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Overall Run/Beecher Ridge - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
8.5 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,965 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Park at the end of VA630 where the paved road ends. DO NOT park on the gravel private driveway. Please respect private property. Foot traffic ONLY. 38.80194, -78.31461

The Overall Run circuit passes one of the largest continuous waterfalls in Virginia. The trails also go through picturesque valley streams and meadows making this one of the prettiest hikes in the norther SNP. Also, with Beecher Ridge having one of the highest concentrations of Black Bears in the park, this is one hike where you are most likely to catch a glimpse of a black bear in the wild. If you wish to add some more length, and also catch another small pool with waterfall try the sister hike that enters the park from Chrisman Road VA697, Overall Run/Heiskell Hollow.

  • Mile 0.0 - From the parking area, walk down the private gravel road following the blue blazes for 0.2 miles where you pass a cable gate. After passing the cable gate continue for 200 yards where the private road you are on crosses a small creek. Turn right onto the blue blazed Thompson Hollow Trail. DO NOT continue upwards towards the house, this is all private property, please stay on the trail.
  • Mile 0.3 - Head uphill on the blue blazed trail and shortly pass a marker designating the Shenandoah National Park boundary. In 0.5 miles from the park boundary, and just past the trail high point, reach the intersection of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail. Continue straight on the blue blazed trail for an additional 0.2 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail.
  • Mile 1.0 - Turn left uphill and cross Overall Run in 0.7 miles. Cross Overall Run again in another 0.2 miles, then the trail starts getting steeper as it climbs towards Mathews Arm. The trail will become very steep with several switchbacks, then passes a small campsite 0.8 miles from the last crossing over Overall Run. From the campsite continue uphill for another 0.3 miles and arrive at the main Overall Run waterfall overlook with spectacular view of the Massanutten Range to the west. From the overlook continue uphill for 0.3 miles passing a smaller set of falls before arriving at the next trail marker. The trail to the left is the no longer maintained portion of the Mathews Arm Trail. Continue uphill on the blue blazed trail for 150 yards to the trail marker and intersection of the yellow blazed Mathews Arm Trail.
  • Mile 3.4 - Turn right on the yellow blazed Mathews Arm Trail (the yellow blazes may not be visible from the intersection), and shortly cross the top section of Overall Run. In 0.5 miles arrive a the junction of the Beecher Ridge Trail.
  • Mile 3.9 - Turn right downhill on the yellow blazed Beecher Ridge Trail as is winds its way for 2.3 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Beecher Ridge/Overall Run connector Trail.
  • Mile 6.2 - Continue straight on the now blue blazed trail as it heads down to the valley and Overall Run in 0.6 miles. After crossing Overall Run the trail will continue downstream for 100 yards before turning right upstream, and becoming the Overall Run Trail. Turn right upstream on the Overall Run Trail is it follows the run on the left bank before passing a side trail in 0.5 miles. The side trail leads to Overall Run and large swimming hole, with a slide before and after it. Stay left uphill on the blue blazed trail, and in 0.1 miles arrive back at the intersection of the Tuscarora Trail.
  • Mile 7.5 - Turn left retracing your steps past the Tuscarora Trail turnoff in 0.2 miles, then continuing straight on the Thompson Hollow Trail to the SNP boundary, then gravel road back to the parking area in 0.8 miles.
  • Mile 8.5 - Arrive back at the parking area.
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Hiker Reviews For The Overall Run/Beecher Ridge Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Overall Run/Beecher Ridge hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Mike Nuckols Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 15, 2017
My son and I just did this as an overnight backpack. It was AMAZING. Here is what we recommend:

Do it counter clockwise

Day 1: Long day, but take it all the way to Matthews arms trail, go past the overlook (gorgeous) and the campsite is about .25 miles. Total distance for the day will be about 6 miles. Beautiful spot to camp.

Day 2: Finish the loop and end at the water hole that is right near the turn off for Thompson Hollow trail. Bring a bathing suit and spend some time swimming, sliding, and cooling off before you head back to the car. Total distance about 3 miles.

By: Humus Mikus Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 09, 2017
I've been on this circuit over many decades. I've never seen the "lot" as crowded as today: over a16 cars! I think most everyone is headed for the swimming hole. It's impressive, even with low water in the streams, but doesn't really support a small community.

I took the Heiskell Hollow trail to extend the mileage just a bit. No water in most stream crossings, and very little water to call a falls, but there was something. Great weather for July, only 80 degrees. That hike up the Overall Run Trail to falls is always a challenge. Good workout! Eat in my knees going uphill, not down. Count me in for the clockwise hike!

By: Dan Dudis Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 04, 2017
This is a lovely hike, very much as described. My one note of caution would be that the Beecher Ridge trail is very narrow in places, with lots of undergrowth crowding into the trail and much of this undergrowth is poison ivy. It's impossible to walk the trail without your legs constantly brushing up against all the undergrowth, including the poison ivy. So if you do this hike, wear pants!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 28, 2017
Great hike! First and last miles are very muddy, wear your waterproof hiking boots. Took us 5 hours including a ~10 minute stop at the pools and a ~20 minute stop at the falls overlook. Lots of May rain has the falls rushing and creek crossings full - you'll need to remove your shoes 3-4 times. (Bring watershoes if you can.) We went clockwise as suggested and while this ascent is much steeper, it's quicker and much more interesting with scenery changes than the counter-clockwise route which is a long climb up on the narrow trail in thick brush. If going clockwise as we did, the main push to falls is about 20-30 minutes of huffing and then you're done and can enjoy the long walk back. (Another reviewer - Todd - below notes the same thing and I wholeheartedly agree.) Also, we hiked with our dog and with wet rocks, the steep descent after the falls would've been a little tricky had we done the reverse route. Lots of ticks, be sure to use bug spray and check your dog thoroughly after the hike. We pulled into the gravel parking area at 10 a.m. and were the fifth car there - was much more crowded when we returned. We saw maybe 5-6 other groups. Matthews Arm campground is closed so the trails weren't too crowded for Memorial Day Weekend.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 05, 2017
I've now hiked this trail 3 times- once in the summer and twice in the winter, and I've done it twice clockwise and once counter-clockwise, every time from the bottom. I can say without hesitation that the best time is in the winter and the best direction is clockwise. Here's why- the foliage is pretty dense leading up to the views of the falls and the gorge that they fall into. In the winter your views are much less obstructed vs in the summer at points there's a wall of green. Furthermore, the water flow in winter is pretty strong, and if it's around freezing you get very cool ice formations not only on the falls but also on the areas surrounding the falls due to the freezing mist coming off the falls. But don't worry- there's been no ice on the trails when I've been there. Why clockwise is better- the approach to the steep section is very moderate and scenic as you hike along the trail, and while the steep section is pretty steep, there are a number of switchbacks, and since some sections are pretty rocky, I personally find it easier going up on rocky areas than going down them. Here's another reason- when you go counter-clockwise the yellow trail is just a continuous uphill slog and there's no views or anything of interest to see. So while counter clockwise is not nearly as steep, its constant and long...and boring and for me it was more tiring. At least the steep, clockwise way is over and done with quickly and is punctuated by awesome views of the falls and gorge. Next time I go, I plan to just do an out and back rather than the loop because the yellow trail, even when going clockwise and down hill, is so boring.

    View all 134 reviews for the Overall Run/Beecher Ridge hike
Early January (courtesy of Jayne)
Late April
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