A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. The Wilderness Act of 1964

A view of fog in a forest from the forest floor looking up at the trees.
Looking up at a foggy forest.

NPS/Katy Cain


NPS Wilderness Videos on YouTube:
Wilderness Song: Shenandoah
Stewards of the Trail: Shenandoah Wilderness

40% of the land in Shenandoah National Park is designated wildernes (map). This Wilderness provides natural habitat for wildlife and wildflowers and preserves the human history held within the mountains. This Wilderness also offers respite from hectic daily life.

In 1964, the U.S. Congress passed a law known as the Wilderness Act, which created a National Wilderness Preservation System to provide an "enduring resource of wilderness" for present and future generations.

The Wilderness Act designated 9 million acres of federal public land as wilderness. Subsequent acts of Congress have added wilderness areas to the National Wilderness Preservation System. Today, over 106 million acres across the country are protected as wilderness.

In 1976, Congress designated 79,579 acres of Shenandoah National Park as Wilderness, under the recently adopted Eastern Wilderness Act. The park's wilderness area offers outstanding opportunities for solitude and recreation. Many park trails are in designated wilderness. Most overlooks allow you to view wilderness along Skyline Drive.

Extra care should be taken when exploring Shenandoah's wilderness. Wilderness visitors should practice Leave No Trace principle so that the park's wilderness is protected for future generations of explorers. For overnight camping in Shenandoah's wilderness, plan ahead and prepare by researching Shenandoah's backcountry camping information and regulations.


Last updated: July 3, 2018

Contact the Park

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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