The 1.3-mile Limberlost Trail is among the top easy hikes in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It’s a trail for everyone, regardless of abilities.
This mostly flat, crushed greenstone walkway is stroller-friendly and wheelchair-accessible.
It’s the only fully accessible trail in the park and one of just a few trails that does not allow pets (with the exception of service animals).
|Elevation Gain||98 feet|
|Fee||$30 per vehicle (good for seven days)|
|Driving Directions||Click Here|
The parking lot for this loop trail is at mile marker 43 and has room for 10 to 12 vehicles. You can also access the Skyland Stable Trail from this parking area.
From here, look for the Limberlost Trail sign to the right of the trailhead.
You’ll also see a large sign informing families that this trail is part of the TRACK Trails program designed to help grow a love of nature in children.
For this trail, you can print out a self-guided adventure that encourages children to use all their senses to explore the trail.
Kids need to get low to see the trail from the view of a box turtle and consider how squirrels climb trees. You may also find adventure guides on-site.
While the trail is largely flat and the forest views are serene, you will certainly notice the sounds of cars motoring along Skyline Drive.
Thankfully, the man-made noises dissipate within the first 100 steps or so.
More than 15 wooden benches line the Limberlost Trail. If you or anyone in your group needs to rest or feels short of breath, there’s a bench every .05-mile.
You will also find frequent “resting intervals,” or pull-out areas for wheelchairs to allow others to pass.
As you mosey along the Limberlost Trail, slow to take in the leafy green hemlocks and fragrant spruce trees along the way.
I also very much enjoyed seeing the yellow wildflowers and listening to the melodious chirping of birds (once I got far enough away from Skyline Drive).
The first one-third of this hike is all crushed greenstone, but then at the .45-mile mark you’ll cross a short section of boardwalk trail.
In another few steps, you’ll see a trail marker on the right for the Crescent Rock Trail. From here, it’s just over a mile to the scenic overlook.
To remain on the Limberlost Trail, continue past this trail marker. At the .75-mile mark, you’ll cross a wooden bridge over a calming stream.
In a few more steps, the trail intersects with the popular Whiteoak Canyon Trail. Immediately after you cross over the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, there’s a surprise.
It’s a geological formation called a columnar jointing. It’s not as impressive as the one you will see on the hike to Compton Peak, but it’s still worthy of exploration.
Near the .9-mile mark, the Limberlost Trail intersects with the Old Rag Fire Road (though the sign reads “Horse Trail”).
Continue on straight through the intersection. At the 1.1-mile mark, you will again cross over the Whiteoak Canyon Trail.
This loop trail finishes up on the other side of the parking lot. Some may consider this trail boring given the simple terrain and minimal elevation change.
However, I found this to be a delightfully relaxing walk through the woods. Sometimes that’s just what you need.
The trail marker on the Limberlost Trail notes that the overlook is 1.1 miles away. Double this for the out-and-back hike for a total hike distance 3.5 miles.
For a shorter hike, create a smaller loop by hiking the Limberlost Trail in reverse (clockwise).
Begin at the trail end and turn right on either the Old Rag Fire Road or Whiteoak Canyon Trail. Both intersect with the Limberlost Trail.
So, simply turn left then to return to the parking area along the Limberlost Trail.
This hike took me 30 minutes. I saw an older couple and a man walking with his young son, but otherwise this trail was rather quiet.
The parking area for the Limberlost Trail is a short drive from Skyland Resort, which is less than one-mile north on Skyline Drive.
At Skyland, you’ll find a full-service restaurant and a grab-and-go snack shack, as well as easy access to more Skyline Drive hiking trails.