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White Oak Canyon / Cedar Run - SNP, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.9 mls
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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
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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.
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: Suzanne Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 01, 2018
Make no mistake about it, this is a great hike. Scenery is tremendous. Today there was a fog/mist storm on the ridge that blanketed the mountain to create a neat affect. Love it.

However, be aware that going down Cedar Run! At stretches I was fighting for every step. Between boulders, rocks and roots, on the steep incline, the going was slow. Good balance is must.

Next time I will do an out and back on White Oak.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 23, 2018
My friend and I hiked this today. The falls are spectacular!! We took our dogs and they loved it, too. We hiked counterclockwise up the WOC trail, saw all the beautiful falls (which, btw, are abundant, deep, and flowing wildly, because of all the rains), crossed the falls via the bridge and continued on the Fire Rd. This was the only part, at the time, that seemed a bit boring to me. But, boy oh boy, by the time we’d hit the Cedar Run trail, we were begging to be back on the Fire Rd. The going was tough coming down. Wear your waterproof hiking boots and watch your steps carefully. Also, take a bathing suit, water shoes, and a picnic. About half way down we had a hard time finding the trail marking. My friend finally found it....across a huge section of falls, clear on the other side. We waded across very carefully. It was not an easy feat with two dogs. We continued the long hike down over rough rocks and boulders. In order to reach the parking lot we had to cross the falls again, in even deeper water! Yes, it was strenuous coming down, but, wow, SO worth it. This has become one of my favorite hikes ever. Do it now before the water lowers! You’ll be so glad you did.

By: F&B Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 18, 2018
My wife and I took this hike to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the day we met. It turned out to be quite a nice hike and a bit of adventure--not unlike our life together! The scenery was beautiful beyond words. Because of the recent rains, the water falls are spectacular! And the waters so clear and cool! We started at the Rt600 entrance, counter-clockwise, did the the WOC trail first and returned from the Cedar Run trail. Now is the adventure: First, after we turned from the fire road to the blue blazed Cedar Run Trail, a couple in front of us turned back and warned us there was a bear up front. So we hiked back, and followed the fire road up to Skyline, and walked on the pavement for about 1 mile to the hawksbill trail head and from there hiked down the Cedar Run Trail. Half way down I slipped and sprained my right knee--and my speed reduced to barely faster than crawling. Now it got late and it started to get dark quickly. In the hurry we missed an intersection and went on the WOC-CR link trail, which took us to WOC way above where we should be. We walked (with a broken knee) about 2 extra miles, and finally returned to the parking lot when it was completely dark, more than 2 hours later than we planned! The Cedar Run part of the trail is very steep and full of rocks. With the recent rain, much of the trail is wet and very slippery. Also the trail is not marked super clearly. But overall, this is a great hike and all the "misfortunes" just make the memory more special!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 27, 2018
This quickly rose to the top of my area favorites list! The falls were really impressive - all of them - and there were tons! Aside from the fire road, you are right next to water during the entire hike, which kept things cool and peaceful. There were plenty of opportunities to take a quick (or prolonged) dip in, and the cool air coming off the falls was just as refreshing. The fire road was a little less interesting until the bear stepped onto the trail. It was my first East Coast sighting and livened that stretch up quite a bit! I expected the Cedar trail back down to be less eventful but between the run crossings, rock formations, butterflies, and sounds of rushing water, it was the perfect way home.

When I hike it again I'll bring a bathing suit, towel, and some water shoes! And lunch. It was more challenging than I expected and a little more fuel than a Kind bar would have been smart.


By: Gabby Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 21, 2018
This was the most incredible hike I have ever done! We started at the Whiteoak Boundary parking lot and went up the Cedar Run trail. Whichever side you start with, it is very steep with little reprieve for several miles. The effort, however, is well worth it. Every turn exposed another gorgeous landscape. There are also many swimming holes to cool off in!

Just as a heads up, the hike is about 10 miles, not the approximately 8 miles stated on the maps. It took us about 5.5 hours (including stops to swim) and we were moving at a fairly quick pace.


    View all 227 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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