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12 Best Hikes in Shenandoah National Park

12 Best Hikes in Shenandoah National Park


The US has some unimaginable nationwide parks, and Shenandoah National Park is certainly one of them. Just a 1.5-hour drive from Washington DC, Shenandoah has over 200,000 acres of wildlife and spectacular surroundings. The park extends throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, with the well-known Skyline Drive reducing by means of the center. Shenandoah National Park has tons of wildlife, together with black bears. It additionally has dramatic mountains, and Old Rag Mountain and Hawksbill Mountain provide among the finest hikes in Shenandoah.

What are the perfect hikes in Shenandoah National Park moreover summit hikes, although? Shenandoah has over 500 miles of mountain climbing trails to discover, so you aren’t wanting choices.

Top Hikes in Shenandoah National Park

From waterfall hikes to mountain climbing, we’ve picked the best possible hikes in Shenandoah National Park. These mountain climbing trails are certain to get you feeling impressed.

1. Mill Prong Trail

Hikes in shenandoah National Park Mill Prong Trail
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Mill Prong is a scenic, fairly woodland hike. Hikers are surrounded by wildflowers like mountain laurels and shaded by the bushes round them. The path additionally runs alongside Mill Prong River, and also you’ll cross over the river through a number of footbridges all through the hike. A return hike takes round two hours, and Mill Prong is an out-and-back path.

So, why do you have to hike this path? Well, its Rapidan Camp’s endpoint was as soon as the vacation residence of President Herbert Hoover and First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. The couple spent many a cheerful time in the woodland camp, and now you’ll be able to view the camp as a historic attraction. There are three cabins in complete, with one signposted because the Prime Minister’s and informative indicators dotted round with tales and details in regards to the camp and the way Hoover spent his time there.

Mill ProngTrail Map
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The path begins reverse Milam Gap Parking Lot, located alongside Skyline Drive. You briefly be a part of the Appalachian Trail earlier than almost instantly turning left onto the blue-marked Mill Prong Trail. After following the riverside path for a short while, you make the primary river crossing, after which you retain proper on the yellow marked Mill Prong Horse Trail. From this level, you persist with the path till you attain Rapidan Camp.

Mill Prong is a unbelievable hike of reasonable problem. The path distance is simply 3.7 miles return, quick sufficient for households or much less match hikers to deal with. If you fall into these classes, simply permit an additional hour or two to finish the hike.

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Ready for some quickfire details? These are the statistics that you need to know

Trail distance: 3.7 milesDifficulty: ModerateElevation achieve: 223 metersTrailhead: Milam Gap Parking Lot

2. Rose River Loop Trail

Rose River Falls Trail Hikes in Shenandoah National Park
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Rose River Loop Trail is one other stunning riverside hike. However, not like Mill Prong, this route hops alongside completely different waterfalls. The dramatic endpoint is Rose River Falls – certainly one of Shenandoah’s most well-known waterfalls. Hikers can benefit from the Rose River Trail at a sedate tempo, because the reasonable hike is simply 3.8 miles lengthy on a loop path. You ought to permit round two hours to finish the whole hike.

Rose River Falls is a shocking 67-foot waterfall, hidden away in woodland and solely accessible through the loop path. After following Rose River for many of the route, reaching the huge waterfall is an appreciated reward. Some folks select to swim in the waterfalls plunge pool, and also you’ll in all probability be simply persuaded on a heat day. Either manner, pack a picnic and plan to take a seat for some time for a break subsequent to the falls.

Rose RiverTrail Map
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Rose River Loop Trail sits reverse Fishers Gap parking space, which is positioned on Skyline Drive. Once you’ve parked, cross the street and head straight down the fireplace observe, aka Rose River Fire Road. After a couple of minutes, you attain a yellow marked lefthand flip off for the Skyland Big Meadows Horse Trail. Taking this flip, you proceed for simply over half a mile earlier than recognizing the blue-marked Rose River Trail. It is right here that the journey begins, and you’ve got numerous cascades ready for you alongside this route part – together with Rose River Falls itself.

Rose River Trail is an exquisite reasonable hike of simply 3.8 miles. The spherical journey is well tackled in half a day, so it’s good in case you are quick on time however need a rewarding mountain climbing expertise. Bring your mountain climbing boots and a swimming costume, and also you’ll have a unbelievable time.

