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White Oak Canyon / Cedar Run - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.9 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,450 ft
N38 32.356 W78 20.961
Shenandoah National Park
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e.g. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Park at the 20 car White Oak Trail parking area on Weakley Hollow Rd.
38.53927, -78.34935

This hike has some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Shenandoah National Park. Combining two out-and-back hikes, White Oak Canyon & Cedar Run, this loop starts at the bottom of the valley and cuts over near the top of the ridge. With five major falls, numerous smaller cascades and pools, this circuit hike is one of the best.

Begin up the blue blazed White Oak Canyon (WOC) Trail, at the top of the upper parking area next to the SNP ranger station. Shortly cross a steel footbridge, then arrive at the intersection of the Cedar Run Trail that will be your return route. Stay straight on the WOC Trail as it winds to the right, then crosses another steel footbridge over WOC Run.

Follow the blue blazed trail on the right side of WOC Run reaching the WOC/Cedar Run Connector Trail in 0.6 miles. Stay straight on the right side of WOC Run for another 0.7 miles, cross a small stream, then arrive the base of the first set of major falls.

The trail will now make several switchbacks as the grade gets steeper, then reaches the second set of falls in 0.6 miles. Again, the trail will switchback several times, then become less steep, and arrive at a concrete marker for the base of the main WOC falls. To see the falls from the base, follow the side trail straight for 100 yards. Continue uphill on the WOC Trail as it steeply climbs the last 0.1 miles to the main WOC falls overlook.

Continuing uphill from the main overlook, and shortly arrive at the yellow blazed Bridge Path Trail that comes in from the right. Stay straight, then cross WOC Run in another 40 yards at the horse rail. If WOC Run is high, continue up the right side of WOC Run and cross a footbridge in 120 yards.

After crossing the run follow the wide yellow blazed WOC Fire Road/Horse Trail. In 1.6 miles the WOC Fire Road/Horse Trail will veer right. Stay left on the narrower yellow blazed trail, marked on a concrete post as "Horse Tr To Big Meadows". In 0.6 miles the horse trail intersects the blue blazed Cedar Run Trail.

Turn left downhill on the blue blazed Cedar Run Trail, then in 1.3 miles cross Cedar Run. In 0.2 miles after crossing Cedar Run reach the top set of main falls at Halfmile Cliff known as "The Slide". 60 yards below the main falls is a pool where Cedar Run passes through a narrow gorge.

Continue downward on the Cedar Run Trail for 0.5 miles where the blue blazed trail makes a sharp left to cross Cedar Run for the last time. After crossing Cedar Run follow the trail for 0.3 miles to the intersection of the WOC/Cedar Run Connector Trail. Turn right downhill on the Cedar Run Trail towards RT600, and in 0.4 miles arrive back at the WOC Trail intersection. Turn right, re-cross the steal footbridge, and arrive back at the parking area.
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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the White Oak/Cedar Run hike:

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

By: novarider Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 19, 2015
First time doing the cedar run section of white oaks canyon. Great hike for a serious workout. The view this time of year is fantastic allowing you to see Old Rag mountain in the distance. This hike is nearly comparable in my opinion to Old Rag in difficulty depending on the elements. This time around the trail had several iced over sections making it tricky to navigate without sliding off a cliff. The cedar run half of the trail is especially rugged making navigating with a heavy pack all the more difficult (I strongly suggest trekking poles). Camping is minimal and fires are mostly forbidden. Great way to spend a fee free Monday on the trail.

By: Long Beard Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 17, 2015
We hiked hiked White Oak Canyon trail in hopes of doing a circuit hike of Cedar Run on our descent ,our morning start from home was delayed slightly . By the time we reached the connector trail at the top and checked our time we would have been doing Cedar Run in the dark. So we re-traced our steps back down White Oak trail. Which was great as it was a different perspective of the falls. The ice on all of the rocks and falls was amazing and beautiful. This hike is rated a four , but it does not seem like a four since there are so many sites to stop and see and photograph (which is another reason we ran out of time). I rated this as one of my favorites for the beauty of the trail, for solitude on a Saturday , not as much, quite a few other hikers. Looking forward to a return trip to finish Cedar Run!

By: Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 03, 2015
Lovely hike - my first time on this hike with the top few miles glazed with ice and my micro-spikes left in the car! Teaches you to tread really carefully! I would highly recommend this hike - the rain and the ice meant I mostly had the day to myself. Cedar Run is a real gem after the splendor of white oak's falls.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 28, 2014
Great hike after Thanksgiving.  Led a group of 7 going up Cedar Run and then down White Oak Canyon.  4-6 inches of snow past the 2nd stream crossing on Cedar Run and was running high so went upstream about 50 ft to cross.  Winter Wonderland at the top and beautiful.  Hiking time was about 5 hours including stop for lunch.  This hike should be rated 6 for streams, and more difficult than Old Rag Mountain hike in my opinion.  Wanted to hike up to Hawksbill, but only so much daylight this time of year.  With the leaves off the trees you can see Old Rag Mountain on yellow blazed trail just before you reach White Oak trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 08, 2014
First time hiking since January! Started up Cedar Run at 6:50am. Very chilly but sunny about 1/4 way up. Ran down the forest road, mostly walked down White Oak Canyon. No animals except a few squirrels and birds. Water levels moderately low. Thanks to Martha's Elves for the new big stepping stones across the first, lower crossing (going up CR). Met tons of hikers coming up WOC. Warning: One of the big stepping stones on the WOC river to the cut-across connector trail SHIFTED so much, a dry crossing will be almost impossible. Total loop time: 3 hours (not exactly a record!)

    View all 155 reviews for the White Oak/Cedar Run hike
Late September

Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls! This has to be the most spectacular waterfall hike in Shenandoah National Park. With three sets of falls on the way up White Oak Canyon and three smaller falls heading down Cedar Run, this circuit is among the mid-Atlantic's most popular. Lots of company on the trail.

Usually, the ideal time for this hike is in early spring, but with the rain we've had in the last month, all the falls were near their best. The wildlife was also out; we came across several black snakes, this guy (vid) was a local celebrity with hikers on Saturday, and we also saw a juvenile black bear on the trail.

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