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Hiker Comments for the Overall Run/Beecher Ridge Hike - 1 to 142 of 142   
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By: Scoutdadx3 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Great hike today! We set out from the parking lot around 0830. There were a few cars already there, but it was really packed when we arrived back. We had a small group and hiked the loop clockwise. The initial ascent is steep, but there are places to stop to take in the view and rest for a minute or two. There were lots of people out on the trail today. Most seemed to hike in from the Matthew's Arm area. We also saw a couple of scout troops backpacking for the weekend. Several in our group pulled off ticks along the way. No wildlife sightings today, including snakes. Highly recommend this hike for a great workout!

By: Laura Newman Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, December 18, 2018
I highly recommend doing the hike counter clockwise. It allows for a more gradual ascend. We have had so much rain lately the water volume was impressive. Some the stream crossings were difficult as many of the rocks were underwater. I would recommend water proof boots with ankle support. Overall great hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 8, 2018
This a beautiful hike and close to Shenandoah River State Park. We did the loop counterclockwise and enjoyed having the great views at the end of the hike. It was a bit muddy at the beginnng but only on the Jackson Hollow Trail part.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 8, 2018
I took advantage of this unusually nice summer day to do this hike and I really enjoyed it. The advantage of doing the loop in a counter-clockwise direction is that you do the steep part near the falls downhill rather than uphill. The Beecher Ridge portion of the trail is generally well maintained and not rocky, but a bit brushy in parts so long pants are good if you are concerned about ticks or poison ivy. The only crowded area on a weekend day is the portion of the trail that leads from Mathews Arm campground to the falls. The stream now is low due to dry weather, but there is some water in the falls, and a bit more down below toward the swimming holes.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 19, 2018
First, the GPS cord for the parking area is spot on. As a visitor to the area, I appreciate that.

I did the hike as posted and was glad to get the elevation over “quickly”. I agree with Katherine — I was looking for some evidence of spring it was few and far between. The crispy dried leaves littered the forest floor, and there were still no leaves on the trees — an odd sight for a PNW hiker. On this Thursday hike, I ran into only one couple, at the top. So not much pressure at this time. The trail is well marked, which was reassuring to me.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2018
I'm a millennial and just did this hike today with a friend. I'd done the longer version of this hike (the Overall Run/Heiskell Hollow one) back in February and LOVED it. The directions for that hike end up being the reverse direction for the parts that overlap for this hike. I recalled going down the steep part of the falls and thinking how much it would suck to go up. It did suck, but it wasn't terrible in my opinion. The vistas made it worth it.

That being said, you could flip the direction of this hike and have the majority of your ascent be gradual. As is, the swimming holes are right at the end before the little arm of a trail back out to the car, but you could still enjoy those doing it in reverse - you'd just continue past that starting arm a little bit, and the swimming holes would be about 10 min down and on the left.

It's mid-April, and the trees don't have leaves yet but some things are starting to bloom, which preserved the views but provided a nice spring-like air.

Filling in some gaps on the map and instructions (in the order of the hike as instructed):

1. at Mile 1.0 where it says to turn left uphill, it's actually left and rather downhill, toward Overall Run. It's a bit farther until you start the uphill.
2. There are a small handful of campsites just a short ways after you make this first left to get onto the loop, which would be great for kids (and we did see several young families) because you're relatively close to the car and it's only mild ups/downs to get there. They're also right next to the trickling water, which makes for fun play.
3. There are a couple of great campsites right around the top of the falls, and one of them is STUNNING, kind of right out on an overlook
4. There are a few campsites along the ridge portion of the trail (forgot to bring a pen, so I can't quite recall where)
5. There's another area for a tent or two shortly before you cross Overall Run (and turn right, upstream alongside it) toward the end.
6. The swimming hole area isn't marked on the map, nor can you really see it from the trail. It's a little more than halfway between that last turn right and the little arm branch trail back out to the car. It's clear that something big is nearby, and if you jaunt about 100 feet down that side "trail" you'll see the swimming hole area. There are a couple of campsites here as well

Additional thought: If you've got some newbies or young kids in your group, or really want to take it chill, you could break this hike into an overnight and end up with lots of opportunities to frolic in the waters or read for a bit in an eno hammock. It could be a great example of how to enjoy the mountains in a less strenuous way.

By: Kellie W. Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 19, 2018
Lovely. Waterfalls mostly frozen this time of year. Gorgeous views. Only saw one other person all day. Despite the river crossings (not much water this time of year), don’t be tempted to wear shoes with no ankle support.

By: Ash Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 2, 2017
Thank you to the private land owners that allow us hikers to pass through your lands.

This was an enjoyable day hike. The water was low so no crossings were necessary. Since the foliage is down there were some good views through the trees. I started my hike at 7am and only saw on other person on the trail until the last 1/2 mile when I ran into another group just starting out. The parking area looked like it could hold around seven or so vehicles if people park properly. Only one car was in the lot at 7am and only four when I left (including me) around 11am.

I will probably try the sister hike mentioned in the description during the Spring or early Summer to see how the different seasons are.

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 9, 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 4, 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 5, 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 29, 2017
There is room at the trailhead for about 10 cars, if everyone parks nicely. Back in if you can and park perpendicular to the road. We arrived late at just about 11am to find very little parking left, but a couple groups left as we were gearing up they looked as if they had camped the night before. On the trail, save for at the swimming hole, we saw virtually nobody. At the swimming hole, we encountered a group of four who were confusedly trying to locate themselves on the wrong map (we let them photograph our map) and a whole gaggle of people that belonged to the REI van parked at the trailhead. Fortunately, nobody seemed to be going our direction and we had the trail to ourselves, as you might suspect on a cloud day with temperatures around freezing and random snow flurries.

Looking at the elevation profile and knowing that we like the payoff part of the hike to come in the latter half of our hikes, it made really good sense to hike the circuit counter-clockwise after reaching it via the approach trail. The climb up Beecher Ridge is long and steady, while the drop down from the falls is steep and much shorter. My knees hated the steep downhill from the falls to the bottom, but that was probably better than making the steep climb up, seeing the payoff at the falls, and then still having a longish hike along Beecher Ridge to get back to the car. Highly recommend that you reverse the direction documented here and hike counter-clockwise.

You have to ford the creek three times and at two of the fords, the height of the water because of last weekend's terrific rains had all the rocks underwater. The third had a great log to walk across. We had to bushwhack a bit at one of the crossings to find a place to cross the high water without getting totally wet. If the water is up in cold weather, you're going to want a good pair of waterproof boots and a change of socks just in case. Gaiters might not be bad either.

We've been to Overall Run Falls from above, from Mathews Arm, and hiked a bit of the Beecher Ridge Trail and the AT in the area, but this was the first time coming up from the bottom for us. We really enjoyed the hike, especially the solitude. We were the only people at the falls and that is a rare experience. Great opportunity for me to get great photos of the ice formations along the cliff sides. No fauna at all at the end of January, but bear sign everywhere. It's kind of rare not to see bears around here especially in the spring and early summer when they're particularly ravenous.

Parts of the trail along the creek are very rocky, part time creek beds in fact, so good shoes are a must. The Thompson Hollow approach trail is really sloppy: be prepared for mud unless it is the dry season. The trails are as of this writing all very well marked, freshly blazed, and easy to follow. It would be a feat to get lost here. All in all, a very enjoyable hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, December 23, 2016
Please check out our review of this hike on our blog --

By: b2hikers Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 16, 2016
This trail is probably better during spring and early summer when it has been raining. Overall Run was almost completely dry. At the overlook we could hear a little water and saw some wet rock but couldn't locate the source. Swimming hole was low, pretty to watch but too stagnant to swim in. Saw two bears while on the Matthews Arm Trail.  Only saw one other group of hikers while on the beecher side of the trail. It was a nice fall hike but missed the terrific waterfall views others are talking about.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 21, 2016
This is by far the best place in Shenandoah mountains to swim and cool down. The pools are big and the falls are very nice. Check out more photos here:

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 11, 2016
At the suggestion of reviewers I took the route counterclockwise. Seeing the falls early or later, doesn't make much difference to me, but I appreciated going up a gentler slope and wrestling with the steeper one on the way down. Also, as an early hiker, the sun is better on the falls for picture taking later in the morning. The weather had been dry, so falls and streams were a trickle, but no problem crossing. No wildlife seen to speak of. Arrived at 6 a.m. with no one else in the lot. Saw no one else on the main trails. Approaching the parking lot on the return I was passed by a newly-arrived family of 5, a couple, and about 15 from a school summer camp -- kids in swimsuits, and a few adult chaperones. Quite a bit of litter on the Thornton Hollow Trail -- I picked up some. I think I saw at least 10 campsites along the whole route, and I wasn't looking for them -- I'd increase the campsite rating from "1."

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 9, 2016
Got to the parking area early (9:45 AM) and there were only a handful of cars there. Parking area does fill up quickly as the day progresses. Followed the hiking trail accordingly, which is a slow build up in elevation. Plenty of rocky streambeds along the way.

However, that all changes at the 2.0 mile mark as the terrain gets more challenging. Hiking up towards Matthews Arm may be a bit punishing if you do not take your time or are out of shape. The scenic view at the main rock outcrop is worth the ascent.

There were many groups at the outcrop since there is a backdoor entrance to the rock outcrop via Matthew Arms Campground/Skyline Drive area.

The descent goes by rather quickly. You can pretty much hike to the watering hole all in one shot. Many people at the watering hole in general.

By: Bryan Kluth Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Lovely hike!


-Swimming holes


-Great distance for a day hike/run

By: Brian M Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 17, 2016
Took the advice of most reviewers and went in reverse order (Counter-clockwise) around the loop. Highly recommend doing so. The first 3 hours or so is OK hiking but there are no overlooks or even decent places to stop for lunch until you get to the first small waterfall. We saw a small black bear about 1.5 hours in which was awesome. The cascading waterfalls have some areas where you can head down to explore/take pictures. That was where I nearly stepped on a copperhead snake so they are definitely around. The final waterfall you reach is amazing there's a great overlook and tons of photo ops.

By: Martin C Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 5, 2016
I really loved this trail. I went it in reverse order of what is described, turning right at the intersection of Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail. This lead to a more gradual accent to Beecher Ridge and left the waterfalls for the last part of the hike. I had no issues crossing any of the streams, but the rocky trail on the decent from the main waterfalls was tricky. Note that when hiking in this order, you will pass a smaller waterfall then pass cascades before reaching the main waterfall. There were several great views along the hike, but the views at the falls were spectacular.

By: Mike H Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2016
Got to the trail head relatively early (7:30) and was the first one there by the time I left around 1 pm, there were a good 20 cars. I did the circuit in reverse, turning right when the trail splits at Overall Run (resulting in the waterfall near the end of the hike instead of the beginning). I can't imagine doing the circuit as described on the webpage the hike along the ridge past the waterfall is peaceful, but long, and trees obstruct every view. Much of the trail follows drainage channels, and there are a LOT of ankle-turning rocks. The stream crossings can also be difficult if the water level is high, so be prepared to traverse slippery rocks, walk across felled logs, or take off your boots and wade. I found the blue and yellow blazes and trail markers to be a little lacking, but managed to find my way. The viewing points for the main waterfall (and smaller ones leading to it) and mountains/valley are pretty spectacular.

