April 30 – May 6, 2017
Prepare to embark on a special adventure into Shenandoah National Park. Having the best of all worlds, we will hike a different trail each day, paddle on the famed Shenandoah River, and have the pleasure of staying at Skyland Lodge, located in the heart of Shenandoah National Park. There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and as we travel, we will investigate whatever crosses our path and catches our interest. This will include anything from birds and other wildlife to wildflowers and other plant life, as well as animal tracks and traces. Your guide is a naturalist and wildlife biologist who will provide naturalist interpretation to enhance your experience of this scenic and diverse landscape. You will enjoy new discoveries and become more aware of the natural world and its inhabitants.
Established in 1935, Shenandoah National Park straddles a beautiful 100-mile stretch (300 square miles) of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Southern Appalachian Mountain range. The park rises above the Virginia Piedmont to its east and the Shenandoah Valley to its west. Over 70,000 acres of this 196,000-acre park are designated wilderness. Dominated by hardwood forests, this park includes a variety of habitats due to the 3500’ range of elevation, slopes and aspects, rocks and soils, precipitation, and latitude. Lush forests, quiet hollows, rocky ridges and rolling hills characterize this park and its trails. Remnants of boreal forests exist here as well, reminding us that continental glaciers came nearby. Over 1300 species of vascular plants thrive here and 200 species of birds and 50 species of mammals make their home in these habitats.
Spring in Shenandoah
This will be a wonderful time to enjoy wildflowers, birdlife and other wildlife as
we travel through Shenandoah National Park. Every spring, the mountains of the southeastern United States produce some of the most vibrant and diverse woodlandwildflower displays in the world! Shenandoah National Park offers a most spectacular spring wildflower display and we will be in the park during peak spring wildflower bloom! The mountains and hollows are springing to life as wildflowers grace the forest floor with their incredible displays of whites, purples, blues, yellows and reds. This is enhanced by the many hues of spring green from a great variety of plants sprouting their new leaves. Birds are very visible as they flood the forests and fields, filling the air with their vibrant songs. May is the time for pink azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) to bloom in the forest and along Skyline Drive. This is also a good time of the year to spot Peregrine Falcons - we should have several opportunities to look for these amazing birds of prey. These are just
some of the sights and sounds to be experienced during a Shenandoah spring.
Weather in Shenandoah can be quite changeable and variable. In the spring, we can expect highs in the mid 60s and lows in the mid 40s at lower elevations. The park’s higher elevations encourage as much as a 10-degree difference. While this will be great hiking weather, it is important to be well prepared for a range of temperatures. Mornings and evenings can be quite a bit cooler than the days, so this is where dressing in layers is important. We may also experience some spring rains, therefore, please come prepared with rain gear. A waterproof (not water resistant) rain jacket and rain pants, along with your layers, will keep you dry and warm and enjoying your Shenandoah adventure. For more detailed weather information visit www.weather.com. For more information on Shenandoah National Park, including climate, visit www.nps.gov/shen.
Wildflowers & Waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park
Trip Length: 7 days, 6 nights
Trip Cost: $2540
Group Size: 4 (min) – 6(max) participants