Shenandoah National Park Adventure – Under 35

Trip Length 3 Days
Group Size 4–12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,349 for REI Members
$1,479 for non-members
Departures May 2023-Oct 2023

Hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains, paddleboard the Shenandoah River, and camp amongst the rolling hills of Shenandoah National Park.

Discover Shenandoah National Park with a group of like-minded adventurers on this fun-filled 3-day journey designed especially for travelers aged 18-35 (but anyone over 18 can join!).

Shenandoah National Park beckons us to explore its natural beauty where bears roam the hollows and brook trout navigate the tumbling streams. Only 75 miles from Washington DC the park is set along Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and includes more than 500 miles of the secluded trails. Outdoor enthusiasts relish in a park brimming with rippling mountain streams, tumbling waterfalls, verdant valleys, miles of old-growth forested trails, and views that stretch for miles.

We’ll enjoy spectacular views from the summit of Hawksbill Mountain, the highest point in the park. We’ll feel the mist of over six gorgeous waterfalls along Whiteoak Canyon Trail. We’ll splash through the waters of the picturesque Shenandoah River on our paddle boards. And, finally, at the end of each the day we’ll enjoy a hearty meal prepared by our expert professional guides before falling asleep under a sky-full of stars.

Stand up paddle boarding on the Shenandoah River is another way to experience the immense beauty of this region.

Trip Highlights

  • Summit Hawksbill Mountain - the highest point within Shenandoah National Park
  • Play in the swimming holes and tumbling waterfalls of Whiteoak Canyon
  • Feeling the spray of a waterfall along Keyser Run
  • Paddle board along the crystal-clear waters of the Shenandoah River

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members should be capable of hiking 5–8 hours each day (up to 8 miles) with as much as 2,100’ elevation gain and loss. Paddle boarding is suitable for beginners, though comfort in/around water is recommended. Paddling is on a river with rapids classified I–II whitewater. Trip members should be capable of paddling 3–5 hours.

  • Hiking
  • Paddle Boarding

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 3; see trip gear list for details on gear provided during this adventure

Accommodations

Established Campground, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Shenandoah National Park Adventure – Under 35
Day 1

Skyline Drive, Summiting Stony Man, and Dark Hollow Falls

Meet your guides and traveling companions this morning for a brief orientation before hopping in our shuttle to Shenandoah National Park. We approach Skyline Drive through the quant gateway town of Front Royal where we’ll stop for a quick pick me up at a local coffee shop. We drive along scenic Skyline Drive towards our first trailhead, Stony Man. Standing atop Stony Man we have expansive views of the Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Mountain, and the Shenandoah River snaking through the valley below. This afternoon we descend into the forest towards Dark Hollow Falls, a refreshing treat especially on a warm summer day. The day wraps up at Big Meadows Campground where we enjoy a hearty meal prepared by our guides and time around the campfire before climbing into our sleeping bags for the night. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 3.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +995’/-902’; Van transfer: 2.5 hours

Day 2

Whiteoak Canyon – Waterfalls & Swimming holes

We wake to the smell of coffee and sounds of the forest this morning. After a hearty breakfast we’re off on an exploration of White Oak Canyon. Known for its prolific concentration of waterfalls, creeks and crystal clear swimming holes the trail offers the chance to cool off during the heat and humidity of summer. In between splashing, selfies, and stopping to absorb the beauty of the area we’ll take a breather for a picturesque picnic lunch. Tonight, we relax at camp for another night of great food and awesome company. All meals included.

Hiking: Up to 7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,074’ / -2,060’; Van transfer: 25 minutes

Day 3

Hawksbill Peak and Paddle Boarding the Shenandoah River

This morning we awake early for a quick breakfast in camp before we take down our tents and head to Hawksbill Summit. We’ll warm up our legs on a quick hike to the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park at 4,050’. Our adventure continues with a stand-up paddleboard trip on the Shenandoah River. We stick to calm waters and choose the route based on current river conditions and the recommendation of our expert professional river guide. Our route promises incredible views with the backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains, along with Great Blue Herons and turtles basking in the sun. Later this afternoon we head to the Front Royal Brewing Company to celebrate our adventure over dinner and brews. We are back on the road for our 1- hour transfer back to our host hotel where we bid our final farewells. We estimate arriving back around 8pm today. But please note this time may vary depending on group pace, river conditions, weather, traffic, and other factors beyond our control. To be safe, do not book flights out of Dulles International Airport until after 10:30pm today. All meals included.

Hiking: 1.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +378’ / -378’; SUP Paddle boarding: 3-5 hours, ~ 7 miles.

Itinerary map for Shenandoah National Park Adventure – Under 35

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.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (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.