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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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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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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: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2016
We just did the Whiteoak Canyon trail starting from the parking lot at the bottom of this map. We hiked from there to Upper Falls and back down with two of my flat-land friends from Florida and it was a perfect hike. Lots of falls to see, just enough of a workout, great weather. We got there early, so parking wasn't a problem, but when we left, several vehicles were parked along the road. Highly recommend starting early to get good parking and a relatively less-populated trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2016
I hiked this trail with my friend and my 2.5 yr old pitbull. We all had a great time! We did the whole loop. We did get caught in a pretty bad rain storm at the halfway point, had to seek shelter for about an hour, then got back on the trail for the back half. Our GPS logged it at over 9 miles, not 7.3. It was pretty strenuous, but so beautiful and not crowded at all. I would recommend for all semi-active people looking for a pretty hike and a good workout!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Parked at Weakley Hollow "P" lot. Surprised to see the CLEAR-CUT forest behind the little ranger station kiosk -- a private woodlot sale? Started trail at 7 am, 35F, up Cedar Run to Hawksbill parking lot. A few early-spring flowers and birds no deer, no bears. Low/average water in the streams. The rest of the loop was a very easy run down the fire road and a pretty easy run down White Oak Canyon back to W.H. No rangers working as usual - why? Total time for the whole 7.9 mile loop: 2 h 34 m, my second best time ever.

By: Ellen and Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Now 60 and almost-50 and we are still able to do this hike! Nice day if a little chilly at the start. Arrived at 7:15 a.m. Second car in lot. However, the lot fills up and nearby property owners charge $10 to park on their land. Went up Cedar Run, up Hawksbill, then down White Oak Canyon. Trees not leafed out but some wild flowers were starting to pop out. Two migratory bird species heard & seen (Louisiana Waterthrush - several Blue-headed Vireo - three). More muddy than expected but not too bad. Love this hike but usually go elsewhere as there are too many people on White Oak Canyon because of the water falls. This time, not too many people - maybe due to holiday weekend. Whatever the reason, it made for a more pleasant hike. People were generally well-behaved. Only one had dog off-leash and she put the dog on the leash when asked to do so (but why have to ask her? it is a national park - the rule is that dogs must be on leashes). Only two pieces of dropped trash. Most people knew enough to single file when hikers were coming in the other direction or passing. Only two groups clogged the entire trail forcing us to stand to the side and wait.

By: slowandpoke Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 10, 2016
My husband and I took the day off and decided to hike this trail because we figured that a weekend day would be way too crowded based on reviews. Since it is spring break for some of the universities in the area we did encounter a good amount of people (~20 or so), but mostly on the White Oak side as most were hanging out by the larger falls. We went with the reviews and hiked the circuit backwards - Cedar Run/White Oak - what an a** kicker! Up up and up for ~2200 feet, but the trails were well maintained and easy to navigate. We (okay, mainly I) ended up taking plenty of quick breaks to catch my breath, which was rewarded with constant views of streams, falls and enticing swimming holes. As we neared the fire road/horse trail that would connect us to the White Oak trail it got nearly silent as the water coming down the mountain was underground - pretty cool and welcome news that we were nearly to the top. We enjoyed the wide and flat walk on the fire road, making up for time from our slower ascent. We hit the White Oak Canyon trail, crossed a cool foot bridge and worked our way down. Again, I have to say, the work done on this trail is some of the best I've seen. We will definitely be back to hike this one again since we're training for some backpacking trips out west this summer. Go out and enjoy this one!

**The only disappointing experience was that people seem to think that nature is their own personal trash can. We picked up about 4 empty water bottles, a bottle cap, a kid's juice box, and an empty granola bar package. Unfortunately we couldn't safely get to an empty gatorade bottle we saw from the trail. PLEASE be good stewards/practice good Leave No Trace principles and PACK OUT what you bring in. There are trash cans at the trailhead that you can throw everything away before heading back to your car.

    View all 178 reviews for the White Oak/Cedar Run hike
Early November
Courtesy Jennifer Carr Photography        
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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