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Loft Mountain Shenandoah National Park

Loft Mountain Shenandoah National Park

This one is an absolute must-do while in the park. There is backcountry camping, too. A walk through the wheelchair accessible Limberlost Trail when the laurels are blooming can be an unforgettable experience.

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Shenandoah National Park is just the place to go too, thanks in large part to four well-spaced family campgrounds along Skyline Drive. All four campgrounds operate from spring to fall. Some spots can book up to six months in advance. However, the majority of sites are only available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is backcountry camping, too. Every campground at Shenandoah National Park has its own appeal. Photo Credit: Gordon Lau IG account: gordonklau All of the campgrounds allow visitors to experience nature, including black bears, which are known to wander across each of the campgrounds from time to time.

That noted, store your food anything with a scent really, even toothpaste in an on-site storage canister or in your vehicle to keep the bears from patrolling the campground. For a look at each of the four family campgrounds at Shenandoah National Park, read on to choose the best one for you and your squad as you plan out your first or next national park camping adventure.

Mathews Arm Campground Milepost This campground is open from May to October and is a snap to reach from both the Front Royal and Thornton Gap entrances. There are sites, including 47 sites that can be reserved online at Recreation.

The remaining sites are first-come, first-serve. All campsites are non-electric with no hook-ups. As in, there are no showers at Mathews Arm.

You will, however, find flush toilets and running Loft Mountain Shenandoah National Park cold only. The closest showers are coin-operated and are located at Big Meadows Campground at milepost At feet-tall, this is the tallest waterfall at Shenandoah National Park.

The Traces Trail can also be reached from Mathews Arm. This easy-going nature trail casually loops around the wooded campground. This leisurely path makes for a pleasant after-dinner walk with the kids or your pup. The closest visitor center is the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center at milepost 4. Here you can check into ranger-led programs, pick up a Junior Ranger activity booklet or walk across Skyline Drive for an easy one-mile loop hike on the Fox Hollow Trail no dogs allowed on this trail.

Big Meadows Campground Milepost This campground is just north of the Swift Run Gap entrance. There are sites, including sites that can be reserved online at Recreation. Big Meadows has 51 tent-only sites. The campground is also an easy-breezy walk to a large picnic area, as well as full-service Big Meadows Lodge. For groceries, grab-and-go sandwiches, camping supplies and park souvenirs, look to Big Meadows Wayside at milepost 51 open late-March to mid-November.

Ideal for first-timers, this campground is rich with amenities, including showers. Yes, there are hot showers at Big Meadows, but plan to bring coins or small bills. There is a change machine by the showers. An amphitheater is located in the northwest corner of the campground for seasonal ranger-led programs. To the left of the amphitheater is the trailhead for the leafy hike to foot-tall Lewis Falls, the fourth largest waterfall in the park.

In addition to Lewis Falls, there are two other waterfall hikes close to the campground, including Dark Hollow Falls milepost The latter absolutely wows with a dreamy swimming hole. Photo Credit: Larry W. This flat path is tops for a casual stroll, but keep in mind that pets are not allowed on this trail. Your furry pals are also prohibited on the Dark Hollow Falls Trail. Beyond hiking, Skyland Stables is located just off Skyline Drive at milepost Book a one-hour or 2. As in, from atop a horse as you trot across an old apple orchard along verdant…

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Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor Center

The top of Stony Man mountain, a fairly easy hike, is 4, feet. Open from May to November, this campground is closest to the Rockfish Gap entrance. The closest visitor center is the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center at milepost 4.