Shenandoah National Park Quarter
Shenandoah National Park has more than 500 miles of trails. Some trails lead to a waterfall or scenic view; others go deep into the forest and wilderness. But the Appalachian Trail is probably the most famous...and definitely the longest. It runs all the way from Maine to Georgia! More about that in a minute.
This month’s quarter, honoring Shenandoah National Park, features some of the eye-popping landscape you can see from Little Stony Man, a mountain not quite as high as nearby Stony Man, also in the park. Both lie along the Appalachian Trail.
Other great hiking destinations in this park are Old Rag Mountain (one of the most popular and challenging) and Limberlost Trail (more friendly to people who have mobility challenges). Limberlost Trail passes through forest and a stand of mountain laurel that they say is stunningly beautiful when it blooms in June.
If you’d rather drive than hike, there’s Skyline Drive, though your car will have to share the road with bicycles, pedestrians, and the occasional bear. This paved road meanders through the mountains for the whole length of the park, with several campgrounds and many scenic overlooks along the way.
Now back to the Appalachian Trail. This famous trail is just that: a public footpath. It winds for 2,184 miles along the wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains. How many adult footsteps would it take to hike it? About 5 million!
It was 1921 when the idea for the trail got rolling. Private citizens built it, finishing in 1937. Who takes care of it? As you might think, since it crosses so many state lines, it takes a combination of resources including thousands of volunteers working with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and state agencies.
And one other cool fact: the same Appalachian Trail connects this month’s park with the park of last February’s Coin of the Month, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Appalachian Trail runs all the way through both parks and beyond both ends!