Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (Joe Sohm/Photodisc )

Overlook in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (Greg Dale/National Geographic/Getty )

Upper Doyles River Falls, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (Robert Cable/Photographer's Choice/Getty)

South River Falls, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (Wikimedia)

Autumn mountain landscape Shenandoah National Park (iStockphoto)

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park (Brand X Pictures)

Dawn skies over Virginia mountain ranges Shenandoah National Park (Stockbyte)

Storm over Blue Ridge Mountains Shenandoah National Park (iStockphoto)


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What to do in Shenandoah National Park

This narrow Mid-Atlantic jewel stretches across 199,000 acres of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just 60 miles from Washington, D.C. The park is anchored by Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that affords staggering views of the surrounding landscape of piedmont, plains, and rolling peaks. But be sure to get out of your car often; Shenandoah boasts some of the best hiking around, from jaunts through carpets of lush ferns to a climb up Old Rag—one of the most rigorous and satisfying hikes in the region. Other parks are likely jealous of Shenandoah’s section of the Appalachian Trail; it’s one of the best-maintained on the 2,184-mile-long route. Plus dozens of other trails lead to waterfalls, overlooks, and ravines ideal for multi-day backpacking. Established campsites, kid-friendly events, and on-mountain lodging round out the experience.