Caren L.

Charlotte, NC

Joined August 2018

Great views, great hikes, lots of amenities, some sites swampy in rain

This campground is a great way to experience Shenandoah National Park. It's close to many hikes with varying challenge levels, and the beautiful views are breathtaking. It's a nice break from the heat in the summer time.

Campsites: Some sites are close to a swamp, and don't drain as well, especially after rain. I was in site A65 in mid-August, and the firepit wasn't usable due to the large puddle it was in for two days after rain. It was a good site otherwise, with shade and half-gravel, half-grass and close proximity to the bathroom but not on top of it. My sister was at site A64, and their site was lacking gravel and never really dried out. They would not stay at that particular site again. If you are going with other campers, the sites behind you are as close as the sites next to you, so we could have had several options for camping together in addition to looking at side-by-side sites.

Rangers & Wildlife: The rangers are great, definitely need to keep your food put away or it will be confiscated. This is best for the bears. I saw one directly across from my site one morning (as well as others throughout Shenandoah), but never felt threatened. It was exciting and amusing to watch the rangers "herd" a couple of errant bears out of the campsite and back into the swamp with airhorns and paintball guns. Deer are everywhere, like squirrels in a city park. None came right up to people, but they had no problem grazing near us. Barred owls called all night under the Milky Way. Racoons checked out my site overnight as well, no harm no foul, just cute footprints.

Conveniences: It was extremely helpful to be near a camp store with a small grocery, counter food service and gasoline. The showers have hot water, but be sure to bring plenty of quarters. You are very near the Big Meadows Lodge, with food and a gift shop. You can easily head 10 miles north to the Skyland Resort, where the Taproom stays open till 11pm (that was a good alternative one rainy night). Skyland has a sit-down restaurant as well. The Byrd Visitor center is a nice stop.

Wine & Whisky Shuttle out of Skyland: Just a heads up, at Skyland Resort, we signed up for the Wine & Whisky Trail to get out of the rain, $40/person including lunch. We were gone 10:30am to 4pm. The communication was very poor--we did not realize the tastings were an additional cost, and when we were just collecting info, the person at the counter said it would be four stops. Upon returning to sign up & pay, we learned it was only three stops and they did not give us a voucher, which we apparently needed to board the shuttle. Fortunately on the day of the shuttle, the person who sold us the tickets was there and remembered that she forgot to give us the voucher. After all that, it was a fun outing and a very welcome change from camping in the rain. The driver added a lot of background info, and also worked part time as a Shenandoah ranger, and was a local. Definitely check out Copper Fox Distillery if that is your thing.

I can't wait to go back, hopefully more than once, and hopefully with clearer skies. We fell in love with Shenandoah National Park.