By: RobRoy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 16, 2016
Great trail for a run. Nice climbs and long downhill along the ridge trail. Waterfalls were running well too. BTW Great directions. Also I would travel this clockwise so the deep stream crossing is last miles not at beginning

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 10, 2016
Did this one because it was close and we had to be back in DC by late afternoon.  The weather started rainy and foggy, but by the time we got to the overlook it had burned off and was gorgeous.  Started at about 8:30, and we did the loop counterclockwise, going up Beecher Ridge first.  The first stream crossing was swollen due to the overnight rains, and we were forced to take off our boots in order to wade.  Water was pretty cold, but the day was warm so it wasn't too bad.  The rest of the stream crossings we were able to either rock-hop or cross fallen logs.  The rest of the hike was pretty standard for Shenandoah, although we had lots of solitude.  Only ran into two other people as we were getting ready to leave the falls.  When we got back to the parking lot, no one else was there either.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 27, 2015
Great circuit hike that mixes long periods of solitude (Beecher Ridge) with spectacular falls. We DEFINITELY recommend reversing the direction shown here and doing the Beecher Ridge part of the hike first - that way the falls are the big reward after several hours on the trail. If you do it in the order shown here, you get a tough, technical climb up the switchbacks toward Matthew's Arm, the stunning views of the falls after more ascending, then a whole bunch more miles which, while pleasant, don't have any other real significant aspects. Instead, why not enjoy those miles first, then feel like you've earned the falls and your lunch spot.

Thanks to The Crazy Winter of El Nino, it was seventy degrees on the Christmas weekend day that my partner and I hiked this loop (in the counter-clockwise direction, opposite from how it's described here). Previously, the weekend had featured significant downpours, so there was plenty of water in all the creeks and along the many cascades of the falls.

Going in the Beecher Ridge-first direction, the first creek crossing we encountered was high enough that we doffed our hiking boots and waded through. Brisk, but not as cold as one might expect for December, but that's how this so-called "winter" has been. The remaining crossings were all made with boots intact, either over rocks (slippery!) or in one case over a logfall.

During the first several hours - basically the entire section along Beecher Ridge - we encountered only one other party, and we reveled in the solitude. The bare trees gave plenty of views along the Blue Ridge and Massanutten. That part of the hike is a series of moderately steep climbs interspersed with flat sections, stair-stepping your way up and along the ridge edge. Because the trails are not so steep, the surfaces are much smoother than on the Overall Run side of the trail (saw the "evidence" that equestrians had been along that trail recently).

Finally you get to a height about the same as the top of the falls, and follow the contour along the west side of the ridge until you join up with Matthew's Arm trail (here's where the weekend touristas will park on Skyline Drive and just make the short hike down to the falls, so expect a lot more company).

The great thing about getting to the falls from this direction is they get more and more spectacular as you make your way down. We stopped for lunch in view of the largest drop. The rest of the hike, as expected, is the tough, technical switchbacks down the steepest part of the gorge, followed by a flatter but still technical (i.e. rocky) traverse back to the connector trail and parking lot. Seems like it would be pretty brutal coming up this way, considering how tough it is to descend this way.

All in all a great way to get some decent miles in AND see one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the park, without resorting to an out-and-back route. Our preference is always loop hikes, but  SNP is so long and skinny, they can be tough to find. This one, though, is one of the finest. Just do it in the counter-clockwise direction!

By: Suzy & Tom Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 19, 2015
We hiked this trail on a cold, sunny Saturday a week before Christmas and 2 days after a day of rain.  The falls had a good amount of water to make an impressive site and the creeks and swimming holes were full enough to make for an interesting hike.  Only saw one other person on the trail.  The part leading up to the falls viewing point was steep.  The trail is easy to follow and there is adequate signage.  We did not see any bears.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 22, 2015
I hiked this with a friend on Sunday, November 22. The day was dry but a little nippy. Overall, it's a superb hike. The directions on Hiking Upward are excellent unless you can't read, there's no way you can leave the trail, which is well marked throughout. The trail repeatedly crosses Overall Run most crossings are by log (a felled tree) and it is possible to fall in the stream (I did and my shoes were wet for the entire hike). The waterfalls are wonderful, and if it hadn't been November I would have tried the swimming hole (see the directions). It's a very pretty hike, even without the leaves. Two words of warning. First, since the trail is now covered in leaves, there are slippery parts. Second, the uphill and downhill are fairly strenuous, not crazy but still hard.

By: Woody Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 23, 2015
Quiet Friday hike. Water level was good enough on the fall. Nice colors and view from the trail and the overlook.

By: Kate Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
This hike was quite challenging at parts with some very steep sections. The main reason I am not giving it soaring reviews, is because there was almost no water in the falls or stream. Most of the stream the follows the whole Overall Run trail was dried up completely with an occasional trickle of water. The falls were similarly disappointing. I imagine this might be a better spring hike, when hopefully there would be more water. There is one great view right around the falls area that looks out over a good portion of Shenandoah.

We only came across a few people during the loop, but saw almost as many bears! (Only two really, and they ran away quickly.)

I would try this hike again in the spring, but definitely would not do it this fall.

By: Heather H. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 30, 2015
Third time doing this hike. Got a late start at 12:30 pm and was surprised at how many people we saw on the trail. The most we have ever seen, probably about 10 people on the trail and another 10-15 at the swimming hole. It had not rained in the last 10 days or so, so the water levels were very low, not much to see at the "waterfalls" or swimming hole. The main reason I like this hike is the solitude and the view at the top. It's pretty strenuous to the top, almost a straight vertical incline at some points! It's two days later and I am still sore. Great views at the top. Took us 4 hours to complete including stopping for about 15 mins at the top and 15 mins at the swimming hole. Was a warm day in the 80s but not too bad in the shade. Almost forgot, we did see a black bear in the first mile of the hike! About 50 yards away and didn't bother us, we just keep walking, and it minded it's own business.

By: Tom R Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 16, 2015
This was our third time on this trail. That tells you how much we like the it. We like the way you ease into the first part of the hike then build up to the steep incline that leads to the overlook. The long decent is a bit tedious,but generally a good hike and good exercise. Don't be mislead by the statement of fantastic waterfalls. Again, we have been there three times and have only seen "trickles." Yes, the water coming off the rocks is high up, but there really is not much of a flow. We were having lunch at the overlook when other hikers arrived. They looked over to the falls and said "Really, that's it?" We all had a good laugh.

By: John F Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 2, 2015
Nice hike with some nice views shortly after the falls. Perfect weather today, completed in five hours including 30 minute lunch and 30 minute dip.

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 29, 2015
I completed this loop today in 4-1/2 hours, including about a 15-20 minute stop for lunch.  It is fairly strenuous.  Wear good shoes because parts of the trail are pretty rocky. Wear long pants too -- there's lots of poison ivy abutting the trail on the Beecher Ridge section.  I only saw one person on the trail, and a small group of local high-school students going to the swimming hole near the end of the hike. I'm not sure I would give it quite the ratings posted here on Hiking Upward.  The streams weren't flowing very strong today.  The Overall Run waterfall is nice, but there is not much water to it.  I've seen much better falls here in the park and elsewhere.  The view of Masanutten and North Mountain is nice, but there are hundreds of views like this in the park and nearby areas.  Overall a pleasant way to get some fresh air and exercise. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 24, 2015
Great Hike, total from parking to overlook was 7.36 miles. Took me about 5 hours to complete. I Stopped for lunch next to the upper falls and took plenty of pictures. Just took it slow coming back out. I was the only one on the trail when I started, which gave me plenty of time to enjoy the falls. Not much blooming there yet, but it was only 39 F. Would definitely do this trail again. Unfortunately, I didn't go all the way to the base of the falls. I wasn't sure if I would have made it back up. Would like to come in from the park boundary next time to see the falls from another angle. I will be loading the images I took on Facebook at Landry's Lasting Images.

By: Danny Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 19, 2015
Hiked from the bottom up this time.  The trail follows and crosses Overall Run and with the Spring rains, the Run was moving pretty well so watch your footing.  Lots of plants starting to bloom at the lower elevations but vegetation was sparse higher up which gave great views though.  I was hoping I could get to the base of the falls but that was not to be.  The trail leaves the Run and goes through several switchbacks until reaching the rock overlooks of the main falls. 

Continuing up the trail after a bite to eat and there are several more smaller, cascading falls which are accessible.  Would feel great on a hot day.  I continued up and hooked up with the Ridge Trail to come back.  The Ridge Trail is easier with more of a steady slope rather than the switchbacks on the Overall Run Trail.  Crossed Overall Run again at the bottom and made my way back to the parking area.  Total time was just under 4 hours.  Saw about 8 folks total, but unfortunately no wildlife.  I have been there in the Spring, late Fall, and Winter following rains and melting snow and I have not been disappointed.  I have heard that in the Summer the Run and the Falls can slow to a trickle which would be too bad.  The Falls are what makes this hike special in my opinion.

By: Hans (und Heidi) Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 22, 2015
Heidi gives it 5 stars. I thought the rating by Hiking upward was too gratifying for views. We hiked the second day of spring and the Blue Ridges in the distance were a pleasant sight, but there were no real vistas from the ridge walk at all. In the summer the distant scenery you will not see. I read the other reviewers, some not so good on the trail itself.

This trail is a good trail, compared to others! quite easy to walk under the feet. Our walking time was 5 hours, pushing it and we are 54 years each. we were about 6.25 hours with stops and lunch.

We will come back in the summer to swim the many great creek holes. In the winter this would be great when frozen over, for sure.

V Gates, H und H

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 21, 2015
Really muddy from the parking to the first 1.5 miles. We hiked counter clockwise and there were not much nice views until we reached to the overlook with the fall and mountains. We crossed streams 4 times but not that slippery.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 16, 2015
This was a really enjoyable hike on a sunny, mild March day. I am recovering from a bad cold, so it was slow going on the inclines for me. But I didn't think this was a crazy difficult hike - I thought Robertson Mountain was more difficult. Hard, yes, but brutal, no. I agree with the previous review, though, that going counterclockwise would be less steep (though a little longer).

Just a note that when you turn right onto the Mathews Arm Trail and cross the top section of Overall Run, the blazes will be blue till you get to the next intersection (at which you'll turn right on the yellow blazed trail heading downhill). On the map here that short section of 0.5 miles is noted as yellow, but I never saw a yellow blaze (only blue).

