Alerts and Closures

From time to time, circumstances may necessitate the closing of trails or other actions to ensure visitor and resource safety. As part of your planning, visit this page to get special alerts and information. If you are a frequent visitor, you may want to bookmark this page. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more information.

We will not be updating the alerts page with news concerning our response to COVID-19. All updates concerning phased openings, closures, and further COVID-19 news can be found on our COVID-19 Updates page.

This page was last updated June 10, 2021.

Public access to the Rip Rap trail system at the park boundary via Wild Turkey Lane is no longer available due to private landowner concerns. Please use Skyline Drive to access this trail system.
LINK TRAIL (March 25, 2021)

Hiking Alert for unsafe backcountry conditions and related trail closure - The 0.8-mile Whiteoak-Cedar Run Link Trail that connects the WhiteOak Canyon Trail to Cedar Run Trail is permanently closed as it was severely undercut by recent flooding in the nearby stream. As the stream eroded the stream bank, it caused downed trees and unstable ground. A significant section of the trail is unsafe for foot traffic, as what appears to be solid ground could collapse and fall 8-15 feet at any time. The Whiteoak-Cedar Run Link Trail is now fully closed and venturing off trail near the stream is not recommended, as additional sections of seemingly solid ground is undercut and could collapse.

Revised Route from Skyline Drive - Hikers who typically took the Link Trail as part of the popular loop hike from Skyline Drive will now continue down the mountain to the junction of Whiteoak Trail and Cedar Run Trail instead. The revised circuit adds up to 0.3 mile, for a total of ~8.5 miles to hike Whiteoak and Cedar Run as a loop from Hawksbill Gap. There are no route changes for any of the common loop hikes from the boundary.

Why - In August of 2016, trail crews performed a temporary fix to this ongoing area of concern, relocating a section of Whiteoak-Cedar Run Link Trail. At that time crews moved the trail up the steep slope embankment until hitting significant terrain obstacles. It was a matter of time before this section was undercut as well. Due to heavy rains and flooding in August of 2020, the trail section along the eroding stream bank has once again become unsafe. Repair is no longer an option without stream bank stabilization, significant re-route and construction of a complicated and expensive new section of trail (and potentially a new bridge). Since there are easily accessed nearby trail routes, Park management has opted to abandon this trail and is in the process of rehabilitating the area. Please do not access or alter the work of the trail crew. This closure only adds 0.2-0.3 mile to the primary circuit hike of roughly 8 miles.

A map of the Appalachian Trail reroute around the Skyland Area.

The Appalachian Trail will be rerouted in the Skyland area while construction is done on waterlines in the area (see map). There will also be signs posted on the ground to help you navigate the temporary reroute.

We are working to resolve issues with boundary access to Pocosin. Until then, we recommend you use the Skyline Drive trailhead to hike this area.
Map of new hiking and parking pattern at Old Rag Trailhead
OLD RAG AREA Effective June 11, 2020
There are changes to the visitor experience at Old Rag Mountain! This post is lengthy, so if Old Rag is your jam, settle in.

It’s not a secret that Old Rag is crazy popular, and sometimes the crowds adversely affect the visitor experience. Research and conversation about how best to provide for safe enjoyment and resource protection at Old Rag are ongoing and park management is looking at alternatives.

In the meantime, we’ve been working on one of the biggest challenges at Old Rag: parking and we are super excited to announce that a new parking lot and better trail access has opened. So, when you go to Old Rag, be prepred to follow the signs to the new lot and trailhead!

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, The Shenandoah National Park Trust, park staff, and contractors worked together to acquire land for a new parking area nearer the trail, do the required archeology and environmental assessments, build new trails, and so much more!

We are happy that hikers spend less time on the road and have safer access to the trail. And, having parking on park-owned land helps guarantee access in perpetuity.

The new parking area is actually two lots connected by a walking bridge. The upper lot has dedicated RV and horse trailer parking; the lower lot connects with the trailhead.

There’s a new addition to the Ridge Trail that takes hikers from the parking area to the original loop. The loop of the Ridge and Saddle Trails to Weakley Hollow Fire Road is the same. Where Weakley Hollow Fire Road connects with Route 600, the new Old Rag Access Trail takes hikers back to the parking area.

For those of you concerned about crowding on the trail, this improvement does not increase vehicle capacity. For now, we will continue to use the former lot for some overflow parking, but the majority of the space will be used as a staging area for emergency services and a helicopter landing zone.

Brown sign with white lettering instructing visitors to stay on the trail
Many trails in Shenandoah National Park are accessed from the park boundary on public right of ways that pass through private property. We ask that you please respect the landowner’s property by staying on the blazed trail. There have been continued issues on some of these trails with trespassing, littering, illegal fires, camping, fishing, and a general lack of respect for the private property. This kind of behavior puts future trail access at risk. We are currently working with the some landowners to install signs (like the one shown) to give visitors guidance about staying on the trail when they are crossing private land.
Whiteoak Canyon and Old Rag can be accessed from the Park's boundary off Route 600. At each of these boundary trail accesses there are Shenandoah National Park-managed parking lots (for about 90 vehicles at Whiteoak and about 265 at Old Rag). Parking in these lots is free.You are required to purchase an entrance permit. Landowners with property adjacent to the Park are charging a fee for parking on their property near both of these areas. Paying a private citizen to park does not affect the entrance fee. Be sure to check the Shenandoah lot for availability before paying to park.
Jeremys Run Trail Boundary Access (October 31, 2017)
The boundary access to Jeremy's Run Trail across private property at State Route 611 is temporarily closed by the landowner. The park trail remains open. We ask that visitors respect the landowner's wishes and avoid this private property until further notice. The park is actively working to resolve the access situation.
Boil Water at South River and Dundo Picnic Grounds (1-18-17)
The water supplies at South River and Dundo Picnic Grounds may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. People with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, infants, young children, and older adults are at increased risk of illness.

Do not drink the water without boiling it first! Bring water to a boil for one minute. Boiled water should be used for drinking, cooking or any food preparation, handwashing, brushing teeth, and washing dishes.

In order to better protect the fragile plants that live on some of Shenandoah's rock outcrops, the park has implemented some very limited closures. Small areas of Little Stony Man, Hawksbill, and Old Rag are closed to public access. Areas on Old Rag, Little Stony Man, Hawksbill, Old Rag, Mary's Rock, Mount Marshall, and Overall Run are closed to backcountry camping. If you planning a hiking trip and/or a backcountry overnight trip to one of those areas, please check the following closure information:

Little Stony Man
Old Rag
Marys Rock
Mount Marshall
Overall Run

Last updated: June 14, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835


(540) 999-3500
Emergency Phone: 1-800-732-0911

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