In case of emergency call park dispatch at 1-800-732-0911 or just dial 911.
DrivingMost visitor injuries at Shenandoah National Park occur while driving. Wildlife collisions are common, so protect the animals and yourself by driving the speed limit (35 mph) and slowing down if you see an animal. Do not stop in the middle of the road to take pictures. You may pull over if there is a safe place to do so. Drive very slowly in the fog since it will be hard to see cyclists, animals, or a stopped vehicle in the roadway.
HikingShenandoah's trails are well marked but occasionally hikers get lost or have an accident. It is important to let a friend or family member know where you plan to hike and when to expect your return. Let them know how to make a report if they suspect that you may need assistance. Learn more information about missing persons in National Park Service areas.
Things to consider:
Slips, Trips, and FallsWear proper, sturdy footwear when hiking on any unpaved trail. Watch your step and be prepared to turn around in dangerous settings such as a high water crossing or ice on the trail. Never walk around the top of a waterfall - wet rocks are surprisingly slippery and many people have been injured, some fatally.
DehydrationThe average human uses a quart of water per hour on a hot day! If you might be in the woods more than 20 minutes, bring plenty of water with you (don't forget water for the dogs)! Boiling water is the best way to avoid water-borne diseases. Learn more about the Park's water sources.
Never, ever feed wildlife! Not only is it illegal, but it is dangerous to the animal, and it may be dangerous to you. Follow these reminders about viewing and photographing wildlife.
Do not approach or startle bears. If you see one while you are in your vehicle, remain in the vehicle. If you see one while outside, make your presence known by talking quietly and slowly back away. If the bear approaches you make noise such as yelling and clapping your hands. Most black bears will run away as soon as they realize you are a human. Keep them wild by properly storing food and disposing of all waste into the provided bear-proof trash containers. Bears can become very dangerous when they associate people with food. Learn more about bear safety.
Several species of ticks are common throughout the park and there is a risk of tick-borne diseases if one bites you. It is important to take precautions and to be aware of the risks.
Be alert for poisonous snakes. Copperheads and rattlesnakes are generally found on land but may sometimes be seen in the water. Use ordinary precautions, wear shoes and always carry a flashlight after dusk. If you see a snake, leave it alone! All animals in the park are protected by law.
Poison ivy grows plentifully along roadsides, trails and the edges of parking lots, as a vine or a low shrub. The leaves are red in early spring, shiny green in summer, and an attractive red or orange in the fall. Each leaf consists of three leaflets.
Visit the Backcountry Safety and the Hiking pages for more safety information.
Review current Alerts and Conditions
Last updated: October 16, 2017