The 4 rating for difficulty is accurate, and the solitude is accurate at 2. I went on a Monday afternoon, and I passed around 20 people. I can't imagine what it would be like on a weekend, but it's definitely a beautiful hike so I can see why so many people were out (plus, it's SNP, which is always crowded). The views are amazing, the run is beautiful, and the swimming hole near the end is really nice - my dog enjoyed taking a dip. :)

By: Chad Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 15, 2015
Great hike. We did an out-and-back from Thompson Hollow up to the falls overlook and back. Around 7 miles. The first few miles were outstanding. Easy soft uphills and downhills with a couple stream crossings made possible by fallen trees sturdy enough to support us. The switchbacks were steep and manageable. At about the 3 mile marker things got tricky but I was able to perform this hike with no issues. I'm 39, I hit the gym 3 times a week, and it was difficult but manageable. My wife who never works out enjoyed it even though it was tough. My 6 year old daughter was able to walk the majority of the hike. Anyone says this hike is too challenging for them and in the same paragraph talks about running 15 miles and intervals 4x/week should just give up life and stay at home on the couch. T

By: Long Beard Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 7, 2015
My wife and I have wanted to do this hike for a while but were holding out till cold weather in hopes of seeing the falls frozen solid and maybe catching a glimpse of ice climbers. 2-7-15 called for warm weather following a cold week so it was a perfect day. Temps did not get to 52 degrees on the mountain ,so always be prepared. We chose to do the full circuit hike that this site gives details for., we went clockwise. Some of the reviews warn of the challenging trail and difficulty, we did not find it that difficult, the switchbacks made the climb quite nice we thought. The roughly 3 miles of steady downhill on Beecher Ridge was more demanding than the uphill, ( on your knees at least).The falls were beautiful and frozen ,we did get to watch ice climbers while we ate our lunch. The views across the valley were amazing. We saw a bear within 100 yards of the falls and watched him for quite some time. This hike is a must do. Arrive early, as parking is limited. I picked up some trash along the trail on the way in, Remember to LEAVE NO TRACE. This trail is accessed by private property, please bring trash out if you see it on any trail so we can all keep ours access rights to trails.

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 28, 2014
This is our second time on this hike and we really like it. It's a solid "4" for difficulty. Hiking 1000 feet in a mile will have almost anyone sucking wind. If you want it less challenging, do it counter-clockwise. Unfortunately, it's been very dry, so the falls looked like a garden hose and most of the stream was dried up. Not good, since I think the views on this hike are a little overrated at a "4." Wish we'd seen some of the wildlife others have cited, but a great hike nonetheless.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I was expecting a moderate hike but this was definitely difficult. It was hard at mile 5. I HATED it because I actually wanted a 5 mile and this was pegged at 8.5 but we logged 11.4 with a heart rate tracking program. Thank god it was cool and overcast and we did see bear poop at least 4 times. Small parking area. Got there at 1100 finished at 340. very narrow path with questionable plants and a of shifting rocks. I did nor have hiking boots and wore stability running shoes which I could feel the rocks under. There was an uphill falls track that was not marked well. And worst of all, no waterfalls, no water. If you are a 3 times per year hiker I would not recommend. I run 15 miles a week and do a HIIT workout 4 times a week and have been working out for 30 years. Will not do again. i am also a veteran hiker in SNP (2 weeks constant) and hiked Mt Rogers in August. Male counterpart was challenged as well but enjoyed more than I.

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 24, 2014
Had a great hike. We were the 1st car in the parking lot at just after 9AM. We saw a few hikers on the trail, but much fewer than the solitude rating of 2 would suggest. By the time we returned to the lot it was apparent plenty of other folks were on the trail behind us. We were just lucky our start time afforded us the solitude and time to ourselves. Overall Run was flowing in many places, but summer water levels were very apparent and there were plenty of spots with just the stream bed. The waterfalls were flowing at summer pace, but looked and sounded nice. The view atop Overall Run was beautiful. We enjoyed an early lunch by the waterfalls after a rigorous climb and continued on our way. We saw a ~30in rattlesnake trailside on Beecher Ridge at about the spot where Beecher crosses the 1400ft contour. He wasn't coiled, but rattled quite a bit and added considerable excitement to the downhill leg of our hike. We completed the hike in 4.5hrs including a 20 minute stop for lunch.

By: Jess Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 24, 2014
I'm having a difficult time rating this hike so I gave it a three. I was expecting a lot more "flowing" water, but instead it was a lot of dried up creeks. I know there's probably more water in the spring/winter, but I was hoping for a little bit more. The outlook was beautiful with a nice view. Again, the second outlook of the waterfall wasnt as spectacular as it could have been because there was only a little trickle of water. I would definitely say this hike was much harder than I anticipated. In addition, once you come to the two main outlooks, there really isnt much else to see except another small falls a little past the outlooks. To read more about my experience on the hike go here:

By: Denise Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 17, 2014
We were staying at Mathews Arm campground and started this hike from the Traces Trail there (near the amphitheater) and came back in from Beecher Ridge onto the Mathews Arm trail that ended back in the campground (thankfully directly back to our campsite!).  So for us this was more of a 10 mile hike.  We'd misread the SNP hiking trail suggestions and thought we were in for a 6.5 miler -- needless to say, this was FAR more challenging than we expected.  Do not attempt this hike without proper footwear as many long stretches of this are very rocky/stony, particularly the walk along Overall Run.  The path back through Beecher Ridge passes through numerous, large patches of blackberry bushes -- yes, you are likely to encounter a bear or two at this time of year.  I smelled, then viewed, one along that stretch as it was busily doing "bear things" and we ran across two bear cubs which climbed into the trees when coming back on the Mathews Arm trail.  Given more dedicated hiking on my part, I might enjoy this hike more, but the stony bit along the bottom was a real ankle killer.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 13, 2014
This is another awesome hike in SNP. The ascent was a nice challenge. The waterfall was still flowing which was great to see. The view from the overlook made the climb worth the effort - absolutely breathtaking. The forest opens up substantially after the waterfall and you begin see the other ridges through the trees. I ran into a huge male black bear while he was doing bear things - awesome experience. He bluffed but backed off after a stern talking-to. Only ran into one group of two hikers on the trail. I used the directions and map from this site, and once again it was perfect. Thanks!!


ps - don't forget there's a really nice swimming hole.

By: hossra Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 9, 2014
Great directions to the parking area. I made a mistake at the trailhead and took the southerly blue blaze. IT IS HARD AS HELL. Very steep and probably about two miles. On the way up, I ran into a rattlesnake about 5 feet off the trail and, thereafter, a black bear about 30 feet off the trail. Very quiet, great waterfall views and overall a tough but great hike.

By: Frank Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 17, 2014
The dogwoods are just beginning to blossom, and the Overall Run is rushing on an inch or two of rain two days previous, making for rich falls, two barefoot fords through the water, and the spectacular vistas of Massanutten that you came here for. What a delight.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Would probably put this at 3 and 1/2 stars. Pretty good loop - first half before the climb is nothing special but the waterfall views are great (and were going very strongly at the time) and the ridge back still had some views without the leaves on the trees. Also saw three bears - 2 cubs and mom - on Beecher ridge.

By: Bryan Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
This was the first hike I did in Shenandoah and I was not disappointed. My brother and I like challenging workouts because we are both in good shape, and this hike was very fun. If you can't handle strenuous ascents, then this hike will be too hard for you. The hike up alongside the waterfall is pretty steep and goes on for quite a while. When we went during spring break, the waterfall was all ice still, which was very beautiful. The view down through the valley over to Massanutten mountain from the top of the mountain is also very nice. The second part of the loop going down beecher ridge is nothing special, but the first part of the hike up to the falls is worth it.

By: Tika Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 22, 2014
We only hiked part of the trail from the parking lot to the overall run overlook which is about 2.8 miles one way. We had our 5 year old and 10 year old boys. The little one needed some help otherwise everybody managed to climb up. It took us 4 hours for out and back, the slow pace was due to our 5 year old boy.The trail was muddy and our shoes and trousers were covered with dirt, but I think it will dry out in a few days or a week. The view from the overlook was great. Loved the hike and will do again.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 1, 2014
Hi all. Need some help. A couple of friends and I hiked the Overall Run Trail today, Sat 3/1/2014 and I lost a large some of money in the parking area of the trail head just before leaving. I must have dropped it when I was sorting gear at the end of the hike. I am hoping I might ask if anyone who hiked today if they saw picked it up, they would be so kind as to contact me and return it. The money was or at least when I believe I dropped it in a chrome money clip with a Saints emblem on it. If anyone could contact me I would greatly appreciate it. I live in the Arlington, VA area. Thank you all, Nathan Beaudoin 617-642-8995

By: Mountain Mama Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 12, 2014
Great hike with my husband, 20 month old (on my back), and 6 year old. After 2 days of rain in DC, the stream crossings here were still (surprisingly) doable. We stayed dry using waterproof hiking boots and poles. A beautiful day and some gorgeous views!

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Spectacular frozen hike. The Big Falls had one little stream of water falling with 95% frozen solid. Stream crossings were tricky. Steep climb up to the Big Falls. Sweating despite below freezing temps. Beecher RIdge was nice with a few birds keeping me company. Overall Run is delightful no matter what time of year. Can't wait to return when its warmer.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 3, 2013
We ended up hiking the trail in reverse, so we actually did not reach the falls until the hike started to decline back down the mountain. The view was fantastic! The low point of the hike was losing a bracelet that my mom gave me while I was expecting my daughter 5 years ago. I am hoping that anyone reading this review and taking this hike will take a moment to look for it on your trip. In a race against the sunset, we were really booking it back down the trail after the Great Falls. This is the steep rocky part of the trail. Well, I went down and recall snagging the bracelet on my walking stick, but did not think I had broken it. It is a thin silver chain bracelet with a single silver baby bootie charm on it. My mother passed almost 5 years ago and I have worn it everyday since my daughter was born. If anyone is lucky enough to find it, you may contact me at I will be eternally greatful to whoever is able to return it to me! I am from the Richmond, VA area.

By: Steve W Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 17, 2013
OVerall, this was a really good hike. We went the opposite way as was recommended and ended up getting a great workout. We originally planned on spending the night and breaking it up over 2 days, however, due to lack of campsites, we pushed through and ended up finishing in the dark. We did see 2 small black bears at seperate times throughout the hike.

By: Mama Moose Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 11, 2013

Don't miss the swimming hole near the end of the hike! Our family of four with two teens plus two dogs really enjoyed this hike. In addition to the waterfall and views described in the write up, we saw lots of wildflowers, butterflies, AND a black bear. The terrain is difficult going up the steep grade during the first part of the hike. The trail is rocky with many loose stones. It's almost like hiking on a dry river bed. The views were as good as advertised, and the overlook sight was pretty crowded. It seemed like most of the people there had done a shorter hike in from another access point.

Once we got to the Beecher Ridge trail we didn't see anyone. That trail was my favorite part of the hike. Even though there were no panoramic views and all the leaves were out we could see the mountains through the trees. It's a pretty easy downhill hike, and I might do the loop in the opposite direction next time. When we hooked up with Overall Run again, I was surprised at how little water was in it considering all the rain we've had this year. We were thrilled to find the swimming hole. It's deep enough to jump in off the rocks, and there are several pools. We got there at about 5 pm. A couple local teens joined us while we were there, and we saw more hiking in on our way out. It looks like a popular gathering spot. Enjoy!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 5, 2013
my wife and I hiked this trail the day after the 4th of July. The trail was very wet and slippery on the rocky path. About 1.5 miles in we came across a momma bear and her three cubs that scurried up a tree about 20 yards from us. After backing up a little, the cubs slid down and ran up the ridge side with momma trailing. After a great leg workout from the zig zag trail up the mountain side with a couple of stops to rest, we came across the camp site to stop and take in the views. From there we continued to the top to get in some great rewarding photos and views of the waterfall. definitely worth the trip, but watch out for bears.

By: SemperP Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 15, 2013

I ended up aborting this hike, I first saw a big male about 30yds away from the Overall Run trail about a mile upstream from the Thompson Hollow trail intersection. I then ran into a female with two cubs who were on the trail about two miles upstream from the Thompson Hollow trail. It is a lovely hike, great for solitude, it is fairly rocky so wear good foot wear. I would suggest bringing a friend, for safety (I hike with my dog)or carry pepper spray.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 25, 2013
Gorgeous day for a quick hike!  Got to the trailhead car lot just before 9am and we were the first ones there.  Got back around 1p and the lot was full and then some!  A handful of rides parked along the opposite side and there were a few more strolling in as we prepared our own exit.  So first lesson:  get there early as the lot itself is small (holds maybe 5-6 cars) and this hike is a popular one on such a beautiful day!

