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Quiet Solitude in Shenandoah National Park

As the temperature drops and leaves fall from the trees, visibility in the park improves.

The views of the valley below and mountains beyond are even more spectacular in winter.

A crisp, winter visit is one of the best times of the year to experience the park. While now is the time when much of the foliage is in its winter slumber and the wildlife is teeming in Shenandoah with creatures on the hunt for food.

In the quiet cold of winter, your senses will be heightened, as you find yourself listening and looking for chickadees, nuthatches, and a host of woodpeckers scouring for seeds and berries – or peeking under bark for hard-to-find insects. 

In addition to smaller, feathered residents, the park also plays host to larger game like deer, squirrels, and turkeys who spend much of their time in winter out in the open, foraging for food.

As you take in the sights and sounds of the season, if you look carefully, you can locate signs of life from animals that often keep to themselves.

While walking through the snow, you will undoubtedly come across smaller tracks left by animals like mice, rabbits, and other burrowing creatures. If you are lucky, you may also encounter traces of foxes and bobcats as well.

Shenandoah National Park is open year-round and is waiting to welcome visitors. Keep in mind that lodging, food services, campgrounds, and visitor centers close from December through March. If you are planning a winter visit, be sure to check road conditions. Portions of Skyline Drive, the only public road through the park, are periodically closed during inclement weather and at night during deer hunting season.

For current conditions and information, visit www.nps.gov/shen.

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