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Enjoy Amazing Views in Shenandoah National Park on Your Next Virginia Camping Trip
Shenandoah National Park is located in Virginia and encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a long and narrow park with the Shenandoah River and Valley on the west side with the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont to the east. Almost 40% of the park has been designated as wilderness, and Skyline Drive is one of the most well known features of the park. Once you enter Shenandoah National Park, you’d never guess you are just 75 miles from the state’s capital, Richmond. The beautiful mountains, rich woods, wonderful fields and amazing vistas make Shenandoah National Park an excellent Virginia camping destination that you should not pass up!
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Shenandoah National Park has four distinct seasons, and each one has something beautiful to offer. Winter brings snow to the park and the higher elevation means heavier snowfall. Winter storms can be severe, so be prepared for inclement weather. Fall is one of the most popular times to visit the park as it is best known for its beautiful fall foliage! As the season moves from summer to fall, vibrant colors fill the park. Spring is also an excellent time to visit, and it tends to be much less crowded. Spring offers rich green foliage and gorgeous blooming wild flowers. Summer temperatures are nice, and the higher elevation of the park offers as much as a 10 degree difference from the valleys below, making the park a nice reprieve from summer heat. Seven day passes cost $10 December through February. They are $15 March through November. An annual pass costs $30. An inter-agency pass that grants access into most national parks costs $80. Open year round, Shenandoah National Park is a great Virginia camping destination any time of the year!
One of the most popular features of the park is Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive is 105 miles long and runs north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is the only public road in the park. The maximum speed limit on this road is 35 mph, which makes it an excellent, beautiful and relaxing drive with amazing views of the park and many turnoffs for exploration out of the car. 75 overlooks offer many opportunities to pull over and see amazing views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the Piedmont to the east. Wildflowers grow alongside the road year round and many animals may be spotted along it, including black bears, deer, wild turkeys and more! The slow speed not only allows you a chance to glimpse them along the side of the road but also to avoid any who decide to suddenly cross your path. Once you’ve seen the park from Skyline Drive, the best way to explore it is on foot. There are many terrific hiking trails throughout the park. Horseback riding and bike riding are also great ways to see everything the park has to offer. Old Rag Mountain is Shenandoah National Park’s most popular, and dangerous, hike! Taking on Old Rag Mountain requires a fair amount of preparation, and because it is so strenuous, it is best left to experienced hikers in good shape. If you plan to tackle this hike, allow for 7-8 hours, bring plenty of water, and allows be safety conscious. There are a number of ways you can hike Old Rag Mountain, but most will take you over, under and through rocks, require shimmying, crawling, and sliding, and will be an exciting, memorable and beautiful hike! Whether you want to test yourself on Old Rag Mountain, or enjoy a leisurely day fishing or lounging by a waterfall, Shenandoah National Park is a terrific Virginia camping destination with endless opportunities for adventure!
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