Lesson numero two:  the ticks were out in full force!  We brought a couple of canines with us and their owners found a few ticks on them during our hike.  Post-hike tick check back at the lot yielded well over a dozen buggers between those two dogs and each of their owners!  Not exaggerating here!  Back at 3 Brothers Bistro (good burgers!) the group found a few more crawlin' around on us and one of us found another tick on him back at his place. Dog owners walked thru the brush a lot more than the rest of us but just givin' ya'll an important heads up!

So, outside of those two important points, this turned into an excellent hike!  Overall Run was pretty full making some of the crossings a bit challenging (but not impossible) and presenting some pretty impressive waterfalls and swimming holes, esp the primary Overall Run waterfall as viewed from the overlook.  The water slide and swimming hole just before completing the loop was VERY tempting indeed!  Only if it was a bit warmer out!  The trail itself is pretty easy to follow always help to preview it with a map.  The elevation profile is pretty much what you get .... the steep uphill has got a few sections of loose rocks as well as does most of the direct downhill(tho not as bad).  I wish that overlook wasn't the only clear view from the trail but like I said the elevation profile is what you get.  Go enjoy!

By: Vikky Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 25, 2013
We hiked this one hoping to get in about 8 miles, and see the waterfalls. If you read the directions above, the distances seem to add up to an out/back of 8.0 miles. What it doesn't mention is that you need to go clockwise around the loop, from the parking area. We made that mistake and ended up giving up before finding the falls. We left very disappointed! The trail is pretty narrow most of the time, but the stream crossings were nice. Very thick overhead, so you don't get to see any views in the summer. Parking was not a problem, I imagine it gets worse later in the day.

By: Pete Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 18, 2013
I used the fact that I got a suprise day off to hike this hike in the snow. The construction arounder the parking area/culture de sac is finished. I completed the hike as an out and back, because I fondly remember picking the 32 ticks off my dog the last time I went along the ridge. The fall were absolutely full and beutiful. If I had one complaint it would be that my pictures make the scale of the falls seem much smaller than they are. Aside from a few huge deer there were no animals. On the way back I went to the swimming holes/waterfalls on the southern trail. They were also very swollen and beautiful. If you hike this hike, I strongly recommend it as an out and back. Up on the ridge past the falls there are no views and all you will run across are bears and ticks. (a lot of ticks) We have no ticks from doing the out and back.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Me and my buddy hiked this on my Sunday off. We had been planning on going for a while and finally got around to it. We went on a very cold winter day, bundled up. We are big winter hikers and we heard that the falls freeze over and make for a great sight. The weather was brisk, but fair at the bottom and there was no snow on the ground. But eventually we began the vertical climb that can be pretty tough, but it leads right up to the overlooks. The higher elevated areas had snow on the ground and when we got to the views, the wind battered us. We enjoy tough conditions as we take them as a challenge and it adds to the adventure aspect. The views were beautiful and the falls were quite a spectacle. They were frozen over, yet water prevailed and flowed over them. You see everything from one overlook area and get a good view of the rest of the hike. The rest of the hike is lengthy enough for you to get your fix and it's very easy and pleasant. When you finally reach the end of the loop, you come across two beautiful, green swimming holes that will make for a wonderful dip in the summer time after a decently-strenuous hike.

By: Scout Leader Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Plenty of parking and very few people on the trail. The weather was pretty good today with temps in the mid 60's,

By: Adele Medved Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 24, 2012
Road work being done in the minimal parking area, so no place to park. With all the posted "No trespassing" signs, we were afraid to leave our car. Hopefully, work will be completed soon because this is usually a wonderful hike......but today barely got one star!!!!

By: Elizabeth F. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 14, 2012

I was very disappointed in this trail. The only reason I didn't give this hike only one star is because the steep hills provided a great workout and the one view of Massanutten Mountain was amazing. The trails were otherwise very overgrown and uninteresting. I brought the dog along due to the high 'stream' ratings only to find just about everything dried up. I think I enjoyed the hike the least because of the impressive number of ticks picked off from hikers and the dog (15 on him alone!). I imagine this trail to be far more enjoyable in the Fall when the leaves are turning and the streams may again be flowing. I won't bother going back.

By: Evan Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Great hike on a beautiful day. We wore shorts and tried to keep the bugs off using repeat applications of DEET - but it did not work. The ticks are thick here and I highly recommend long pants for this trail.
The directions were very good, except that the first turn to Matthews Arm - the trail is actually blazed blue there, not yellow. The yellow blazes actually begin at the intersection with the Beecher Ridge trail, so it's easy to doubt yourself. There's been some maintenance done this year, and the blazes are easily seen and intersections are well cleared, but it isn't overly done and it still feels wild in some places. Definitely do the turn off for the swimming hole at the end - well worth it. It was still too cold for a swim when we went, but I'd like to go back and try it out when it gets a bit warmer. Don't cheat and go there at the beginning - it's way better at the end and is a great ending to a hike.

By: D Farmer Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 18, 2012
Overall Run is an excellent hike! From the moment of parking you know that you are going to have solitude on the hike. There's probably only enough room for a dozen cars at best. The hike starts off fairly bland and very easy. When you get to the fork in the trail take a LEFT. This is where the adventure is ignited. Also - during the time of my hike this part of the trail was relatively thick and not well groomed. The majority of the hike from here on up is just that - straight up. It's fairly challenging to the legs and lungs, but let me tell you something...when you get to the top it is well worth it. The view and waterfall make this summit one of my all time favorites! We also brought our dog and it was perfect. We only saw a hand full of other hikers and it was a Friday. I definitely recommend this hike!

By: David and Cynthia Y. Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 11, 2012
Lovely hike and amazing spring day.  The Mountain Laurel are blooming.  Other hikers saw a bear that day.  Overall Run is a lovely stream with its lower pools and higher waterfalls.  Beecher Ridge is brushy with some poison ivy, but the "overall" hike was grand and made a nifty loop. 

By: Feiyu Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Unlike previous reviews, I am sorry to say that I don't like such a hike at all. For the most part, the trail is so terribly narrow that you may even touch the plants on both sides. Plus, there is lots of mud on the trail that make the road pretty dirty. What makes even worse is that it's basically a huge nest of various bugs in this season, including ticks, mosquitos, and so forth. When it comes to views, there are only two or three that you want to shoot. All in all, I would not recommend this to hikers especially in summer.

By: Devon Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2012
This is a great hike. I didn't realize how steep the ascent section was going to be, but the reviewer wasnt messing around when she called it very steep. The falls themselves were beautiful as always, and the long descent along the ridge went through a great section of young forest with thick undergrowth. The best part of the hike is definitely the little side spur about a half mile before the final turn back to the parking lot that goes down to a pair of large swimming holes with nice waterslides connecting them. It's a perfect picnic and swimming spot for the summer and only a mile and a half from the parking, so easily accessible with children/dogs/food for an afternoon hangout.

By: James Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 13, 2012
Decided to try this hike (counterclockwise) as an overnight family backpacking trip, but discovered that the the only campsite on the trail was inadequate for our needs. Although the site has space to accommodate two tents, it's on an substantial incline and there's really only enough room to pitch a two-man tent on anything resembling level ground. It's also fairly far from the stream making cooking and cleaning more difficult. We looked for other camping sites along the Overall Run—Tuscarora Trail, but there weren't any other other established sites (and we were unwilling to create a new one). So we decided to hike back on through to the end and call it a day.

While our backpacking trip was a bust, the trail itself was worth the time and effort. It's still spring and so the foliage is not complete, and we were still able to see nice views all along the Beecher Ridge Trail. The views of Overall Falls and the Massanutten Range were spectacular in the late afternoon light. Except for a short push up the Beecher Ridge—Overall Run Connector Trail (or along the last part of Overall Run—Tuscarora if you follow HU directions) the trail is completely manageable for someone in moderate shape. Some observations: 1. The water level in the stream was lower than we expected this early in the season. Even if the water level was higher, I would only rate this hike as a '3' for streams. 2. Found a tick on my son (it hadn't settled in for lunch, yet), which seems a bit earlier than usual. Wonder if that's due to an unusually warm winter. 3. My kids are noisy hikers, so we didn't see any wildlife on the trail aside from a squirrel and a chipmunk. We felt the hike deserved a 3.5 rating. I think next time we will trail the Heiskell Hollow variation if there's a more suitable camping site along that portion of the trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 7, 2012
Great hike and perfect weather this weekend.  Overnighted with my son on top of the ridge near the waterfall overlook.  A great weekend and met some nice people on the trail.   Most of the ones that had dogs had them leashed and under control. However, there was a couple who had set up some kind of lean-to shelter whose two dogs ran out at us.  It's simple folks - your dogs must be leashed.  People who do leash their dogs shouldn't have them threatened by dogs that aren't.  Neither I or anybody else should have to be concerned about being bitten by dogs. 

By: David S Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 7, 2012
This loop makes for a great Spring hike.  Lots of blooming dogwoods and redbuds along the way, and the big trees are just leafing out.  There were a fair number of people hiking the Overall Run part of the trail on a gorgeous Saturday, but it wasn't crowded. 

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Beautiful day.  This is a hike I will definitely return to.  Hopefully in the Summer when I can take advantage of the swimming hole towards the end.  Granted, it was a weekday, but we never saw another hiker the whole day.  The steep uphill is a challenge, but it's short and the reward is there.  The streams are fantastic.  The only con I can think of is we found one deer tick at the end.

By: jr Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 5, 2012
Could barely see the falls due to low clouds, but an inch or so of snow plus flurries most of the day made it a beautiful day to be in the woods.

By: Two hikers and a dog Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2012
This was a great hike, and I highly recommend it. The "No Trespassing" signs were quite prevalent at the beginning of the hike, but were not intimidating to us. I'm sure the homeowners in the area don't want any random hikers wandering onto their property. I can't say I blame them! We had a good workout, and great views. The falls were flowing, but fairly frozen. It was pretty chilly at the top on the Beecher Ridge trail-layers are key. There was a fair amount of ice along most of the trail loop, so watch your step. We only encountered a few other hikers and a Park Ranger. We were able to complete the hike in about 4 hours stopping for a quick lunch (a little too cold to sit and linger) and take some pictures.

By: Rachel H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 7, 2012
What a wonderful and scenic loop tucked behind Mathews Arm! My family of 5 adults, ranging from very fit to only moderately so, hiked it in 4 hours plus a lunch break. Being an exceptionally warm January day, the falls weren't iced over nearly as much as we'd hoped, but the viewpoints still presented stunning vistas just when they were most needed. And warm as it was, none of us were brave enough to take advantage of the natural pools and slides near the end of the loop, so we'll have to plan a return visit in the summer. Only encountered two other hikers the whole day, which automatically made this a good day out.

By: Trekker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Two of us did this trail today and we missed the bifurcation after the falls and continued on and on and reached near the skyline drive. It was 2pm and we were worried about getting trapped after the sunset ( we were carrying no flashlight). A good samaritan offered to cut short his hike (he had jsut started from the skyline drive) and dribe us 27 miles or so to the parking lot. A lesson -in winter one can easily get lost as trails are not easily visible (are covered with leaves) - so be prepared.

