Shenandoah National Park Lodge to Lodge Hiking

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,899 for REI Members
$2,089 for non-members
Departures Jun 2020-Sep 2020

Spend four days hiking the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park while sleeping in comfort at three historic park lodges. A fully guided, lodge-to-lodge hiking adventure with REI Co-op Experiences

This journey into the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains reveals Shenandoah National Park?s natural beauty, rich history and incredible viewpoints. During the days you?ll scale the park's highest peak, witness peregrine falcon restoration efforts, and cool yourself in the spray of waterfalls. You?ll explore the many woodlands, river valleys and meadows along this stretch of the Appalachian Trail. You may even catch glimpses of black bears foraging, hear the call of wild turkeys or see salamanders plodding along in the undergrowth. Each night we stay in unique, historic lodges and cabins, because nothing?s better after a day of strenuous hiking than a delicious meal and a soft bed.

By the end of this four-day trek you?ll understand the history of the park?s creation, appreciate the challenges of the Appalachian Trail and have lifelong memories of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you?re ready for this one-of-a-kind experience, hope to see you on the trail!

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore beautiful Shenandoah National Park with fellow hikers and expert guides
  • Learn to identify native species of plants and animals in their wild habitat
  • Travel along the Appalachian Trail, the longest marked footpath in the U.S.
  • Spend each night in a unique and comfortable Shenandoah National Park lodge
  • Discover the storied history and culture of the Blue Ridge Mountain region

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. Trip members should be capable of hiking 5-8 hours each day (up to 10 miles) with as much as 3,000' elevation gain and loss. Trails can be rough with significant elevation changes throughout the day.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Any park or other admission fees or permits, guides; round-trip transportation from Herndon, VA to all destinations visited during the trip; all meals and snacks from lunch on Day 1 through dinner on Day 4; see trip gear list for details on gear provided during this adventure.

Accommodations

Historic National Park lodges, 3 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Begin your hiking journey on the legendary Appalachian Trail

Meet your guides and fellow hikers at 7am this morning in Herndon, Virginia. After a short introduction and orientation, we load up in our provided shuttle and set off for a two-hour drive to the Thornton Gap trailhead in Shenandoah National Park. We enter the park on Skyline Drive, which runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers spectacular panoramas of the park and surrounding region. We?re then off on our first hike, to the top of 3,514? Mary?s Rock. There are many origin stories for the name Mary?s Rock, but the most memorable claims a young girl named Mary climbed the mountain empty handed, but came back down with a bear cub in her arms. Our final destination of the day is the famed Skyland Resort, where thankfully, guests are no longer awakened by bugle each morning. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: Up to 9 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,018? / -1,312?; Van transfer: 2 hours

Day 2

Trek from Skyland Resort to Big Meadows Lodge

The day begins with breakfast, which is ideal when invigorating hiking awaits. Properly nourished, we set out for our immediate destination: Hawksbill Summit, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park (4,049?). In addition to outstanding 360-degree views, the peak is also used to restore populations of peregrine falcons. Next, we make our way down into Fishers Gap, an ancient dried up waterway that?s now part of the Appalachian Trail. Our final destination is Big Meadows Lodge, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and local laborers back in 1939. Those who are early to bed and early to rise may spot black bears nibbling berries in the morning near the meadow?s edge. All meals included.

Hiking: up to 8.7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,072? / -1,984?

Day 3

Hike the Appalachian Trail from Big Meadows Lodge to the Lewis Mountain Cabins

Enjoy a hearty, healthful breakfast at Big Meadows Lodge before hitting the Appalachian Trail on our day-long journey to the Lewis Mountain Cabins. Our route takes us up Hazeltop Mountain, offering beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain views. The woods here teem with wildlife and hundreds of species of plants and trees. Our guides will help us learn to identify many of them so keep those eyes peeled and ask questions. Possible sightings include morel mushrooms, hairy lip ferns, woodchucks, salamanders and even gobbling wild turkeys!

An optional climb up the 311-foot Bearfence Rock Scramble leads to some truly breathtaking views. From there we hike on to where we'll spend the night?the historic and furnished Lewis Mountain Cabins. Here we?ll warm up by the campfire, reflect on the day and rest up for tomorrow. All meals included.

Hiking: 8.6 miles (plus an optional 311-foot scramble up exposed rock), Elevation gain/loss: +1,407? / -1,531?

Day 4

Continue along the Appalachian Trail to Bald Face Mountain

Our final day on the AT takes us from our cozy accommodations to the Swift Run Gap Entrance along Skyline Drive. We take in our last expansive trail views from Bald Face Mountain before descending into the valley to conclude our hike. Our drive back to Herndon, Virginia begins on Skyline Drive, so we?ll get some final spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley and Shenandoah River. Once we reach Luray, Virginia we celebrate the completion of our 35-mile Appalachian Trail adventure with a special dinner in town. We expect to be back at our host hotel in Herndon between 8:30?9:30pm. All meals included.

Hiking: 8.6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,340? / -2,357?; Van transfer: 2.5 hours

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.