Posted by: sapien on May-17-12 10:19 PM (EST)
Never camped there myself but I imagine it should suit your needs, the Shenandoah (actually the South Fork Shen is what runs by there) is a beautiful and fun canoeing river. Doesn't lend itself well to up-and-back paddling though at summer levels, due to its many scrapey ledges. If you have a bike or pair up with someone you could self-shuttle to the low water bridge on Indian Hollow Rd and enjoy about a 4-mile downriver float back to the park. A few outfitters run trips on the South Fork so you could look them up for other trip & shuttle possibilities, I think they mostly work the river-left side though; less put-in options exist on the Hwy. 340 side where Andy Guest is.
Another trip you could do near there is on the North Fork Shen from Strasburg to Riverton. description here:
in Front Royal the two Forks merge to form the main Shenandoah, one of my favorite trips is described here:
you could paddle the first half to Hwy. 50 as a day trip if you could arrange a shuttle.
For some great hiking you can go just north of Andy Guest on the other side of the North Massanutten ridge to the Elizabeth Furnace recreation area. If it were me I would camp there instead of at the state park; not sure if the flushing toilet facilities are back in order at E.F. but they do have a clean water source, attractive drive-in campsites and modern vault toilets. There are trails there along scenic Passage Creek, as well as up the ridge to a great formation called Buzzard Rocks that overlooks the entrance to Fort Valley. across Fort Valley Rd from there, are more challenging trails that lead to Meneka Peak and Signal Knob with a vista of the Shenandoah Valley. If you've got some money to spend drive down to Fort Valley Stables and enjoy a trail ride.
Another suggestion to check out is Tuckahoe State Park in MD. it's across the Bay Bridge from DC and a beautifully maintained park hidden in Eastern Shore farmlands. Plenty of excellent campsites, and you can paddle the little lake/marsh and explore the mysterious creek upstream, and/or you can take a short drive to Hillsboro and use the launch ramp there to paddle upstream as far as you want then float back. Really lovely creek which in many places is shaded by a canopy of trees. For a real adventure you could run a shuttle to Hillsboro then paddle one-way downstream from just below the dam of the lake. Though it's rural there are some restaurants nearby in the town of Denton, my favorite being the Market St. Public House where you can get a refreshing pint and a hugely portioned Irish pub-style meal :)
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