• Activities:

    Chillin, Fishing, Photography, Swimming, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    1 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    10 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

Enjoy some of the scenery of Shenandoah NP without actually being in the park and having to fight some of the crowds. It is quiet, offers amenities, activities, and the town of Luray is just a few miles away.

A few miles east of the town of Luray and just a couple miles outside of the Thorton Gap entrance to Shenandoah National Park sits Lake Arrowhead Recreation Park. This small lake and park features fishing, swimming, picnic areas, and other recreational park type of activities. Use of the facilities are available for rent according to their websites. The walk around the lake just to take in the scenery, totally free. More information is available here (for fishing) and here (for basic park info/contact).

Park using the given address and follow the short gravel road to the waterfront. The lake is tiny, you will see the dam wrap around the lake. Walk up the hill and follow it along. A quarter mile or so in, take the steps down to the shoreline where the trail cuts right next to the forest and the lake. This part of the trail is very narrow and full of spiderwebs, gross. Another quarter mile or so walking along the far side of the lake, the trail opens up where you cross a few drainage streams until you pass back by the small beach area and to where you should have parked. The whole thing takes no more than 20 minutes.

At sunset, the sun shines on the Shenandoah spine where Stony Man Mountain is clearly visible and is the most prominent peak for your viewing. When I was there, there wasn't a single cloud in the sky but for bank of fog spilling over Skyline Drive.

I wanted to stick around after dark so I moved my car around the corner outside of the gate. The gate has signs posted saying it closes at dusk. I parked my car and walked back around to the far side of the lake to try and photograph the milky way. Not my best attempt, but it was pretty neat to see the stars reflecting off of the lake. After a couple hours, I left and of course the gate was still open.

This is a great spot if you want to view the Shenandoah mountains and the sunset without having to be surrounded by the weekend tourists. I recommend checking it out some time. The small lake adds a unique wrinkle to the beauty of Central Virginia and Shenandoah National Park.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Snacks
  • Picnic Food
  • Long Pants
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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