news update:

Shenandoah National Park News Release

Release Date:  June 11, 2020
Contact:  Sally Hurlbert, [email protected], 540-999-3500 ext 3300
Shenandoah National Park Announces Opening of New Parking Area at Old Rag Mountain Luray, Virginia: Shenandoah National Park is pleased to announce the opening of a new parking area at Old Rag Mountain near Etlan, Virginia on June 11, 2020. The new parking area was built to provide improved National Park Service access to the Old Rag area hiking trails. It is closer to the Old Rag area trails than the old (leased) lot and allows visitors to remain in the park without hiking on Route 600. The new parking lot will be the primary lot with the old lot being used only when the primary lot fills up. The old parking lot will be retained and divided into two sections. One section will be used as a parking area and the other will be used to stage emergency operations when they occur. This project is not intended to increase public use at Old Rag, only to provide better access. It secures public access to Old Rag on park service property and guarantees access into perpetuity. New trails have been built to provide access to existing park trails with the goal of keeping visitors in the park and moving them off of Route 600. ·         The Ridge Trail trailhead is now located in the new parking lot. ·         The Old Rag Access Trail connects the old parking lot with the new parking lot. As a public courtesy, a local landowner has graciously allowed us to build this trail across his private property. Please help us be a good neighbor by staying on the trail when it is finalized next week. ·         A portion of the old Ridge Trail has been renamed the Ridge Access Trail. It provides access to the Ridge Trail from the Weakley Hollow Fire Road. A new fee station building is located at the new parking lot where all visitors will check-in. If the fee station is closed, visitors will pay the park’s entrance fee at a self-pay station. A vault toilet is located next to the fee station and an emergency phone is available on the outside of the fee station building. A special thanks to the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Shenandoah National Park Trust for their generous contributions that made this new trail access and parking area possible.

Old Rag Area Trail Map  
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Subject: Press Release: Shenandoah National Park is beginning to increase recreational access to Skyline Drive and park trails

Release Date:       May 21, 2020
:           Sally Hurlbert, [email protected], 540-999-3500 ext. 3300

Shenandoah National Park is beginning to increase recreational access to Skyline Drive and park trails

Luray, Virginia – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Shenandoah National Park is increasing recreational access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning Saturday, May 23 at 8:00 a.m., Shenandoah National Park will reopen access to the following areas for day-use only. Following May 23, open hours will be from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.:  

  • The entire length of Skyline Drive from mile 0 at Front Royal to mile 105 at Waynesboro will be open to all traffic.
  • The backcountry will be open to day-use only. Over 480 miles of trails will be accessible from trailheads along Skyline Drive.
  • Vehicle parking along Skyline Drive at overlooks and trailhead parking areas will be in designated areas only. If parking area is full, please do not park outside of the designated area, move on to a less crowded area.
  • Entrance stations will be staffed and entrance fees collected.
  • Limited restrooms will be open at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center (mile 4.6), Panorama (mile 31.5), Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51) and Beagle Gap (mile 99.5).
  • With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:Skyline Drive will be closed nightly from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

Backcountry camping will not be authorized.

Visitor centers, picnic areas, campgrounds, lodges, cabins, Massanutten Lodge, and Rapidan Camp historic structures will remain closed. 

Old Rag and Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run circuit trails will remain closed.

  • Boundary trailheads will remain inaccessible.
  • Retail shops, food and beverage areas are closed at this time, but they may become accessible during this Phase 1 period of reopening provided they meet the mandatory requirements in the Forward Virginia Guidelines.
  • The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Shenandoah National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.  
  • While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health. 

We have amazing virtual tours of Shenandoah National Park, all of the time, so for people who are still home schooling or not traveling at this time check out our website for interactives, photo galleries, videos, and webcams:

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website and social media channels:,, and Updates about NPS operations will be posted on Please visit for updates about park concessioner, Delaware North’s operations.