But we had a very good hike and will do it again to see where we missed the trail.

By: Hokie Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 7, 2011
Wow. This was a great hike- probably my favorite longer hike I've done in Virginia (yes I think it beats Old Rag). I left the DC area around 615am- and was walking down the road by 815ish- made it back to the car around 115- so 5 hours is about right for hiking time.

You definitely do feel a little unwelcome as you walk down the road to the trailhead- I think there must be about 100 No trespassing, no parking or your car will be towed, private property, beware of dog signs etc. But once you turn onto the trail- it's all gone.

I wanted to get an early start in hopes of seeing some wildlife- and I got what I wanted. Right after crossing Overall Run for the second time (not the crossings are dry crossings)- a black bear was running through the woods about 20 yards to my left. It stopped and watched me for a few minutes while I fumbled with getting the right camera lens on- and then took off.

The hike up the hill (following the directions)- it's a doozy. I made it through about 5 switchbacks without stopping- and then realized how far I had climbed and started taking some frequent stops (walk 45-50 yards, take a 30 second breather)- but you really do ascend FAST. And when you make it to the top (past the campground) to the overlooks- you'll be so glad you went through that bit of a climb (which honestly doesn't seem like it's THAT long). there are 3 good overlooks to get some neat pictures from.

I continued on- and just as I got near the intersection of Beecher's Ridge trail- I looked up to see 3 black bears about 30-35 feet up a tree 15-20 feet away from me. They saw me, and the adult dropped down and stared me down- then 2 cubs dropped down and they took off into the woods. (A lesson for all: if you're hiking in the morning and want to see animals- you probably will! So make sure you also have some bear spray or a whistle/bell to not surprise them!)

The downhill portion was easy.

Note: the overall run trail (before you start the trek up the mountain) is VERY rocky. The trek up is less rocks- but still has some there. The trek down is considerably devoid of rocks.

By: WV Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Got rained out at work so I hiked the trail in the rain of tropical storm Lee, got a little wet but it made for fun creek crossings and plenty of water for the falls. No views due to the fog/rain. The trail is well marked, If you take the hike as planned once you get back on the overall run/connector trail at the creek crossing there is a marker post I thought this was the thompson hollow trail but you need to go to the 3rd trail on the left (next marker post) for the return to your car. I headed out the trail lower trail but it looked unfamiliar so I turned around I guess it maybe unmarked early cut across to the Tuscarora trail.

By: William Munny Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 4, 2011
Did this hike on labor day weekend with about 12 other random hikers.  After hiking in on the Thompson Hollow Trail, I hooked a right (North) on the Tuscarora trail as I wanted to do the Beecher Ridge trail and then finish the loop back to the waterfall.  Every single other person on this hike went in the other direction (the recommended direction) and I was all alone in about 5 minutes.  The first half a mile is along a stream and is pretty easy going.  Once you get to the Beecher Connector Trail, the slope starts to increase and pretty soon you find yourself on a pretty serious incline that never seems to quit.  The entire connector trail and Beecher Trail is uphill with no views to speak of.  If you can imagine walking uphill, in the woods, for 2.5 hours with no views as a reward, that's what the Beecher Trail delivers.  Once you get back on the Tuscarora trail, the waterfall and views are not far away and they are beautiful.   The waterfall is a bit weak this time of year but the view is amazing and you can get a lot of great pics here.  Once you get past the waterfall its back in the woods again the trail goes straight down. Going down such a steep grade was jamming my toes into the front of my boots and was very difficult as I was already pretty worn out from the 3 hours of climbing earlier in the day.  As others have pointed out, I highly recommend you go the recommended way.  I would have much preferred to go up a steeper trail at the beginning of the hike and then finish with a gradual decline the rest of the day.   

Oh yeah: 

Make sure you park on the paved road and DO NOT drive down the gravel road.  Judging from all the private property signs and high metal fences, the property owners don't want hikers anywhere near their property.  On my walk back out to the parking lot, a black suburban was on the gravel road picking up a hiker with a sprained ankle.  A man in camo fatigues drove up in a truck, blocking the road, and seemed none to pleased that this suburban was in the unauthorized area.  After he heard that they were just picking up an injured hiker he took off but for a second there I thought I heard banjo music...  

By: Claire Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I hiked this trail with my dogs last summer and really enjoyed it.  It's not super challenging, but there are a couple nice climbs.  Not a lot of views, but a great swimming hole toward the end of the hike that we took advantage of since it was a very hot summer day.  I took my dogs' packs off and they both dove right in and I wasn't far behind them!  It was a great spot to eat lunch/relax.  I went on a weekday and didn't see a single other person - my favorite kind of day on the trail!!

By: wazootraveller Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 2, 2011
Might be better during other seasons.  But in early July, the Run was completely dry and the "waterfall" was reduced to a bare trickle.  The hike up the hill to see the fall proved a very modest reward for the effort involved, so we decided to cut our losses and do this as an out-and-back for around 6 miles rather than complete the circuit.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 28, 2011
Really great hike, I would recommend it.  did it with my parents.  Late spring is good time to do this trail, it is very nice and cool most of the time.  Starts out easy, stays that way until you hit the switchbacks that take you up the mountainside.  A walking stick helps a lot here, you can use it to balance on the loose, pointy rocks.  have shoes with thick soles or inserts, they help to keep your feet from hurting to much.  When you hit the first stream crossing, is a good time to take a break for snack and a lot of water, maybe soak your feet in the stream.  It really does help.  Once you reach the point where you can look out over the falls, take a break, but don't eat lunch if you plan to keep climbing.  You will wind up regretting it very quickly.  There are also some black bears around that area.  They don't care about humans, but keep dogs on a short leash.  Do eat something before you cross Overall Run for the third time, though.  After that, there is nowhere to sit down and take a break for about two miles its all plants and rotten tree stumps, no rocks or wide areas of the path.  On the way down from the top, you pas thorugh a mountain laurel patch.  it smells nice, looks nice, another great place to take photos.  At the bottom, you find a swimming hole.  The water is really cold, but its a great place to have something to eat, go swimming, or just relax in the sun on the rocks.  Bring something to replenish salt and electrolytes, you need it badly by the end.  Walking sticks are another good thing to take with you.  I would suggest doing the loop the way the website says.  Otherwise, you don't really get anything out of the pool, you have a far longer uphill climb (four hours instead of an hour and a half, probably), and then you still have to tackle the steep part of the mountain when you are tired and sore.  All in all, a great day trip, about an hour and a half from DC, which is great for just doing something on the weekend.  Email with questions, put "hiking" in subject line so I can tell my overactive spam filter not to delete your email.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 18, 2011
LIked this hike, would recommend it to others.  Did this w/ brother and mom, all relatively new hikers, average fitness.  We did the loop in the recommended direction.  It looks like one could go in the reverse direction pretty easily although that seemed like it would have been tougher and less enjoyable to our taste.  The elevation profile for this one is dead-on so choose accordingly.  We finished in about 5 hours going at a decent pace with 1 stop for lunch and a few short breaks here and there.  No bears... :-(  Parking directions were good and accurate, be sure to follow them carefully as there is a heightened state of property defense all around the entrance way.  Not sure what's going on there but wouldn't want to find out the hard way!   

Strong points:  good views, nice mixture of streams, waterfalls, rocks, some steeper sections, well-marked (that's a plus for many, a minus for some I guess!)

Negatives: limited parking, scary-looking trespassing signs plastered along the entrance path, there isn't a definitive "summit" point although there are several very nice vistas, somewhat dull for the last 1/2 of the hike although it's mostly downhill at that point so fast pace is easy to maintain

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 26, 2010
Hiked it today with my 10 year old son!  What a great hike.  There is about 3 inches of snow on top of the mountian and not another soul in site.  We did the 9 mile circuit and loved every bit of it.  The falls are well frozen over and was awesome to look at.  We cannot wait until spring to come back and see it in a different way:)  Thank you for bringing us there!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, December 21, 2010  Stop everything, put on those hiking boots and head to Overall Run.  The falls are frozen and they are SPECTACULAR.  often on the weekend you can watch brave souls using their ice picks to climb it.  A site not to be missed!!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, December 3, 2010
There are no access restrictions at this time.  Please be courteous to surrounding property owners so we can continue to use this trail head.  When you reach the end of pavement on Thompson Hollow road DO NOT continue.  There is a sign for the trail at that point, a small parking area and the beginning of your hike.  Walk down the the gravel driveway passing through a cabled gate, continue straight towards another closed gate and you will find the trail head on the right just before the gate.  You will see many keep out, no trespassing, beware of dog signs, but they only apply to the properties along either side of the gravel drive.

I did the loop backwards and found hiking up the ridge to be quite a work out.  Pretty much just goes steeply up with no switchbacks for a few miles.  Make sure you have proper gear this time a year as there was a big temp drop on the way up and you can become very sweaty during the climb then be stuck damp and cold the rest of the way.

The falls were great.  Plenty of water and just now starting to ice up around them.  The Big Falls looked amazing and I'm glad we went backwards to finish with that because once you pass the falls going the direction this site advises there's not much to see along the hike.

We also came across a good sized black bear towards the the end of the loop who was down in one of the streams.  We scared him first before we even saw him.  He then ran a few hundred feet away, stopped and stared at us for a minute then took off up the mountain.

For those who have children, aren't in great shape or looking to push there legs today, this can still be a great out and back hike.  Hike up a little past Big Falls and back and you'll see most of the interesting features this trail offers

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 18, 2010
background info about the fence and gates erected on Thompson Hollow Rd. (From the Warren Country Report 11/2010)   Connor Realty Holdings errected the fence and gates on Thompson Hollow Rd. (Va. 630)  in August.

 Connors Realty Holdings owns parcels C, E and F  off Thompson Hollow Rd.  They DO NOT own Thompson Hollow Rd. . VDOT maintains Thompson Hollow Rd to the Shenandoah Park Boundary . Several Hundred feet beyond the new fence.

Warren County has directed Connors Realty Holdings to remove the barrier or the county will do it with an award of costs.

There are currently 2 gates:a large gate across the road which was stil locked the last time I was there and a small pedestrian gate  just to the left that is closed but unlocked..

Do not park on the road.

By: Joe Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 30, 2010
I went out to hike the Overall Run trail  this past weekend and the gate described in earlier post is definately still there.  The property owner has constructed a barbed wire topped heavy duty fence with signs threatening he would shoot trespassers.  If you plan to hike this trail you probably should have an alternate plan or bring a medic.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The gate at Thompson Hollow is now open !!!! I hiked in from Rte 340 and met someone who told me it was, so I hiked out to the gate myself. It is Open and there are No, No Trespassing signs either. I parked near the corner of Rte 340 and Rte 628 , I followed the blue blazed Tuscarora trail into the park. The trail goes under an old train tresel that has an old cobblestone road running under the RR tracks . I followed the Tuscarora trail until it joined the Overall run trail. I followed that trail to the pools, then followed Overall run stream upward. My intention was to get to the base of the falls a few miles up stream but I ran out of time. I watched a young bear digging for several minutes. The colors are beautiful I would say the leaves are at their peak

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 8, 2010
We tried to do this hike today, but it was not accessible.  The cable gait has been replaced by a forbidding large metal gate with signs plastered all over it that say "No Trespassing" and "Beware of the Dog".  We were afraid to try to go around it in the brush, so we went elsewhere to hike.  The rangers at the Dickey Ridge Visitors center were unaware of this change, which looks fairly recent.  They also said that the waterfalls was totally dry anyway, so we didn't really miss much.  I think this hike should be taken off the list until the access issue is resolved.

