Seemingly infinite natural beauty can be found at Shenandoah National Park, located just 70 miles from urban Washington, D.C. The park’s thousands of awe-inspiring acres of protected wilderness are a sanctuary for the white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcat and more than 50 other mammals.
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The historic Big Meadows Lodge, built in 1939, has an easy, natural feeling and is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park is home to the Shenandoah River, a stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains and 500 miles of trails, including a section of the renowned Appalachian Trail. It is overflowing with wetlands, waterfalls, forests and mountain peaks. One of the best ways to see it all is via Skyline Drive, a 105-mile scenic road that runs the entire length of the park. Designated a national park in 1935, Shenandoah has been enticing visitors from around the globe for decades.
Skyline Drive, which runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is considered one of the best mountain drives in America, is the only public road through Shenandoah National Park. It consists of 75 overlooks and a plethora of opportunities to see wildlife and the park’s stunning natural beauty. No trip to Shenandoah National Park is complete without visiting nearby Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the eastern United States and home to the Great Stalactite Organ; Dark Hollow Falls, a 70-foot cascading waterfall that is one of the park’s most iconic attractions; and Hawksbill Mountain, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park. Hiking at least part of the world-famous Appalachian Trail is also a must.
The best time to visit Shenandoah National Park is from September through November and March through May when the park is its most beautiful. October is the best month to watch the fall foliage explode in a cornucopia of color.