Shenandoah National Park Announces Spring Opening Dates
Facilities in Shenandoah National Park are beginning to open and will continue to open throughout the spring. The park’s two visitor centers are now open with rangers providing information at outdoor contact stations and the Park Stores located inside are open with limited capacity. They are operating on the following schedules:
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6 Skyline Drive)
- Open Fridays through Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays), No indoor exhibits or films.
Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51 Skyline Drive)
- Open 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., No indoor exhibits or films.
Campgrounds will open on the following schedule:
- March 25: Lewis Mountain Campground (mile 57.5)
- March 26: Big Meadows Campground (mile 51.2)
- May 5: Mathews Arm Campground (mile 22.2), Loft Mountain Campground (mile 79.5), and Dundo Group Campground (mile 83.7)
Picnic Grounds will open on the following schedule:
- March 25: Lewis Mountain Picnic Grounds (mile 57.5)
- March 26: Big Meadows Picnic Grounds (mile 51.2)
- Open year round: Dickey Ridge Picnic Grounds (mile 4.7), Elkwallow Picnic Grounds (mile 24.1), Pinnacles Picnic Grounds (mile 36.7), South River Picnic Grounds (mile 62.8), and Dundo Picnic Grounds (mile 83.7)
The restaurants, lodges, and associated facilities operated by the park concessioner, Delaware North, will open as follows:
- March 25: Lewis Mountain Cabins and Campstore (mile 57.5)
- March 26: Skyland Resort (mile 41.7 and 42.5)
- March 26: Big Meadows Wayside (mile 51.2)
- April 1: Elkwallow Wayside (mile 24.0)
- April 23: Big Meadows Lodge (mile 51.2)
- April 23: Loft Mountain Wayside (mile 79.5)
- May 5: Loft Mountain Campstore (mile 79.5)
- May 28: Skyland Stables (mile 42.5)
To view full press release: SNP Spring Opening Dates 2021
Shenandoah National Park implements federal mask requirement for COVID-19 prevention and protection
To protect the health of those who live, work, and visit national parks and National Park Service (NPS) facilities, and in support of President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, NPS is immediately implementing a mask requirement for employees, visitors, partners and contractors.
At Shenandoah National Park, face masks are now required in all park buildings and facilities, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops, restaurants, backcountry shelters, picnic pavilions and restrooms. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including crowded trailheads, narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and other areas of interest that draw large groups of visitors.
To view full press release: SNP Face Mask Requirement Press Release
Shenandoah National Park Announces Fee-Free Days in 2021
Luray, Virginia: Shenandoah National Park will waive its entrance fees on seven days in 2021. Six of the days celebrate significant national events and all national parks will waive their entrance fees on those days. The seventh day, Neighbor Appreciation Day, is a special fee-free day for Shenandoah National Park alone. The fee-free days for 2021 are:
To view full press release: SNP Fee Free Days 2021
Shenandoah National Park News Release
Shenandoah Issues Hiking Safety Tips
LURAY, VA – Shenandoah National Park continues to experience an increase in emergency calls, prompting park officials to remind visitors of the need to plan their hiking trips and be prepared. This is especially important during the upcoming colder months when weather is more unpredictable and can be dangerous at higher elevations. Last weekend National Park Service rangers responded to several accidents with injuries and conducted a late-night search for an overdue group of hikers.
The search for four adults began at about 9:00 p.m. when the park’s communications center received a call reporting the group overdue from a hike. A team of NPS search and rescue rangers was dispatched to the call. The NPS located their vehicle at a trailhead and Rangers hiked into the backcountry and were able to find the group at about 2:00 a.m. The hikers were cold, tired, and hungry, but otherwise uninjured.
Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Pat Kenney urges people coming to visit the Park to plan ahead and be prepared. “We have encountered numerous situations that could have been prevented or mitigated with proper planning. Hiking in Shenandoah National Park is a wonderful recreational activity, and your experience will be even better if you are fully prepared for the conditions you may encounter in this mountainous wild place.”
Shenandoah National Park offers trip planning information as well as the Ten Essentials for Hiking Smart.
– www.nps.gov/shen –
About the National Park Service: Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of America’s more than 400 national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with millions of people every year. Learn more at www.nps.gov
We’ve got some great news for 5th graders, veterans, and Gold Star families!
5th graders will now join 4th graders in receiving FREE entrance to all Department of Interior managed lands and waters, which includes all national parks until August 31, 2021. AND effective Veterans Day, November 11, 2020, all U.S. armed service veterans and Gold Star dependents will be granted FREE entrance to all Department of Interior managed lands and waters.
October is a popular time to visit Shenandoah National Park, typically garnering nearly a quarter of the Park’s annual visitation of 1.4 million. The Park is experiencing higher than usual visitation with numbers up for the year about 10% despite a closure in the spring due to the COVID pandemic. Park officials are expecting high visitation in October as visitors come to Shenandoah for the fall leaf display. The first weekend in October saw 14,000 cars enter the park, doubling 2019’s 7,000. According to Superintendent Patrick Kenney, “We know fall is an amazing time to visit the Park; we highly encourage visitors to recognize that is also our most popular time to visit and to anticipate higher levels of visitation and come prepared.