By: David R Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 8, 2010
BOUNDARY ENTRANCE CLOSED BY PROPERTY OWNER - TRAILHEAD IS ONLY ACCESSIBLE VIA SKYLINE Vicious incline on this circuit. Not much payoff in scenery. Great workout. Sparsely occupied. The boundary entrance has been closed by the private property owner only way in is by Skyline, where the hiker must take the decline first no matter which direction chosen.

By: Sarah Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 23, 2010
This is a beautiful hike with a great deal of variety in fauna and views.  The hike itself is not very difficult, although parts of the trail do become rather steep.... however, this hike is definitely a "4" in difficulty due to its length and the amount of rocks that are in the trail (be sure to wear very sturdy shoes).  In terms of seclusion, we were alone for the majority of the hike, except for around the falls.  The only part that surprised me was the amount of trash that was found along some parts of the trails (especially around the falls), but I guess that's to be expected at any heavily-traveled trail.  Although it was a busy Saturday, we seemed to be very much alone on some parts, which was really great.  Take the hiking upward directions.  Also, be certain to check for ticks as parts are heavily grown with mountain laurel

By: Pete Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 24, 2010
I hiked this hike with my dog last Saturday. The hike started off very nicely, as it was a cool, lightly rainy morning. The hike up to the falls were fine, and the falls were absolutely beautiful. It was after the falls that I have the issue. First of all the blue blazed trail continues well past the falls. I literally went a mile and a half past where I was supposed to go before I realized the mistake. Then, once I got on the Mathews Arm trail the real problems started beginning. I was looking at my dog and noticed what appeared to be broken leaves on his back except they were moving. It turned out they were ticks, and a lot of them. I got them off but it seemed like every time I stopped to get my bearings more jumped on. Once I got on the Beecher ridge trail, the trail became very run down and in some places unclear, with bushes virtually overrunning it. Several times I thought I was sure I was going the wrong way. Finally, I got to the bottom, and the swimming holes with the adjacent falls were very nice. In the end I picked 17 ticks off of my dog after the hike, another 20 or so once we got home, and after he got a thorough flea bath, andother 5. Don't hike this hike with your dog unless you have adequate tick protection! 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 5, 2010
Great but the foliage is missing from last summer when we swam in the little falls there! I almost didn't recognize the area! I will be back in July or August to go swimming again!!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 28, 2010
I had previously done this hike in the late fall when the leaves were off the trees and the stream crossings were virtually non-existent.  Yesterday, we got to the trail head about 9am happy to see the cool and overcast weather was our only company.
We hiked the 8.5 mile circuit as listed on this page.  We had intentionally taken some shoes to pop on for the creek crossings (very cold but very refreshing water).  The jaunt up Matthew's Arm is always one of my favorite parts because I know the rewarding view from the top.  We stopped at the falls overlook for some snacks and then made our way on Beecher Ridge (along with several white tail deer) back down to the Overall Run Connector.  The last "single" stream crossing was trickier as the high water made it into more of a three smaller stream crossing.
Hike was very enjoyable and would have been 5 stars but there was much visible trash on the Thompson Hollow Trail.  Next time I go, I'll be hiking with a trash bag to try to tidy this up.

By: DonnieV Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 20, 2010
We hiked up to the waterfall via the blue blazed trial (not the ridge trail) and then hiked back out the same way we went in.  The parking lot was small and full at 1030, however we only saw 4 other groups of two at various points on the trail.  Crossing overall run was interesting, as we had to walk upstream to find a good place to cross or we could have gotten wet and walked right threw it.  The difficulty rating of the hike was accurate as the ascent to the top of the ridge had short and steep switchbacks.  The view from the top was awesome and the waterfall did not disappoint.  Now is the best time to see this from the bottom because once the leaves show up on the trees it will hide the waterfall a bit.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 20, 2010  On Jan 10 16 of us hiked this in 3.5 hours. There was snow, but nothing compared to today. Today 2 had snowshoes & 2 hiking shoes or boots. We have all hiked Overall Run with difficult group b4. Today took us 6.5 hours. It was a challenge to the waterfalls. We were the first since the huge blizzards to continue the loop clockwise which was a challenge multiplied by 4. Snowshoes were definitely advantageous. Those hikers could have finished 45 minutes earlier -- still a long hike mind you. Those of us w/o snowshoes were beyond exhaustion upon our return. BUT WOW did we feel like we conquered the world!!

By: Ann Beale Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 14, 2010
Did the hike today. Beautiful sunny blue skies. Lots of snow. Frozen waterfalls. Snowshoes and Microspikes!!! It was great.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 10, 2010  16 hikers had a fabulous time checking out the frozen waterfalls & completing their hike in 3.5 hours.  A couple even went down to check out the swimming hole, but none were brave enough in the 20 degree January weather.  Then off to Soul Mountain Restaurant in Front Royal.  Super day!!

By: Al Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 15, 2009
My wife and i took advantage of an unusually warm November day and dragged our dogs along to this great hike.   We followed the directions given above and do agree with the four star difficulty rating.  We're average weekend hikers in decent shape and the switchback climb between mile two and three was definitely strenuous.  We stopped a few times during the climb to catch our breath, but made it to the top without too much difficulty.

The views were amazing and there was a layer of fog covering the valley that made it even more incredible.

The week before we went there was heavy rain in the area and the "run" crossings were troublesome.  We got pretty wet.  The first two crossings were the hardest and the deepest without any obvious dry paths across.

The crossings at the top and on the way down were significantly easier, but waterproof shoes are a must if there's been recent rain.

Though we didn't take a true lunch break, we stopped to take a few pictures and have some water along the way and finished in just over 4 hours.

Obviously there was very little foliage (none) and no wildlife to speak of, so we're looking forward to coming back next year.  The swimming hole looked nice also for a warmer day.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 26, 2009
The forecast was for a chance of rain, and it didn't look good when we set out in the morning but we went anyway.  It was well worth the trip, and despite the rain, it was a wonderful hike.  The views coming down towards the end are wonderful, with plenty of bonuses just off the trail.  The 4 rating for difficulty may be a bit exaggerated, but it was an excellent hike, well worth it in any weather.

By: Arnie Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 15, 2009

This was a very nice circuit hike, one that I will probably do again with friends.  One point of correction for the directions given above.  Early in the hike, when reaching the intersection of the blue-blazed Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail, the directions say to turn left and uphill.  The correction is that the trail does not go uphill.  In fact, from the intersection, the Overall Run/Tuscarora Trail goes downward both to the left and the right.  When taking the trail to the left, it goes gently downward for a while and then proceeds with slight up and down pitches for a pretty good distance (until after the second crossing of Overall Run).

The trail was dry and Overall Run was barely flowing.  The climb to the falls was a pretty good workout, but at least it wasn't terribly long.  The view of the falls and the mountains in the distance was beautiful, and there were plenty of people sitting at the top of the falls enjoying the view.  Matthews Arm trail is pretty flat and is very fast walking.  The descent on Beecher Ridge Trail was one of the nicest parts of the hike.  The downward slope was consistent and not too steep for the knees, and the quality of the trail was excellent until it reached the Beecher Ridge/Overall Run connector trail.  The woods along the Beecher Ridge Trail are fairly open and rays of sunlight were coming through the trees, giving a very nice effect.  The Beecher Ridge/Overall Run connector trail needs to have the vegetation cut back so that you can walk without your legs constantly brushing the bushes along the trail.  The swimming hole near the end looked inviting, and there were about a dozen people enjoying the water.  Overall time for the hike was 3 hr. 50 min. with about a 40 minute lunch break at the falls.

By: Sharon Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 13, 2009
On June 23rd the water was much higher and the trail was more enjoyable. The water was VERY low this time in August. Not much waterfall to look at, and no water to maneuver your way across. We also saw a Timber Rattlesnake that we watched very closely as it crossed the trail right in front of us so be careful.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 12, 2009
Very decent hike. We started on a gravel road and initally were worried that this hike might not be good due to its close proximity to a neighborhood but 5 minutes on the trail and you feel like you are in a very isolated spot. The first few miles were a little wet but easily avoided by walking on the side of the trail. The main climb was steep and was a bit of a challenge but the views were great once you get to the waterfall. On the second smaller waterfall, we hiked down under the falls and the water was very refreshing. A hiker coming the opposite direction told us about a bear sighting but it was long gone by the time we got there. A nice amount of wild blueberries and raspberries on the trail. The back end was a little monotonous but all together a very enjoyable hike. Would do again and probably would enjoy the swimming hole about a mile and a half from the end.

By: The Lynch's Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 11, 2009
My wife and I enjoyed the first half of the hike up to the campsite and waterfall. The view is amazing! The waterfall was just a small stream and the creeks on the way up to the waterfall were bone dry, easy to cross but we would have enjoyed them. I am surprised that they dried up this quickly. I believe the last review in June said it was flowing at full capacity.

The second have of the hike around the ridge back to the parking lot tested us. It was beautiful though. We enjoyed the deep forest, meadows, and woods. Toward the end of the trip we started to discuss our disappointment with the lack of wildlife, we had only seen a small frog and we were pretty sure we heard a bear. About ten minutes later wee did see a bear. Being new to hiking this was my biggest fears. Fortunately, it was 50 yards up on a hill and saw us first he looked then took off running. We keep walking making noise.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 28, 2009
This hike was a tune-up for the soul. It's true about the mud in the beginning of the run, but you can avoid that easily by walking on the edges of the trail. Anyone who complains about mud and bugs on the trail *probably* shouldn't be hiking. Ever. Bugs are an inevitable encounter in the forest prepare yourself appropriately!

Anyhoo, the views were fantastic! We stopped to see Big Falls, which, coming from Alaska, weren't so big, but a decent size for the Blue Hills. The falls sure beats the concrete mess that is the DC metro area! Also, it was at Big Falls that a friend and I were no more than a stone's throw from a German shephard-sized black bear! Yow! It was plodding along uphill from us, and I am sure that with its excellent sense of smell, knew we were there. We turned and calmly walked away, talking but not shouting and not making eye contact. We let others on the trail know that it was around the area just as a courtesy.
Black bears can run 35 mph (they're everywhere in the villages in Alaska but I've never been that close), especially downhill, and are territorial.

For what it's worth, startling a bear is what leads to them charging. Bring a bell or just talk to make your presence known to the wildlife. With a black bear, play dead--they  run fast and can climb trees better than any of us. As long as you make your presence known and keep your distance, you'll be ok. Do NOT stop to photograph.

Bring plenty of water and snacks holy mama was that a trek, and I loved every bit of it!! I can't wait to go back.

By: Mary Clare Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 27, 2009
A friend from college and I went on this hike and had a fantastic time.

We got to the parking area around 8:30 and were the only 2 cars in the lot. We started up the very muddy trail and we both have a quick pace so we made great time. When the switchbacking started, however, we definitely slowed down a bit and stopped every little bit to take a breather--it's pretty steep (although I probably shouldn't have done a heavy workout yesterday).

