Shenandoah National Park may be a popular day trip destination, but I strongly recommend that you spend one night and two days there, at least. If you’ve ever wondered where to stay in Shenandoah National Park, the answer is right here in this blog post.
The reason I encourage you to spend minimum one night in the park is that this gives you the chance to catch both a sunset and sunrise from one of the Skyline Drive overlooks or mountain summits. As I’ve said multiple times before, sunset-watching is one of the very reasons to visit Shenandoah National Park.
Where to Stay in Shenandoah National Park?
Only 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Washington, D.C., this is an exceptional place to escape the busy city and get back to nature. One of the most accessible U.S. national parks, it’s where you’ll find both recreation and re-creation. Shenandoah is a park that has returned a former agricultural region to the elements, allowing the forests to reclaim farmlands and offering a refuge for huge numbers of wildlife in an area that’s used intensively through farming, industry, services, transportation,…
It’s a peaceful haven for animals and plants, as well as humans. With more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of hiking trails and vast tracts of wilderness, escaping the stress of daily life is a piece of cake here. To top off a day in the mountains and woods, catch a sunset and watch the stars twinkle overhead from your campsite or cabin porch.
There are a handful of excellent campgrounds in Shenandoah National Park—Big Meadows, Mathews Arms, Loft Mountain, Dundo Group and Lewis Mountain. However, if you’re after some more luxury, the park’s two historic lodges are definitely where you want to stay.
In addition to Big Meadows Lodge, as its name suggests located at Big Meadows and arguably the park’s touristic focal point, there’s also Skyland Resort.
Skyland Resort – Views, Food and Drinks, Accommodation and Hiking
Older than the national park itself, Skyland Resort used to be a privately owned lodge situated at the highest point of Skyline Drive, at mile 41.7. Nowadays, it’s the answer to the question “where to stay in Shenandoah National Park?”. It boasts 178 rooms, ranging from charming cabins to suites with fireplaces.
Its viewing platform is ideal to watch the sunset, while its Mountain Taproom offers nightly entertainment and serves typical pub fare. You can refuel your body in style after a day of hiking at the full-service restaurant. During the day, the resort allows its guests to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains on guided horseback rides.
It’s a superb place to stay, as I experienced myself a couple of weeks ago. I’d visited Shenandoah National Park more than a dozen times before, and watched the sun set and rise over the mountains more than once, but I’d never actually spent a night in the park.
Living less than 30 minutes away, in beautiful Charlottesville, allowed me to do that. For out-of-state visitors, however, that may not be as easy. Therefore, I strongly advise them to stay at Skyland Resort to fully experience Shenandoah National Park in all its glory.
Suggested Hikes Near Skyland Resort
While horseback rides are certainly fun and enjoyable, I suggest exploring the park powered by your own legs. There are a number of fantastic—and I mean really great—hiking trails near Skyland Resort.
Located in the Central District, in between the Thornton Gap and Swift Run Gap Entrance Stations, Skyland offers easy access to the following awesome trails:
- Stony Man Trail (MP 41.7)
- Whiteoak Canyon (MP 42.6)
- Upper Hawksbill Trail (MP 46.7)
- Rose River Loop (MP 49.4)
- Dark Hollow Falls Trail (MP 50.7)