Shenandoah National Park may be the world’s most beautiful highway right-of-way. This park in central Virginia stretches for 105 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains from Waynesboro north to Front Royal, flanking the Skyline Drive, a scenic byway that connects with the Blue Ridge Parkway.
But there’s more to Shenandoah National Park than a pretty drive. Nearly 80,000 acres of the park are designated as wilderness, providing ample opportunity for solitude and adventure just 75 miles from Washington, D.C. There are more than 500 miles of hiking trails in the park, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
The scramble to the top of Old Rag Mountain is perhaps the most popular hike in the park — despite being one of the toughest. The eight-mile loop includes a three-mile section with a 2,200-foot climb. It is a hike for the fit and daring. Like water features? Another popular and tough hike is the Cedar Run, White Oak Canyon loop.
An estimated 300-500 black bears roam Shenandoah National Park and visitors must take care when storing food. You’re also likely to spot white-tailed deer and gray squirrels. Coyotes, red fox, gray fox, raccoons, possums and woodchucks may also be observed.
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