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Shenandoah National Park
Established in 1935, this National Park was created on the ridge of the Blue Ridge and includes the spectacular Skyline Drive, a 105-mile scenic parkway that runs the length of the park. More than 3 million visitors come to Shenandoah National Park each year, most of them by car along Skyline Drive. Some 66 scenic overlooks dot both sides of the drive, allowing car-bound visitors places to look at the valley and the gaps which once carried rivers through the ridge. The park on either side of Skyline Drive encompasses 305 square miles, with more than 500 miles of hiking trails, including a long section of the Appalachian Trail. Stony Man Nature Trail is a relatively easy 1.5-mile round trip that leads to the park's second highest mountain. The park was created from farms and pasturelands; the forest that exists now is "second" growth from 40 years of National Park Service protection. A few patches of virgin timber do exist in the park, however. Shenandoah Park is most famous for its display of fall foliage, when the park's campgrounds and resorts fill to capacity, and traffic jams on the Skyline Drive lead planners to consider resorting to shuttle bus service. The Skyline Drive runs from Front Royal to Waynesboro, where it connects with the Blue Ridge Parkway.