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Home >> Alan's Picnic Guides >> VA Picnic Guide >> Shenandoah NP

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Shenandoah National Park

Welcome

Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the U.S. state of Virginia.  This national park is long and narrow, with the broad Shenandoah River and valley on the west side, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont on the east.

Although likely the most prominent feature of the Park is the scenic Skyline Drive, almost 40% of the land area 79,579 acres has been designated as wilderness and is protected as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.   The highest peak is Hawksbill Mountain at 4,051 feet.


3655 Hwy 211 East
Luray, VA 22835

Phone
Information Line: (540) 999-3500

Gazing across the horizon from the peaks of Shenandoah National Park it's hard to believe you are just 75 miles from the bustle of our nation's capital.  Take Skyline Drive along the crest of the mountains through the woods and past spectacular vistas.  Hike in the shade of oak trees along the Appalachian Trail, discover the stories from Shenandoah's past, or just relax in the wonder of wilderness.


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Geography

The park passes through parts of eight counties.  On the west side of Skyline Drive they are, from northeast to southwest, Warren, Page, Rockingham, and Augusta counties. On the east side of Skyline Drive they are Rappahannock, Madison, Greene, and Albemarle counties. The park stretches for 105 miles along Skyline Drive from near the town of Front Royal in the northeast to near the city of Waynesboro in the southwest.

Geology
Shenandoah National Park lies along the Blue Ridge Mountains in north-central Virginia. These mountains form a distinct highland rising to elevations above 4,000 feet, local topographic relief between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley exceeds 3,000 feet at some locations. The crest of the range divides the Shenandoah River drainage basin, part of the Potomac River drainage, on the west side, from the James and Rappahannock River drainage basins on the east side.

Rocks exposed in the park are among the oldest in Virginia dating to over one billion years in age. Bedrock in the park includes Grenville-age granitic basement rocks (1.2-1.0 billion years old) and a cover sequence of metamorphosed Neoproterozoic (570-550 million years old) sedimentary and volcanic rocks of the Swift Run and Catoctin formations and early Cambrian (542-520 million years old) clastic rocks of the Chilhowee Group. Quaternary surficial deposits are common and mantle much of the bedrock throughout the park.

The park is located along the western part of the Blue Ridge anticlinorium, a regional-scale Paleozoic structure at the eastern margin of the Appalachian fold and thrust belt. Rocks within the park were folded, faulted, distorted, and metamorphosed during the late Paleozoic Alleghanian Orogeny (280 to 330 million years ago).  The rugged topography of Blue Ridge Mountains is a result of differential erosion during the Cenozoic, although some post-Paleozoic tectonic activity occurred in the region.

Park Features Include:

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