Explore Nature at Shenandoah National Park

Explore Nature at Shenandoah National Park

In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress passed the Wilderness Act that designated 9 million acres of federal public land in the Wilderness Preservation System.

Shenandoah National Park has 79,579 acres of Wilderness, which accounts for 40% of the park. Areas that have been deemed Wilderness provide places for human recreational pursuits, sanctuaries for wildlife habitats, sites where research can be conducted and reservoirs to hold clean water.

Shenandoah National Park is proud to celebrate 50 years of the Wilderness Act with special events throughout the park:

Celebrating Wilderness Through Photography | September 6
Join professional photographers Rob and Ann Simpson for seminar that will introduce you to the skills needed to capture nature during your Shenandoah Valley vacation. Pre-registration is required by email: shen_education@nps.gov.

Wilderness Week | September 7
This fun-filled day celebrates the special places in America’s vast wilderness.

Apple Butter Celebration | September 20
Go for a DriveWatch as the Skyland staff sets up kettles for boiling apples that become jars of apple butter. Enjoy tastings and activities like Bluegrass music, clogging, pony rides and balloon tosses throughout the day.

National Public Lands Day | September 27
Become a volunteer and take part in activities that help to maintain the beauty of the park.

Get in Your Car and Drive

There’s only one public road in the entire park—Skyline Drive. If weather conditions are perfect, you can travel all 105 miles in just about three hours. Three hours to travel 105 miles? Yep, that’s because you max out at a top speed of 35 mph. But this is one trip where you don’t want things to fly by. The landscapeis full of fresh vibrant colors from the undisturbed flowers that grow along the roadside. White-tailed deer, black bear, turkey and other woodland critters roam freely and meander into the road right in front you. So be careful and keep your eyes open. Closer looks are encouraged but make sure you pull completely off the road and stay in your car. If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to remind them that feeding the animals is not allowed. That’s one of the most important rules you can follow when visiting a national park. This winding road is full of spectacular things to see, including 75 overlooks with views of the Shenandoah Valley so stunning they’ll take your breath away. To help you get the most out of your journey, mileposts mark the spots of interest along the way.

Go Fish

Go FishAnglers rejoice! More than 70 streams are available for fishing adventures. Brook trout are abundant, but before you cast out your line and reel in the big one, make sure you know the rules. You’ll need to obtain all the proper licenses and familiarize yourself with the regulations before you start fishing.

Ride a Bike

Biking is permitted on designated roads only. The best route is on Rapidan Fire Road along Skyline Drive. You are not allowed on any unpaved trails or grassy areas. Please be aware that reflectors and lights will not provide adequate safety during periods of heavy fog.

Shenandoah National Park is open every day of the year. During times of inclement weather and hunting season, portions of Skyline Drive will be closed. Even if the sections of the park are closed to motor vehicles, you can still enter by foot and explore the Wilderness at your leisure.

photo credit: Kevin J Kelley Photo via photopin cc
photo credit: daveynin via photopin cc