This past weekend we decided to hike a little farther away from home and selected Shenandoah National Park. The northern entrance to Shenandoah is just over an hour from our house and we visit the park several times a year. We started our drive at the Front Royal entrance and wandered as far as the trailhead for the Lower Hawksbill Trail. Typically, if we are doing a hike in the Central District of the park, we will jump in at the Thornton Gap to save time. However, this trip we wanted to look for wildlife and decompress from a busy few weeks.
Our Drive in Shenandoah National Park
I love meandering Skyline Drive. We almost always see deer (we saw two this trip), there a plenty of birds, and the numerous overlooks are spectacular. We started our trip in the park with a stop at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. A stop at a VC is always required so that I can get my Passport to Your National Parks stamp. It was cloudy on our way home after our hike, so the clouds added some cool layers to the sky.
Sidebar, I have Shenandoah National Park plates with a special #ParkNerd customization. A woman from the Department of Interior and her family stopped me at an overlook. She asked for a picture of my plates and we ended up chatting for 20 minutes about our favorite local outdoor destinations. I love my fellow park nerds!
Hiking Hawksbill Summit
As part of the 52 Hike Challenge, we completed Hike 8 by completing the Lower Hawksbill Trail. The trail is in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park and while challenging, is totally worth the hike for the summit view.
Late Lunch at Mountain Taproom
After spending much longer than anticipated on our Hawksbill hike, we needed to find a bathroom in a hurry. We headed north a few miles to Skyland. After using the facilities, we decided to grab a late lunch in the Mountain Taproom. We could see some distant vistas from our table, overlooking the main dining room which had just closed. I ordered the fried chicken (IT WAS AMAZING!) and Hubs had the Cheesesteak.
Spelunker’s Frozen Custard
After driving back out of the park we were in the mood for ice cream. After a quick search on Yelp, we settled on Spelunker’s Frozen Custard as it was directly on our route home. I am a total frozen custard snob (I love Culvers) and was pleasantly surprised by their taste and consistency. I opted for the vanilla (which is my favorite flavor, don’t judge me) and Hubs had a chocolate (which is his favorite). Of course, we each thought the one we ordered was better than the others.