Lake

Switzer Lake received the most votes, followed closely behind by Shenandoah National Park.

Harrisonburg residents are fortunate enough to live in an area that’s in close proximity to a range of different places to explore. When one finds themself with an afternoon to fill, it’s not hard to find an outdoor area to discover with friends, family or on one’s own. Harrisonburg residents have chosen Switzer Lake as their favorite day trip destination, followed closely behind by Shenandoah National Park.

The Switzer Lake area offers a variety of activities for anyone hoping to spend the day enjoying some time outdoors.

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the area is also prone to numerous different animal sightings. Depending on the time of year, one may come across a bald eagle, an osprey or a woodpecker while enjoying the view of the lake. Wild birds such as the ruffed grouse and wild turkeys have also been known to walk the roadsides.

For those wishing to stay the night after their day trip, Switzer Lake offers the opportunity to camp in primitive areas. They also give visitors the chance to hike on surrounding trails. This allows those who enjoy exploring Switzer Lake to experience all the wildlife and scenery it has to offer.

Switzer Lake also allows visitors to go kayaking on its waters, so those who explore the area can experience it from a whole new point of view.

The seclusion and wildlife offered at Switzer Lake have led Harrisonburg residents to determine that it’s one of the best locations to spend the day.

After making one’s way down Skyline Drive and into Shenandoah National Park, it’s not difficult to understand why Harrisonburg residents enjoy making the short drive to discover and enjoy what the 311 square mile park has in store.

According to the National Park Service, Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of hiking trails, 101 of which are along the Appalachian Trail. The park offers a variety of different paths, some of which lead to waterfalls scattered throughout the area.

The park also offers numerous options for those looking to go fishing. According to the NPS, there are over 70 mountain streams for park visitors to explore. In order to maintain the fish population, no brook trout fish under nine inches in length may be kept. Despite some regulations, visitors can keep fish they catch if they meet certain guidelines established by the park. Additionally, those who are over 16 and fishing on the streams must have a valid Virginia state fishing license in possession to enjoy the mountain streams.

Shenandoah National Park also gives park goers the opportunity to observe the night sky in a unique way. According to the NPS, roughly 80% of North Americans can’t see the Milky Way due to the presence of electric lights at night. Shenandoah National Park has areas like the Big Meadows that limit electric light and allow visitors to escape and take in the views of the park.

Shenandoah National Park offers the unique opportunity to escape from the surrounding areas and fully experience what the Virginia wilderness has to offer. It’s no wonder Harrisonburg residents voted this national park as one of the Best of the ’Burg.

Contact Connor Murphy at breezenews@gmail.com.