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Recreation and Tourism

Outdoor sports are what Front Royal-Warren County is all about! Activities such as backpacking, camping, Civil War tours, golf, hiking, horseback riding, tennis, and a variety of river sports lead the list.

Front Royal, Where the Skyline Drive Begins, is the only town to actually share a border with the Shenandoah National Park. Within the 105-mile-long expanse of this world-famous park, backpacking is very popular. The Appalachian Trail passes just two miles south of Front Royal and provides world-class hiking and backpacking opportunities as it winds its way from Maine to Georgia along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are trails for every level of expertise, from the most difficult to the easiest, including Limberlost Trail, which is great for children and offers handicap accessibility.

Just five miles west of Front Royal is George Washington National Forest’s Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area. Trails with names like Buzzards Rock, Tuscarora, and Signal Knob offer a variety of lesser-used but equally exciting and challenging trails. Each of these trails provides a variety of spectacular views. Campground camping, backwoods camping and trout fishing are but a few popular activities in this pristine setting.

Located eight miles south of Front Royal in Warren County is the Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Shenandoah River State Park. This park is on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and has more than 1,600 acres along 5.2 miles of shoreline. In addition to meandering river frontage, the park offers scenic views of Massanutten Mountain to the west and Shenandoah National Park to the east.

A large riverside picnic area, picnic shelters, trails, river access and a car-top boat launch make this a popular destination for families, anglers and canoeists. Ten riverfront tent campsites, a campground with water and electric sites, cabins, camping cabins and a group campground are available. With more than 24 miles of trails, the park has plenty of options for hiking, biking, horseback riding and adventure.

The park also serves as the home of Virginia Canopy Tours. Each tour lasts 2 hours, consisting of eight zip lines, air stairs, sky bridge, rappel and two nature walks. In addition to the zip line, Virginia Canopy Tours also offers 1 mile tubing trip down the Shenandoah River. For more information, go to zipthepark.com.

Canoing and camping

Front Royal is the official Canoe Capital of Virginia – and with good reason. The north and south forks of the legendary Shenandoah River join here to form the main stem of the Shenandoah, which continues a northward flow to its confluence with the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. The rivers offer a variety of boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities, with occasional areas of relatively mild class I, II and III rapids. Several boat launch sites are located throughout the county. Bring your own canoe, or rent from one of several outfitters. They will assist you with logistics such as drop-off and pick-up services and provisioning. Rafting and tubing are also popular river sports for families and are also provided by local outfitters.

Camping is popular in a variety of other settings, including family campgrounds and riverside camping. Shenandoah National Park, George Washington National Forest, and Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Shenandoah River State Park offer both family and backwoods options. The National Park Service requires a permit for backwoods camping, which is available at any of the National Park entrance stations at no additional cost. There is a park entrance fee.

Golf

Five golf courses offer 108 of the most scenic and challenging holes in golf. All are private courses and are open to the public. Each course has its own distinct personality, with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge and Massanutten mountains, as well as the legendary Shenandoah River, as typical backdrops. See the Membership Directory in this guide for course listings.

Shenandoah National Park
www.nps.gov/shen/

Open year-round, Shenandoah National Park is home to the famous Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that winds across the crests of mountains through the entire length of the park. Along the way are scenic vistas showcasing spectacular landscapes to the east and the west.

The park is much more than just Skyline Drive, however. More than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the renowned Appalachian Trail, reveal surprises, whether it is a hidden waterfall or panoramic view; there is a trail for each skill level. Hikers may run into one of the many species of wildlife found in the park or find apple trees, stone foundations and cemeteries of inhabitants from long ago.

In addition to trails, there are also camping and lodging facilities available. Visitors centers are open mid-May through late October.

Shenandoah River

Declared the “Canoe Capital of Virginia” by the General Assembly, Warren County boasts some of the finest opportunities for outdoor recreation in the commonwealth. Enjoying a float down the world-renowned Shenandoah River as it flows through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains and lush farmlands is just a phone call away.

The legendary Shenandoah River – the valley’s premier attraction – offers float trips geared to novice paddlers; no experience is necessary. Visitors may choose adventures from as short as one hour – a great way to have time to visit other area attractions – to voyages lasting several days. Included in Virginia’s Birding and Wildlife Trail, the Shenandoah offers travelers special opportunities to float, swim and explore ancient Native American sites and view natural history firsthand. Special programs such as moonlight paddles or easy “hike and float” trips to and from the Guest/Shenandoah River State Park are available. Guided and unguided fishing trips for smallmouth bass are available from outfitters who have attained some of the nation’s highest professional ratings. What better way to enjoy the fall foliage than an uncrowded drift through some of the state’s finest color changes?

Skyline Caverns
(800) 296-4545 | www.skylinecaverns.com

Skyline Caverns is the closest natural wonder to the nation’s capital and hosts nearly 100,000 visitors each year. People come from all around to experience the rare anthodites, unique formations of delicate white spikes, spreading in all directions, including upwards, from their position on the cave ceiling.

