Shenandoah National Park is a wonderful place to get some exercise and fresh air in a gorgeous environment. You can even reach it from Northern VA or Maryland and get home in time for dinner, so it’s a lovely place whose location offers lots of versatility. I mentioned a few of my favorite hikes in an earlier piece, and here are a few more:
Buck Hollow / Mary’s Rock
This is a nine-mile hike that is gorgeous and immensely fun any time of year, though I prefer late autumn, and the multiple stream crossings only add to its charm. It also begins on route 211, so you don’t have to pay for entering the park. The hike is a steady uphill climb, so take your time and make sure you bring some food and water – I was with someone who fainted once while on this trail, so be careful. The trail itself crosses Skyline Drive, and once you get there it’s possible to keep going to Mary’s Rock or turn back and shorten the hike by roughly 3 miles. Personally, I feel that Mary’s Rock has a gorgeous view that makes every step worth it.
White Oak Canyon
White Oak Canyon is easily one of the best, if not the best, waterfall hike in Shenandoah National Park. It’s only about 4.8 miles and even though some parts are steep, isn’t terribly difficult, so it’s an extremely popular hike but still definitely worthwhile. The best waterfall overlook is about 1 mile past the footbridge and is a lovely location for lunch.
Moorman’s River is another one of the Shendoah’s great hikes, although this one is also relatively easy, so be prepared for other people. This 5-mile hike has two waterfall locations along with its swimming holes, so I definitely recommend going during or immediately following a rainstorm (which is when I love to go, so you might find me there, but very few others). Early-to-mid spring is also generally a water-friendly time. Have fun!