Abandonded Car Ruins in the Shenandoah Nat'l Park

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The Shenandoah National Park has many signs of former human habitation to show off if you know where to look. On this hike, after reading about some abandoned cars left over from the pre-park days of the 30's, I had to go see for myself. The pictures here are from a hike that was conducted in May 2005. This was my second trip to these car ruins. Back in the '90's I had visited this same site and took many pics with my 35mm camera. I will try to get around to posting those older pics soon. This hike is similar to old mountaineer cabin ruins that I found in February 2009. This is my Old Rag hike with pictures of old cabins sites.

To get to this site of abandoned cars, the hike starts near the Upper Hawksbill parking area at mile post 46.5 on the Skyline Drive of the Shenandoah Nat'l Park.

The hike is not a long one. In fact, it is what I would call a long leg-stretcher if you've been in your car for a while. If you are driving northbound, at mile marker 51 you passed the Byrd Visitor Center, so this is just north of there. The Upper Hawksbill parking area will be on your left (west) at mile marker 46.5.

Walk a little south of the parking area and cross the drive. You will see a concrete post noting the Horse Trail.

You will be hiking down hill for a bit. You will eventually come accross a trail coming in from the left. Another concrete marker notes that the Horse Trail goes to the left. Just keep going in the same direction you were. When you come upon mile marker 6.5, you will be leaving the trail on your left. It is tough to guage just when to leave the trail, but, if you reach mile marker 7, you have gone too far.

You will bushwack some downhill, eventually you will see a large forked tree. If you see this you are on the right track. You should be able to see remnants of an old road trace, just try and follow that downhill for a few minutes.

There are signs of an old homesite here, the cabin probably burned by the CCC people during the formation of the National Park in the early 1930's. This took place so that the park would quickly return to a natural environment and to reduce the park's responsibility in paying for cabin upkeep and maintenance. Here you see signs of the homesite spring to supply the all-important water. Also there are signs of a rock fence and remnants of the cabin chimney.

The book The Guide to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive is no longer sold by the park due to the information is getting out of date and there will be no more editions made, but, Heatwole did a marvelous job scouring nearly every inch of the Shenandoah Park over the course of many years documenting what he found with detailed notes and hand-drawn maps that are thoughout the book. This, in my opinion, is the number one best book about what one can see in the park if they get out of their car. Luckily, it has been put on the web. Here it is.

© 2009 J. Delbridge.

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Updated February 2009

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