View Full Version : Car camping SNP

12-14-2007, 13:35
Is there a good place to car camp in SNP this time of the year. I thought I might want to hit this place up before returning to the plains but I'll only have a night during my drive. A place that I can setup near the car to watch all my crap would be nice, but I know that it might not be a possibility.


Oh, and what temp range will I be looking at for lows. 20's?

12-14-2007, 14:05
Campgrounds are all closed.

12-14-2007, 14:08
Nobody is going to mess with your car in SNP, I should say highly unlikely.
Get a map, drive and park, hike away and camp. They do have rules about where you can and can't camp and they will fine you if you are caught. Yes lows in the 20's or teens most likely. And they do lock the gates it if they have ice or snow, don't get locked in. Have fun.

12-14-2007, 19:57
As an alternative, for car camping, you might consider the Shenandoah River State Park. http://www.virginia.org/site/description.asp?AttrID=29462&MGrp=1&MCat=13

I stayed there a couple of years ago and it was very pleasant. Our tent site was right on the river, an easy walk from a very clean bathhouse and from the parking area. There are nice trails in the state park, and it's close to the national park too. I don't know if they close for the winter, but you might check it out.

Pedaling Fool
12-14-2007, 21:56
Does it cost money to drive into SNP this time of year?

12-14-2007, 22:44
generally speaking yes it costs money to drive into SNP

12-15-2007, 14:12
This URL should answer most of your questions on SNP in winter:


Backcountry camping is the only legal form of camping between December and March. All campsites with parking spaces are closed.

I don't know if this would meet your needs, but some shelters are only a half mile or so from the road. Thus, you could get a free back-country permit, park your car at the parking for that area, hike a half mile to the shelter, and then spend the night there. This is what I did on one of my early "wimpy newbie" campouts, although it was not in winter.

There's no mention of free entrace at this time, so, although Skyline Drive is open, you'll still have to pay to get on it.

12-17-2007, 08:52
If the park is closed try parking at Manassas gap (where AT crosses I-66) and hiking up to the Manassas Gap shelter.

12-17-2007, 09:23
if you stop in the south/central region of SNP you can easily hike down to pinefield hut at pinefield gap. it's not far from the road and is pretty well sheltered from the wind as it is kind of down in a ravine?

12-17-2007, 15:29
I'd go down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Lot less regulation as it is national forest area. No fees. Park off road and camp in the woods. But no commercial campgrounds open.

12-17-2007, 16:01
Park free at Thornton Gap in the lower lot of the now-defunct Panorama Restaurant, even if Skyline Drive is closed due to weather. You can get into the lower lot via US211 without entering Skyline Drive. Get a free backcountry permit at the self-registration kiosk at the "east" end of the upper lot. Hike about a mile north to Pass Mt. Hut via the AT and a blue-blazed access trail--or just hike in on the Pass Mt. fire road. Good shelter, newly restored fire pit, double privy, rehabbed tentsites. Spring wasn't doing so great last time I checked 2+ weeks ago, but we've had decent precip since. Best bet: haul in enough water to get by.

If you want something more ambitious, visit www.mvshuttle.com (http://www.mvshuttle.com). There are all sorts of shuttle options that involve boundary access points when Skyline Drive is closed.

We had an ice storm Saturday, and the Drive has been closed since that forecast came out early in the day. It was still closed as of 3pm Monday. There is still significant ice visible in the trees from the west side (Shenandoah Valley) at or near ridgeline. We're all hoping that doesn't mean a lot of downed trees and limbs along trails and the Drive. Haven't heard anything pro or con yet.