Overall Run circuit passes one of the largest continuous waterfalls in Virginia. The trails also go through picturesque valley streams and meadows making this one of the prettiest hikes in the norther SNP. Also, with Beecher Ridge having one of the highest concentrations of Black Bears in the park, this is one hike where you are most likely to catch a glimpse of a black bear in the wild. If you wish to add some more length, and also catch another small pool with waterfall try the sister hike that enters the park from Chrisman Road VA697, Overall Run/Heiskell Hollow.
Mile 0.0 - From the parking area, walk down the private gravel road following the blue blazes for 0.2 miles where you pass a cable gate. After passing the cable gate continue for 200 yards where the private road you are on crosses a small creek. Turn right onto the blue blazed Thompson Hollow Trail. DO NOT continue upwards towards the house, this is all private property, please stay on the trail.
Mile 0.3 - Head uphill on the blue blazed trail and shortly pass a marker designating the Shenandoah National Park boundary. In 0.5 miles from the park boundary, and just past the trail high point, reach the intersection of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail. Continue straight on the blue blazed trail for an additional 0.2 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail.
Mile 1.0 - Turn left uphill and cross Overall Run in 0.7 miles. Cross Overall Run again in another 0.2 miles, then the trail starts getting steeper as it climbs towards Mathews Arm. The trail will become very steep with several switchbacks, then passes a small campsite 0.8 miles from the last crossing over Overall Run. From the campsite continue uphill for another 0.3 miles and arrive at the main Overall Run waterfall overlook with spectacular view of the Massanutten Range to the west. From the overlook continue uphill for 0.3 miles passing a smaller set of falls before arriving at the next trail marker. The trail to the left is the no longer maintained portion of the Mathews Arm Trail. Continue uphill on the blue blazed trail for 150 yards to the trail marker and intersection of the yellow blazed Mathews Arm Trail.
Mile 3.4 - Turn right on the yellow blazed Mathews Arm Trail (the yellow blazes may not be visible from the intersection), and shortly cross the top section of Overall Run. In 0.5 miles arrive a the junction of the Beecher Ridge Trail.
Mile 3.9 - Turn right downhill on the yellow blazed Beecher Ridge Trail as is winds its way for 2.3 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Beecher Ridge/Overall Run connector Trail.
Mile 6.2 - Continue straight on the now blue blazed trail as it heads down to the valley and Overall Run in 0.6 miles. After crossing Overall Run the trail will continue downstream for 100 yards before turning right upstream, and becoming the Overall Run Trail. Turn right upstream on the Overall Run Trail is it follows the run on the left bank before passing a side trail in 0.5 miles. The side trail leads to Overall Run and large swimming hole, with a slide before and after it. Stay left uphill on the blue blazed trail, and in 0.1 miles arrive back at the intersection of the Tuscarora Trail.
Mile 7.5 - Turn left retracing your steps past the Tuscarora Trail turnoff in 0.2 miles, then continuing straight on the Thompson Hollow Trail to the SNP boundary, then gravel road back to the parking area in 0.8 miles.
Mile 8.5 - Arrive back at the parking area.
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Reviews For The Overall Run/Beecher Ridge Hike (5 Most Recent)
At the suggestion of reviewers I took the route counterclockwise. Seeing the falls early or later, doesn't make much difference to me, but I appreciated going up a gentler slope and wrestling with the steeper one on the way down. Also, as an early hiker, the sun is better on the falls for picture taking later in the morning. The weather had been dry, so falls and streams were a trickle, but no problem crossing. No wildlife seen to speak of. Arrived at 6 a.m. with no one else in the lot. Saw no one else on the main trails. Approaching the parking lot on the return I was passed by a newly-arrived family of 5, a couple, and about 15 from a school summer camp -- kids in swimsuits, and a few adult chaperones. Quite a bit of litter on the Thornton Hollow Trail -- I picked up some. I think I saw at least 10 campsites along the whole route, and I wasn't looking for them -- I'd increase the campsite rating from "1."
Date of Hike: Saturday, July 09, 2016
Got to the parking area early (9:45 AM) and there were only a handful of cars there. Parking area does fill up quickly as the day progresses.
Followed the hiking trail accordingly, which is a slow build up in elevation. Plenty of rocky streambeds along the way.
However, that all changes at the 2.0 mile mark as the terrain gets more challenging. Hiking up towards Matthews Arm may be a bit punishing if you do not take your time or are out of shape. The scenic view at the main rock outcrop is worth the ascent.
There were many groups at the outcrop since there is a backdoor entrance to the rock outcrop via Matthew Arms Campground/Skyline Drive area.
The descent goes by rather quickly. You can pretty much hike to the watering hole all in one shot. Many people at the watering hole in general.
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 23, 2016
-Great distance for a day hike/run
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 17, 2016
Took the advice of most reviewers and went in reverse order (Counter-clockwise) around the loop. Highly recommend doing so. The first 3 hours or so is OK hiking but there are no overlooks or even decent places to stop for lunch until you get to the first small waterfall. We saw a small black bear about 1.5 hours in which was awesome. The cascading waterfalls have some areas where you can head down to explore/take pictures. That was where I nearly stepped on a copperhead snake so they are definitely around. The final waterfall you reach is amazing there's a great overlook and tons of photo ops.
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 05, 2016
I really loved this trail. I went it in reverse order of what is described, turning right at the intersection of Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail. This lead to a more gradual accent to Beecher Ridge and left the waterfalls for the last part of the hike. I had no issues crossing any of the streams, but the rocky trail on the decent from the main waterfalls was tricky. Note that when hiking in this order, you will pass a smaller waterfall then pass cascades before reaching the main waterfall. There were several great views along the hike, but the views at the falls were spectacular.