The guided tour featuring the cave’s geological history takes adventurers deep underground. Award-winning lighting systems allow visitors to enjoy the splendor of the Capital Dome, Rainbow Trail, the Painted Desert, the Wishing Well, the Grotto of Nativity, Cathedral Hall, the Shrine, Fairyland Lake and much more. Included are three underground streams and the 37-foot Rainbow Waterfall. Skyline Caverns also offers the Skyline Arrow, a one-fifth-scale miniature train, and the Enchanted Dragon Mirror Maze, a must for the young at heart.

Don’t forget a jacket on the tour; the caves stay a cool 54 degrees year-round. Located at the Northern Entrance to Skyline Drive, Skyline Caverns is open at 9 a.m. daily.

Wineries & Breweries

The area is also home to beautiful wineries and breweries nestled in exquisite surroundings, including:

Fox Meadow Winery, located seven miles east of Front Royal, offers visitors a unique setting for tasting Virginia wines made in the classic European style. The winery is situated at an elevation of 1,700 feet. From the tasting room deck of this destination winery, visitors enjoy a tranquil setting and a 30-mile view. Visit www.foxmeadowwinery.com for more information.

Rappahannock Cellars has established itself at the top of Virginia wineries by winning the 2006 Governors Cup award. The family encourages visitors to taste all their wines while enjoying unique hospitality amid the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For more information, visit www.rappahannockcellars.com.

Backroom Brewery is a boutique brewery located at Sunflower Cottage Herb Farm just outside of Front Royal, specializing in beer made from farm-grown hops and other herbs. Visit www.backroombreweryva.com for more information.

WARREN COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION DEPARTMENT

Raymond E. Santmyers Youth Center – Administration
200 E. 8th St., Front Royal | (540) 635-7750
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday

The Raymond E. Santmyers Youth Center is available for private rental. Reservations must be made at least one week in advance and are subject to availability. The meeting room will accommodate up to 150 people.

Warren County Community Center – Recreation and Aquatics
538 Villa Ave., Front Royal | (540) 635-1021
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday

The Warren County Community Center includes a music classroom, three small classrooms, a computer lab, two large classrooms and an assembly room. The five classrooms and computer lab each have interactive SMART boards installed and the assembly hall has a ceiling-mounted projector with screen. Operable partitions separate the assembly room from each of the large classrooms.

When the operable partitions are opened the collective areas of the assembly room and two classrooms are combined to form a single large space.

Support spaces consist of a lobby/reception space, two private offices, and an open office area with five workstations, a break room and restrooms.

Sports Field Reservations

538 Villa Ave., Front Royal | (540) 635-1021
Youth athletics and fitness
Various athletic camps co-sponsored with local high schools.

Picnic shelters
Six picnic shelters are located in Gertrude E. Miller Community Park, 905 Stadium Dr. Front Royal. Lion’s Park, 903 Warren Ave., Front Royal; Burrell Brooks Jr. Community Park, 450 E. Criser Rd.; Linden Park, 1635 Dismal Hollow Rd.; Skyline Soccerplex; and Rockland Park, 248 Rockland Park Ct., Front Royal also feature shelters.

Contact the Warren County Parks & Recreation Department (540) 635-7750 for information on renting any of these picnic shelters.

Athletic facilities
Several fields are available for rent for softball, baseball and tennis.

Softball
• R.E. Mason Field, 905 Stadium Dr., Gertrude E. Miller Park Adult Softball Complex

• Field #2: 905 Stadium Dr., Gertrude E. Miller Park Adult Softball Complex

Baseball
• Champions 53, 905 Stadium Dr., Gertrude E. Miller Park

• Bing Crosby Stadium, 50 Stadium Dr., Gertrude E. Miller Park

Gym, Football & Walking Track

• Warren County Health and Human Services Complex, 465 W. 15th St.

Various

• Chimney Field Complex, 410 W. 12th St. Features two youth softball fields, four lighted tennis courts, and a lighted basketball court.

• Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool, 1000 Stadium Dr. in Gertrude Miller Community Park, (540) 635-9433

This Olympic-sized, fully staffed public pool also has a large wading pool for small children. There is a full-service concession with a picnic area and shelters. Locker rooms with showers are available. The pool opens Memorial Day weekend and is open on weekends only until the second week of June, when it opens daily until Labor Day. Private parties may rent the pool.

• Eastham Park, 840 Luray Ave.

• Rockland Park, 1 Rockland Park Ct. Rockland Park Disc Golf Course, large playground, shelters, corn hole and walking trail.

Walking Trails

• Eastham Park Trail #1 and #2. Discover more than 35 tree species and more along scenic South Shenandoah River. (one-mile distance, one way)

• Carson Walking Trail, Front Royal Golf Course, 902 County Club Rd.

• Warren County Dog Park, 840 Luray Ave.

• Warren County Skate Park, 101 Kerfoot Ave., (540) 635-7750

Golf

• Front Royal Golf Club (9 holes – 18 tees), 902 Country Club Rd., (540) 636-9061. Hours: April through October, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; November through March, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Banquet room rental available.

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