Backcountry Camping - Preparing
Preparing for your Backcountry Camping Trip
Shenandoah National Park offers great freedom in planning your backpacking trip. While you do need a free permit, we do not have a reservation system or designated campsites (the exception being the AT huts and overflow campsites for long-distance AT hikers). You may plan your trip whenever and almost wherever you would like. But, with this freedom comes responsibility. While it is great to be allowed to camp where you like, in this steep terrain it will take time to find a good legal spot. We ask that you plan your trip well ahead of time, avoid overcrowded areas during weekends, and give yourself several hours each day to find a suitable campsite and set up before dark. Your responsible Leave No Trace actions will allow us to continue offering this freedom to explore the park as you desire.
The success of your trip depends on thinking ahead. There are a number of things to consider in planning your trip:
Things to Know Before You Go
Backcountry camping at SNP isn't for everyone. You must be physically and mentally prepared to hike yourself and all of your gear at least ½ mile. The campgrounds have nice tent sites if this sounds difficult. There are also various camping options in the nearby George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. The National Forests, unlike SNP, also allow roadside camping.
Did You Know?
American chestnut trees, whose trunks were killed off by a fungus blight long ago, still send up shoots that you can see along many of Shenandoah National Park’s trails.