Using GPS and Mapping Services
Because Shenandoah stretches over 100 miles of Virginia, using GPS and internet-based mapping services like Google Maps and MapQuest can be tricky.
There are numerous state roads that enter the park but are gated at the boundary. These are service roads and the public cannot enter the park via these routes, even though your GPS unit or a map service may direct you to use them.
You must enter the park via one of the four entrances and unfortunately only one has a physical address. We recommend that you consult a map to determine which of the four entrances best suits your plans.
The northernmost entrance is off Route 340 (also called Stonewall Jackson Highway) near Front Royal, Virginia. Thornton Gap Entrance is off Highway 211 East (also called Lee Highway) near Luray, Virginia. Swift Run Gap Entrance is off Route 33 (also called Spotswood Trail) and has a physical address of 22591 Spotswood Trail, Elkton, Virginia. The southernmost entrance, Rockfish Gap, is off Highway 250 a few miles east of Waynesboro, Virginia.
You can try entering the intersections:
Front Royal: Skyline Drive & Stonewall Jackson Highway, Front Royal, VA
Thornton Gap: Skyline Drive & US Highway 211 East, Luray, VA
Swift Run: use physical address-22591 Spotswood Trail, Elkton, VA
Rockfish Gap: Skyline Drive & Blue Ridge Parkway, Afton, VA
Or the coordinates:
Front Royal: 38.905729, -78.198624
Thornton Gap: 38.660959, -78.320761
Swift Run: 38.357744, -78.545594
Rockfish Gap: 38.033777, -78.85902
If you employ a GPS unit or an Internet-based mapping service, be sure it is directing you to one of the four entrances off a major highway.
Individual in-park areas, such as Big Meadows Campground, are not searchable. When you enter you will receive a park map or you can download one.
Old Rag Mountain Trailhead and Whiteoak Canyon Boundary Trailhead are two popular areas that are accessed without using Skyline Drive via one of the entrances above. Directions to these two trailheads are on the second page of the downloadable maps of the Old Rag and Whiteoak Canyon areas.
Did You Know?
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited the Civilian Conservation Corps camp at Big Meadows in August 1933 and returned to Big Meadows in July 1936 to dedicate Shenandoah National Park.