Hey there national park lovers! My name is Emiko Ward and welcome to my blog on Shenandoah National Park. I’m 27 years young and travel with my husband Andrew Ward and our wonderful dog Han Solo. I was born in Iwata, Japan and my Dad was in the Peace Corps – so he met my mom in Tuvalu and we somehow ended up in North Georgia, where I grew up.
I met my husband on the school bus in the 6th grade. We didn’t get serious until our senior year of high school and we have been inseparable ever since. We started our photography and videography (@aura.endi) business back in 2017 when we went to visit my grandma in NZ. We bought a GoPro and documented everything. This is what started our passion to travel.
Our business this year has changed to elopements and destination weddings only – and we have loved it! There is something special about documenting a couple on top of a mountain. I would have to say that this is what inspired us to get into travel and hiking trails but it has also easily become one of our favorite hobbies where we get to bond together.
My Experience at Shenandoah National Park
My husband and I talked about visiting Shenandoah National Park one morning and knowing that one of my best friends lived near there I told him we should invite them to go. The crazy thing was that on the same day my friend randomly texted me asking that on her birthday we all go to Shenandoah National Park. It seemed like fate. So we planned it that day.
On day 1 we started the day at White Oak Falls, we set up our jetboil and had lunch. Then we hiked up to an amazing waterfall and took incredible pictures. On day 2 we took the scenic route to Hawksbill Mountain and came to the most spectacular overlook of the mountains. It was a foggy day but sometimes the mountains would peak through just right.
Shenandoah National Park has some awesome hikes. From moderate to strenuous, this park is for everyone! And from waterfalls to mountains, you can’t go wrong with this place. My favorite spot was the waterfall at White Oak Falls. You just felt free there and felt God’s presence all around you. I highly suggest checking this place out when in Shenandoah.
We only got to do those two hikes to White Oak Falls and Hawksbill but our Airbnb recommended a few other hikes like Browns Gap, Furnace Mountain and Hightop Summit. If you have more than two days, then check those spots out as well. I’m sure they offer lots of fun!
Where to Stay near Shenandoah National Park
We stayed at an Airbnb in Mount Jackson which was an hour and thirty minutes away from Hawksbill. Our stay was fantastic but we didn’t take into consideration that 20 miles of travel would take so long – due to the curvy roads. We recommend paying attention to the mileage and staying closer to your hiking spots. This will save you time and fuel!
One place which we stopped at was a winery called Cave Ridge Vineyard. We had the most amazing time there. They have friendly staff and the wine was top-notch. Stop off there if you would like to try some wine.
Need to Know Before you Go
A few tips for Shenandoah would be not going alone and staying on the trails. Also, downloading AllTrails to make sure you are on the right path is a must! It always gives me peace knowing that I have the trail downloaded on my phone. Going on a weekday is also better due to smaller crowds inside the park. Leave no trace and pick up any rubbish you find.
I would like to finish by sharing my favorite memory from this trip to Shenandoah. It was at White Oak Falls when a photo was taken of me, my husband and my dog. Merrell shoe company shared this photo on their page which made me so happy! You can just see in the photo the love and happiness from this day and it’s a memory that I will cherish forever.