Shenandoah National Park
Come fall and Shenandoah National Park puts on some of its best colors. Photo copyright QT Luong, www.terragalleria.com/parks
I celebrate the splendor and variety of the natural and human heritage with my photography. For the past twenty-five years, I have been privileged to travel, trek, and climb in some of the most remote and beautiful corners of the earth. Laying down in a colorful meadow dense with wildflowers, clinging precariously to a vertical icy mountain face, listening to the silence of desert sand dunes or to the calls of a bustling floating market might seem like very different experiences, however, I feel that they share the same life-affirming benefits.
For more of Tuan's national park images, visit www.terragalleria.com/parks
Though worn and rumpled by the passage of time, a gentler, more rounded visage of the towering range of mountains they were in their youth, the Blue Ridge Mountains that shoulder Shenandoah National Park are no less worthy of inspection.
The backwoods and hollows that worm their way through the Appalachians overflow with rich stories of settlers who literally hacked their homes out of the forests, dug rocks out of the ground for their fence lines, and left behind orchards that continue to bear fruit for both bears and humans.
These mountains were crisscrossed by Confederate and Union troops during the Civil War, were as familiar to ridge runners as the backs of their hands, and in their heyday produced their share of moonshine for 19th and 18th century mountaineers who knew how to smooth the edges off their rough lives.
The 105-mile-long Skyline Drive (see map attached below) makes exploring Shenandoah easy, riding the spine of the mountains from Front Royal down to Rockfish Gap, where it transforms into the Blue Ridge Parkway that is a 469-mile umbilical cord tying Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Park together.
Big Meadow, Skyland, and Lewis Mountain offer waystations to spend a night or a week while exploring the park, while pullouts along the Drive provide both overlooks and passageways into the landscape for hikers and backpackers.
Walk down from the Drive and you’ll find it difficult to accept that Washington, D.C., is less than 60 miles away. Waterfalls and creeks bring moisture, sound, and fish to the landscape, while the changing seasons drape multi-colored overcoats across the mountains.
No matter the season you choose, Shenandoah will be waiting for stories to tell and landscapes to explore.
Traveler's Choice For: Hiking, birding, wildflowers, fall colors, backpacking, photography
Fall is a spectacular season to hike in Shenandoah National Park. Reds, golds, greens and browns are dappling the hillsides, deer are on the move, and, if your timing is excellent, bears are falling from the trees and Mennonite women are backpacking along the Appalachian Trail.
Boasting Skyline Drive, gorgeous scenery, abundant wildlife, hundreds of miles of trails, and many other attractions, Virginia's Shenandoah National Park is one of America's most popular national parks. Here are some suggestions for maximizing the pleasure of your visit.
Two-thirds of America’s population lives within a day’s drive of Shenandoah National Park, which is located in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains just 75 miles west of Washington, DC. Made automobile-convenient by a venerable parkway that winds through its forested mountains, Shenandoah is a recreational cornucopia and a sightseer’s delight.
|SHEN-Skyline Drive Map.pdf||479.53 KB|