We picked out the hikes that we wanted to complete during our trip ahead of time. We put quite a bit of thought into how many miles we thought we’d be able to hike (and drive) in a day. We also tried to pick hikes that featured different things (waterfalls, good views, interesting terrain, etc.). There are a ton of hikes to pick from, so having a game-plan ahead of time will allow you to make better use of your time. The three hikes that we did on our first day in Shenandoah definitely reflect our thoughtful planning process. We chose one with good views, one with good trees, and one with a waterfall.
Hike With A View
Our first hike of the day was Stony Man. We started in the Stony Man parking area and took the Appalachian Trail to the Stony Man Trail. We spent some time taking in the views at the Stony Man summit and then headed back to the parking lot. The views were amazing, and the total hike distance was only 1.4 miles, so it was definitely worth the time/effort. One of my favorite things about the view from the summit was getting to see Skyline Drive winding through the trees down below.
Hike With Good Trees
Our second hike of the day was Limberlost. Limberlost was more of a walk than a hike, and the total distance was 1.3 miles. We chose it because it was supposed to have a good variety of trees. The trees definitely lived up to our expectations, but there wasn’t anything else to see on the hike. If you’re short on time, I recommend choosing another hike.
Hike With a Waterfall
Our final hike for the day was Dark Hollow Falls, which we chose for the waterfall. It was towards the end of the day, but there was still plenty of light and we were able to see the waterfall. The 1.4 mile long hike is definitely worth it. The falls had several levels, and there were many opportunities to photograph it.
These three hikes and Skyline Drive made for a great first day in Shenandoah National Park. I’ll talk about the icing on the cake in my next post!