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Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright announced the impending removal of buildings in the Panorama area of the park. Buildings to be removed include the Panorama Building, formerly a restaurant and gift shop, and the Backcountry Camping Permit station. Following the removal, a new water system will be installed and new modern restroom facilities will be constructed in the upper lot.
For the safety of park visitors, the park will temporarily close the Marys Rock – Appalachian Trail trailhead and both the upper and lower parking areas at Panorama while construction work is occurring. The Panorama area is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 211 and Skyline Drive. Park visitors should expect the closures to take effect soon after the Memorial Day holiday.
For visitors wishing to obtain a backcountry camping permit, permits will be available for at the Thornton Gap entrance station at the Skyline Drive access road on the north side of US Route 211. Backcountry camping permits are also available at 10 other locations throughout the park and are listed on the back of the Exploring the Backcountry Brochure available at entrance stations and visitor centers.
Access to the Appalachian Trail and Marys Rock from the Panorama trailhead will be temporarily closed for the duration of construction work. Alterative day hikes in the area are listed below.
Alternative day hikes: If you liked Mary Rock you’ll enjoy the following:
- Compton Peak mile post 10 - 2 mile round trip with a 605 foot climb, northern vistas and unique rock formations
- Little Stony Man mile post 39 - 0.9 mile round trip, 400 foot climb south on the Appalachian Trail to western and northern vistas
- Stony Man Mountain Summit mile post 41.6 - 1.6 mile circuit, 340 foot climb to the second highest point in the park with western vistas (pets not permitted)
- Millers Head Observation Platform, Lower Skyland Area mile post 41 access - 1.6 mile round trip with 300 foot climb, vistas of hollows, ridges, and the valley
- Hawksbill Mountain Summit mile post 46.7 - 2.1 mile round trip, 520 foot climb to the highest point in the park, 360 degree views
- Bearfence Mountain mile post - 1.2 mile circuit 56.5, 400 foot climb, 360 degree views and a challenging rock scramble, not recommended for small children, (pets not permitted)
For more information about these and similar hikes in Shenandoah National Park, pick up the booklet Hikes to Peaks and Vistas at any park visitor center.