Stretching for more than 100 miles through Virginia, Shenandoah National Park has lured generations of nature lovers with its gorgeous mountain vistas, winding hiking trails, and tumbling waterfalls.
Still, the 196,000-acre natural area remains one of the National Park Service’s most undiscovered gems. While the Blue Ridge Parkway (which becomes Skyline Drive once it enters the park) attracts some 17 million people every year, and 10 million or so visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the south, only about 1 million stop by Shenandoah.
“So many people don’t know we’re right here,” says Karen Beck-Herzog, the park’s management assistant. “But the people who know the park love it.”