Bear Church Rock - Central SNP
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White Oak Canyon - SNP, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
4.8 mls
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4.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,200 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Parking: 38.58613, -78.38273

One of the best waterfall hikes in the Park. This hike isn't difficult and can easily be completed in under four hours. You can also see White Oak Canyon falls from a more difficult loop hike that also descends Cedar Run and starts at the bottom of the mountain. For a loop route see the WOC/CR hike.

Although this hike can be steep in sections it is still ok for younger children as the trail is well maintained and doesn't require any creek crossing without footbridges. Being one of the most popular hikes in the park it can be very busy in the peak seasons of spring and fall.

Start on a gentle grade downhill on the White Oak Canyon Trail and cross the Limberlost Trail in 0.3 miles. Continue downhill and re-crossing the Limberlost Trail and coming to the first footbridge footbridge in another 0.3 miles.

White Oak Run is now off to your left. As you get closer to the main falls, 1.0 miles after crossing the footbridge, White Oak Road will come in from your right.

Turn left over the footbridge and continue downhill for another 200 yards to arrive at the best waterfall overlook in the park and a great place for a picnic lunch.

To return just retrace your route.

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Hiker Reviews For The White Oak Canyon Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the White Oak Canyon hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Chloe Z Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 19, 2016
Well worth the effort! We started at the upper lot on Skyline Drive and hiked all the way down to the lowest of the Lower Falls. Keep in mind, it is a pretty strenuous hike to get back up to your car afterwards, especially from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls (which is not tricky but is very, very steep in places.) If you're up for a challenge, though, I highly recommend it!

It's worth getting all the way to the lowest falls, too, because there's a great swimming hole there which is refreshing enough to boost your on your trip back. It's deep enough to cool you down, but shallow enough to get right under the falls. So much fun!

If you're taking kiddos or you just want to enjoy the swimming hole without as much hiking, I'd recommend parking at the Lower Lot and just going to the lowest falls. The others are lovely to look at, and even have places you could swim near them, but you really have to work for them. )


By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2015
I've done the loop several times but chose to do this short out and back with my family to show them what I think are probably the best falls in the park. The fall colors are definitely coming in and the scenery was gorgeous, but the trail was a constant stream of people and the viewpoint at the top of the falls was packed. It was difficult to get pictures with several groups picnicking or just hanging out and not freeing up space for others. We went to the bottom of the upper falls for lunch and surprisingly there was nobody else there. Chatty groups, unleashed and in one case a leashed but aggressive dog, took away from the obvious beauty of this hike. Parking lot was 70% full when we got there (10:30) and overflowing by the time we left (about 1:45). If you value solitude then do this hike early, or on a weekday, or wait until the leaves drop. If crowds don't matter, then you'll thoroughly enjoy this hike especially now with all the color.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 14, 2015
Love this hike! I have hiked with family and/or friends a few times from the top down and the bottom up. We have seen BlackBear on both routes which is always exciting. I highly recommend the bottom up for newer hikers that need to be reassured that hiking is an amazing adventure. The beauty of the waterfalls comes a bit quicker on this route and you dont have to drive the Shenandoah trail, you do still pay for entrance though unless you are during non peek hours.

By: Bernard in Virginia Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Great hike, beautiful trail and falls. We were out here on a rainy Saturday and still we saw a couple dozen or so other hikers. If you want a little solitude, I recommend a weekday and an early start. The plus is that our fellow hikers were all polite and apparently experienced hikers, so no litter, noise, etc., that you sometimes see on popular trails.

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 15, 2014
There are few places as spectacular as this!
Plenty of water...plenty of cascades...
Non-stop waterfall action...going up WOC is cool...but I would really try this hike in reverse...
Cedar Run is extremely rocky...and going down is quite challenging...
White Oak down is probably easier on the ankles...
You cannot do this loop without the excursion to Hawksbill...just under a two mile round tripper...the .8 miles uphill is certainly worth it (on a clear day) and this day was practically cloudless...get up there...this makes this hike a 6 for views...
And Cedar Run the encore...what a beautiful trail...the water was extremely cold...dunked myself in a swimming hole just before the "slide"...thought I would hypothermiate....cold was an understatement...
One of the best hikes in the area...one of my favorite places on earth...especially as a water person...


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Photographs

Taken by Dennis at
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W78.36328
JaFalls.jpg (91437 bytes) JJTrail.jpg (124412 bytes) JaView.jpg (68328 bytes)
Early November
Courtesy Jennifer Carr Photography        
Mid October (photos courtesy of Iris)
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