10 Best Easy Hikes in Shenandoah National Park (+ Map!)

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Are you a beginner hiker or traveling with kids to Shenandoah? These easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park are perfect for your trip!

Are you planning your trip to Shenandoah at the last minute?

Top Airbnbs near Shenandoah National Park:

Cider House Orchard Stay (in Timberville from $100/night)
Gum Tree Lodge (in Gordonsville from $130/night)
Country Heaven at Welsh Run Farm (in Ruckersville from $43/night)
1 Bedroom Apt With a Kitchenette on 28 Acres (in Rochelle from $59/night)
Carson Mountain Cottage (in Chester Gap from $185/night)
Skyhouse- A Modern Riverfront Retreat (in Front Royal from $185/night)
Modern Skyline Retreat near Shenandoah Entrance (in Front Royal from $114/night)

Best Hotels near Shenandoah: Fairfield Inn and Suites (Charlottesville), Best Western Plus (Waynesboro), Massanutten Ski Resort (Massanutten), Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott (Harrisonburg).

In total, Shenandoah National Park has 236 trails and they range from easy day hikes to difficult overnighters.  In fact, a large portion of the Appalachian Trail passes through Virginia and Shenandoah National Park.

These easy hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park are a fantastic option for rookie hikers or those traveling with young kids.  We have hand-picked some of the top-rated trails, including ones personally accomplished!

Click here if you want to check out the best waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park instead!

Hiking in Shenandoah National Park – Overview

One thing to note about hiking in Shenandoah National Park is that you will have to pay to enter the park, just like many of the other nationally designated sites in Virginia.  The current fees are:

  • Single vehicle: $35 (gives 7-day access, unlimited entry)
  • Single motorcycle: $25 (gives 7-day access, unlimited entry)
  • Individual person: $14 (arriving on foot or bike and older than 16)
  • Annual pass for Shenandoah: $55 (unlimited access for a year)

Therefore, definitely head to Shenandoah National Park for longer than just a day!  There is plenty to do in the surrounding area like visiting Luray Caverns and some of Virginia’s most popular caverns.

Limberlost Trail in Shenandoah National Park 2
Limberlost Trail – the only ADA Accessible Trail in SNP

You can also cruise along Skyline Drive, head to Massanutten in winter, or enjoy some of the amazing waterfall hikes that exist in the park.  If you’re looking for great accommodation near the park, check out our guide to the best cabins and Airbnbs near Shenandoah National Park.

Easy Hikes in Shenandoah – List and Map

This is a curated list of the best easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park.  Here is a quick summary of the trails you will find on this guide:

  1. Stony Man via Appalachian Trail
  2. Blackrock Summit via Trayfoot Mountain and Appalachian Trail
  3. Snead Farm Dickey Ridge Loop Trail
  4. Calvary and Chimney Rocks Trail
  5. North Fork Moormans River
  6. Passamaquoddy Trail
  7. Limberlost Trail (ADA-accessible)
  8. Loft Mountain Loop via Frazier Discovery and Appalachian Trail
  9. Lands Run Falls Trail
  10. Millers Head Trail

To add this map to your Google Maps account, click the ‘Star’ icon next to the map name. You can then view it on your cell phone or computer by heading to your Google Maps account, click the menu and add it to ‘Your Places’.

Stony Man via Appalachian Trail

Distance: 1.5 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 321 feet

Little Stony Man Cliffs in Shenandoah National Park
Little Stony Man Cliffs in Shenandoah National Park

This fantastic day hike is a great option in Shenandoah National Park for those looking for an easy route that is attached to the Appalachian Trail.  The 1.5-mile hike is heavily-trafficked and is located near Luray, Virginia.

It features wildflowers during the Virginia spring and many activities throughout the year, keeping all levels of hikers and types of people excited for a stroll along it.

Stony Man via Appalachian Trail is best used from April until September.  It is also a great place for birdwatching.  Dogs are not permitted on this Shenandoah trail.  This is a great trail for forest lovers, walkers, hikers, and runners.  It is also a very kid-friendly trail.

Users suggest that winter hiking on this trail can be slippery if snow and ice are around.  Many people wear crampons to avoid injury!  The trail is well-marked but can get a bit windy at the peak.

Blackrock Summit via Trayfoot Mountain & Appalachian Trail

Distance: 1.1 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 180 feet

Blackrock Summit - Best easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park
Blackrock Summit – Best easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park

Best used from April until October, this fantastic and popular day hike in Shenandoah is located near Grottoes and is a great place to head to with kids that want to experience easy trails and the possibility of spotting wildlife.

