Backcountry and Wilderness Camping

Shenandoah National Park has 196,000 acres of backcountry and wilderness and over 500 miles of trails to explore. Backcountry and wilderness camping allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty and challenge of Shenandoah's wild side. By carrying everything you need to survive on your back, up over rocky peaks and down though lush stream hollows, you can discover a world beyond where the pavement ends. If you still have questions about your backcountry trip planning after reviewing the information of this website call (540) 999-3500 ext. 3720 to speak to a backcountry ranger. This phone line is manned on Monday and Thursday. Messages left on other days will be answered as soon as possible.

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. 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 maps for new closures.

Printable maps with closures:

Additional areas are closed due to high use, or special natural or cultural resources that need added protection:
  • Limberlost Trail: closed area is bounded by Skyline Drive, Whiteoak Canyon Fire Road, and the Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail
  • Hawksbill Mountain Summit: area above 3,600 feet
  • Whiteoak Canyon: area between Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail and Cedar Run Link Trail
  • Old Rag Mountain Summit: area above 2,800 feet
  • Big Meadows: cleared area within view of Skyline Drive
  • Rapidan Camp: area within .5 mile of buildings
Closed areas are signed and it is the camper's responsibility to know and observe these closures.

The wilderness itself is historic; the historic process that gave protection and allowed the return of wild nature is continuing. Shenandoah is both a preserving and a creating park.

~ Darwin Lambert


Last updated: November 1, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835


(540) 999-3500

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