Lodging in Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah has two main lodges, and a small stand of cabins, to shelter visitors overnight. The accommodations might not earn five stars from everyone, but many repeat visitors swear by the charm and comfort.
The following article was pulled together from various posts written by David and Kay Scott, authors of The Complete Guide To the National Park Lodges, during their 2010 trek across the National Park System.
The lodging and dining operations at Shenandoah are managed by DNC Parks & Resorts at Shenandoah. For latest rates and specials, visit www.goshenandoah.com.
The Skyland Resort, with 179 rooms, is the largest of Shenandoah's lodges, all of which are managed by DNC Parks & Resorts. Rather than a major building with many rooms, Skyland has many buildings, most with a limited number of rooms.
Some of the buildings are on a bluff, while others are along a wooded hillside. Still others are on a plateau overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.
Many of the rooms have balconies or patios that offer scenic views of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Skyland may well be the most diverse lodging facility in America’s national parks.
This area was initially developed in the mid-1800s to mine copper, but it wasn’t until years later that the mine owners considered developing Skyland as a resort. By the early 1900s, Skyland had bungalows, a dining hall, a recreation hall, and bathhouses.
Skyland’s registration building has a small lobby with a wall of windows offering excellent valley views. An adjacent building houses a gift shop, coffee kiosk, tap room, a small lounge area, and the dining room. These buildings, separated by a large patio, are at the top of a hill and some distance from many of the lodging units.
The lodge offers five classes of rooms that range in price from $106 for rustic cabins. Family cabins, each with a kitchenette and one or two bedrooms plus a separate living room, rent for $249. Prices are slightly higher from late September to early November, the peak foliage time, and during holidays. Skyland and its two sister lodges are closed during the winter.
Big Meadows Lodge
Tucked between Skyland Resort 10 miles north and Lewis Mountain Cabins 6 miles south, Big Meadows has its own unique personality.
Big Meadows has fewer rooms -- 25 rooms in the main lodge, plus 72 cabins -- and is more compact compared to Skyland Resort with its many buildings. All of the rooms at Big Meadows are within easy walking distance of the main lodge that houses the registration desk, dining room, gift shop, and lobby. Some guest rooms are in the main lodge building. Although at a high elevation, the terrain is flat so there are no hills to climb unless you hike away from the lodge complex.
Skyland offers better views of the Shenandoah Valley from most of its rooms. Big Meadows is surrounded by a hardwood forest, and while good views are available from several locations, most views from guest rooms are obscured by trees.
Big Meadows Lodge offers six categories of rooms ranging from rustic cabins and rooms in the main lodge that rent for $106 per night, to $161 for more modern Blue Ridge rooms and ten large Mountain Top rooms, the latter of which have wood-burning fireplaces but no particularly good views. Traditional Lodge Rooms are relatively nice, but without a view, and rent for $125. Five units, including one cabin, have two bedrooms but rent for the same price as units with a single bedroom. These are great for families with children.
Lewis Mountain Cabins
Those of you who have stayed at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park, Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, or most other national park lodges would find Lewis Mountain Cabins quite unusual.
The entire complex consists of a registration/store plus nine rustic cabins, two of which are constructed as duplex units. There is also one hikers’ cabin. All but the hikers’ cabin have a private bathroom.
The 80-year-old cabins sit in a heavily forested area and are well-maintained. The cabin area is flanked on one side by a small Park Service campground and on the other side by a large picnic area. Although the cabins do not have kitchens, a covered picnic area with a grill is in back or beside each unit. Be certain to bring all your food and utensils, as the store has minimal groceries.
The facility offers both one- and two-bedroom units; the two-bedroom cabins can hold up to four adults.