Shenandoah National Park Warnings and Dangers
Shenandoah National Park is a large and diverse natural habitat. When visiting, it’s important to understand the dangers you could come across.
Weather is a major factor due to Shenandoah National Park’s high elevations. You could be driving along one section of Skyline Drive and, as you move to the next, experience temperature shifts, unexpected fog, or other changing weather conditions. Skyline Drive will close in adverse weather conditions.
Skyline Drive is a 105-mile winding road varying in elevation. Obey the speed limit and keep your headlights on while driving this scenic route. Many motorcycles and bicycle riders share the road. Deer and other small animals (and occasionally a black bear) also often scurry across the roadway. Use extra caution when roads are wet or covered with leaves, and slow down before you enter foggy areas. If you see a photo opportunity, be sure to pull off to the side of the road.
You may not openly see the wildlife, but animals are everywhere in Shenandoah. Black bears, bobcats, and wild turkeys tend to shy from the main road, but certain times of the year it’s more common to see them. There are also lots of deer, snakes, and numerous other critters. Never feed any wildlife you see in the park. It’s illegal and dangerous.
Hiking Safety Tips
Shenandoah National Park has many trails. Stay on the trails for safety; don’t venture off. Follow these other tips as well:
- Wear proper footwear.
- Beware of slippery rocks with lichen and moss.
- Watch your step so you don’t trip (or step on a snake!).
- Make some noise on the trail to warn snakes and other animals you’re on it.
- Check for ticks.
Most importantly, if you travel away from the main road, be sure you’re prepared to handle any emergency on your own. The park’s emergency number is 800-732-0911, but a large portion of the park has very limited, if any, cell service. Service is limited on the road, but even more so on the trails.
Always observe park rangers’ warnings and any posted signs.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about the warnings and dangers in Shenandoah National Park.