Hiking in Shenandoah

A hiker on the Appalachian Trail.
A hiker on the Appalachian Trail.

NPS

 

Safety Tips: more about safety

  • Carry water, at least 20 oz (.6 L), and more on warm days. Do not drink water directly from any streams without boiling or purifying it first.

  • Wear appropriate clothing including sturdy hiking shoes and layers. Temperatures on the mountain can be 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the valley.

  • Follow trail blazes and use a map. Blue blazes indicate a hiking trail, white blazes indicate the Appalachian Trail, yellow blazes indicate horse trails.

  • Know the difficulty level of the trail and evaluate your physical abilities and limitations. Different people experience hikes at different difficulty levels. Here's our formula for determining hiking difficulty.

  • Follow Leave No Trace principles including staying on trail, carrying out all trash, and leaving what you find.

  • Never walk around the top of a waterfall. Wet rocks are slippery and can lead to dangerous falls, potentially causing serious injury or death.

  • Follow these guidelines on wildlife viewing safety and know what to do if you encounter a bear.

Pets: more about pets

Shenandoah National Park is one the few national parks that allows pets on trails. These regulations protect your experience as well as native animals, park resources, and other visitors.

  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (1.8 m).
  • Pets are prohibited on the following trails: Fox Hollow, Stony Man, Limberlost, Dark Hollow Falls, Story of the Forest, Bearfence Rock Scramble, Frazier Discovery, Old Rag Ridge and Old Rag Saddle Trails.

Alerts & Closures: current hiking alerts and closures

Occasionally, trails are affected by emergency operations, weather events, and for resource protection.

  • Rock outcrops are home to scenic views and are often popular hiking destinations. These special places are also home to fragile plants species and ecosystems. In order to better protect rock outcrop ecosystems small areas on Little Stony Man, Hawksbill, and Old Rag are closed to public access.
 

Choosing a Hike

With over 500 miles of trails, choosing the right hike for you will depend on how much time you have, where you are going in the park, the physical ability of yourself and your fellow travelers, and what you want to get from your experience.

  • Overview of hikes in Shenandoah: This table contains an overview of suggested hikes including distance, difficulty, and trailhead location.
  • Waterfall hikes: An overview of hikes that lead to waterfalls.
  • Downloadable Guides: Trail maps for day hikes of different areas can be found on the Downloadable Guides page.
  • Appalachian Trail: Learn more about the Appalachian Trail, 105 miles of which is in Shenandoah.
 

Featured Hikes

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    Contact the Park

    Mailing Address:

    Shenandoah National Park
    3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

    Luray, VA 22835

    Phone:

    (540) 999-3500

    Contact Us