One of the most scenic things about the great US are the countries National Parks – these huge swaths of natural landscape (protect by law) are breathtaking in beauty and tremendous in size. The varied terrain comprises of mountains, rolling hills, fields, forests, rivers, lakes and everything in between. They are a pure ecosystem undisturbed by human intervention (mostly). You could spend days exploring a single park, and since there are 58 of them in total, you have a lot of exploring to do. We’ll start with Shenandoah National Park, located in Virginia. This majestic park stretches along the Blue Ridge Mountains with a road, known as the Skyline Drive running through its entire length of roughly 106 miles. Along this length are breathtaking views. Remember if you’re flying to Virginia, you can buy frequent flyer miles which can be exchanged for tickets. Without further ado here are some of the top things you can do in Shenandoah.
Drive on the Skyline Drive
As it was mentioned above, the Skyline Drive is a road which traverses the entire length of the park. It is a winding, curving road that passes in between mountains. It offers spectacular views all around, and has countless viewpoints where you can stop your vehicle and just enjoy the view. Or if you fancy a hike, park your vehicle in any one of the parking spaces located near numerous trails and set off on foot. There are a myriad of choices available.
These are massive underground caverns with 140-ft. natural column formations. In addition it has stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and mirrored pools. You can explore the path that leads through these huge caves.
Old Rag Mountain
Located near Sperryville in Madison County, Virginia, this 3,284 feet mountain’s peak is in Shenandoah National Park. It is the most popular hiking spot within the park, as each day many visitors to the park go to seek out the peak. Once there you can gorge on the spectacular views the peak provides. The circuit hike is 9 miles and is moderately difficult encompassing rock climbing and steep elevation changes. At the minimum you should allow yourself around 7 to 8 hours for the experience. Be sure to read the rules before embarking on the hike. While considerably long, this is one of the parks premier experiences and not worth missing out on.
Dark Hollow Falls
This is a water fall located approximately halfway into the park. It takes around 25 minutes to hike from the Skyline to the location. The hike is easy-medium and doesn’t take too much time. So if you’re short on the latter, you could hike here.
If you’re planning a multiple day trip, there are multiple areas to camp within the park. Matthews Arm Campground, Big Meadows Campground, Lewis Mountain, Loft Mountain and Dundo Group Campground. So if camping is your thing, the park offers plenty.
Visiting Shenandoah is highly recommended. And if you’re short of airlines miles needed for your ticket, you can buy frequent flyer miles online.