Leave No Trace When Camping or Hiking in Shenandoah National Park

Bear on Rock Wall - Shenandoah National Park It is important to remember that it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to maintain the natural beauty of these forests by treating them with respect and leaving them better than we found them. The Leave No Trace Principles are the keystone to the conserving the great outdoors.

Leave No Trace Principles

  • These principles are easy to remember and can be applied whenever you are interacting with nature.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know before you go! – By planning ahead you ensure that you have all of the gear you need to enjoy Shenandoah National Park safely. This includes proper hiking attire, water and a map. Also please be sure to repackage your food in a way that will minimize waste and travel in small groups whenever possible.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Stick to trails and camp overnight right! – Concentrate on using existing trails and campsites whenever possible and always travel on durable surfaces such as rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. We also recommend walking in single file in the middle of the trail.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Stash your trash and pick up waste! – That means pack it in, pack it out and always inspect your campsite for trash or spilled foods.

Leave What You Find

  • Leave it as you find it! - Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts. This also applies to rocks, plants, and other natural objects. While that flower would look beautiful in your scrapbook it looks even prettier alive where you found it. While some may take this lightly please be aware that it is against the law to remove anything from the park.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Be careful with fire! - Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Keep fires small and be sure to burn all wood and coals to ash. Please make sure your fires are out completely! Fires are permitted in park-built grates only. Fires are prohibited in all of Shenandoah’s backcountry, so if you are going beyond its developed areas, be prepared!

Respect Wildlife

  • Keep wildlife wild! – Please do not attempt to interact with wildlife and only observe them from a distance and NEVER feed them. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Share our trails and manage your pet! - Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. This means yielding to other users on the trail, keeping your pet on a leash no longer than six feet and all times and let nature’s sounds prevail. Be sure to check the list of trials where pets are prohibited.

By abiding by the Leave No Trace Policies you are helping to maintain hiking trails that can be enjoyed for generations and the better you abide the closer they will look to pristine areas. Let’s work together in keeping Shenandoah National Park a beautiful place to hike and camp for years to come.

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P.O. Box 727, Luray, Virginia 22835 | 877-847-1919