Learn and Explore
Ah, summer...nothing quite beats it, right? School is out and vacation mode is in full swing, so it's time to take advantage of those longer days with a trip to Shenandoah. If you're thinking about seeking out the mountains for some respite, here are a few things to consider before heading our way:
Avoid the Crowds
At the trailhead: warmer weather tends to bring larger crowds to the Park. For the best chance of avoiding crowded trails and full parking lots, try to visit Shenandoah during the week. If a parking area is full, it's time to move on to another trail. Use this busy time of year to look for the hidden gems that are less traveled!
At entrance stations: the two most northern entrances, Front Royal and Thornton Gap, are the busiest and have the longest waits. Try a nice circuit trip south through the lowlands on Route 29 to the east or on Route 340 to the west to Swift Run (Route 33) or Rockfish (Route 64) entrance stations, and then return via the Skyline Drive.
At campgrounds: all of our campgrounds book quickly during the summer, although there are some first-come, first-served sites available. You cannot reserve a first-come, first-served site by calling the Park directly; you must be at the campground in person.
Although temperatures can be 10oF cooler in the Park than in the surrounding valley,, the weather can still get very hot and humid during the summer months. In order to stay safe and comfortable while out and about, it's important to plan ahead and bring plenty of drinking water, for you and your pets, whenever you plan on being outside in order to avoid dehydration. Keep in mind that the average person drinks one quart of water per hour while hiking on a hot day. And don't forget the other items essential for beating the summer heat: sunblock, a hat, and sunglasses!
Our wildlife is more active with the warmer weather, too! Since they tend not to pay attention to crosswalks, it's important to observe the speed limit while driving Skyline Drive. You should also make sure that you know what to do if you encounter bears, snakes, or other wildlife while out on the trail. Doing so will help to ensure that you have a safe, enjoyable wildlife viewing experience.
Last updated: May 27, 2021