Shenandoah Day Trip

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a day in the beautiful Shenandoah National Park to do some exploring and picture taking.  At first it did not look like the weather was going to cooperate with a heavy fog and rain showers on and off for the first part of the day.  However patience was rewarded, as I arrived at the overlook just south of the Skyland Resort. The weather cleared for 15 minutes just enough to allow me to setup my gear and capture this timelapse of the rain and fog ascending the mountain towards Skyline Drive, it was quite the site.

After this it was time to tackle the Rose River Loop Trail which is supposed to have great opportunities to shoot waterfalls.  Starting at the Fishers Gap Overlook you cross Skyline Drive and pickup the start of the trail there.  The cloudy weather made it a great time to give it a try.  The trail was muddy and the rocks were slippery but the cool weather made for great hiking weather.  This trail is rated as "moderate" with an elevation gain of around 900 feet and a distance of 4.7 miles.  I'd have to say I found it more moderate to difficult but that can probably be blamed on me being out of shape and it left me sweating, sore and breathing heavily on the way back up the mountain.  Here is a shot of the Rose River Falls one of the many spots along the trail that follows along side the Rose River.

 Rose River Falls

Rose River Falls

After the four hour hike and grabbing some dinner at the lodge the weather seemed like it would ruin any chance at capturing any sunset images during this visit.  I began my drive back home and as I was heading north on Skyline Drive I looked west and saw a dramatic sky and frantically pulled over to try and get a shot of the amazing sun rays poking out above a thick layer of clouds.  Here is the image of what I just described.

 Sun Rays peeking out at sunset along Skyline Drive.

Sun Rays peeking out at sunset along Skyline Drive.

After witnessing that site I headed back North again until I reached the next overlook but this time facing east.  I couldn't believe my luck as II saw a layer of clouds covering the valley below and figured it would be a good time to try a panoramic.  The following image is 5 vertical shots stitched together in Lightroom to create the panoramic.

 Panoramic of fog in the valley facing east from Skyline Drive at dusk.

Panoramic of fog in the valley facing east from Skyline Drive at dusk.

Finally calling it a day I packed the gear back in the car.  I managed to see a bear while driving out of the park just along the treeline but by that time there wasn't much light left and I was entering into the thick fog which I had been shooting from above.

Shenandoah National Park is truly a beautiful place and sometimes you get lucky to have some dramatic weather to really highlight it's beauty.  I definitely recommend going on weekdays when traffic is down so you can feel more at peace with the park.  If you haven't been yet Shenandoah National park is definitely a visit to add to your bucket list.