5 of the Best Shenandoah Hiking Trails to Explore This Fall

When you stay at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, you are escaping into nature and retreating from all the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. One of the best ways to clear your mind and focus on yourself is by hiking. Something about an adventure among towering trees and along dirt paths will bring you back down to earth. You will forget your stresses, if only for a moment, and absorb the sounds of peace that surround you in the woods. One of the best places to hike near The Inn at Vaucluse Spring is in Shenandoah National Park. This extensive reserve features a variety of Shenandoah hiking trails at a range of levels. Here are some of the best Shenandoah hiking trails to explore this fall as the leaves are changing color and the air is filled with a cool, crisp breeze.

The Formula

Shenandoah’s hiking difficulty is determined through a numerical system that uses a formula of elevation gain x 2 x distance (in miles). The product’s square root is then the rating. The easiest Shenandoah hiking trails are rated less than 50, moderate are 50-100, moderately strenuous are 100-150, strenuous are 150-200, and very strenuous are over 200. You should also know that there are three districts (North, Central, and South) that break up the Shenandoah National Forest. These facts make it easier when mapping out your Shenandoah hiking trails routes. Some of the best trails occur in the central district!

5 of the Best Shenandoah Hiking Trails

Upper Hawksbill Trail

The Upper Hawksbill Trail in the Central District is one of the most popular easy, short hikes in Shenandoah. This 2.1-mile round trip will just take around an hour and half, making it a great morning hike to start your day off! The elevation gain is 520 feet. Hike past some beautiful trees and shrubs along the gnarled edges of Hawksbill. You will see balsam firs and red spruces, as well as some colder and icier climates in the winter months.

Dark Hollow Falls Trail

The Dark Hollow Falls Trail is probably the most popular of all the hikes in Shenandoah National Park. This is due to its stunning waterfall views. This iconic trail is also short, at just 1.4 miles, making it suited for almost everyone to travel in just around an hour and a half. Dark Hollow Falls cascades 70 feets over rocky ledges into graceful, shallow pools. This breathtaking icon is a sight worth seeing on your list of Shenandoah hiking trails!

Stony Man Mountain Hike

The Stony Man Trail in the Central District features the second highest point in the Shenandoah National Park, next to Hawksbill Mountain. From the peak, you will see an outstanding view of the Shenandoah Valley, the town of Luray, and further mountains extending into the distance. This trail is one of the easiest trails, covering a distance of 1.6 miles at just 340 feet of elevation gain. This trail will just take you one hour if you’re looking for something shorter that still offers great scenery and mountaintop views!

Old Rag Mountain Trail

Also located in the Central District is the Shenandoah hiking trails Old Rag Mountain Trail, which is one of the most beautiful and difficult to hike in the Shenandoah National Park. This 9-mile circuit features an elevation gain of 2,500 feet and a mile-long difficult rock scramble. However, the incredible panoramic views from the summit are worth the climb! The fall foliage will be stunning as you make your ascent, and a sea of golden hues awaits from the peak.

Whiteoak Canyon Trail

If you’re looking for a moderate Shenandoah hiking trail with stunning natural elements among the landscape, then choose the Whiteoak Canyon Trail. This 8.4-mile hike features gorgeous Shenandoah hiking trails waterfalls and allows your furry friends along as well. The climb is 2,198 feet and will traverse various terrains as you step between the Lower and Upper Falls. An early start to your day will be well-rewarded after a fulfilling hike along the Whiteoak Canyon Trail.

Stay at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring

During your Shenandoah hiking trails escapades, make your base camp at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring! Our bed and breakfast offers secluded spaces set into mountains, by ponds, and across gorgeous landscapes. Enjoy accommodations such as our Manor House, Mill House Studio, or Cabin By the Pond! Your stay comes with a delicious handmade breakfast each morning as well! For more to see and do in the area, download our free vacation guide. See you soon!