The heavily-trafficked trail is perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and various nature trips.  Dogs are permitted but they need to be on leash. Blackrock Summit via Trayfoot Mountain can be a bit heavy with bugs, so be sure to bring proper repellent with you.

Some things to note about this trail in SNP is that it can be rocky at points and that it can become slippery during the unpredictable Shenandoah winters. So, wear good footwear and even spikes if you feel uncomfortable with your gait.

Snead Farm Dickey Ridge Loop Trail

Distance: 3.4 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 524 feet

Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center is where the trail starts

This trail is a great option for travelers looking for an easy hike near Front Royal, Virginia.  The heavily-trafficked Snead Farm Dickey Ridge Loop Trail is known for having a lot of wildflowers and is perfect for hikers and runners both.  It is best used from April until October and dogs are permitted if they are on leash.

Something to note about this Shenandoah hike is that it is slightly overgrown compared to many of the other trails on this list.  Also, if you arrive there after snow or rain, expect mud!  Dress accordingly and wear the right footwear!

The parking lot fills up fast on weekends.  This is actually a great winter hike in Shenandoah as the trees being void of leaves allows for open mountain views a lot of the way!

Calvary and Chimney Rocks Trail

Distance: 3.2 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 846 feet

The Calvary and Chimney Rocks Trail is a popular one located near Grottoes that is a fantastic day hike in Shenandoah for all skill levels.  This heavily-trafficked, out and back is best used from April until October and is known for having wildflowers during the spring and summer months.

Dogs are permitted if they are on leash. One thing to note is that this trail has a lot of rocks on it.  It is nothing overly challenging and the views at the top are worth it.  The trail can often be narrow, but it is not steep and is perfect for children.

During the spring, expect to see a lot of azaleas and mountain laurel.  It truly is spectacular and one of the best easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park.

North Fork Moormans River

Distance: 4.8 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 531 feet

Boulders in the Moormans River VA
Moormans River

This is one of my favorite trails in Shenandoah National Park because it is never overly crowded and has a lot of opportunity for anyone taking to it.  The 4.8-mile hike is located close to Crozet and is best used from May until October.

North Fork Moormans River is known for its waterfall and that dogs are permitted on the moderately-trafficked trail.  Some of the best things to do on the trail (and along the way) are fishing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, birdwatching, and more.

This is a great Shenandoah hike for kids, but please note that you will have to cross a creek at Mile 1.  Depending on the rain and snow, it may be rather high and can be a challenge (for dogs, as well).  There is a tree you can cross on but it is not always feasible for dogs.

The Crozet trail can get a bit muddy, as well… so wear proper footwear.  There are a total of three creek crossings.

Passamaquoddy Trail

Distance: 2.5 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 633 feet

A heavily-trafficked trail located near Syria, Virginia, the Passamaquoddy Trail is a great option for both families with older kids and solo travelers who love to take to the wilderness.

The 2.5-mile hike is known for its birdwatching, wildflowers, and views. Something to note about the trail is that it can get extremely icy and snowy during the winter months! Bring trekking poles and snow spikes for extra reassurance!

Passamaquoddy Trail can be a bit rocky at certain points and is recommended for older kids, not young ones. The trail can become crowded on weekends and finding parking in the lot can be a challenge (but you can park further down Skyline Drive a bit).

Limberlost Trail (ADA Accessible)

Distance: 1.3 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 98 feet

Limberlost Trail in Shenandoah National Park
Limberlost Trail in Shenandoah National Park

This is definitely one of the easiest hikes in Shenandoah National Park that is on this list and the only ADA accessible trail in SNP.  Located near Syria, Virginia, the 1.3-mile loop trail is heavily-trafficked and great at any time of the year.  It is also a wheelchair-friendly trail.

Known for its wildflowers, views, and being kid and stroller-friendly, Limberlost Trail is a fantastic place to hike with kids in Shenandoah.

No dogs are permitted on the trail and the path is flat and well-maintained.  While this trail is 100% ADA compliant, please do note that certain sections are a little steep which can present a small challenge for those in a wheelchair.  There are some wheelchair rest areas, however.

Bring bug spray!

Loft Mountain Loop via Frazier Discovery

Distance: 2 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Elevation Gain: 495 feet

Autumn view of the Appalachians from Loft Mountain
Views from Loft Mountain

This moderately-trafficked trail near Grottoes, Virginia is a great trail for all skill levels.  The loop trail is dog-friendly (on leash) and is best used from April until October.

Loft Mountain Loop via Frazier Discovery is wonderful for birdwatching, nature trips, and more! It is a kid-friendly trail but do note that it can be rocky in some parts and gets quite icy during the winter months.

There are two really spectacular views along the way at rock outcroppings.  It is a well-maintained trail but can get relatively muddy during the winters or after consistent rain.

