Picturesque Shenandoah River State Park is located in Bentonville, 1 ½ hours from Northern Virginia. This 1,619 acres of public recreation area lies along 6 miles of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and offers spectacular views of Massanutten Mountain and Shenandoah National Park.
The mostly wooded park also features steep slopes and rolling hills making it an ideal spot for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. Visitors to this Virginia state park also enjoy camping, picnicking, boating, fishing and birdwatching.
Shenandoah River State Park offers its guests a peaceful escape to a serene area where they can enjoy nature and relax. The park’s picnic areas and shelters are great spots to gather and are close to the trails, boat launches and the river. While there are no designated swimming areas in the park, wading and floating are permitted (and a great way to cool off on a hot summer day!)
The visitor center has a gift shop, an aquarium and a special section with touch-screens for learning about the region’s history, bird species and other wildlife.
Here are some other activities that you can do during your visit to Shenandoah River State Park:
Trails at Shenandoah River State Park
Shenandoah River State Park has 24 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking. These trails wind throughout the park’s wooded areas, wildflower meadows, rocky hillside and along the river.
About 14 miles of these trails are open for horseback riders (if you will be bringing a horse into the park make sure that you also bring a copy of a negative Coggins Report).
Here are a few of the trails inside Shenandoah River State Park:
- Cottonwood Trail – An easy 1.4 mile loop that leads to the northern end of the park and is ideal for birdwatchers.
- Wildcat Ledge Trail – A moderate 1.3 mile trail up to the overlook. This rocky trail is steep for about .2 miles as it climbs upwards. Make sure to continue past the bench for the best possible view.
- Point Trail Loop – An easy 2.7 mile loop that begins as a flat walk close to the river and then climbs up the hillside for stunning views of the river and surrounding area.
- Beagle Gap to Blackrock Gap – A harder trail, 27.9 miles long. You can explore more of the park and surrounding areas by breaking up this trail over a couple of days.
- Big Oak Trail & Red Tail Ridge Trail Loop – An easy 2.3 mile loop that starts out from the Cabin Connector Trail. Beautiful views of the river, wildlife and the surrounding area from the overlooks along the way.
Boating at Shenandoah River State Park
The park has 3 car-top boat launches for kayaks and canoes in the day-use area, 3.2 miles downstream from the Bentonville access area. The park doesn’t offer boat rentals at this time but there are a couple of places locally where you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and tubes.
Fishing at Shenandoah River State Park
Fish for catfish, sunfish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappie and muskellunge during your visit to Shenandoah River State Park. Fish from boat, shore or wade into the river (the fish trap access area near Shelter 3 is perfect for wade fishing).
Remember to pick up a Virginia freshwater fishing license.
Wildlife Viewing at Shenandoah River State Park
Wildlife, especially salamanders, seem to be everywhere at Shenandoah River State Park. Others you’ll be sure to see during your visit are waterfowl, white-tailed deer,
rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons. You may even see a black bear or two since their population is higher in this part of the state.
While exploring the trails keep an eye out for many species of birds. You may see a sparrow, wood duck, bald eagle, woodpecker, meadowlark or an Indigo bunting. And also keep an eye out for a few of the 18 species of warblers that have breeding ground in this area.
Camping at Shenandoah River State Park
Shenandoah River State Park has several options available year round for overnight accommodations – tent and RV camping, camping cabins, yurts, cabins and a lodge.
Here’s a closer look at each of these accommodations:
The park has 32 campsites with water and electric (20/30/50-amp) connections for tents, RVs or popups up to 60 feet long. Centrally located restrooms also have hot showers and coin-operated laundry machines. Each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table and a lantern holder.
River Right Campground
An additional 12 tent-only primitive campsites with river access that can only be reached by foot or canoe. Portable water is located close by.
Cottonwood Primitive Group Camp
A walk-in tent-only group campsite is also available and can accommodate parties up to 30 people. Bathhouses are located nearby.
The 3 yurts are located in a wooded section of the park where there is more shade and privacy. Yurts 1 and 2 are close to a river access point. Yurt 3 is only a short walk from the river. Each yurt sleeps 3 and has a dining table, chairs, sofa, large wooden deck, picnic table, a grill, fire ring and water spigot.
There’s no electricity, heat or air conditioning and no smoking, cooking or pets allowed inside. Bring your own linens and extra sleeping bags if needed.
The park also has 4 camping cabins. Each rustic camping cabin sleeps up to 4 people and has 2 sets of bunk beds, a table and chairs and a porch with 2 rocking chairs, plus a picnic table, fire ring and lantern post outside.
Each camping cabin has electricity but no bathroom, kitchen, fireplace, heat or air conditioning. No tents or other camping equipment allowed at these sites. Bathhouses are conveniently located nearby.
Also available for overnight accommodations inside the park are 9 two-bedroom cabins (sleep 6) and 1 three-bedroom cabin (sleep 8). Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen and combined dining and living room area with mission style rustic furniture plus an outside wraparound deck with rocking chairs. Cabins do not have a dishwasher, washer/dryer, telephone, tv or linens.
One family sized lodge that sleeps up to 16 is available for larger families or small gatherings. It has 6 bedrooms, 3 baths and an open floor plan kitchen, dining area and living room, all with comfortable mission style rustic style furniture. The lodge also has a large front and back porch with rocking chairs and a picnic table and grill.
Whether you stay in a cabin or lodge you will need to bring your own linens, pillows, warm blankets (it can get very chilly at night), food, dishwashing liquid, dish towels, coffee and filters, salt and pepper, bath towels and toiletries and activities such as board games, cards, magazines and books.
Pets at Shenandoah River State Park
Pets are allowed inside the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet or in an enclosed area. There’s an additional $10 fee per pet per night for the bunkhouse, cabins and lodges. Please clean up after your pet and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Shenandoah River State Park
350 Daughter of Stars
Dr Bentonville, VA 22610
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Shenandoah River State Park: