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For free information and expert advice about the park's hiking trails, call or write to Superintendent, Shenandoah National Park, 3655 U.S. Hwy. 211 East, Luray, VA 22835 (tel. 540/999-3500; www.nps.gov/shen). The headquarters is 4 miles west of Thornton Gap and 5 miles east of Luray on U.S. 211. The office is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4:30pm.

Aramark Virginia Sky-Line Co., the park's major concessionaire (tel. 888/896-3833; www.visitshenandoah.com), maintains an informative website on which you can book accommodations at the park's lodges and cabins.

The Shenandoah National Park Association (tel. 540/999-3582; www.snpbooks.org) is the best source of maps, guidebooks, and other publications about the park's cultural and natural history. It has a bookstore at park headquarters, and many of its publications are available at the visitor centers.

For guidebooks and detailed topographic maps of the park's three districts, write or call the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), 118 Park St., Vienna, VA 22180 (tel. 703/242-0315, or 242-0965 for a recording of the club's activities; www.patc.net). The PATC helps build and maintain the park's portion of the Appalachian Trail, including trail cabins. The PATC is part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0807 (tel. 304/535-6331; www.appalachiantrail.org), which covers the entire trail from Maine to Georgia.

The National Geographic (www.nationalgeographic.com) publishes a terrific topographic map of the park's hiking trails, showing them all on one weatherproof sheet (map no. 228). One of the best trail guidebooks is the third edition of Hiking Shenandoah National Park by Bert and Jane Gildart (Globe Pequot, 2006).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.