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Bentonville to Front Royal River Loop


Elevation: 566 ft.

The Shenandoah is renowned as one of America’s great north-flowing rivers. Glimpses of its ancient and meandering beauty and wildlife are easily seen as the traveler passes along its banks near Front Royal. You can view the river from the low water bridge at Bentonville or float the 3.5 miles down to Shenandoah River-Guest State Park. Keep your eyes open because wildlife abounds in every direction. Along the banks, wading birds such as great blue and green herons share the varied shores with sunning eastern painted turtles, as well as otter, beaver and mink. At the right time of the year, the river banks abound with carpets of Virginia blue bells or showy cardinal flower that highlight the verdant and fertile river valley. On the water wood ducks mingle with Canada geese and mallards and overhead belted kingfishers rattle by. Occasionally an osprey or bald eagle will give free fishing lessons as they drop from the sky to snatch a panfish or smallmouth bass from just below the surface.

A cruise along the river gives the visitor the time and perspective to enjoy the minutia of the river. Powdered dancer and American rubyspot damselflies delicately settle on twigs and rocks just above the surface. The larger dragonflies are a little more aggressive as they zoom past: widow skimmer, eastern pondhawk, common green darner, and eastern amberwing should all be expected.


Physical Coordinates: 38.840785, -78.329577

From Front Royal, head south on US-340 S/S Royal Ave, turn right onto SR-613/Indian Hollow Rd, and the entrance is on the right just after the bridge.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Region 4 Office: 540-899-4169
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free. This site is available only for viewing wildlife from the river.

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Parking
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch
  • Site Viewable Only By Boat
  • Boat Ramp