Shenandoah National Park Hiking Trails

With so many beautiful trails leading to unparalleled views of the region’s mountains and valleys, hiking through the Shenandoah National Park is one of the most romantic activities to do as a couple. The network of trails extends through the park for hundreds of miles with options for all skill levels, providing hikers with plenty of opportunities for adventures. If you’re interested in exploring the Shenandoah National Park hiking trails during your romantic getaway, learn about our top three favorite routes.


The Shenandoah National Park has a whopping 500 miles of trails, about 30 percent of which are in designated wilderness areas. 

When exploring these trails, you’ll find nearly 100 miles that also belong to the Appalachian Trail. When staying at By the Side of the Road Getaway Lodging, you can easily access the park from the Swift Run Gap entrance just 20 miles from the inn. Once you’ve arrived at the park, you’ll find plenty of parking at various trailheads. The closest routes to Swift Run Gap are Bearfence, Hawksbill, and Doyles River Falls. Every hike features something unique whether it’s seasonal wildflowers, a beautiful waterfall, or a lush forest.

Bearfence Mountain

Bearfence offers two trail options: Bearfence Rock Scramble and Bearfence Viewpoint. The Rock Scramble trail is a moderate, one-mile loop with an elevation gain of 311 feet. The viewpoint is an easy trail with a roundtrip distance of 1.1 miles and an elevation gain of 305 feet.

Upper Hawksbill Trail

Follow the 2.2-mile moderate Upper Hawksbill Trail for the easiest route to the Hawksbill summit, the peak of the tallest mountain in the Shenandoah National Park.

Doyles River Falls

Doyles River Falls also has several trail options: Upper Doyles River Falls is a moderate, 3.3-mile hike that passes a beautiful waterfall. You can choose to hike for longer by picking up the Jones Run Falls trail. This strenuous hike is 7.7 miles with an elevation gain of 2,233 feet. 

Which Trail is Right for Me?

While it might seem daunting that the park offers hundreds of miles of trails, hikers of all skill levels can locate the perfect path for them. There are five different ratings for the hiking trails, beginning with “easiest,” which means the trail is mostly level or might have a slight incline and that it’s generally less than three miles long. At the other end of the spectrum are the “very strenuous” trails, which are steep, include challenging terrain, and are usually eight miles or longer. Take a look at this Hiking Difficulty Key to familiarize yourself with the different levels so you can select a hike that’s right for you!

Important Reminders & Tips

While you’re on your amazing adventure, don’t forget to:

  • Take plenty of water with you on your hike. You’ll need at least one quart of water per hour to stay hydrated.
  • Don’t forget a map! You can print a map from the park website, or pick up a free copy at the entrance station.
  • Leave what you find on the trails. You might discover some interesting artifacts along the way; however, they are protected by law, so you can look but don’t touch. In addition, you can help keep the park clean and in pristine condition for others to enjoy by storing your trash in your backpack while you’re on the trail and throwing it away when you return to the park entrance.

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