Leave No Trace

A logo of a green swirl with the words: Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Leave No Trace is a national program which promotes the protection of our nation's wildlands through education, research, and partnerships. At its heart, Leave No Trace it is a set of seven principles which can be applied in any natural setting to minimize human impacts on the environment. Whether you are hiking and camping in Shenandoah National Park or driving down Skyline Drive, following Leave No Trace principles will help protect the Park and its resources for you and future visitors. The seven principles are:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare. Planning ahead for your visit to Shenandoah is the first step in helping preserve the Park and your experience here. Know and follow the regulations. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rocks, gravel, and grasses. Stay on trails to keep from trampling fragile vegetation. Avoid shortcutting trails; shortcuts create new trails and increase trail erosion.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly. Keep the Park clean! Pack out all trash and food scraps from backcountry/wilderness areas. When backpacking, deposit solid human waste in a hole at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet from water, camp, and park trails.
  4. Leave What You Find. All plants, animals, rocks, and artifacts are protected in Shenandoah National Park. Preserve the sense of discovery for others by leaving all natural and cultural artifacts as you find them. Take pictures, write poetry, or sketch to help you remember what you discover here.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts. Campfires are prohibited in Shenandoah's backcountry!
  6. Respect Wildlife. Shenandoah is home to many animals, and we are visitors to their home. Carry binoculars and observe wildlife from a distance. If an animal changes its behavior because of your presence, you are too close. Never feed wildlife.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors. People visit Shenandoah National Park for many different reasons. Preserve the Park experience for all visitors by showing courtesy towards others. Excessive noise, unleashed pets, and damaged surroundings take away from everyone's experience. Preserve a sense of solitude by hiking in small groups. Keep noise levels down when hiking and camping. Observe quiet hours in Park campgrounds.

Last updated: August 21, 2020

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Contact Info

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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