View Full Version : Section Hiking Shenandoah National Park

12-02-2014, 21:34
I'm planning a NOBO section hike of SNP in ~5 days and would like input on logistics getting on/off the trail and coordinating back to/from the nearest airport. I've noticed several posts that mention renting a car and dropping it, but I've not had any luck finding information on shuttling or guide services. I would rather use a pickup/drop-off shuttle service to get to/from the park if they are available and reasonably priced. If I have to rent a car and drop it, are there any shuttles I can hire out to take me to the other end of the park?

I'm open to any recommendations y'all might have in regards to coordinating logistics - Here are the questions that I need your help on, if I've left off anything feel free to add:

What's the best way to manage getting from the closest major airport to the trail (rent a car or are there shuttles/guides that I can hire out for a pickup/dropoff)?
Is there any place close to the trail that I can stay at the end of my travel-day, and the day I come off the trail?
I'd like to pick up my permits the day before I start the hike (on my travel day), is there one place over another I should arrange to pick them up?

Thanks so much for your help!


12-02-2014, 22:00
Check out the PATC web site they take care of the trail there

12-02-2014, 23:03
Charlottesville Regional Airport is the closet major airport to the southern part of SNP, around 25 miles away.
There is a direct flight from major hubs in the northeast , not sure about Cincy . From the airport inquire about shuttle services available to Waynesboro . The Comfort Inn there offers hiker rates and is where many hikers stay in town. The other option is the YMCA which is run by a local church , making for a donation based hostel of sorts. They have an outdoor pavillion with hammock hooks from what I've heard

** While there in Waynesboro make a reservation to eat at New Ming Garden Buffet on Federal St.(540.943.3889.)

Either place will have a shuttle list of names that could get you to the trail on your start date. Starting at the southern end and hiking nobo will take you 101 miles to get to the official end of the parks boundry. I might suggest ending at Compton Gap which gets you very close and offers a road crossing where a shuttle can pick you up.

From there you have the driver either take you south to the town of Luray or north to Front Royal. Having knowledge of the Luray area there are any number of motels/ hotels off of Rt.211 near the Caverns. Inepensive motels are any in the downtown area except for the historic Mimslyn Inn
The motel across from it is relatively inexpensive , $ 75 range.

12-03-2014, 10:02
VERY helpful! Thanks a ton!

12-03-2014, 11:05
There are self-registration kiosks near the entrance stations to Skyline Drive. Also right on the AT near the southern and northern boundaries. You fill out the ticket, leave the carbon copy behind in a drop box, and hike with the other part. These are free, but the fine for being caught without one is not. :-)

JohnnyBGood's advice is otherwise spot on, but in winter counting on a pickup at Compton Gap might not work out. The Park closes Skyline Drive a lot during winter. Between early November and early January, the gates close on the north and south districts at dusk ostensibly to combat deer poaching (central district joins these after Thanksgiving weekend). Also, the Drive gets closed anytime there is snow, ice, or sometimes even a forecast for same. So a shuttle driver would not be able to get in to pick you up at Compton Gap under these scenarios.

Also, cell coverage within the Park is spotty at best, so calling a shuttle driver close to when you need him or her might be iffy (and what if you need to leave messages--how can you be sure you'll have signal when/if the callback happens?). Arranging a shuttle over a week in advance also presents its own challenges for both you and the driver. You both would need to adhere to a schedule that might not work out in reality for the date and time of the shuttle. How would you reliably stay in communication if plans need to change? Outside of winter, there are other communication options and more people/rangers etc. around but in winter SNP is a much different place.

I suggest you keep hiking north on the AT until the road crossing at US522---a couple hours +/- beyond Compton Gap. There, you'd be more likely to have some cell signal. It's only four miles from Front Royal, so the shuttle or cab ride would be cheaper. And if you position yourself in a logical place for cars to safely stop on the "north" side of 522, hitching into FroRo is common. From there, you're in a town and many options open up.