Shenandoah National Park announces new backcountry camping permit system

Backcountry camping in Shenandoah National Park

LURAY — Beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2024, visitors who wish to overnight in Shenandoah National Park’s backcountry must purchase a permit through The previous system of obtaining a paper permit through the park’s website, or at designated locations in the park, will be eliminated effective January 10, 2024. 

Shenandoah’s Superintendent Pat Kenney explained that the new system will increase protection of both the visitor and the resources.

“Shenandoah is one of the National Park Service’s Top 10 backcountry camping destinations,” Kenney said. “We have conducted several studies, consulted with other parks who have similar amenities, and reviewed and reacted to public comment to arrive at a system that we feel will improve the visitor experience and better protect the resources.” 

Backcountry campers with a start date of January 11 or after will be required to purchase permits online:

There is a $6 permit fee, plus a $9 recreation fee per person. For example, the total permit cost for a group of two campers will be $24. The fee is not dependent on the number of nights. The usual entrance fee also applies. Those planning trips beginning prior to January 11 will use the existing free permit system which can be accessed on the park’s website:  

“The implementation of an online system will allow us to better track backcountry use and locate campers in an emergency. The fees cover the administrative costs of the system, but the majority will fund backcountry management including trail and facility maintenance, resource protection and rehabilitation, and backcountry staff,” according to Superintendent Kenney.  

For more information about the change including details about how to obtain the new permit, visit  



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  1. $24 for a couple to sleep on the ground deep in the woods. Ground they already paid for with taxes, then paid for again with a very hefty gate fee. The Park Service has lost its mind.

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