Overall Run circuit passes one of the largest continuous waterfalls in Virginia. The trails also go through valley streams and meadows, no wonder this loop is another local hiker favorite. With Beecher Ridge having one of the highest concentrations of Black Bears in the park, this is one hike where you may still catch a glimpse of a 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.
As of December 2010 access to the Overall Run circuit from the parking area on VA630 has been re-opened. Read about the issue in the Warren Country Report (page 19) here.
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.
Start heading 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.
Turn left uphill and cross Overall Run for the first time in 0.7 miles from the last intersection. Cross Overall Run again in another 0.2 miles, before the trail starts getting steeper as it begins to climb Mathews Arm. The trail will become very steep as it switchbacks up the ridge, then pass a small campsite 0.8 miles from the last crossing of Overall Run.
From the campsite head uphill for another 0.3 miles and arrive at the major Overall Run waterfall overlook, and 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 coming to 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 The trail to the left is the no longer maintained portion of the Mathews Arm Trail.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 next trail marker and intersection of the yellow blazed Mathews Arm Trail.
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 from the last intersection arrive a the junction of the Beecher Ridge Trail. Turn right downward on the yellow blazed Beecher Ridge Trail as is winds it's way downward for 2.4 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Beecher Ridge/Overall Run connector Trail.
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.
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.
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Reviews For The Overall Run/Beecher Ridge Hike (5 Most Recent)
Great Hike, total from parking to overlook was 7.36 miles. Took me about 5 hours to complete. I Stopped for lunch next to the upper falls and took plenty of pictures. Just took it slow coming back out. I was the only one on the trail when I started, which gave me plenty of time to enjoy the falls. Not much blooming there yet, but it was only 39 F. Would definitely do this trail again. Unfortunately, I didn't go all the way to the base of the falls. I wasn't sure if I would have made it back up. Would like to come in from the park boundary next time to see the falls from another angle. I will be loading the images I took on Facebook at Landry's Lasting Images.
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 19, 2015
Hiked from the bottom up this time. The trail follows and crosses Overall Run and with the Spring rains, the Run was moving pretty well so watch your footing. Lots of plants starting to bloom at the lower elevations but vegetation was sparse higher up which gave great views though. I was hoping I could get to the base of the falls but that was not to be. The trail leaves the Run and goes through several switchbacks until reaching the rock overlooks of the main falls.
Continuing up the trail after a bite to eat and there are several more smaller, cascading falls which are accessible. Would feel great on a hot day. I continued up and hooked up with the Ridge Trail to come back. The Ridge Trail is easier with more of a steady slope rather than the switchbacks on the Overall Run Trail. Crossed Overall Run again at the bottom and made my way back to the parking area. Total time was just under 4 hours. Saw about 8 folks total, but unfortunately no wildlife. I have been there in the Spring, late Fall, and Winter following rains and melting snow and I have not been disappointed. I have heard that in the Summer the Run and the Falls can slow to a trickle which would be too bad. The Falls are what makes this hike special in my opinion.
Hans (und Heidi)
Date of Hike: Sunday, March 22, 2015
Heidi gives it 5 stars. I thought the rating by Hiking upward was too gratifying for views. We hiked the second day of spring and the Blue Ridges in the distance were a pleasant sight, but there were no real vistas from the ridge walk at all. In the summer the distant scenery you will not see.
I read the other reviewers, some not so good on the trail itself.
This trail is a good trail, compared to others! quite easy to walk under the feet. Our walking time was 5 hours, pushing it and we are 54 years each. we were about 6.25 hours with stops and lunch.
We will come back in the summer to swim the many great creek holes. In the winter this would be great when frozen over, for sure.
H und H
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 21, 2015
Really muddy from the parking to the first 1.5 miles. We hiked counter clockwise and there were not much nice views until we reached to the overlook with the fall and mountains. We crossed streams 4 times but not that slippery.
Date of Hike: Monday, March 16, 2015
This was a really enjoyable hike on a sunny, mild March day. I am recovering from a bad cold, so it was slow going on the inclines for me. But I didn't think this was a crazy difficult hike - I thought Robertson Mountain was more difficult. Hard, yes, but brutal, no. I agree with the previous review, though, that going counterclockwise would be less steep (though a little longer).
Just a note that when you turn right onto the Mathews Arm Trail and cross the top section of Overall Run, the blazes will be blue till you get to the next intersection (at which you'll turn right on the yellow blazed trail heading downhill). On the map here that short section of 0.5 miles is noted as yellow, but I never saw a yellow blaze (only blue).
The 4 rating for difficulty is accurate, and the solitude is accurate at 2. I went on a Monday afternoon, and I passed around 20 people. I can't imagine what it would be like on a weekend, but it's definitely a beautiful hike so I can see why so many people were out (plus, it's SNP, which is always crowded). The views are amazing, the run is beautiful, and the swimming hole near the end is really nice - my dog enjoyed taking a dip. :)