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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: Alex D Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Perfect weather for a fantastic hike! Started at sunrise and took others' advice to start with Cedar Run. First one in the parking lot and never saw anyone until reaching Skyline Dr. When you start to hear cars on Skyline and no longer hear rushing water, you know you're near the top. I decided to add Hawksbill Summit (highest spot in Shenandoah), 2 miles out and back. Tough incline, but well worth it for the view. Jogged down the fire road, where it smelled like fresh mountain air, almost like Irish Spring. Whiteoak Canyon trail was full of spectacular sights and sounds of rushing water. Sat next to a fall and enjoyed the peaceful tranquility. This is a special place! "Come to the Woods, for here is rest" - John Muir.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 30, 2016
First time doing the entire loop, up white oak and down via cedar run. Great water views on both, white oak still the best falls in the park. The Cedar run portion of the trail was a little dicey in places, washouts and step downs that my 59 year old knees didn't like, going down hill is tuff enough without booby traps. Fine for a younger more nimble person but don't think I'll do cedar run again.

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: Wednesday, April 13, 2016
First, I wanted to save a part of my review for Nicole Mittendorf so that her memory may be passed on. We saw Nicole enter the trail about 5 minutes ahead of us, but did not see her the rest of the day. Nicole committed suicide that day.

We began this hike late morning, and finished up in the evening. It was a beautiful hike with tons of fun sites to see. I would recommend hiking in reverse, however, as the Cedar Rapids portion is somewhat less epic, and I would feel more comfortable descending on the eastern portion of this trail. Definitely do not attempt this trail without a full water reservoir, especially in the hot summer months. It was longer and more strenuous than we were expecting. Also of note - we saw two wild turkeys on the way up the white oak side.

    View all 181 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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