Monday, May 9, 2016

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah Valley from Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park was established in December 1935 after much turmoil (see park history). The park is about 200,000 acres along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The park is most noted for Skyline Drive which runs the length of the long, narrow park. The drive is over 100 miles long with a 35 mph speed limit due to its continuous twists and turns. The Appalachian Trail runs along Skyline Drive and crosses it several times making it easy to hike sections of the trail. Skyline Drive is a continuation of the Blue Ridge Parkway that originates in Great Smoky National Park 469 miles to the south.

Clouds below
We drove some of the Skyline Drive but chose not to do the whole thing. The park is mostly wooded and after driving for a while we determined that it was many miles of "more of the same". We stopped at Big Meadows for it's distinguishing feature, it isn't wooded, and to learn park information at the visitor center. There are three films available and a nice exhibit telling the park's history. We hiked the Dark Hollow Falls trail and then a section of the Appalachian Trail at Milam Gap.

Big Meadows

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