Getting to Shenandoah National Park

Driving to Shenandoah National Park can be challenging because of the park's isolated location and rough terrain within the Blue Ridge Mountains in the state of Virginia. The national park stretches for more than 100 miles, and driving in your own vehicle is the only way of navigating the area because public transportation is out of the question. The biggest challenge of driving to Shenandoah National Park is that a GPS navigation system may not necessarily take drivers to roadways that lead to the park's entrances. What's more frustrating is that most of the parts of the national park don't have a physical address so you must input specific coordinates into your GPS system. The National Park Service emphasizes these warnings and driving directions.

The northern part of Shenandoah National Park is roughly located near the small town of Front Royal, Virginia. Front Royal can be reached by taking Interstate 66, which is an 80 mile highway that connects to Washington D.C. and Arlington, Virginia. From Front Royal, drivers must use Route 340 to get into the northern entrance of Shenandoah National Park. The Thornton Gap Entrance to Shenandoah National Park is accessible through U.S. Route 211 near the small community of Luray, Va. The Swift Run Gap entrance can be reached by taking U.S. Route 33 through Stanardsville, Virginia. Located along U.S. Route 250, the Rockfish Gap provides entrance to the southern part of Shenandoah National Park.

Interstate 81 runs several miles west of Shenandoah National Park. This 855 mile long highway goes through New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. No matter where you are driving from, you must remember that Shenandoah National Park is only accessible through the four major entrances. Drivers can orient themselves by heading towards Harrisonbourg, Virginia, the largest city near Shenandoah National Park.

Anyone who is fortunate enough to take a flight in a small private airplane can get land at the Front-Royal Warren County Airport, the closest general aviation airport near Shenandoah National Park. Located less than 30 miles from Shenandoah National Park, The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport is the nearest airport offering commercial flights. The Washington Dulles International Airport is the largest airport near the Shenandoah National Park area. Dulles Airport is served by more than 20 airlines and offers flights to dozens of domestic and international destinations. Taxis and private charter services have to be used between the airports and Shenandoah National Park.