When we reached the overlook, the view was beyond worth it. It was absolutely stunning, especially because of today's very low humidity and wonderful breeze. We decided to stop and eat lunch at the overlook and saw other hikers for the first time. There were a few couples and a few small groups, but not a large crowd by any means. We loved the view, sounds of the falls, and gentle breeze so much, we stayed up there for about an hour and half!

About 15 minutes after starting back on the trail, we definitely heard a bear. We just carried on though and never actually saw it.

The trek downhill is rough on the feet. It's rocky and fairly steep in some places having a good, sturdy pair of hiking boots with ankle support is your best bet. We saw about 4-5 other hikers as we made our way down.

We then scoped out the swimming hole, but there seemed to be quite a few people down there already so we decided just to head back to the parking area, which had about 12-14 cars in it at this point! Even after stopping at the overlooks for about an hour and a half and taking a few other short breaks, we were back at the car around 2.

The views and waterfalls were stunning and added diversity to the trip. The trails were well marked and the directions provided here are right on and wonderfully detailed. Get their early and you'll enjoy solitude, a tricky but not overly challenging climb to the overlooks, and a great time!

Here's a link to my album if you'd like to see some pictures:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 14, 2009
wear your boots first half mile very muddy. we walked  the first mile and took a left uphill this side has the rougher rockier path also a  great overlook. on up and around the smaller falls and then back down is a really smooth path all the way back down. we missed the swimming pools altogether. they are straight ahead where the spur intercects the loop. we saw an adults barefoot tracks from the one mile long trail all the way back out. i just couldnt believe it ,somebody has some really tough feet. its a good trail we give it a three on difficulty cause we have waterproof boots. our favorite is signal knob from little powells fort.

By: Steven and Lorna Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 14, 2009
I agree with the previous reviewer, hiking boots are a must.  While I had good hiking boots, my girlfriend did not and suffered the consequences.  It was very difficult for her to navigate through the mud at the beginning and cross the streams without getting soaked.  Overall it was a fairly nice hike, although the overlooks are the only really good scenes.  The waterfalls are ok, but don't really compare to some of the ones I'm used to seeing in South Carolina.  While we put on bug spray and didn't have too much of an issue with ticks, our dog came home covered in them.  We spent the better part of last night picking them off, and I'm still finding some today.

By: Molly Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 13, 2009

I didn't have a great time on this hike, but I don't think it was the trail's fault.  The first part of the trail was very muddy, after all the rain we've had.  Also, it was muggy and BUGGY!  Gnats, mosquitos, and ticks! Oh my!  The back section of this hike was pretty overgrown, and I was sure I'd breakout in poison ivy before I got home.  Fourtunately, nothing ever developped. 

I'd recommend doing this hike earlier in the spring to make it more enjoyable.

By: Fred Royer Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 25, 2009
It's a cute little hike, nothing too strenous.  However, there were TICKS everywhere.  I must have slapped off 15 ticks from my legs and arms.  What the heck is going on out there?

By: Chasey Cache Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 5, 2009

This hike has been on our to-do list for a couple of years.  We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather (70, sunny) and try it. There was plenty of water in the stream and flowing at a good rate.  That added a touch of adventure because there were five or six places where the stream went through the trail and we had to figure out how to get across without getting wet.  As we approached our first water challenge, we noticed a couple in front of us had chosen take off their boots to ford the stream. That did not really appeal to us so we looked around and found a log which had fallen over the stream. We looked at each other and wondered if our 50-something bodies had the balance to walk across the log.  As we pondered, the more adventurous one in our group started across the log and made it!  The more technical one in our group found a sturdy stick  and used it to balance on while walking across the log. Then it was my turn.  Placing the stick in the water for extra balance made it a lot easier to side step across the log. We found that the technique worked on all our water crossings.

After hiking for an hour, we stopped by the stream and ate our sandwiches.  When we continued on, the trail got quite steep and a couple of us thought we should had waited until we reached the top to have lunch.  Well, even though it was close, no one lost their lunch on the hike up the mountain.  Whew, it was great to reach the top to see the falls. Beautiful!! After pausing for some picture taking, we continued on.  We were relieved that the trail headed down instead of up!  We never saw any bear as we treked along the ridge. With a mile to go, we were all looking forward to getting to the car .  We reached the car at 4:00pm.  Not bad because we stopped for lunch (15 minutes) and had to wait a few times for a straggler.

All in all, this was an awesome hike.  I can see why it's rated 4 for difficulty. Hiking up the mountain and negotiating the rocks and stream crossings makes it a great challenge. We all loved it!

By: Chasey Cache Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 5, 2009
Just an addendum to my previous review: We started out on the hike at 11:30 am. and with returning to the car at 4 pm, it took us 4 1/2 hours. I guess we didn't linger at the falls like some people do. Also, my GPS put the hike at 8.51 miles exactly!

By: WyEast Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 10, 2009
I had done this hike in the late summer so we tried it again today. It was a great winter hike! The day called for wintry mix so we had the trail all to ourselves (no other cars when we got there or when we left and not a soul on the trail). Luckily, we made it the first 5 miles or so before it started sleeting, which later turned to a fairly heavy rain. The hike was a great winter hike - the falls is spectacular because of all of the icicles and there were some cool frozen features along the trail. The cold made the stream crossings more difficult because some good rocks were iced over, but we had gore-tex boots and managed pretty well, with only a few minor slips.

By: L & J Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 2, 2008

We chose to hike this after seeing it in the Washingtonian and we were extremely impressed with the views on the way up, while up there and definitely on the way back down.  The water flow was almost to a trickle in the falls and much of the creek beds were dry, but one was somewhat filled and made for some good pix.

We started on Thompson Hollow Trail, parking in the gravel lot and walking in.  We walked to the falls and then doubled back.  We took an 8 year old with us and we made it with up there and back with no whining from him... rather he was just as impressed as us with the views of the mountains, valley and falls.

A definite must see!  We can't wait until spring to go back when there's more water to see!

By: Whitey Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2008
3 stars only because it was bone-dry and there was only a trickle this time of year at the waterfall. I would reccomend the hike with the steep ascent first as outlined on HikingUpward. We got started at 8:30am and were the first car.  I bet this would be a completely different hike in the Spring with the water coming down.  Ankle support needed because the creekbed is the trail part of the way (or something alongside). Fun hike, good view.

By: ricenpeas Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2008
A very nice hike, just so many people!  The weather was perfect and this is the northern section of the Shenandoah, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, eh?  Still, the mobs at the overlook/waterfall were a bit maddening so we didn't linger long, but it was still a great day to be in the woods.  The climb up Matthew's Arm is quiet steep and sustained, exactly the butt kicker we were looking for.  The overlook is grand, and as someone else said, another couple weeks and the autumn colors will be peaking!  And we had perfect hiking weather, sunny, low 70s with a light breeze.  Loved it.

All directions found here were accurate, as we didn't have any trouble navigating the creek sections with few trail blazes (just stop and put your head up BEFORE it looks like you're about to veer off what you definitely consider the trail!)  I would give this 4 stars, but the crowds keep it at 3 stars.  During the week or in less ideal weather conditions when the trail is quieter, this could easily be a 4 star hike.

By: Zach Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 22, 2008
A nice day hike or easy overnighter - we had a very relaxed two-day adventure and camped at the campsite (lovely, slight incline though). Wonderful views from the overlook, although the waterfall and the stream were almost completely dry. Saw two bears ambling through the brush, but as far as I can tell, no nocturnal visitors. One thing to keep in mind - the middle section of the trail, around the peak elevations, is not very well explained on this trail guide, and there are a few unlisted markers and confusing junctions.

By: Ryan Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 1, 2008
This was a nice hike over several different types of terrain.  Real rocky in spots and a long descent toward the end that's tough on the shins are the only real negatives.  It was in the 90s today and humid, but plenty of shade for most the hike cooled things off considerably.  Also, a couple of great swimming holes at the end made for a great reward.  While up on the ridge I had two instances where I ran across a bear cub - first time I'd seen one out on a trail.  I think I heard several more bears later in the hike, but by then I was a little nervous and making quite a bit of noise, so no more sightings.  The wildlife, variety of terrain, and some nice views at the top of the ridge made for a real nice hike. 

By: Jim Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 25, 2008
Overall, this is an enjoyable hike. It was a hot day, and we started out from the Thompson Hollow Rd. parking area around 11:15 a.m. Despite the abundant shade, it was still pretty hot throughout the hike. Very little water flowing this time of year. An earlier start might have helped, but the timing worked well for lunch an hour and a half or two into the hike at the falls overlook. The climb to the falls is VERY steep, but the view is worth the effort. The trail continues to be fairly steep heading up from the falls, but as you near Matthews Arm Trail, things flatten out. The descent is much more gradual and enjoyable. We completed the hike in four hours, with about 30 minutes for lunch. Periodic bear scat sightings, but saw no bears. Spotted several scarlet tanagers--beautiful birds. Only 5 other people on the trail, and 4 of them had hiked down from the Matthews Arm Campground. We ran into two of our fellow hikers (who identified the tanagers for us) again at the nearby Chester Gap Cellars winery, which, along with the nearby Rappahannock Cellars, we highly recommend. Both off of 522 on the other side of Front Royal from the hike.

By: sarah Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 19, 2008

Overall, a nice hike! This was a good choice for a hot day as there were significant shady portions. We started at Thompson Hollow, hiked up the short but challenging switchbacks to the "falls" (more like strong trickles in late July, but quite pretty), a great view of the massanuttens, and then crossed Matthews arm to return to a long descent back to car, with a lovely stop at a couple water holes just off the trail. Although most of the trail was very dry (no water in overall run) there was enough in the swimming holes for a nice dip. The trail itself was fairly well maintained, but be on the lookout for poison ivy and ticks. We saw lots and lots of bear scat but no bears, although a few other hikers did and we enjoyed wild blueberries and raspberries. We did the hike in 5 hours, with a couple water /snack breaks, a lunch break, and some swimming time.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 15, 2008
Perfect day for a hike with 14 +1 hikers from 2 groups $3 Charity Hikes  and No Va Hikers .  We had maps and were so careful to check the directions and your wonderful pictures of the trail often.  It wasn't until the end we realized we had done the loup the opposite way.   We laughed and then jumped (read that as slipped) in the swimming hole at the end.  Wonderful adventure.  The Apple House just before I-66 on the way back is an option for eating.  Food is only "OK"; but we didn't want to spend time hunting down a place.

By: Brandon F. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 6, 2008
Well after the rain stopped, out I emerged from my car into a water wonderland! It's a shame it wasn't a warm day, or else I would've jumped into the water countless times.

Really not much else to say, it was great.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 29, 2008
Two good discoveries in one day -- this Web site and its wealth of free content, and the Overall Run hike that I decided to trek after reading about it here early this morning.