Lands Run Falls Trail

Distance: 3.9 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 869 feet

Nature in Virginia trail
Best day hikes in Shenandoah National Park

Located near Front Royal, Land Run Falls Trail is a fantastic option for those interested in an easy trail that is great for kids and even for riding horses.

The 3.9-mile, lightly-trafficked trail is dog-friendly (must be on leash) and is best used from May until October. Once you reach the falls, you will have some rocks to climb and it can be a bit slippery and dangerous for some.

A couple things to note on this trail is that the falls are not at the end of the trail, but quite close to the trailhead.  Another important thing is that bears are frequently spotted along this trail.  If you bring your dog, please do keep it on the leash as the mother bears can get very aggressive if their cubs are around.

While this hike is not one of the top-rated ones in Shenandoah National Park, it is a lightly-trafficked trail that offers an escape from some of the busier ones, hence including it on this guide.

Millers Head Trail

Distance: 1.6 miles
Type of Trail: Out & back
Elevation Gain: 357 feet

Miller's Head Trail in Shenandoah National Park
Millers Head Trail in Shenandoah National Park

Millers Head Trail is a popular out and back located near Syria, VA. It is one of the top-rated easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park and is a great trail for families, dogs (need to be on leash), and hikers of all skill levels.

Some of the popular trail features are birdwatching opportunities, wildflowers, and it is great for runners.  One thing to note is that it is a bit more of a challenging easy hike as there are lots of rocks and leaves.  Once you make it to the end of the hike, you will be gifted with views from a stone observation tower.

Be sure to wear proper footwear!  It is recommended to wear hiking boots or trail running sneakers as the rocks can take their toll!

Miller's Head Trail in Shenandoah National Park 2
Millers Head Trail

What to Bring Hiking in Shenandoah

Naturally, dress for the season!

Summers in Virginia are humid and hot, but if you’re in the forest or in higher elevation, it will most definitely be more comfortable than in the city.  Winters in Shenandoah are cold, potentially snowy (muddy, icy, and other unpredictable elements).

Here are some recommendations of what you should bring on a Shenandoah day hike:

Reusable Water Jug:  I recommend always having a reusable water jug with you at all times.  Virginia’s weather is unforgiving and you can dehydrate quickly!  There are almost always freshwater sources available in and around the area but do bring some with you just in case!  I travel the world with my Klean Kanteen water jug and I think it is the perfect one to get the job done when hiking! You can see the one I use here.

Keen Targhee Hiking Boots:  During Virginia’s warmer months, evening storms and rain is more common than not and you’ll likely experience mud somewhere on your hike.  I have had my Keen Targhee hiking boots for many years and they have helped me trek across some wild environments, so I definitely recommend investing in a pair if you’re an avid hiker.  You can see my Keen Targhee hikers here.

Limberlost Trail in Shenandoah National Park 3
Wildlife in Shenandoah National Park

Mosquito Repellent:  One thing I don’t miss when I leave Virginia’s borders are the mosquitoes.  But, they are unavoidable and a complete nuisance when trying to enjoy the outdoors.  I recommend a heavy-duty repellent to put your mind at peace before taking to the Virginia wilderness.  Here is the mosquito repellent I use to deter them!

Lightweight Daypack:  If there is one thing I have too many of, it is daypacks.  While I love my Sandqvist and Ucon Acrobatics Bags, I opt for something a bit more lightweight when hiking.  My top recommendation is the Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack.  It is durable and well-made and will be an effortless accompaniment for your day hike.  Click here to check out color options and purchase.

Larabars:  When I travel, I always keep some type of ‘bars’ on me and my favorite are Larabars.  I have been eating these for well over a decade and they are perfect for exciting day hikes as they are richer and more filling than their size indicates!  You can buy a variety box or just purchase your favorite.  Click here to purchase a box of Larabars for your hike.

Before heading out, give the weather a check to see if rain (or snow) is on the horizon and adapt what you bring accordingly. Also, I recommend downloading an offline map from AllTrails to help you navigate the park for your journey!

Limberlost Trail in Shenandoah National Park 5
Shenandoah National Park easy hikes

We hope that you found one of these easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park suitable for your adventure in Virginia’s national park! If you have any easy trails or day hikes in Shenandoah that you recommend, please leave a comment below!

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2 thoughts on “10 Best Easy Hikes in Shenandoah National Park (+ Map!)

  1. Metahippie says:

    These are really great suggestions. However it would be nice if you could put the mile markers for the trails. My wife and I did the Stony Man hike and loved it, we’re hooked!

    • Megan Starr says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback! I am hoping to get back to Shenandoah this fall to update this guide and add more specific details. Will def keep in mind to put those there! Thanks!

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