Shenandoah National Park
This park runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains for about 105 miles throughout
Virginia. Driving along the scenic roadway which is called Skyline Drive, there are
75 beautiful overlooks. As a result, we made many stops as we drove because the
mountains looked so colorful during the fall. Visitors are in for a treat when they visit
the National Parks during this time of year. When the weather starts to cool down
and the leaves starts to change, this park becomes a must-see. I highly recommend
adding this to your fall bucket list.
A couple of weeks ago, we decided to come down to Virginia to visit some old
friends. They happened to live near the park, so we had to get in a good hike while
we were there.
Park Entrance Fee
Starting on June 1st, 2018 – the National Park Service announced that they will be
increasing the entrance fees to improve infrastructure and visitor experience. From
now on, the entrance fee is $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, and $15 per
person. Additionally, these fees are good for seven days. However, a season pass
costs $55 annually if you are a frequent visitor.
Free Park Days:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January)
- First day of National Park Week (April)
- National Park Service Birthday (August 25th)
- National Public Lands Day (September)
- Veterans Day (November 11th)
- Loft Mountain
- Mathews Arm/Elkwallow
- Big Meadows
- Lewis Mountain
Where We Hiked: Loft Mountain Trail
Blackrock Summit Hike:
- Easiest Difficulty
- 1-mile circuit
- 0.75-hour hiking time
- 175-foot elevation gain
Frazier Discovery Hike:
- Easy Difficulty
- 1.2-mile circuit
- 1-hour hiking time
- 429-foot elevation gain
Doyles River Falls Hike:
- Moderate Difficulty
- 3.3-mile round trip
- 2.25-hours hiking time
- 1,189-foot elevation gain
Jones Run Falls Hike:
- Moderate Difficulty
- 3.2-mile round trip
- 2.5-hours hiking time
- 1,045-foot elevation gain
Browns Gap Hike:
- Moderately Strenuous Difficulty
- 6.5-mile circuit
- 7-hour hiking time
- 1,400-foot elevation gain
A Must Bring on Your Packing List
I have been a HUGE fan of this portable hammock company for yearrrrrs now. Their products are very high quality and less expensive than most of the competition. Fun fact: For my last semster of college, I commuted and had a large gap between two classes. So, I brought this hammock and relaxed until my next class. It was amazing! I even made some hammocking freinds. Ah, simplier times…
For our exact portable hammock and accessories:
Where To Stay
In the park, the camping season begins in spring which is usually around late
March, then closes in late fall. It is highly recommended to make reservations for
weekends and holidays. Reservations can be made as early as six months ahead
of time. To make reservations go to recreation.gov or call (877)-444-6777.
Loft Mountain Campground
- Cost: $15 per night
- Location: Mile 79.5 of Skyline Drive
- This is the largest campground within the park which includes two waterfalls and trails into the Big Run Wilderness area.
Mathews Arm Campground
- Cost: $15 per night
- Location: Mile 22.1 of Skyline Drive
- This site is the closest campground to the north entrance of the park. It is next to a nature trail and the trail to Overall Run Falls which is the tallest waterfall in the park.
Big Meadows Campground
- Cost: $20 per night
- Location: Mile 51.2 of Skyline Drive
- At this site, many of the major facilities and popular hiking trails are within walking distance including three waterfalls. Group sites are available and can be reserved for up to one year in advance. Generator use limited in certain areas.
Lewis Mountain Campground
- Cost: $15 per night
- Location: Mile 57.5 of Skyline Drive
- This is the smallest campground in the park and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Generator use is limited in certain areas.
Best Pizza on the Planet
Finally, your hike is over and you are starving. Most likely you are craving pizza.
Who wouldn’t be? Well, we found the best pizza on this planet. I probably shouldn’t
even be telling you this because it was that good!
Trust me on this one, you won’t enjoy other pizzas ever again.
Crozet Pizza – Crozet, Virginia
I wanted to get a picture before we dug into our food but totally forgot until the pizza
was almost gone. We ordered two large pizzas and were able to get a different type
on each half. So, we tried four different pizzas which is one of my favorite things to
do at a restaurant – I apologize to all restaurant cooks for making their lives more
difficult but it’s so hard to choose one option sometimes! For reference, this
restaurant is much closer to the southern entrance to the park but I would drive
countless hours to come back.
The four types of pizzas we got which were all delicious were:
- The Feisty Italian
- The Hittie
- Meat Me
- The Greek
Time For Some Breweries
The first brewery we went to was Bold Rock Hard Cider. If you are into ciders at all,
you will love this place. All of us ended up getting flights and the prices were so
affordable. They do serve food here which is a plus because I know some
breweries don’t. I would love to come back during the summer because the outdoor
area seemed like it would be fantastic. The atmosphere here was so lively. It was a
big college football night and they had a giant projector playing the game. Perfect
place to come and hang out with a group of friends.
The next brewery we tried was The Devils Backbone Brewing Company and
Basecamp. This place was much more of a restaurant than a typical brewery. Some
of the appetizers looked so good here we actually ate dinner part 2 here because
we couldn’t resist the nachos and giant pretzel. By the time we got here, it was
pretty dark and cold outside but I would have loved to spend more time outside than
inside here. You can actually camp here! This place has so much to offer: indoor
and outdoor bars, bonfires at their firepits, live concerts – definitely, a must-visit site!
Tip: You can purchase a Crozet Trolley Company ticket and they will take you
around to a handful of the local breweries and wineries in the area.
Some other breweries to try:
- Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery
- Blue Mountain Brewery
- Starr Hill Brewery
That about wraps up our day at the Shenandoah National Park. Above all, we
highly recommend this park to everyone that is interested. This upcoming year, we
are trying to make visiting more National Parks. Which park should we go to next?