfalls. The list of waterfalls includes the Whiteoak Cascades, which plunge down from a height of 86 feet. It is a strenuous hike and is rated so by the park. If you take the Cedar Run Trail, you can enjoy a quick swim in one of the waterfalls. The trail can be accessed from Route 600, which is located outside the park.
- Rose River Loop Trail
The Rose River Loop Trail is as soothing as it sounds. It offers a nice and refreshing hike on a hot summer day. The trail makes its way through large shady trees, cool streams and cascading waterfalls. The two main attractions of the trail are the Dark Hollow Falls and the Rose River Falls. If you choose to hike in a clockwise direction, then you will pass the Rose River Falls and then end up at a section which runs through other smaller waterfalls. If you keep on pursuing this route, then you will reach the Dark Hollow Falls hiking trail.
- South River Falls
The South River Falls Trail is a relatively easy hike and you can hike it as a circuit. You can also hike in and hike out like with any other trail. The view offered by the trail is not as good as the ones offered by other trails. However, there is a 1.4 mile route which leads you to the base of the South River Falls. This route is highly recommended because of its views. It is also a great place for taking some memorable photographs of the waterfall. The main trail, on the other hand, goes through a creek for some distance. You can walk inside the creek and take some beautiful pictures of the scenery. The length of the trail is about 2.6 miles.
- Lewis Falls Trail
The Lewis Falls Trail is a dramatic one. The trail takes you to one of the most breathtaking waterfalls inside the park. The amount of water contained in the waterfall depends on the amount of rainfall and that time of the year. The trail runs for about 3.5 miles and runs behind another trail, the Appalachian Trail, for the most part. The Lewis Falls are the main attraction of the trail, along with the views along the way. Some parts of the trail are uneven and rocky. If you don’t want to hike the full trail and just want to see the falls, then you should start at the Tanners Ridge overlook.
- Upper Hawksbill Trail
The Upper Hawksbill Trail is one of the best trails in the Shenandoah National Park. It offers magnificent views of the expanse surrounding the park. There are two lookout areas at the summit of the trail. One of them is the highest point in the park. The lookout areas are rocky and are completely devoid of vegetation. This makes way for a completely clear view of the surroundings. Even if you find the place to be crowded, you will be able to take in the surroundings nicely. You may have to scramble a bit though but the end result is worth every bit of effort. There is also a hut made of stone along with a picnic table at the summit.
- Dark Hollow Falls Trail
The Dark Hollow Falls Trail is the most popular hiking trail at the Shenandoah National Park. It is highly recommended by the staff working at the park as well. It’s a short trail running only for 1.4 miles. It is suitable for everyone and is popular even as a family hiking trail. The trail takes you through few rocky patches and even ground. At the bottom of the trail there is the Dark Hollow Falls which fall from a height of about 70 feet. You can either stop here to admire the falls or continue through the Rose River Trail.
Originally posted 2017-07-19 06:06:32.