Sitting on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, sandwiched between Massanutten Mountain to the west and Shenandoah National Park to the east and south, Shenandoah River State Park is a must-visit for anyone yearning for outdoor adventures with stunning surrounding views. With over 1,600 acres and five miles of shoreline, this Virginia state park has more than 24 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, easy river access for paddlers and anglers, a large riverside picnic area great for families, and zip lines offering canopy tours for thrill-seekers—making it an obvious addition to your RV adventure bucket list.
The park opened in June 1999 and, in addition to its many offerings, it also serves as a great basecamp for exploring the historically and culturally rich surrounding area of the Shenandoah Valley. Guests staying at Shenandoah River State Park can easily add visits to other major nearby attractions, including Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns, and Skyline Drive.
Shenandoah River State Park is open year-round and has 32 RV sites with water and electric hookups. While the campground is open year-round as well, visitors wishing to take advantage of the park’s zip line canopy tours and boating opportunities should plan to visit in the warmer months from April through October.
RV Rentals in Shenandoah River State Park
Transportation in Shenandoah River State Park
Located about eight miles south of Front Royal and 15 miles north of Luray in the the small town of Bentonville, Shenandoah River State Park can feel worlds away from the urban chaos of Washington, D.C. only an hour and a half away. The park is relatively easy to get to by RV or car, as the park entrance is just off of Route 340.
If you plan to stay in one of the park’s 32 RV sites, be mindful that the access road into the campground is steep and winding, so drive with caution in that section. Most campsites within the campground are back-in, though five are pull-through for easier access. Parking is available at each campsite and at additional overflow parking areas throughout the park, including at Culler’s Overlook, the horse barn area, and the canoe launch.
Visitors can buy snacks and novelty items from the park’s gift shop, but if you are in need of more extensive supplies, there are two convenience stores in Bentonville about a quarter mile from the park, and there are a number of restaurants and grocery stores in Front Royal about 8 miles from the park.
Campgrounds and parking in Shenandoah River State Park
Campsites in Shenandoah River State Park
Shenandoah River State Park EW Campground
Shenandoah River State Park’s EW Campground has 32 RV sites with water and electric hookups, and can accommodate rigs up to 60 feet long. There are no sewer hookups, but there is a convenient dump station available for guests. Each site has a fire-ring, picnic table, and lantern holder, and the campground has restrooms with hot showers as well as coin-operated laundry. Visitors can also enjoy easy access to Bluebell Trail, Culler’s Trail, and Campground Trail. If you plan to visit in the colder months, be aware that water at campsites is turned off when temperatures are below freezing, but in these situations, water is still available elsewhere in the park. Most of the sites are back-in, but five are pull-through for easier access. These campsites are available year-round, and while half the sites can be specifically reserved, the rest are assigned upon arrival.
Seasonal activities in Shenandoah River State Park
Visitors eager to get their legs moving and their boots dirty while at Shenandoah River State Park can rest easy knowing that the park has more than 24 miles of hiking trails meandering through its 1,600 acres. The hikes range from a difficult five and a half mile trek along Bear Bottom Loop Trail, to a moderate three mile hike along Allen’s Mountain Trail, to an easy stroll of under a mile along Tulip Poplar Trail—and everything in between.
Shenandoah River State Park’s five miles of shoreline make the Shenandoah River a paddler’s playground. The park offers a canoe launch in the day-use area, which sits three miles downstream from the Bentonville access area, offering a perfect spot for visitors to set off from in their canoes, kayaks, or tubes to explore the Shenandoah Valley by boat. While the park does not rent boats, there are three car-top launches and two outfitters within a few minutes of the park.
Zip Line Tours
One of the major highlights of Shenandoah River State Park is the zip line canopy tour that allows visitors to soar through the park by zip line. The canopy tour winds through the Shenandoah hardwood forest and allows thrill-seekers to enjoy breathtaking views of the Massanutten Mountains while zipping through the treetops. In addition to the eight zip lines visitors will soar across, the tour also includes a UTV trail ride, a sky bridge, two nature hikes, and a rappel—offering the perfect mix of heart-pounding thrills and scenic relaxation.
Anglers can enjoy trying their luck in the waters at Shenandoah River State Park any time of year. Smallmouth bass, fallfish, catfish, and red-breasted sunfish can all be found in the Shenandoah River. The “fish trap” access area near Shelter 3 is a good spot for wade fishing, and anglers who prefer to fish from a boat can hop in their tube, canoe, or kayak and float down the river—just make sure you have the necessary fishing license.
If you would prefer to explore the 1,600 acre park on horseback instead of by foot or by bike, you will be happy to hear that Shenandoah River State Park offers 14 miles of multi-use bridle trails. Culler’s Trail, Redtail Ridge Trail, Shale Barrens Trail, and more are all available for horseback riding and offer great ways to explore the park. While the park does not offer horse rentals, visitors who bring their own horses can make use of the horse amenities available in the horse barn area just off of Daughter of Stars Drive.
This Virginia state park is home to a wide range of diverse creatures, offering exciting glimpses to the patient and observant visitor any time of year. On the river, visitors should look out for herons, waterfowl, and otter. In the forest, visitors can look out for white-tailed deer, black bear, and scarlet tanager. And overhead, keep an eye out for osprey, bald eagle, broad-winged hawk, and American kestrel. Shenandoah River State Park is teeming with diverse wildlife, offering endless opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.