~ Press release issued Wednesday, March 25 by Shenandoah National Park
LURAY – Shenandoah National Park, in response to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health, is announcing additional modifications to operations to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As of March 25, 2020, the following trails will be closed:
- The Old Rag and Whiteoak Canyon-Cedar Run circuit hikes are closed in response to an increased risk to visitors and staff due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These are two of the most popular hikes in the park and they have recently become overwhelmed with visitors. Visitors have been unable to practice the social distancing guidelines set forth by the CDC because of the multiple congestion points along the trails at rock scrambles, waterfall viewpoints and the summit of Old Rag. The park also cannot assure that visitors are able to meet the CDC’s hand sanitation guidance in these remote locations.
- The Madison County Sheriff’s Office has closed Nethers Road (Route 600) and Weakley Hollow Road (Route 600) leading to the trailheads for these hikes at the park boundary. These road closures will remain in effect indefinitely.
- Please refer to the maps to see the details of which trails, parking areas and roads are closed. Signs are posted at all trailheads and trail intersections to inform visitors of the closures.
As of March 26, 2020, Shenandoah National Park will offer very limited services outside those that support visitor or resource protection. The following services and operations will be suspended in order to be consistent with the Virginia State Parks:
- All restrooms are closed.
- The backcountry is closed to overnight camping through April 30. There is no overnight camping in the park at this time.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. As a reminder, these operational changes have already been implemented.
- Appalachian Trail huts, shelters, and cabins are closed.
- The Old Rag and Whiteoak-Cedar Run circuit hikes are closed.
- All other park-operated facilities are closed including visitor centers.
- Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority have closed the recreational area around Sugar Hollow Reservoir.
- For tentative opening dates of other facilities click here: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/hours.htm
Concessions-operated facilities will open with operational restrictions:
- Lewis Mountain Cabins and Campstore will open today with these restrictions: no more than 10 people may be inside the campstore at a time.
- Big Meadows Wayside will open tomorrow, with these restrictions: No prepared food, dining room is closed, no more than 10 people may be inside at a time.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Shenandoah National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/conditions.htm and social media channels https://www.facebook.com/shenandoahnps/, https://twitter.com/ShenandoahNPS, and https://www.instagram.com/shenandoahnps/.
Outdoor spaces atShenandoah National Parkremain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state, and local health guidance, in addition to entry fees being waived for visitors.
The NPSencourages people who choose to visit Shenandoah National Park during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.