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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.
38.53860, -78.34736

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: kidsummit Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 29, 2014
Hiked this with my daughter and her friend both 15. This hike is rated 4 it is steep and today was a bit like hiking up a Narnia scene waterfall on the trail due to all the recent rain. Great pools and falls along the way. The water is cold and refreshing. Be prepared to climb a mountain staircase.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 27, 2014
AMAZING. I did this hike starting from Skyline Dr. Going down Cedar Run trail was very rocky and I slipped in several places, be careful. Most of the way down this trail you are along a stream that just keeps getting bigger and more beautiful. Great views of waterfalls. Many places I saw groups of people playing in the falls, sliding down rocks and in one place jumping from rocks into the water. At the bottom was a nice waterfall that you could walk right into. The hike up White Oak Canyon Trail was pretty steep in places, very rocky. Also awesome views of even more waterfalls. This is now one of my favorite hikes. Took me about 6.5 hours, and this includes plenty of stops to get my heart rate back to normal. Will do this again in the winter to see the falls iced over.

By: Clark Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 01, 2014
This hike was great. There are only a few lookout points to the rest of the valley, but the views of the falls are amazing. This would be a good summer hike, as there's a lot of shade and multiple spots to swim, as well as a rock slide. This hike is decently strenuous. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a good amount of food for this hike. I wouldn't recommend this trail to a beginner.

By: Ducky Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Best to do this hike in the spring when the waterfalls are running at their peak.  It is also nice to take a dip in the water during the warm summer days.

Bring plenty of drinking water and take your time. Not only is this a great cardio hike but the waterfalls and river is fantastic to walk along.

It is one of my favorite hikes in the entire park.  Happy trails and Enjoy.

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Great hike. I got to the parking lot at about 8:15 and there were plenty of spaces available. The best part of the hike, IMHO, is the section along WOC Run. The waterfalls are numerous and impressive, especially the main falls at the top. The Forest Service road was dreary...mostly uphill, nothing to see, and exposed. The horse trail link to the Cedar Run trail was a little better but not much to see either. If you still have legs after reaching the Cedar Run intersection then you can cross Skyline and climb to the Hawksbill Summit for lunch. It adds about 2 miles to the overall hike but the view from the top was worth the climb. I thought the Cedar Run trail was nice with water along almost all of it, but with the foilage growing in it was difficult to appreciate a lot of it. I also found Cedar Run to be surprisingly steep along much of the route. It could have just been the downhill perspective but it sure seemed like it would be a challenge to walk up.

    View all 145 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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