Big Meadows Campground Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"Big Meadows is Shenandoah National Park’s largest treeless area, encompassing a barren plateau that is approximately 640 acres. It’s believed that American Indians cleared the area to create favorable grazing conditions. European settlers overgrazed this site with beef cattle, especially during the Civil War. Park officials have waged an ongoing battle against the growth of black locust and blackberry that would, if left unchecked, take over the meadow.
In the past, Park Service officials used combinations of burning and mowing to hold back the growth of invasive vegetation. New strategies have aided in the establishment of meadow grasses. Today, the dominant shrub growth in the meadow is blueberry, with swamp varieties, such as marsh marigold, swamp fern, and Canadian burnet, growing in wetter areas. Overall, the meadow supports some 270 species of vascular plants. In addition to the white-tailed deer that wander seemingly carefree through the meadow, you’re also likely to see song sparrows, meadowlarks, grouse, foxes, and skunks."