1) That it's a loop hike of moderate length and elevation change -- I strongly prefer the variety of loops to up-and-back trails, and this hike was long enough and challenging enough to provide decent exercise.
2) Proximity to Arlington -- 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on how heavy traffic is on 66. Far enough outside the beltway without taking half a day to reach.
3) After a relatively flat beginning, which is nice to have to warm up, the ascent was an invigorating reminder that I was at the foot of the Shenandoah's.
4) After a half dozen or so switchbacks, you come to the falls overlook -- a pleasant reward. Unlike some views, this won't be obstructed by summer vegetation.
5) I encountered 5 or 6 couples, none loud. Considering that it was a near perfect 50 degrees and mostly sunny, I was pleased. Oddly, they were all going in the opposite direction, clockwise as opposed to the counterclockwise direction described in the site description. I recommend the counterclockwise route because I prefer my ascents to be shorter (and steeper) than my descents.
6) The trail was well maintained. It looked as if PATC volunteers or boy scouts or somebody had recently bolstered runoff channels. Except for the beginning of the yellow trail (mentioned in the description), the blazes are frequent and easy to follow.
7) Last, but certainly not least, my lab and I both enjoyed the company of the stream for the first quarter and last quarter of the hike. I definitely intend to comeback when it's warmer to partake of the swimming hole near the end.

The only one that comes to mind is because of all the positive qualities this trail has going for it, I imagine that its very popular during the warmer months.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 10, 2008
Hiked this on a glorious (read: mildly depressing global warming day) in Feb. High of 60 and clear. This is one of my new favorite places on earth, and so close to DC. Trail is not always crystal clear, but leafy winter was likely the issue. Ascent is great until last mile. No one here mentions this, and maybe we're just out of shape (don't think so), but this was one tough mile or so. Keep something in the tank. We saw some folks eating lunch before this vertical jaunt, and I was feeling bad for them. View of main falls nice, but IMO pales in comparison to the creek and many swimming holes along the way toward the end (about :30 before trail ends). Look for them. Save lunch and camera battery. I would DEFINITELY not wait for summer to do this hike. Do it after a big rain fall. The water is a terrific peaceful respite from the city and a great price at the near-end of a nice walk.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Two of us did this hike on December 19th.  There had been an ice storm early in the week and many trees were down across the Thompson Hollow and Overall Run trails at lower elevations.  Higher up, most trees were still ice covered which made for a beautiful hike.  Strangely enough, the footing was good on ice covered deeply packed leaves.  Aside from the fallen trees, the trails were all in excellent shape.

I would rate this hike only a 3 in terms of difficulty.  The steep parts come early (up to 25% grade), but after reaching the falls overlook, the hike is almost entirely flat or downhill.  The steep section is only a little over a mile long.  Views near the top were great and the icy falls were beautiful.

My GPS edited tracklog recorded 8.6 miles including the short trip to the swimming hole.  I measured the total ascent to be about 2100 feet.  Photos and profile at:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 3, 2007

Great day hike.   I have hiked at least 60% of the trails in the SNP, and this one is right up there with the best of them for a day hike.  Perfect day, highs in the mid-60s, not a cloud in the sky, and unlimited visibility from the top - we could see all the way to the Alleganies.  Didn't see any bears, but probably because my friend and I were talking the entire time.  There were quite a few more people than I would have imagined, particularly up at the overlook, but it was all good.  I'd recommend wearing some good boots for this one - fairly rocky coming down the hill.  I wore sneakers, which is unusual for me, and didn't have a problem, but it was not the safest thing for my ankles and my toes were a little sore.  This loop now has a permanent place in my list of places to go for a good day hike on the Blue Ridge.

By: Aaron Bagby Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 22, 2007
I just got back from backpacking on the Overall Run / Beecher Mountain Trails and had a great time. Most of the Overall Run was dried up due to the recent weather but that didn't dampen the natural beauty of this area. The trails are fairly diverse, starting in peaceful meadows followed by steep ascents up ridgelines. Certain areas can be challenging with a backpack and loose rocks can be treacherous so good physical condition and proper shoes with ankle support are definitely an asset. The overlooks at the top of Overall Run are breathtaking and worth the effort. I'd also suggest visiting the swimming holes by the main trailhead, as they are perfect after a long hike. As for camping here - be warned. I didn't see any bears during the daytime but had a few "visitors" at night and they are by no means skiddish when the sun is down. One actually came right up to the tent sniffing around for food. If you do camp, it is absolutely crucial that you cook and store your food away from your campsite - I cannot stress this enough. I also recommend carrying a small air horn, as that usually does the trick. Black bears are generally not known to be aggressive but are curious by nature and not shy about finding a food source. Please keep this in mind if you are planning an overnight stay.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 6, 2007
After reviewing the different hikes on I choose this as my next hike.  It was a good choice.  I printed the directions for the trail and also downloaded the GARMIN GPS into my "Garmin Etrex Vista Cx".  I must say that they both where excellent.  I use the paper version from time to time, but I mainly relied on the GPS device.  It worked great but I did lose reception sometime.  I loved the hike.  It was alot of work.  Alot of rocks.  Lucky I had the right shoes.  On a thursday in the middle of the day there was no one on the trail.  I think the bears knew that because they where every.  This is the first time that I actually saw a live bear on a trail.  He saw me and ran to the top of the ridge.  I slowly walk by heart pounding.  About another mile I saw a bear and a cub down by what probably should be a stream, but today it was all rock.  They didn't run they just went about there business.  I saw at least seven more bears on the trail.  Pros: scenery, the hike it self. solitude and the bears.  Cons: Mosquitoes.  Never got bitten, but they followed me through the entire hike (in my ear) and the streams where all dried out.  Overall highly recommended.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Nice day, we climbed up a steap ascent about 45 minutes from the beginning of the hike which was challenging. Probably one of the harder ones I've done as of yet. The streams were mostly dried up all over the hike, but we did notice the nice waterholes at the end of the hike which are great for jumping in when you done with the hike.

I did see a very large black bear about 10 minutes into the yellow blaze. He was huge. We just kept walking and he went in his own direction. Probably about 100 yards away from us. Totally amazing to see the bear. Good hike. Its long and bring lots of water.


By: hiker mom Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 5, 2007

My girlfriends and I picked this hike on a hot & muggy day hoping for some relief in the cool Shenandoah woods - no such luck this time!  I'm sure this is a lovely trail when the weather is somewhere near normal but the stream crossings along the Overall Run Trail were completely dry and the falls were merely a trickle.  After lunch at "overlook" with a hazy view of Massanutten Mt, we headed down back down in a light rain via the Beecher Ridge Trail hoping to salvage the day with a bear sighting.  We were grateful to find some water in the swimming holes on the lower part of Overall Run where we soaked our feet while little fish nibbled our toes.  Our reward for the day was seeing a large bear high up in a tree along the Thompson Hollow Trail.  I'll do it again when the water returns.  The trail directions were great - thanks for posting a great loop hike for Overall Run!

By: Boo Boo Bear Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 8, 2007

Great hike!  Despite the high temperatures in DC (97F) this hike was pleasant with shade most of the hike and cool mountain breezes at higher elevations. Fantastic views. Saw one black bear, another hiker claimed to have seen two black bears in a different area. Fairly fresh bear scat was seen on the trail in several places.

One hiker on the trail warned of thick poison ivy growth. We didn't have any problems, but hikers may wish to think about wearing protection.

By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 2, 2007
Absolutely fabulous hike!! This was the perfect 10!! I decided to do the hike counter clockwise to avoid some rowdy people playing upstream along Overall Run. I wanted to savor  the solitude as long as possible. Well worth it! The ascent up Beecher Ridge is long and steady, but a nice workout and not overly taxing. I met one other hiker heading down the trail about 3/4 of the way up. The ascent took a good solid hour and a half. The hiker warned me of a large bear in the area and I soon came upon fresh bear scat. No bear. I stopped for lunch at the intersection with the Matthews Arm/ Tuscorora Trail. Saw a youth trail maintainence group heading up the mountain. Nice guys. The first falls were pretty, and I got some nice pics at the bottom and freshened up in the water. I continued on to the main falls overlook and hung out there, not wanting to leave. Just beautiful!! The day was perfect; low to mid eighties, dry, and not a cloud in the sky. There were some nice vista descending Matthews Arm, and I am glad I did the route the way I did. I finally got my bear sighting along the trail near the Overall Run. I was able to stay still and watch while he fed for about 15 minutes. The end of the hike, I headed back on the trail to the swimming hole I had passed early in the hike. This swimming hole is awesome!! I had brought spare pants and a towel, so in I went. The first hole is about 6+ feet deep! the other holes were pretty deep as well. Just gorgeous!! This will be a repeat in the future for sure!

By: Scott Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 26, 2007
This is my first hike to overall run. I took a friend along for the motivation. it was a warm saturday. we were at trailhead at 10:45am... nice road to start then the trail begins.. after some up and downs we came across the first fall.. very nice with a swimming hole.. looked refreshing... then we continued on.. Beechers ridge was a bear. no pun intended. with its continious climb and really no spots to stop I was tired as we got to the top to make the turn toward the big falls... the 93 footer was nice... water was flowing good despite the dry conditions.. trail was not crowded.. everyone was at the falls hanging out.. as we descended we came across 3 young local teen boys.. they were looking for a fishing hole. they followed us down and we talked with them.. I had a feeling they wanted something.. when we got to the parking lot, one boy asked shly, mr., could we have a ride to our house.. I laughed and said sure.. mile down road in red house was there destination.. so close to so much beauty. I don't thnk they realized what they have.. good trip.. a little warm though...  

By: Heather Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 6, 2007
Really beautiful, challenging hike.  The wildflowers are spectacular, and views are wonderful.  The long downhill gets rather tedious, and because much of it is rocks covered in dried leaves, it's easy to twist an ankle. (I did...) The directions are crystal clear, and all paths are well marked/blazed.  I have a feeling the hike is more than 9.1 miles.  Some of the sections seemed quite a bit longer than the directions stated. 

By: Michelle Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 5, 2007
This was a beautiful trail with lots of wildflowers just beginning to bloom this time of year.  It was strenuous but absolutely worth the effort.  There were portions that felt longer than the stated distances between landmarks, but I wasn't using GPS to know for sure.  There are many creek crossings, so be prepared to get your feet wet if you don't have waterproof boots.  The watering hole looks like a nice, cool place to take a break.  Watch for ticks out there.  Views are fantastic.

By: Dean Simmons Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 20, 2005
Hiked this with 4 fellow NVHC hikers on a cold, mostly cloudy day. We went in from Thompson Hollow then took Overall, the Connector, Heiskell Hollow, Weddlewood, and Mathews Arm to get to Tuscarora. The two upper falls were spectacularly iced up, and spread over an area much larger than the normal stream flow. Several ice climbers were working on the Big Fall (93'). (These were the only people we saw all day.) The views down Overall Gorge and across to Massanutten were awesome. This is a great hike with many options thanks to the dense trail network near Mathews Arm and Elkwallow.

By: MRHyker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 19, 2004
Actually hiked this one 2X and both were a little different than described here. We opted to come in from the bottom on Thompson Hollow Trail. This makes the 9.5 mile hike here-in described a 7.2 mile hike with less out and back to it. That's the way we did it in February. We had 5 inches of snow on the ground and swollen streams so we did this shorter option. When we came back in June we came in the same way but substituted the Beecher Ridge Trail with a combination of Matthew's Arm Tr, Weedlewood Tr and the Heiskell Hollow Tr to extend the hike to 8.6 miles. In both cases the hardest part was getting up to the falls from the valley below them. Of course, slushy snow really slows one down. I highly recommend this hike but think it's best done after ice out when the highest falls in the park (90 feet) is at its best. This might leave the swimming holes down below a tad too nippy to enjoy and the multiple stream crossings a challenge but I think the outing will be much more memorable.

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