Even though this blog is dedicated to recipes, I couldn’t resist to make a small post about Shenandoah National park that I visited at the end of May. This park has been in my travel list for the past few years, but due to weather (mostly rain and Thunderstorm) I had to cancel it. Finally, we got to go this year for 5 days and it was an amazing trip.
This park is located in the state of Virginia and the Skyline Drive runs through its entire length. The park has a vast network of hiking trails and includes a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Mostly forested, the park features wetlands, rocky mountain peaks, waterfalls and wetlands. Shenandoah national park is home to mainly black bears, deer, squirrels, chipmunks and a variety of birds.
Along the Skyline drive there are many lookouts where visitors can park their car to get the amazing view of the vast mountains and valleys. When we were there we were lucky to see the wild flowers blooming in the valleys and young shoots coming out in the higher elevations. We were also lucky to see a couple of bears while hiking especially a mom with 2 cubs foraging among the trees.
View of mountains and valleys from the skyline drive outlooks:
Our trip revolved around hiking either to view mountain peaks or cascading water falls. Here are some highlights of the hikes:
Mary’s Rock Summit
This was our first hike in the park which is 3.7 miles round trip and it took us about 3 hours to go up and come down. The trail runs through the forest and along the hiking trail there were beautiful views and flowers such as Mount Laurel. The air was fresh and cool but it became quite humid in the afternoon. The view was outstanding once you go to the top.
Mount Laurel flower in bloom throughout our hike
Stony Man Cliffs
This is another fabulous hike with an amazing view at the top. The hike is not too easy but for all the effort, the final view was worth it. It’s about 1.6 miles round trip and normally takes about an hour or more, but we stopped at many places to take lots of pictures.
Dark Hollow Falls
This is a hiking trail that leads to the water falls. The trail was steep in sections but the water fall was so beautiful. Hiking back up was quite strenuous and steep but well worth it.
Bearfence Rock Scramble
Yes, as the name implies, you have to scramble up the rocks by pulling yourself up, over and between boulders using your feet and hands. It kind of looked dangerous since you cannot see what and where the next step is since there were big boulders we had to stumble over. But I am proud that I completed the hike but unfortunately no pictures since I stored my camera safely in my backpack before starting.
Fort Windham Rocks
On our last day we decided to do this hike. We set out in the morning and it was quite foggy and cool. There were almost no one in the hiking trail except the long-distance hikers here and there. It was so quiet, misty and really serene. While hiking to the prismatic rocks, were able to hear wood peckers pecking on trees and birds singing and squirrels scrambling over the rocks and leaves to disturb the silence. The view of the forest was amazing since the mist/fog covered the distance and we could see the trees through the fog. At the end of the trail, you will get to see the prismatic rocks which was formed millions of years ago when lava oozed up out to earth to form the amazing shape.
We were able to do about 11 hikes but I have highlighted the most beautiful ones here. Hope you will enjoy reading and the pictures.