To Read Full Press Release: SNP Issues Travel Tips for October 2020 Press Release
National Park Service (NPS) Regional Director Gay Vietzke has named Patrick Kenney as the new superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.
To Read Full Press Release: Shenandoah National Park News Press Release New Superintendent
Shenandoah National Park Begins Accepting Campground Reservations for 2020 Season
Luray, Virginia: Shenandoah National Park will begin accepting campground reservations for the 2020 season on June 24, 2020. Visitors who would like to camp at Mathews Arm, Big Meadows, Loft Mountain or Dundo campgrounds can go to Recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777 to make reservations from 2-days to 6-months in advance of their trip. A limited number of campsites will be available on a first come-first served basis.
Lewis Mountain Campground will be available on a first come-first served basis for the entire 2020 season.
Entrance fees to the park can also be paid in advance by purchasing a digital pass at: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74293?q=Shenandoah%20National%20Park%20Digital%20Pass.
To Read Full Press Release: 2020 Campground Reservations Press Release
Shenandoah National Park is pleased to announce the opening of a new parking area at Old Rag Mountain near Etlan, Virginia on June 11, 2020. The new parking area was built to provide improved National Park Service access to the Old Rag area hiking trails. It is closer to the Old Rag area trails than the old (leased) lot and allows visitors to remain in the park without hiking on Route 600. The new parking lot will be the primary lot with the old lot being used only when the primary lot fills up. The old parking lot will be retained and divided into two sections. One section will be used as a parking area and the other will be used to stage emergency operations when they occur. This project is not intended to increase public use at Old Rag, only to provide better access. It secures public access to Old Rag on park service property and guarantees access into perpetuity.
New trails have been built to provide access to existing park trails with the goal of keeping visitors in the park and moving them off of Route 600.
- The Ridge Trail trailhead is now located in the new parking lot.
- The Old Rag Access Trail connects the old parking lot with the new parking lot. As a public courtesy, a local landowner has graciously allowed us to build this trail across his private property. Please help us be a good neighbor by staying on the trail when it is finalized next week.
- A portion of the old Ridge Trail has been renamed the Ridge Access Trail. It provides access to the Ridge Trail from the Weakley Hollow Fire Road.
A new fee station building is located at the new parking lot where all visitors will check-in. If the fee station is closed, visitors will pay the park’s entrance fee at a self-pay station. A vault toilet is located next to the fee station and an emergency phone is available on the outside of the fee station building.
A special thanks to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Shenandoah National Park Trust for their generous contributions that made this new trail access and parking area possible.
To Read Full Press Release: Old Rag Parking Area Opening Press Release
Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Shenandoah National Parkis increasing recreational access and services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning June 11, 2020, Shenandoah National Park will reopen access to:
- The entire park will be open 24 hours a day.
- The backcountry, including shelters and huts, will be open for overnight camping. Backcountry campers should be self-reliant and review camping regulations online or at kiosks to self-register their backcountry permits. Kiosks are located at: Entrance Stations, Loft Mountain Wayside, North and South entry points of the Appalachian Trail, and the Old Rag Trailhead parking area. Backcountry cabins will be available for weekend rental by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club at patc.net.
- Campgrounds will open at 12:00 p.m. noon at a limited capacity to meet the Forward Virginia guidelines of a 20-foot separation between campsites to encourage distancing. There will be limited first come-first served sites at this time. No new reservations can be made but we will honor reservations previously made.
- Old Rag and Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run circuit trails will reopen from both Skyline Drive and the boundary. Entrance fees will be collected at the boundary trailheads, unless you have a current pass, and parking will be limited to available parking spots in designated parking areas only. Vehicles parked along the roadside will be ticketed and towed.
- Boundary trailheads will reopen. Vehicles parked illegally will be ticketed and towed.
- Picnic Grounds will reopen at 12:00 p.m. noon. Dickey Ridge Picnic Grounds (mile 4.7) is currently closed and will reopen when construction activities are completed.
Beginning June 12, 2020, the Park will reopen access to:
- The Park Store at Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51) will open. It will operate 5 days a week (Thursday through Monday) from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. A limited number of patrons will be allowed at one time and masks will be required.
Concession-operated services by Delaware North will open as follows, masks will be required:
- June 11, 2020: Elkwallow Wayside (mile 24), Skyland Lodge (mile 41.7 or 42.5), Big Meadows Showers and Woodyard (mile 51), Lewis Mountain Cabins and Campstore (mile 57.2), Loft Mountain Campstore (mile 79.5)
- June 25, 2020: Big Meadows Lodge
- June 26, 2020: Loft Mountain Wayside
To Read Full Press Release: Shenandoah National Park Phase 2 Reopening Press Release