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Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

Illinois
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Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

Greetings! My husband and I, in mid and late 50s and in so/so shape, will be be visiting SNP in mid July. We are trying to decide between Big Meadow and Skyland lodges for our one overnight in the park. Which is better for a combination of great mountain views and access to some fairly easy short hikes with or to interesting scenery, waterfalls, overlooks? Re. the hiking, some short climbing or scrambling would be o.k., but no long treks up long inclines. From reviews I've read on TA, it sounds as though Skyland is at the highest altitude and so offers the best views from the lodge, but Big Meadow's accommodations are more recently updated and it offers better dining options. Any advise would be much appreciated!

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

An easy walk to a waterfall is along the Rose River Fire Trail from the Fishers Gap parking area. The fire trail is a wide gravel road and it's about 1 mile on a fairly level plane to the waterfall. It's a walk through the woods, but no scenic overlooks. This trailhead is about 1.5 miles from Big Meadow (between MM 49 and 50)

Some other easy trails near Big Meadow would be "The Story of the Forest" trail and sections of the Appalachian Trail that meander around the Big Meadow Lodge and Campgrounds. There's a short detourfrom the AT to Blackrock that should provide you with scenic overlook views.

The following link provides a map and some info about the Big Meadow hikes:

nps.gov/shen/…big_meadows_area_2013.pdf

And here's similar info about Skyland:

nps.gov/shen/…skyland_area_2013.pdf

Illinois
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2. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

Thank you, Longhorn!

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

Which one did you end up staying with and did you like it? Going with family teens and looking for similar easy hikes and nice accommodations but for a family of five ...

Virginia Beach...
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4. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

For easy hiking, consider these.............

Limberlost Trail, Frazier (or Frasier) Discovery Trail, and as mentioned by Longhorn74 one of my favorites is Blackrock Summit, beautiful large rocks and great views, take water and snacks and stay a while. Dark Hollow Falls is the most popular waterfall hike and is easy with some effort on the return as it is moderately uphill. The Appalachian Trail runs 100+ miles through the Park. There is a nice section of the AT next to Big Meadows....hike a far as you like and return. Also check with the Rangers and Staff at the SNP Visitors Centers for trail suggestions and to get trail maps. Good idea to keep a trail map, water, snack, with you.

Here are SNP trail maps...........

www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/mapshiking.htm

Hope this helps.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

Thank you for your suggestions ... should we try to stay at or near the park? accommodations is my big concern right now... and should I book in advance for August?

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

I always think it's better to stay in the park itself because: 1) great scenery, 2) evening activities and 3) you're right there for the hiking. The evening activities include music (free) in the Taproom at Big Meadow Lodge each evening and ranger programs in the amphitheatre. I would book in advance for August if your plans are set.

Illinois
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7. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

Hi, MiddleEasternFoodie! We ended up staying at Big Meadows, and it worked very well for us. We wanted a cabin centrally located within the park. Big Meadows features both cabins and rooms in a motel-type building.

Ours was a "Mountain View" cabin: a building that consisted of three connected rooms; we had the use of only two, but with the third room I would think it would work well for a family. (There also was a screened porch off the room that we did not have access to.) One bedroom included a double bed and 1/4 bath (sink and toilet only), while the other included twin beds, a full bath and fireplace, as well as a large closet / utility room. (I'm guessing the room we could not access had either a 1/4 bath or full bath, but I do not know.) Be advised, despite the name, this cabin did NOT have a view of a mountain; we knew this going in, so it was not an issue for us. All we really wanted was a place to sleep and clean up, with ample room for our gear. The beds were comfortable, shower water pressure was adequate, and there was enough hot water (although faucets were quirky). Although the beds looked fairly new, the rest of the space could have done with some updating. Also, be advised that there was no TV or WiFi in the room. Again, not a problem for us, but might be a consideration for your teens.

The lodge itself was very nice, with a large lounge and dining room with pretty views of the valley beyond. We enjoyed two breakfasts and a dinner in the dining room. Food and service were great. From what I read, the lounge had WiFi available, but we didn't use that.

Hope this info is helpful. If you're looking for a "cabin camping" kind of experience, Big Meadows should work for you. Enjoy your trip. Shenandoah NP is beautiful!

8. Re: Big Meadow or Skyland, easy hikes?

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