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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: Becky Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Not sure how, but we ended up hiking 10.5 miles instead of 8. We parked in the correct lot and followed the trail markers, but we found the markets a bit confusing and not a whole lot of help on the trailhead map or the two maps along the route. Beautiful waterfalls because of the recent rain. The trail got a little treacherous at some points because of trickling water down the mountain and fallen leaves made it slippery. All in all, though, a beautiful area and great, challenging hike.

By: Barb Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 08, 2015
Absolutely beautiful. More water and stronger water falls then I was expecting this time of year. I have hiked the White Oak canyon up and back several times which is by far a favorite but today we continued the loop by crossing over and following the horse trail to Cedar Run down and back to the parking lot. I gave it only a 4 because the hike down Cedar Run was far steeper then we expected and took much of the enjoyment out of the hike. We like a challenge but this was a very rocky straight down hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 08, 2015
A fantastic circuit, and truly beautiful water trails. I probably would do the circuit in reverse next time (i.e. head up elevation on the Cedar Run trail, and make my way back down to the parking lot via the White Oak trail), but it was really fantastic. Very few other people out on the trail - we actually were planning on doing Old Rag but out of fear it would be bottlenecked and packed, we made a change last minute.

Ended up going all the way to Skyline Drive, jumping on a short section of the AT and returning back over SD to a connector to Cedar Run. Probably 9-10 miles?

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 01, 2015
We hiked to the lower Whiteoak Falls following a rainy week. The river was full and the falls were flowing strongly. Beautifully colored leaves covered the ground. It was a fantastic hike. I can't wait to return to jump in the swimming holes!

Overall, the trail was mostly easy. Between the upper and lower falls, the grade increases and you must be prepared for a steep return.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Water level was quite low but still enough to make for some beautiful falls. Even went for a swim, it was freezing but this was the last chance of the year. I filmed almost all of the falls:

    View all 168 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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