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Just 75 miles west of Washington, DC, Shenandoah National Park's formidable spine is the scenic Blue Ridge, a rugged mountain range that temporarily blocked the United States' westward expansion in the 1700s and 1800s. Unlike many western parks, Shenandoah sits in close proximity to civilization: After the park was established in 1926, making it the second national park east of the Mississippi River, it took nearly a decade to clear out 2,500 squatters, and the marks of man still remain. However, Mother Nature has gone a long way to reclaiming the Blue Ridge in the decades since the park came into being.

A paved road called ...

Just 75 miles west of Washington, DC, Shenandoah National Park's formidable spine is the scenic Blue Ridge, a rugged mountain range that temporarily blocked the United States' westward expansion in the 1700s and 1800s. Unlike many western parks, Shenandoah sits in close proximity to civilization: After the park was established in 1926, making it the second national park east of the Mississippi River, it took nearly a decade to clear out 2,500 squatters, and the marks of man still remain. However, Mother Nature has gone a long way to reclaiming the Blue Ridge in the decades since the park came into being.

A paved road called Skyline Drive cuts through the heart of the park, running for more than 100 miles atop the Blue Ridge. There are dozens of overlooks to gawk at the view of pastoral Shenandoah Valley below, and more than 500 miles of trails for hikers to explore. The national park's wild denizens include black bears, coyotes, opossums, and raccoons, as well as a diverse bird population. But the park's human history is as rich as any park, and today it sees many dedicated hikers pass through it every year on the Appalachian Trail, many of whom overnight in Shenandoah's historic Corbin Cabin, built here in 1910.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A National Park in Virginia, including 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the central Appalachians.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring and early fall