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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:
Parking:
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5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,450 ft
N38 32.356 W78 20.961
Shenandoah National Park
Printable Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Sperryville Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), GPS eXchange (GPX) (What's this?)
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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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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the White Oak/Cedar Run hike:

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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: Jon S Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 19, 2017
Awesome hike! If you follow the instructions on the site youíll be fine. Id suggest screenshotting them as cell service is awful. Bring an extra pair of socks and good shoes bc the creek crossings can be tricky. Steep up and steep down. When youíre not worrying about your footing look around. Gorgeous canyon and views.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 03, 2017
The Canyon is absolutely beautiful with outstanding water falls and scenic views. For the record, I love our National Parks but the 'Whiteoak Canyon Area Road and Trail Map" leaves much to desire if you are planning on doing the circuit hike.

Additionally, it would be very helpful to know that there are two parking lots at the bottom of the Canyon. One is on Weakly Hollow Road and a larger one on Chad Berry Lane both in Syria. They are about 4 miles apart. I have not found anywhere that this has been made clear!

We (daughter & I) started at the smaller parking lot on Weakly Hollow Road at the bottom of the Canyon. Going up the canyon was steep as expected and the trail for the most part, is fairly well marked. The weather was perfect and we both got many excellent photos.

Since we were close to the top of the falls when we had lunch, we decided to take the circuit which includes the Whiteoak Fire Road that eventually intersects with the Cedar Run Trail. Multiple intersections on that trail were confusing at best. We talked with a few folks we met along the trail and they were as confused as we were.

One person we met near an intersection was particularly helpful. He stayed to the right and took the trail that ended at the larger parking area on Chad Berry Lane. We took the trail to the left- maybe the Cedar Run Link Trail but that is a guess. We finally had to cross the stream to intersect with a trail that said Whiteoak Canyon--no idea which parking lot it headed for as we only found out about the larger one from the nice guy who met us at the intersection. Many miles later, we met the same guy who was nice enough to back track up the trail he hoped we were on and walked us back to our parking lot. Long story- however, I hope that in the future there would be clearer trail markers that show hikers how to get back to the same place they started from! All in all a great day I would highly recommend this hike to all those who love mother nature!


By: Billy Bob Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 22, 2017
The app suggests a counter clockwise route, but we took the clockwise via the cedar run and found it fairly challenging but very rewarding. There was a fair bit of traffic towards the end of the hike but overall fantastic. The app states it a 5 hour hike with lunch and thatís about what it took us today. Thereís a high level or rocks and roots keeping your attention at all times, otherwise youíre on your face. Certainly worth doing again mid week when the foot traffic isnít quite so high.

By: Billy Bob Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 22, 2017
The app suggests a counter clockwise route, but we took the clockwise via the cedar run and found it fairly challenging but very rewarding. There was a fair bit of traffic towards the end of the hike but overall fantastic. The app states it a 5 hour hike with lunch and thatís about what it took us today. Thereís a high level or rocks and roots keeping your attention at all times, otherwise youíre on your face. Certainly worth doing again mid week when the foot traffic isnít quite so high.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 04, 2017
https://waynorthblog.com/2017/08/03/return-to-white-oak-canyon-shenandoah-national-park-va/ Just got back from this loop hike, all 8.2 miles this past saturday. The weather was great and the falls were in good form. The parking lot was full and backed out to several private lots. Overall a beautiful trail with some spectacular waterfalls.

    View all 214 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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