Statistics about this hike:

Trail distance: 4 milesDifficulty: ModerateElevation achieve: 267 metersTrailhead: Fishers Gap Overlook Car Park

3. Dark Hollow Falls Trail

Rose River Falls Trail Hikes in Shenandoah National Park Dark Hollow Falls
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Dark Hollow Falls Trail is without doubt one of the most beautiful waterfall hikes in Shenandoah National Park – particularly in spring when mountain laurel dots the path with pink and autumn when the leaves flip yellow. The 70ft Dark Hollow Falls is without doubt one of the most well-known sights in Shenandoah National Park. The waterfall’s path is considerably of an area icon in the mountain climbing scene.

The title ‘Dark Hollow Falls Trail’ makes it sound fairly gothic. It is true that the river stays in the shadows for a lot of the day. However, that is rather more exaggerated in autumn and winter. During these months, the low lighting is ideal for long-exposure pictures. It cuts an exquisite distinction towards the moist rock and autumnal leaves. Dark Hollow Falls is an atmospheric, scenic quick hike.

Dark Hollow Falls Trail
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Dark Hollow Falls Trailhead is in the parking space, which sits at mile 50.7 on Skyline Drive. Park up and head to the north finish of the parking space. You’ll entry the trailhead, crossing a stream and heading downhill alongside the Hogcamp Branch River. After round half a mile, you’ll emerge at Dark Hollow Falls, and you’ll spend a second admiring the 70ft waterfall up shut.

Walking to Dark Hollow Falls is ideal for those who wrestle with instructions. The out and again path is one route down and one route again – simple and easy for a soothing quick stroll. Apart from the uphill return hike, the observe is undemanding and suited to newcomers. Remember that it may be slippery in moist months and that venturing off the path will be dangerous due to all of the hidden drops.

Hiking particulars that you need to know:

Trail distance: 1.4 milesDifficulty: ModerateElevation achieve: 172 metersTrailhead: Dark Hollow Falls Parking Area

4. Upper Hawksbill Trail

Hawksbill trail Shenandoah National Park
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Are you extra of a panorama individual than a waterfall lover? Take our recommendation and climb certainly one of Shanandoah’s mountains. Hawksbill Mountain is without doubt one of the finest hikes for stunning viewpoints in Shenandoah National Park. It has beautiful views over the encompassing mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Upper Hawksbill Trail is an thrilling summit hike, but it solely takes round an hour to finish a spherical journey. The Hawksbill summit hike is brief and candy – packing a punch right into a 2.1-mile path.

So, you might be in all probability questioning how troublesome tackling Hawksbill Mountain actually is. The route is a little bit of a combination and has some difficult hike sections, however it’s a straightforward path for probably the most half. The solely tough half is in the final quarter of the hike, the place the trail turns into steep, rocky terrain that you need to choose your manner by means of rigorously. Wear sturdy mountain climbing boots, and also you’ll be completely wonderful. It helps that the path distance is low, and the elevation achieve is comparatively gradual.

Upper Hawksbill Trail Map
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Park up on the Upper Hawksbill car parking zone and head straight to the blue-marked Upper Hawksbill Trailhead. The preliminary part is a large path that weaves by means of dense woodland. You then head barely downhill to intersect Hawksbill Fire Road and be a part of the street for the ultimate climb to the summit. This part is probably the most difficult underfoot, with rocky terrain to navigate.

The National Parks Service maintains the path effectively, however you have to be ready for this part to be somewhat extra tough and prepared than the opposite sections. Walkers emerge triumphantly on the summit and are met with sweeping views of Shenandoah Valley, Old Rag Mountain, and Betty’s Rock. If you feel bold, you’ll be able to attempt time reaching the summit with the dawn for the final word views.

Tackling the Hawksbill summit is great if you need a hike that provides you with a powerful sense of accomplishment. The route can be good and quick – good for squeezing right into a busy itinerary. Did we point out that Hawksbill Mountain summit is the best level in the nationwide park? Completing this hike is sort of an achievement.

Hiking particulars that you need to know:

Trail distance: 2.1 milesDifficulty: ModerateElevation achieve: 149 metersTrailhead: Upper Hawksbill Trailhead

5. Bearfence Mountain Trail

Bearfence Mountain Trail Shenandoah National Park
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Bearfence Mountain may not be as huge as Hawksbill, however the peak nonetheless has spectacular summit views. You can attain the summit through the Bearfence Mountain Trail – an intense, single-mile path incorporating a rock scramble. Bearfence Mountain Trail is an thrilling hike for individuals who need an journey and good views.

