Big Gem Park, Town of Shenandoah


Elevation: 952 ft. During the late 1800's, Big Gem was the site of one of the largest pig iron furnace in the valley. At one time The Big Gem Cast Iron Furnace produced over 32,000 tons a year of pig iron that were then shipped from Shenandoah Iron Works via the Shenandoah Valley Railroad. The golden age of iron came to an end in the early 1900's and the land lay fallow for many years. In 1995, Luken's Steel Company donated the land to the Town of Shenandoah where it became known as The Big Gem. Plans for this area include a mix of developed and natural areas to provide a range of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Currently the lake and trail system provide a wonderful opportunity to watch birds like indigo buntings, Carolina wrens, and American goldfinches. During early morning and late evening hours, keep your eyes open for white-tailed deer grazing the edges of the trails. Pay particular attention to the area below the gazebo. Here native plants are being planted to highlight the habitats of the local area. This area and the less maintained areas up the trail provide excellent opportunities for viewing a host of native butterfly species and ruby-throated hummingbirds. If you have an afternoon to spend, fishing in the pond is a great past-time. The local belted kingfisher will come by to show you the best way to do it. The pond also serves as a great place to watch dragonflies which dart and dash all around you as you walk along the trail by the pond. Wood duck and heron have been seen visiting here as well. The Green Trail is now open to the public and is 8/10 mile long.


From the White House Bridge return to US 211 and turn right onto US 211 West/US 340 South. Proceed 2.5 miles to US 340 South BYP turn. Turn left onto US 340 South and continue for 11.2 miles to the intersection with Rt. 602 at the traffic light in the Town of Shenandoah. Continue on US 340 South through the traffic light for 0.3 miles further and Big Gem Park will be on the left. Watch for the gazebo up on the hill and the large pond in the bottom.

Loop Map


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It's free, fun and healthy, and it's coming to Page County this summer.

The Town of Shenandoah Parks and Recreation Department and Page Valley Cycling Club are upgrading Big Gem Park.

They're building three new hiking and biking trails that will be friendly for everyone. There will be three difficulty levels and the trails will be available for walking pets, serious hiking and even mountain biking.

They have started their first step, which is to flag paths of the trails.

Both the park and the cycling club have many goals, including promoting health and keeping children off the streets.

Lori Mongold, Town of Shenandoah Parks and Recreation Director, says the trails are much needed for the town.

She states, "It will help develop the Big Gem Park."

It will be a place for residents to have leisure walks, activities with the kids, and a place to help promote health for children and adults.

Page Valley Cycling's David Duke is helping flag the trails.

He says, "I think it's good any time you can get a kid on a bicycle."

They are asking anyone who wants to help to volunteer with the project by contacting the Parks and Recreation Department of Shenandoah.



     PVC and the town of Shenandoah are partnering in an effort to build a multiuse trail system in Big Gem Park.The beginning phase will start in mid January 2009 and we will post progress on this page. The fist step will be to install flag lines. IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) has offered to help with this. IMBA will be an important part in ensuring the trails are built in a sustainable manner that will resist erosion. We also need  help in the form of sweat equity and donations. Work dates will be posted once we have flag lines. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 21 Luray , Va 22835 payable to Page Valley Cycling.Please include Big Gem on the memo line.

 Here is a link to David's blog which tracks progress in the park.

Here is a copy of the grant application Lois submitted on behalf of PVC and  the Town of Shenandoah

Town of Shenandoah