Winter in Shenandoah
Shenandoah National Park is always open. However, the lodging and food services, campgrounds, and most other facilities are closed from December - March, with the exception of Byrd Visitor Center at mile 51 which is open weekends beginning January 11, 2014. Click here for more information about the visitor center's winter hours. Click here for Opening and Closing Dates. Portions of Skyline Drive, the only public road through the park, are periodically closed during inclement weather and at night during deer hunting season. Visitors can still enter the park on foot for hiking or backcountry camping even when Skyline Drive is closed. Click here for tips to help you enjoy Shenandoah National Park in the winter months. Click here for winter safety tips. Please call the park's recorded information line: (540) 999-3500, 1, 1 for the most current Skyline Drive status.
Visitor Facilities Along Skyline Drive
Experience the quiet solitude of winter in Shenandoah National Park.
As the leaves fall from the trees and cooler temperatures improve visibility, valleys below and mountains beyond are more spectacular than ever.
You'll also have a better chance of seeing woodland animals like deer, squirrels, and turkeys as they forage for food. Foxes and bobcats are also active through winter. Snow in the mountains makes it fun and easy to see who's out and about. Look for tracks of mice, rabbits, and other animals.
Listen and look for Shenandoah's winter birdlife. Chickadees, nuthatches, and a host of woodpeckers will be searching for seeds and berries or peeking under bark for hard-to-find insects.
A crisp, winter visit is just one more way to experience Shenandoah.
Winter in Shenandoah is unpredictable. Temperatures are usually 10 to 20oF cooler than in the lowlands and weather conditions can change quickly. What comes down as rain below can be ice and snow on the mountain.
Park Emergency Number:
No visitor facilities are staffed on the mountain from December until early April. Although Skyline Drive is normally open 24 hours a day, severe weather may necessitate closure at any time. Skyline Drive is also closed from dusk to dawn during deer hunting season, mid-November to early January.
Telephones are located along Skyline Drive at the following locations. Emergency phones connect directly to park emergency services.
There are also emergency phones at two popular access points along the park boundary:
If you plan to hike, wear layers and take a flashlight and a map. Even on mild days, be prepared for unpredictable weather changes. Bring more water and food than you think you will need.
Although the speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35 mph, weather conditions may require lower speeds. Even when the pavement appears to be dry, there may be icy patches on shaded curves.
Did You Know?
The small circular pits (Opferkessels) often found in the rocks of Shenandoah National Park’s cliffs and summits are formed by standing water.