Is there such a thing as an easy hike in Shenandoah National Park?
Many of the park’s trails, descending from Skyline Drive, are quite strenuous, on both lungs and legs. Easiest trail: Limberlost at Mile 43 is a 1.3-mile loop that leads to a grove of ancient hemlock trees. Some of these giants are as much as three feet in diameter and have stood for 350 to 400 years. Paved with crushed greenstone, the trail is accessible by wheelchair. Benches dot the route. More of a challenge: Tackle a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which parallels Skyline the full length of the park. Easily accessible at several Skyline overlooks (with parking), it is mostly level and well marked. Simply walk into the woods for 30 minutes or an hour, sniff the mountain air, listen to the birds chirping, and then turn around and walk back the way you came. Pick up a map at the Visitor Center at the northern entrance in Front Royal. Details 540/999-3500, www.nps.gov/shen.