Parks and Campgrounds in the Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park offers 196,000 acres of back country and wilderness camping. While in the back country, campers must use a “Leave No Trace” policy that includes burying excrement and not building campfires. Back country campers must also be careful of wildlife. For example, campers must suspend their food or other scented items in a tree with a pulley in order to keep it away from bears. Back country camping is common in National Parks and these areas can only be reached on foot, canoe or on horseback. The camping areas are usually established “zones”, which have a predetermined maximum number of persons that are allowed to stay in the section per night. Strict regulations are imposed regarding food storage and resource protection. In most cases, open fires are not permitted and all cooking must be done with small portable stoves. Usually these back country campsite zones require a free permit obtainable at visitor centers and ranger stations.
There are five campgrounds in Shenandoah National Park. They all have roomy sites with picnic table and grill. All are near a section of the Appalachian Trail. All have some accessible sites. All except Mathews Arm have showers, laundry, and a camp store. No campground has hookups for water, electricity, or sewage, but Mathews Arm, Big Meadows, and Loft Mountain have dump stations. All are accessed from Skyline Drive.
Campgrounds and Cabins located in Shenandoah National Park along the Skyline Drive in Virginia
Most of the campgrounds are open from April to October-November. There are five major campgrounds:
Mathews Arm Campground – Milepost 22.2
Mathews Arm Campground is located at Milepost 22 on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, approximately two hours from Washington, DC. Mathews Arm is a family oriented campground with access to hiking trails. Campsites include a place for a tent or RV, a fire ring, and a picnic table. The RV dump station is located near the campground entrance. Approximately 25% of the campsites are available for reservations, with the remainder available on a first come, first served basis. Shenandoah National Park includes 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the southern Appalachians. The park rises above the Virginia Piedmont to its east and the Shenandoah Valley to its west. Two peaks within Shenandoah National Park, Stony Man and Hawksbill, exceed 4,000 feet. Popular activities include hiking, driving the scenic Skyline Drive, and observing wildlife.
Services & Amenities:
Big Meadows Campground – Milepost 51
Big Meadows Campground is located at Milepost 51 on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, approximately two hours from Washington, DC. With more than 200 campsites, Big Meadows is a family oriented campground with access to hiking trails, ranger led programs, and concessionaire facilities. Campsites include a place for a tent or RV, a fire ring, and a picnic table. The RV dump station is located approximately one-half mile from the campground. Campsites are available on a first come, first served basis during the spring and fall shoulder seasons. Shenandoah National Park includes 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the southern Appalachians. The park rises above the Virginia Piedmont to its east and the Shenandoah Valley to its west. Two peaks within Shenandoah National Park, Stony Man and Hawksbill, exceed 4,000 feet. Popular activities include hiking, driving the scenic Skyline Drive, and observing wildlife.
Services & Amenities:
Lewis Mountain Campgrounds Milepost 57
Lewis Mountain (mile 57.5), the smallest campground in the park, appeals to those who want a little more privacy without venturing deep into the back country, yet it is within seven miles of the popular Big Meadows area. 31 sites; $15 per night, first-come, first-served only. Lewis Mountain Campground, Virginia is a magnificent spot for getting out. This campground is so pretty. You unquestionably have to have a look at Shenandoah River Andy Guest State Park while you’re here at Lewis Mountain Campground, and going for a hike on the Lewis Mountain Trail is always a delightful adventure.
Lewis Mtn. is the smallest of the campgrounds on Skyline Drive , and caters to tent campers and hikers. This location has both cabins and a small campground. If you’re looking for rustic this is the place. No hook-ups or dump station, just peace and quiet. The sites are all rather small, catering to tents and the smallest of trailers. Most sites are fairly close together, with not much understory between them. This campground has only 31 sites and a huge picnic area. It is on the Appalachian Trail so that it is very popular with those hiking the trail and other trails on the Drive.
The Lewis Mountain cabins sit side-by-side in a wooded area offering the basic creature comforts along with one tent cabin for the rugged hiker seeking shelter for the night.
Lewis Mountain Seasonal Dates
- Opens: April 7, 2010
Closes: November 7, 2010
Get in touch with nature in these historic furnished cabins – one of our most popular overnight destinations. Enjoy the fun of cabins with private bathrooms, heat, electric lights, towels, linens and an adjacent outdoor pit grill for cooking. The absence of in-room phones and internet access only adds to the total tranquility. Slow down the pace as you cook out on your sheltered outdoor charcoal fire and dine on your own picnic table with songbirds providing dinner music.
Loft Mountain Campground Milepost 79
Loft Mountain campground (mile 79.5), is the southern-most of Shenandoah’s campgrounds and makes an excellent base from which to explore this end of the national park. Loft Mountain campground is the largest campground in the park, and sits atop Big Flat Mountain with outstanding views to east and west. There are great panoramic views of the neighboring peaks, valley, and Piedmont from this 3,400-foot perch. This mountaintop was once pasture-land, but the present dense vegetation diminishes the feeling of being crowded at a campground that contains 219 sites.
Two waterfalls and the trails into the Big Run Wilderness area are nearby. $15 per night. Generator-free and group sites are available. Loft Mountain campground is located on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, VA. It is not nearly as crowded as the Big Meadows Campground – campsites are more secluded, and they offer more privacy. It is a short walk to the store and washroom, and a short drive down Skyline Drive to a wayside with a restaurant, gift shop, and gas. The terrain varies from steep hills to flat grassland. Wildlife is super-abundant, and bears are a distinct possibility. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and vegetation growing between sites offers both a layer of privacy and a natural feel to visitors to the Virginia campground. There are a few sites that backup to the Appalachian Trail and cliffs, which overlook mountain tops and valleys. While most of the sites are quite nice and surprisingly quiet, the sites on the outer edge of the primary loop would probably be the best. Walk in sites are available, but the walk is short. These sites are nice for tent campers who want to be away from the road for more peace and quiet.
Dundo Group Campground – Milepost 83.7
The Dundo Group Campground (Mile 83.7) is open April 13 through July 7($35 per day) and offers seven sites, pit toilets and water. Reservations are required. The campground is open for use by any group within the required minimum size of eight and maximum size of 20. Shenandoah is in the process of establishing group sites at Big Meadows, Mathews Arm and Loft Mountain Campgrounds.
Useful Information about Skyline Drive Campgrounds
|Big Meadows||Spring||Nov||217||Flush||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$ 17.00|
|Dundo Group||Spring||Nov||7 Group||Pit||No||No||No||No||Call|
|Lewis Mountain||Spring||Oct||16 tent / 16 RV||Flush||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||$14.00|
|Loft Mountain||Spring||Oct||45 tent / 167 RV||Flush||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||$14.00|
|Mathews Arm||Spring||Oct||179||Flush||Yes||No||No||No||$ 14.00|
Rules and Regulations for Shenandoah National Park Campgrounds
- Wood fires are only permitted in fireplaces in developed campgrounds and established picnic areas.
- Fires are prohibited in back country.
- Campers must not dig into or level ground.
- All firearms, including air pistols, rifles, bows, slingshots, crossbows, fireworks and firecrackers are prohibited.
- All motor vehicles and bicycles must remain on paved areas.
- Pets are permitted but must be leashed at all times. They are allowed in campgrounds, but not in: lodging units, public buildings, conducted walks and hikes and where there is a sign that is marked with a “No Pets” sign. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
- Anglers between the ages of 16 and 65 must have a Virginia fishing license.