Your safety is our top priority! Stay aware when visiting the park. If you see suspicious or potentially dangerous activity, or at any times feel unsafe, call the park at 540-693-3200 (staff is available 9am-5pm, when the visitor centers are open). Dial 911 in case of emergency.


Wildlife in the park is protected by law. To ensure that you keep yourself and wildlife safe be sure to view wildlife from a distance, do not feed wildlife, and pack out all trash and belongings after your visit.


Ticks are prevalent in central Virginia and many species can be found in the park. Ticks can also spread diseases and can sometimes be so small that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. In order to keep yourself safe:

  • Use insect repellant and wear long pants and sleeves, especially when hiking in fields.
  • Check your clothes and person routinely after being outdoors or on park trails. (We have had visitors pick up ticks just between walking from their vehicle into the visitor center in the middle of summer.)
  • While the peak season for ticks is between spring and fall, ticks, including the ones that carry Lyme disease, can be active year-round.
  • More resources on tick safety: One Health and Disease: Tick-Borne Disease (National Park Service article), Lyme Disease (CDC website)


Coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk, but can sometimes be seen in the daytime, especailly in spring and early summer. To keep youself and the coyote safe:

  • Keep pets on their leash and by your side.
  • Stay with small children and pets.
  • Do not leave garbage or food waste around (make sure it is carried out or disposed of in a appropriate garbage bin).
  • Do not run and do not turn your back to the coyote, instead back away slowly while facing the coyote.
  • Make loud noises – yelling, whistling, etc, and wave arms above your head.
  • As a last resort, throw inedible objects (sticks, stones, etc.) in the direction of the coyote.
  • Learn more about coyotes in the park.

Black Bears

While not seen every day, there are a few black bears in the area (particularly around Chancellorsville and Spotsylvania Court House). Black bears are a natural inhabitant of our ecosystem, sightings usually happen from late summer to early fall. If you encounter a black bear in the park:

  • Keep a safe distance from them (150 feet, 50 yards).
  • Do not run away from a black bear. Running may trigger a predator response and the bear may run towards you.
  • Stay with your group, keeping children close and pets on a leash.
  • Slowly walk away, facing the bear. If it comes toward you, make lots of noise, wave your arms, yell, clap your hands.
  • If you are cornered (very rare) you can throw things at the bear, like rocks or sticks, but not food.
  • In the extremely rare case that you are attacked by a black bear (no recorded incidents in the park) fight back, do not play dead.
  • Learn more about black bears from Shenandoah National Park.


Keep a sharp eye out for wildlife on the roadways. Especially at dawn and dusk, local critters including deer, foxes, and skunks, can be very active.


Central Virginia is a rapidly developing region, with high volume and fast-moving traffic. Be aware as you turn on and off of park roads. Our driving tours often make use of state and county roadways. Be especially vigilant on Virginia Route 3 (through the Chancellorsville and into the Wilderness Battlefields) and Route 20 (in the Wilderness Battlefield).


Check the weather in advance of your trip, and plan accordingly. In the summertime:

  • Be prepared for heat and humidity.
  • Dress for the heat and for sun protection.
  • Pack lots of water.

The Fredericksburg area experiences temperate spring and fall seasons and mild winters, though there are occasional snowfalls and cold temperatures. In the wintertime:

  • Wear layers, and keep warm.
  • It is common for temperatures to reach above freezing in the daytime, and dip below freezing at night. This can create icy conditions on park roads, trails, and walkways, especially in the mornings and evening, and lead to muddy conditions on trails during the day.

Last updated: March 15, 2022

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Mailing Address:

120 Chatham Ln
Fredericksburg, VA 22405


540 693-3200

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