Shenandoah was the fourth National Park on our summer 2018 National Parks trip. We left Congaree and headed north to Shenandoah in Virginia. As we passed though Charolotte, NC we stopped to meet with good friends who were close with us when we all lived in Fort Myers, Florida. When Lauren and I first met in Fort Myers I was pregnant with Brielle and we had our Foster daughter Elizabeth. Lauren only had her daughter Ali. Now we both have daughters and twin boys.
After our stop in Charlotte we continued on to Shenandoah River State Park. This was our home for three nights while we visited Shenandoah National Park and Washington DC.
Shenandoah River State Park is located about 15 minutes from the north entrance of Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. It is a beautiful spot in the mountains that is quiet and peaceful. I highly recommend this State Park for camping if you come to visit the National Park.
Shenandoah National Park is most visited in the month of October when the leaves change colors. It is a lush mountainous area. Skyline drive is the main road that run the length of the entire National Park from north to south for 105 miles.
Driving the scenic Skyline Drive is the way many people see the park. There are dozens of overlooks where you can view different areas of the mountains and valleys below.
The hiking is phenomenal in this park! Some of the best, most nature filled trails we have experienced in a National Park have been in Shenandoah. We did not encounter large crowds either. While hiking on the trails we were mostly alone. There are so many great hiking trails in this park. The recommendations on Trip Advisor and in our park books varied on which are the best to see and hike. I believe it’s because all of the trails are amazing, which is why different sources recommend different hikes as the best.
Our first hike we did began at the North/ Front Royal Entrance. We did this hike to see the old homesteads in the woods. There was even a very old cemetery in the thick of the woods with headstones dating back to the early 1800’s.
The second hike we did started at the South River Picnic area around mile 63. The mile markers along Skyline drive and on the map are very helpful for locating points of interest, overlooks, waterfalls, hikes, and more. The South River Falls hike ended up being a beautiful, long hike down to a waterfall. Brielle and I hiked to the very bottom of the waterfall. It was a great hike that made my legs sore the next day. It was down and up the mountains at a steep grade. It took us about 3 hours total and was a wonderful hiking experience! Best hike of our trip so far!