View Full Version : Highlights for Shenandoah National Park

07-08-2015, 10:21
Greetings all!

I am on Vacation with family in Front Royal in a few weeks and would like to spend a day or two in SNP. It would be me and my 2 kids (no wife) and I'd like to make the best of it. It will likely be constrained to maybe 1 overnight but then again, we are staying with family in Front Royal. My main question is, what are some of the best things to see, that could involve some miles on the AT but not limited to, and my kids won't mutiny over :D. They are 10yo girl and 8yo boy. Both can hike but the girl has much less interest. Looking online I can't narrow down anything so it would be great to get a few pointers and I've come to trust many of the opinions here. Help me whiteblaze, you're my only hope!


07-08-2015, 10:35
Check this set of trip plans out: http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/campbc_trip_plans.htm

Favorite areas for me: Rose River (easy day hike, even easier overnight), Jeremy's Run (more moderate day hike or loop, easy overnight), Old Rag (more challenging day hike), Whiteoak Canyon & Ceder Run (more challenging day hike). Other areas further south but lots to do nearer to Front Royal. The AT in general is not difficult. If you have access to two cars, you could do the entire north district AT in 2 nights/3 days. The central district AT has more developed areas you pass through. You could even stay in lodging facilities each night (Lewis Mountain, Big Meadows, Skyland).

07-08-2015, 10:36
Limiting my answers to the northern and north-central parts of the park.

Old Rag is the obvious choice, but depends on the kids' ability to go through the rock scramble part. You'll likely have to help them through some tough stretches, but for a kid (and adult) it's definitely more fun than "just walking".

Less of a challenge, but almost as good a view, is Mary's Rock. You can do a relatively short round trip hike from skyline drive and get a great 360* view from the top.

A little bit closer to Front Royal, I'd recommend North and South Marshall Mountains, both of which run along the AT. There's a nice ~12 mile loop from Jenkins Gap Parking area that hits those two peaks on the AT and passes a shelter with tent sites.

07-08-2015, 10:40
A walk up to Mary's Rock offers a fantastic view.

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07-08-2015, 10:41
Once you've narrowed it down, the following site has great information. The other thing you can do with a vehicle is combine several shorter day hikes in a single day in the north region of the park.


07-08-2015, 11:35
This is all great info! Thank you for your help so far!
Always best to hear first hand experience

07-08-2015, 12:08
It's been several years since I've done it but we enjoyed our hike down to Camp Hoover, very interesting and historical place.

Gambit McCrae
07-08-2015, 12:14
old stony man mountain

Rocket Jones
07-08-2015, 13:08
+1 on Mary's Rock. A little further south is the Limberlost trail. That's more of a nice walk than a hike, but we ran into a lot of deer grazing along the path when we were there. If you want to see some history, the hike down to Corbin's Cabin is pretty cool. There are several old chimneys still standing in the woods to show where cabins used to be. For that one, doing a little online research first would be recommeded, the background story is pretty interesting and tragic.

07-08-2015, 22:05
All great suggestions. I'll add Hawksbill as an easy day hike with (in my opinion) one of the best views.

07-09-2015, 20:23
overall run can be made into a nice day loop or a 3-4 mile (each way) in and back. If you hike past the falls and down to the water, you come to a really nice place with some hot tub sized pools that would be fun to play in.

07-10-2015, 12:39
All fantastic suggestions! Once I iron out an itinerary I'll let y'all know.

07-13-2015, 11:15
Will be driving all of skyline drive on a trip to new river gorge from HF. Planning to hike some of the AT south of HF again, and the along the VA/WV border down south too where it skirts the state line again. Anyway I would love to know best pull-overs/lookouts on skyline drive for a nice lunch break. Will be back to hike the whole length here at some point but for now, i'd like to just stop for lunch on the car ride and if there's a short easy mile-ish loop from a parking area with great views we could do with my sister in law who doesn't like rough hikes, please let me know. Mary's rock sounds nice. Also, we will be staying the night in Waynesboro. What are the cool places to go there. Outfitter? Restuarants? Is there a quick hike there I could do in the morning before we head west ?

07-13-2015, 11:23
If you do Mary's Rock, look into approaching it from the south as it is a much easier hike (which your Sis in law will appreciate). Stony man is a short hike off of Skyline drive as well.

07-13-2015, 11:48
little stony man looks amazing and .9 mi RT.

07-13-2015, 11:53
Taken from Little Stony Man last Winter


07-13-2015, 11:59
is the path to the first cliffs fairly graded and easy? just thinkin of my sis. she will do it if its easy. i think the view is worth it. the distance is perfect for a lunch break.

07-13-2015, 12:08
If I remember correctly, yes. The ground was covered in a bit of snow so I cant say for sure. If it helps, my 9 year old dog (who is showing his age), a 10 lb toy poodle, and my fiance all did it that day. You should be fine.

07-13-2015, 12:37
ok thanks! one last ? - is this the trailhead right near skyland if she prefers to sit in the lodge while we go?

07-13-2015, 12:45
The trail head for Little Stony man is located right off of Skyline Drive and is a short hike. The trail head for Stony Man is located at a parking lot right next to Skyland. You can do a circuit hike and hit both.


Here is the map:


07-13-2015, 13:44
Black Rock Summit Trail is a 1 mile loop. trailhead at mile 85 .Well worth the trip. Rockfish Gap Outfitters is on the rt on route 250 as you enter Waynesboro. And a lot of hikers like the AYCE at Ming's

07-13-2015, 14:47
Excellent. So far on the agenda in no particular order- Stony Man and Little Stony Man, and Whiteoak Canyon for a lil swimming.

07-13-2015, 14:55
overall run can be made into a nice day loop or a 3-4 mile (each way) in and back. If you hike past the falls and down to the water, you come to a really nice place with some hot tub sized pools that would be fun to play in.

Just hiked this on Saturday. The total distance was 5.1 miles from the Trace Trail trail head at Matthews Arm. We made a few detours and hiked a bit further. Overall (no pun intended), it was a nice hike.

07-13-2015, 20:52
We like bear fence too, has a small bit of rock scrambling.

07-13-2015, 22:15
hows the ability level on black rock? saw it on a thru's video channel and it looks awesome too. are these mile markers from North to South or South to North

Pedaling Fool
07-13-2015, 22:58
Black rock is a geological wonder, at least in my mind. It's just something you gotta see and wonder how all those rocks got there. Very unique for the area.

07-14-2015, 00:36
1 is northernmost. Utterly unchallenging except for hopping around on the rockpile itself.Which is where the fun is. Excellent lunch spot.

07-14-2015, 03:56
Old Rag is the best part of the park (lived in Luray for a bit). If you are using the AT take a side loop on blue blazes to hit all the waterfalls south of the Elkton entrance.

Odd Man Out
07-14-2015, 11:57
We were staying at Big Meadows Lodge and went to the big meadow at dusk. There were about a bazillion deer there (well maybe only 1/2 a bazillion - enough I couldn't count). That was pretty cool.