While not technically difficult, you will have to be pleased to attempt new issues and get caught in in case you are a newbie. Rock scrambles require endurance, confidence, and a constructive perspective. But for those who can tick these qualities off, you’ll have an incredible hike. Scrambling up Bearfence Mountain is ideal if you need a memorable journey in Shenandoah National Park.

Bearfence Mountain Trail Map
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Start your hike by parking in Bearfence Mountain Parking Lot, simply off Skyline Drive. You then cross Skyline Drive to the trailhead reverse the car parking zone to start the stroll. Bearfence Mountain Trail rapidly adjustments terrain from a steep slope to rock scrambles. From a navigational perspective, it’s a straightforward hike because you simply preserve heading up in direction of the summit. Be ready to really feel out of breath, however the climb is so quick that you’ll handle so long as you could have a primary health stage. You’ll be richly rewarded, too, because the summit has 360-degree views over the nationwide park.

Bearfence Mountain may not be the tallest, however it’s the most enjoyable. No different path in Shenandoah National Park has the identical distinctive construction as Bearfence Mountain Trail. The rock scramble is ideal for adventurous newcomers and intermediate hikers.

Hiking particulars that you need to know:

Trail distance: 1 mileDifficulty: ModerateElevation achieve: 74 metersTrailhead: Bearfence Mountain Parking Lot

6. Stony Man Trail

Stony Man Trail Shenandoah National Park
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Fancy a straightforward hike? The Stony Man Trail is the one for you. It is without doubt one of the finest hikes in Shenandoah National Park and is simply 1.5 miles lengthy. Even higher? The path has minimal and gradual elevation achieve, but among the finest views in the nationwide park. Stony Man is a hike that rewards you for primarily the naked minimal.

Stony Man Trail Hiking Map
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So, let’s check out the route. You begin your hike on the Stony Man Parking Area, becoming a member of the Appalachian Trail briefly earlier than turning off on the blue-marked Stony Man Trail. The path right here is easy, and also you quickly attain the Stony Man Viewpoint. The Stony Man Viewpoint is somewhat rocky outcrop overlooking the valley. Usually, there’s a tiny rainwater pool on the summit. After appreciating the view, you simply retrace your steps to the car parking zone since it’s an out-and-back path.

Stony Man Trail is unbelievable. And, if you need a brief stroll, it’s simply certainly one of your finest choices. Stony Man is a match made in heaven for mountain climbing newcomers with the spectacular summit viewpoint, clearly marked path, and quick path distance.

Hiking particulars that you need to know:

Trail distance: 1.5 milesDifficulty: EasyElevation achieve: 97 metersTrailhead: Stony Man Parking Area

7. Cedar Run Falls Trail

Cedar Run Falls Shenandoah National Park
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Cedar Run Falls Trail is a difficult waterfall hike that requires round 5 hours to finish. It is finest to allocate a complete day to this hike, as it’s straightforward to get distracted by the various waterfalls and pure swimming swimming pools dotted alongside the out-and-back path. Cedar Run Falls Trail is a enjoyable, longer hike appropriate for these wanting a problem or whole-day exercise.

Many hikers use the path’s well-known pure water slide and problem themselves to some well-liked cliff jumps. You might want to pack swimwear to affix in (at your personal threat). It is price noting that Cedar Run Trail has skilled some closures over current years. Check the National Park Service web site earlier than visiting to examine if the path is open and welcoming guests.

Cedar Run Falls Trail Hike Map
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Start your hike at Hawksbill Gap Parking Area. Soon you cross a footbridge throughout Cedar Run River, and from this level, you comply with the river and spot waterfalls alongside the best way. Once you move the primary few waterfalls, the route will get very steep and slippery, so that you’ll want wonderful footwear. Cedar Run Cascade is close to the endpoint and value reaching if doable.

So, do you have to select Cedar Run Falls? Yes, if you need a strenuous hike that may push you to your limits. The stroll most closely fits skilled hikers with good technical means, health, and mountain climbing gear. That stated, although, the route is stuffed with pure sights and really entertaining to hike.

Hiking particulars that you need to know:

Trail distance: 5.8 milesDifficulty: ChallengingElevation achieve: 685 metersTrailhead: Hawksbill Gap Parking Area

8. Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail Shenandoah National Park
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