Shenandoah National Park Camping

Camping in Shenandoah National Park is a great way to experience the great outdoors of western Virginia. Running through the park is Skyline Drive which offers plenty for visitors to do and see, including four campgrounds.

Locations are given using mile markers that are place on Skyline Drive to help drivers know how far down the road they are. Higher numbers indicate more southern areas of the park while lower numbers are located farther north.

If you are excited about the availability of showers in the campgrounds then you should be advised that they require quarters for operation.

Loft Mountain

The Loft Mountain campground is located at mile 79.5 and is open from May to October. This is the largest campground in Shenandoah National Park. Reservations are available through the web or phone and the campground has generator, generator free and group campsites. Some sections of the campground are for tents only. $15 per night.

Campsites have picnic tables, fire pits and parking but lack hookups for electric and water. The campground offers bathrooms with running water, dump station, trash and recycling dumpsters, pay phones, amphitheater, ranger and first aid station and showers. Ranger programs are frequently offered in the Loft Mountain campground. There is no camp store.

The Appalachian Trail runs around the perimeter of the Loft Mountain campground and is accessible from several small trails that originate in the camp.

Lewis Mountain

In contrast to the Loft Mountain campground, the Lewis Mountain campground is the smallest and is open from April to October. It is located at mile 57.5 and reservations are NOT accepted as sites are assigned on a first come, first serve basis. $15 per night.

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Sites have the same amenities as Loft Mountain, again with no water or electrical hookups. Lewis Mountain also has a large picnic area and cabins. Restrooms, recycling and trash dumpsters, phones, showers and a camp store with wood and ice are all available at Lewis Mountain campground. There is no dump station.

The Appalachian Trail runs parallel to the Lewis Mountain campground on the eastern side in a north-south direction. There is access to the trail from the campground.

This is a small campground and often not noisy.

Big Meadows

This large campground is located at mile 51.2 and is open from late March to November. Reservations are available during the height of camping season online or via telephone. Sites cost between $17 and $20 depending on the season.

Campsites have the regular amenities and the campground offers generator, generator free and group sites. Big Meadows campground also offers a large picnic area, showers, bathrooms, recycling and trash, amphitheater and a place to purchase wood and ice. Also on premises are a dump station, lodge, store, restaurant, gift shop, visitor center and very expensive gas station.

The Appalachian Trail runs along the northern edge of the Big Meadows campground. The large field across Skyline Drive is perfect for a short hike and exploration. Ranger programs are also frequently offered at Big Meadows

This is my personal preference of the Shenandoah National Park campgrounds and it is the one I recommend to friends. There is an abundance of outdoor activities available and several hikes originate nearby.

Mathews Arm

Mathews Arm campground is the northern most of the Shenandoah National Park campgrounds on Skyline Drive at mile 22.1 and is open from May to October. The campground has generator, generator free and group campsites. Rates are $15 per night.

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Reservations for Mathews Arm can be made online or by telephone. Campsites have picnic and fire pits but no electric or water. Guests can also enjoy the amphitheater, Ranger programs, bathrooms, RV dump station and recycling and trash dumpsters. Showers are not available at this campground and the closest showers are at the Big Meadows Campground.

The Appalachian Trail does not pass near this campground but the Traces Trail is a loop that circles the outer perimeter.

Sources:
Shenandoah National Park, http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm