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Hiker Reviews for the White Oak/Cedar Run Hike - 1 to 221 of 221   
Review the White Oak/Cedar Run hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Erik Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 29, 2018
This was my wife & I's 1st hike ever. We decided prior to visiting Shenandoah that we wanted to see waterfalls on our hike so we chose the White Oak/Cedar Run loop despite people telling us this definitely isn't a trail for 1st time hikers due to the length and strenuousness of this hike. Well, I'm SO glad we did choose this one, as the scenery is unbeatable. This was, without a doubt, the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The falls were running great. We started at the top of Cedar Run and hiked counter clockwise. This definitely was a tough hike. Twice we had to take our shoes off and wade ice cold water on the Cedar Run side to cross the stream. And going back up White Oak Canyon certainly got our legs burning due to the quick pace we kept halfway up, excited to see the falls. Then came fire road horse trail. 2 miles or so of uphill, not much to see walking that with aching legs and feet seemed to go on forever. When we finished, I felt a sense of achievement that we had tackled a more difficult trail on our first attempt. And overall, the toughness of the hike was more than worth the payoff of the scenery that this trail provided. Took us 7 hours and 15 minutes to complete the hike but we stopped to take lots of pictures, rest and ate lunch by the falls. Would definitely recommend this hike to anyone who wants to see beautiful waterfalls. We will certainly be doing this hike again with friends in the future. Also, if you pay close attention to the concrete posts marking the path and the colored blazes along the way, navigating these trails is fairly easy.

By: Kevin Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Loved this hike. Wife and I hadn't really prepared for as difficult as it would be (we're from a flat part of the country where it's cold, so...oops), but we seemed to do OK. It took us about 5.5 hours and our two trackers measured us at 8.5 and 10.1 miles (makes you wonder how they're so different), so I suspect it's a little longer than the 7.9 advertised. We went up the Whiteoak Canyon side first, which was lovely. The fire road section is comparatively uninteresting, but I imagine it would be a lot more pleasant if things were green, as spring was just starting to spring this week and the trees were all still bare. We also got some rain while on the fire road, which was probably a factor.

Stream crossings were easy enough, although a stick for balance may help on a couple of them. I would love to come back here in the summer and dive into a few of the pools - particularly one on the Cedar Run side which would have just been way too cold for the first week of April.

Overall though, it was challenging, very very pretty, and while it seemed crowded at the bottom, we only really saw people at lookout points. I think a lot of older people go from the bottom to the first set of falls on the Whiteoak Canyon side and then turn around (probably 2-3 miles round trip, and would be before the more substantial elevation gain).

By: heather Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 29, 2018
Hiked this yesterday on the very warm random day. Creeks were high, but not uncrossable. I was glad to have my trekking poles for extra balance on creek crossings and some very muddy trails. The fallen trees were all cleared on the white oak side, but many big trees were still down on the cedar run side. Nothing too bad but it slowed us down a bit. All the mud and water were worth it, the falls were flowing awesomely!

I often write reviews on this site because I check it before my hikes for some recent updates. The GPS on my phone said we did 8.6 which is a fair bit more than the description and it took us 6 hours due to slow declines on cedar run. Difficultly is accrue.

We didn’t encounter too many groups until closer to the falls on WOC but we did see a hiker who was limping and using a stick as crutch. They didn’t indicate needing help, I assumed they would have asked to use our phone or about the trail or something. A bit later a big group stopped my husband and I and asked if we saw someone who had twisted their ankle. We tried to describe where on the trail we saw them and they said they had called the park to let them know about the injury. Just a friendly reminder for new hikers: learn some basic first aid and have some first aid equipment ready. Also make an emergency plan with your hiking group. I hope the hiker with the twisted ankle made it out okay.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 18, 2018
A beautiful sunny morning! Started hiking at 8 am at 29F up Cedar Run, then ran down the Fire Road to WOC, then back to the Weakly Hollow parking lot, at nearly 50F. Time about 3 hrs 10 mins. Still many trees down but many now cut and not much difficulty. Steams had average flow, no trouble crossing. Only animals seen were a few squirrels and birds. It was such a beautiful morning I was surprised no one else was out -- until I was coming down WOC and then there were lots of people heading up WOC.

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 10, 2018
My first time to do this trail. It took about 5 hours as advertised. Lots of downed trees on the trail from the recent wind storm. Great views of waterfalls. Be prepared for very rocky trails and a few stream crossings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By: Billy Bob Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 22, 2017
The app suggests a counter clockwise route, but we took the clockwise via the cedar run and found it fairly challenging but very rewarding. There was a fair bit of traffic towards the end of the hike but overall fantastic. The app states it a 5 hour hike with lunch and that’s about what it took us today. There’s a high level or rocks and roots keeping your attention at all times, otherwise you’re on your face. Certainly worth doing again mid week when the foot traffic isn’t quite so high.

By: Billy Bob Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 22, 2017
The app suggests a counter clockwise route, but we took the clockwise via the cedar run and found it fairly challenging but very rewarding. There was a fair bit of traffic towards the end of the hike but overall fantastic. The app states it a 5 hour hike with lunch and that’s about what it took us today. There’s a high level or rocks and roots keeping your attention at all times, otherwise you’re on your face. Certainly worth doing again mid week when the foot traffic isn’t quite so high.

By: BrewMoon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 17, 2017
Wow, did this hike kick my butt! Started from the top and did the Cedar Run descent first. Going back up White Oak Canyon about killed me! Not sure if it was because I drove to the trailhead right from the airport or didn't have enough water, but miles 5 & 6 were brutal. Ended up bushwacking down to Robinson River to filter water to fill my Camelbak. Really nice falls and some large swimming pools. Quite a few people on the water sections, though. Saw a couple black bears on the WOC Fire Rd. The entire White Oak trail and fire road section is uphill, so I'd recommend doing it clockwise if attempting from the top. Really not a good hike for views, but nice for warm weather. Doing it from the bottom is probably best, just be prepared for lots of elevation either way.

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

By: tag Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 01, 2017
We hiked the entire 8.3 mile loop. The best parts of the trail are within about 1.5 miles of the parking area on either the Cedar Run or White Oak Canyon so if you're not looking for a long strenuous day hike, I'd recommend planning ahead to hit these highlights (starting from the parking are on weakley hollow road). I also recommend starting at the bottom as there is quite a lot of challenging elevation to accomplish in order to reach skyline drive.

The first swimming hole on WOC was really big and beautiful. We planned our swim at the end so we powered through, enjoyed the views along the way (at least one good overlook and lots of beautiful water). There were several places we could have jumped in. Because the water was low, we crossed WOC run before the bridge and followed the horse trail / fire road. We had no trouble determining this was the right way as there was a horse tie at the crossing and yellow blazes on the other side of the water. At the next intersection, it's important to keep left on the horse trail and not continue on the fire road. The most confusing sign was at the intersection of the horse trail and Cedar run. The post seemed to be in the wrong place and didn't differentiate arrows between pointing us back the way we came, or the hairpin turn down Cedar Run. However, I believe there was a sign clearly indicating horses allowed on one fork and not the other. We came upon a confused gentleman at this intersection just starting his hike who couldn't decide which to take!

Cedar Run was steeply downhill but very pleasant and much more private. I could see it being super slippery after rain but our weather was perfect. We stopped at the rock slide and had a blast! We were a little nervous that it might hurt or rip up our pants but neither was the case. The water was SO COLD but super refreshing after hiking nearly 7 miles at this point.

At the WOC connector trail, don't forget to keep right to continue to the parking lot. We referred to our directions printed from this page at every intersection to be sure and made it back just fine.

I can't give this 5 stars on the full 8.3 miles for 2 reasons: 1, the fire road... they're just never awesome but this one wasn't awful. 2, the crowds on the WOC portion of the trail. Note, there is a full ranger station at the parking lot to take your fee. They can run credit cards and sell annual passes as well.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 17, 2017
My hiking group, #herhikecollective hiked the first part of the trail. The White Oak trail, about 2.5 miles in and back out. I realize now that we didn't make it to the overlook and top of the waterfall outlook. Luckily I am going back this weekend with some other friends to do the entire 8 mile loop! I am looking forward to the water slide and the other swimming holes along the hike! In june it was pretty humid and cooling off in the water made it all worth it.

The waterfall actually seems a lot bigger in person than it does in some of these photos on this page which I was happily surprised by that. The first park of the trail is pretty easy and not strenuous. My 56 year old mother did it with us and it was a breeze for her.

The directions and what to expect in the description above is pretty accurate. Although I did not realize that you had to pay to park until we were there. Bring bug spray and try to get there earlier rather than later, as the parking lot was filling up when we arrived at 10am. We had another group meeting us there to hike together and it turned out that they went to the skyline drive trail head and hiked a completely different route than us, so make sure you coordinate well if you are doing carpools. Can't wait to go back this weekend! You can see my blog post about our hiking experience and photos here: https://www.jessicaryanphoto.com/white-oak-canyon/

By: Elliot G. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Started this trip 5/27/17 with 3 friends by heading up the Cedar Run trail from the parking area. While the hike was uphill for a long distance, the ability to stop and rest at the many views of the river as well as jump in (if you're ok with a bit of cold water) makes it very nice. We ended up hiking across Skyline and turned south on the AT to get to Rock Spring Cabin (about 1.3 miles S of the trailhead) and pitched tent. The next morning we headed down White Oak Canyon and loved every minute of it!

Bit of advice, be sure to bring bug spray as there are plenty of gnats and mosquitos when you stop. Also hiking sticks or poles are worth it for going downhill as many of the rocks are highly slippery. Finally if you plan to camp, a hammock may be your best option as rocks and steep inclines may make it hard to find a place to pitch a tent.

Entirely worth the effort!

By: BB Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 26, 2017
I was with John F on the White Oak-Cedar Run circuit. Agree entirely with his review skip the Cedar Run trail. The last half of the White Oak trail is highly strenuous despite what the National Park Service sign says, largely because the trail is in poor condition (large rocks, roots, etc.) I recommend using trekking poles on this segment. For casual/older hikers, a round trip on the White Oak trail to the first falls should be sufficient it's the most accessible and picturesque of the entire set.

By: John F Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 26, 2017
The waterfalls along White Oak Canyon trail are amazing, one after another, easily viewed and enjoyed. And the trail itself is good, including the short trip through cold water to stay on the trail. But don't be fooled into doing the White Oak Canyon-Cedar Run 8 mile circuit. First off, it includes a nearly two-mile long, dull, uphill stretch of fire road that eventually brushes up against Skyline Drive -- you can see and hear the traffic in places. Far worse is the Cedar Run trail itself. It's a difficult trail with far fewer attractions and after recent heavy rain it turned into a small stream in many places, making it treacherous to walk. My recommendation: Make White Oak and the falls your destination, and take pleasure in the return trip to the parking lot, seeing the various waterfalls a second time.

By: Ashley Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 20, 2017
I hiked the loop counterclockwise on a cloudy, cool day in spring. This hike feels like a big brother to the Rose River/Dark Hollow and Doyles River/Jones Run waterfall circuits, as it features significantly more vertical. The ascent is relatively monotonic, without much pointless up and down. I don’t think I’d have a strong preference between hiking CCW vs. CW, but I do have a strong preference to park at the bottom. This trail is so steep and rocky that going down isn’t necessarily faster than going up, however. Now onto the scenery: it is spectacular. The falls are more impressive on the WOC side, but the stream itself is probably more interesting on the Cedar Run side, with tons of mini waterfalls and pools. The fire road is boring and dry and seems to go uphill forever (if hiking CCW), so if you live in the area and can come back easily, I would recommend doing Cedar Run and WOC separately. If ever there was a time to brandish hiking poles and high cut boots in SNP, this is it (plus a bathing suit for the Cedar Run waterslide). A few logistics: the road is paved all the way to the parking lot on Route 600. The official SNP lot is small, so bring $10 to park in someone's yard if it's full. There are port-a-potties.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 13, 2017
This is an awesome area to hike. Unfortunately I covered way too much ground. At the beginning of the trail I veered left instead of staying to the right :(. The falls were awesome. There were many times the trail was blocked by falling trees but not too bad to maneuver around.

By: Alina Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 07, 2017
I took my husband on this one with our 2 hound dogs. We took the directions as described, but if someone is looking for a shorter hike, go the opposite way to catch some of the best scenery. I think we'd reverse it next time too. I also found the directions to be a bit confusing and there were a few times at the beginning that I thought we were lost with all the other intersecting trails at the beginning. Still, great hike and I'd love to do it in the fall.

By: Jamey Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 29, 2017
I did this hike clockwise, which is definitely the better way to go. The scenery on Cedar Run was stunning. The trail is not as tough as other reviewers say it is, although because the temperature was in the high 80's the day I hiked, I was tired by the time I reached the top. Going down the fire road gave me a second wind. Whiteoak Canyon is beautiful, but the crowds were a big turnoff for me. Strongly recommend doing this clockwise it's easier that way.

By: Jeff P Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 08, 2017
This was a beautiful hike. A 4 rating for difficulty is accurate. It took us 6.5 hours to complete this trail and we did not stop for lunch (took several short breaks for pictures, water etc.). My fit bit registered 301 floors and 26K+ steps. The views were magnificent and the falls/streams did not disappoint. Recommend you get there early if you want a spot to park. We used the coordinates to get to the parking lot which did not work. We had to ask for directions. The water crossings were higher than normal due to recent rain which added to the challenge. The trails are in excellent condition. If you are interested in the views but not the strenuous hike I recommend doing the up and back on the White Oak Canyon only.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 24, 2017
Got to the parking lot at 8:00 AM on a Friday... chose Friday as it was the nicest day of the week, and I know the lot fills up on week-ends... well, I had the lot to myself at this time/day!!!

This is my second time doing this trail... first time was clockwise...  this time was counter clockwise...

First, and most importantly, the port-o-johns were well maintained (unlike my last visit, 5 years ago, where they were overflowing)....

The trail up White Oak Canyon is quite nice, with great falls, and well designed switchbacks and stairs.  It is a long way up, and you get a good work-out, but nothing too ridiculous...

The fire road/horse trail is all up hill, but not too bad, and most of the surface is not too rocky (as it is a road)....

I found the Cedar Run trail brutally rocky for a descent, and not too enjoyable... even though the run is scenic, and there is a cool rock slide and pool along the way (didn't try it though)...

I finished in 4 hours and 2 minutes, with only short breaks....  Note although this is shorter (1.7 miles shorter according to my GPS), this loop is harder than the Riprap Hollow loop)...

If you are going to do the loop, I definitely recommend the counter clockwise direction, but next time, I will probably do just the White Oak Canyon (i.e., up and down)...

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, February 20, 2017
Did the loop as described in the guide. Really enjoyed the White Oak trail and would easily rate iy 5 stars. Beautiful waterfalls and a nice trail that is a little challenging. The cross trail between White Oak and Cedar is easy, though it seems a little boring after the White Oak trail. I didn't care for hiking down the upper Cedar Run trail and would rate it one or two stars. So steep you have to catch yourself all the time and your focus must always be on your next step, plus a big part is just walking down a dry canyon. From the main falls on Cedar Run down to the last stream crossing is also a tough trail but much prettier. Took me over 1 1/2 hours to hike down 2 miles to the lowest crossing and I suspect I could climb it in about the same time. Next time, instead of the loop, I'll hike up Cedar Run to the main falls, then hike back to the crossover trail and hike up White Oak, and come down White Oak. I believe that would be a much more enjoyable hike.

By: Suzanne Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2017
Got a late start, arriving just before 2 pm, so unfortunately could not make the entire loop because of darkness. Did get to top of the 3rd fall, and then decided to turn around. Beautiful hike! Air was crisp, the sound of the falls were magnificent, and the falls themselves are beautiful! It is very steep in places, and going down isn't much easier as the trail is extremely rocky. Path was muddy and a little slippery in places, but overall very well marked (at least to the top of the 3rd fall). Have to really pay attention to where you walking.  Loved this hike, and will be back next time somewhat earlier so I can make the entire loop.

By: bns Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 01, 2017
I would highly recommend this really lovely hike with beautiful views of falls on both the outward and returning legs. We found very few people out excepting on the linkage trail across the top between White Oak and Cedar Run, although an early start on New Year's Day helps. I agree with a recent commentator that this is not as challenging as others have found it, definitely less so than Old Rag I would rate it maybe 3 on a scale of 5 for this area (where 5 here is maybe a 3 for hikes in the Adirondacks or out west.)

NOTE: Out of the dozens of HikingUpward directions I've used, these were, by far, the most confusing and least accurate--particularly for the White Oak leg out. Part of the problem is that the hiking mileage segments are not additive (that is, each segment only lists the mileage since the last segment instead of the total), and I found the mileage segments themselves to be off (short as compared to my hiking app.) Another part of the problem is that the directions use references such as "the base of the main falls" when it's not at all clear which are the main falls and whether you are at the base of them. As a result, we were uncertain as to whether we had gotten to, or gone past, the "Main WOC falls" and connecting Bridge Path Trail--our GPS mileage was greater than the total we hastily totaled from the directions. However, the actual intersection with the Bridge Path Trail is pretty obvious when you finally get there.

By: Jessica G Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 31, 2016
A perfect way to end the year! We got very lucky with the weather, started out at almost 40 degrees at 10:30 am, and got a bit warmer as the hike went on. We did the counterclockwise route, and I can see why the clockwise route may be a bit better. Will probably do that next time. I can also see how any ice on the rocks would make the Cedar Run portion unpleasant. The weather had been warm the week prior to our hike, and there was no ice when we hiked.

One quick comment about the time of this hike. My husband and I are in pretty good shape, but by no means avid hikers. We were walking briskly because of the cool weather, but by no means jogging at any point, and completed the loop in just under 4 hours, including two quick stops for a snack. I would definitely rate this hike as easier than Old Rag in terms of duration and overall energy needed to complete it.

By: Shawn R. Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 22, 2016
This was a fantastic hike, but you need to be in good shape! We went on a Thursday in December so solitude was not an issue, as we only encountered one person on the loop hike. We did, however, run into a few more folks when we took the out-and-back up to Hawksbill Mountain (which is well worth it). In total, we finished the approximately 10-mile hike in just over 5 hours, but we walked quickly with relatively few breaks due to worries of an early sunset. Additionally, this 5 hour total includes a period of time of around 15 minutes in which we had no idea where we were going. When the blue-blazed White Oak Canyon Trail is supposed to meet up with the yellow-blazed WOC Fire Road/Horse Trail, there is a great deal of confusion. The trail seems to end around the base of the large waterfall, so you must walk up along the right side of the waterfall until you reach a clearly defined trail above the waterfall. Aside from this one confusion, the trails were marked often and they were easy to follow.

I believe a 5 is probably a better rating for the difficultly, especially if you throw in Hawksbill Mountain. With Hawksbill Mountain, though, I think the views should jump from 1 star to a 3 or even 4 star rating. Also, I recognize that this hike is typically pretty busy, but for us solitude deserved at least 4 stars. I highly recommend this hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 17, 2016
The day I hiked White Oak/Cedar Run it was very cold (30 deg) at the start of the morning, and the temp increase to 45 degrees by about noon. The cold temperatures made the water crossings at the top of the falls, and along Cedar Run a lot more difficult to safely navigate. Additionally, Cedar Run was on the shaded side of the mountain and the trail didn't thaw completely and this also increased the difficulty of the trail. Aside from that, I thoroughly enjoyed White Oak Canyon and seeing the beautiful falls. The horse trail over to Cedar Run was fairly casual but not quite so scenic (the break after climbing the falls was kind of nice). While on Cedar Run, the first half was downhill and the difficulty was because all of the loose rocks covered by the leaves. The second half of Cedar Run made me uncomfortable because of the ice and the fact that the trail is so close to the edge, above the river.

Overall, this trail was nice with some great views, but do be careful not to out hike yourself. Personally, I would suggest to other hikers to make sure the weather is nicer to take on Cedar Run since it is so challenging.

By: Hans und Heidi Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 10, 2016
We hiked this circuit three years ago and included Hawksbill Mountain. Then it took 9 hours in the summer. This time the trail had some ice going up Cedar Creek , and backtracking a steep mile for lost sunglasses put us behind schedule. We did not include the mountain, and walked out after 8hours in pitch dark with head torches getting to the car at 6. Good training for Patagonia next week!

Overall one of our favorite circuits. For a cold Saturday, there were 20 cars there by 10am with everyone going to White Oak. We encountered few people all day and all were coming down from Skyline Dr.

The Cedar Run trail is more rugged and steeper the White Oak. More ice on the trail with springs flowing out to make slicks on the trail. This condition is just getting started.

By: Tobias E Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 04, 2016
Perfect cool weather for this one yesterday. Came up White Oak & down Cedar Run. I overshot the fire road and ended up taking the AT down to Hawksbill parking area- in hindsight, this was a nice addition and future hikers may consider tacking it on. Allowed for some nice views along Skyline Drive.

Scenery was spectacular- one gorgeous waterfall after another. Terrain was challenging as well, especially some of the Cedar Run crossings. I had a ball climbing on the rocks out by the falls. Didn't run into many other people while out there- another reason to love winter hiking.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 18, 2016
The scenery is stunning and it is really fun to play in the water, both reasons why this is one of the most popular hikes in SNP. Solitude is non-existent on this hike.

We have hiked this trail twice this summer, once in June and once again in September, both times starting from the bottom and hiking up the mountain. I highly recommend starting from the bottom (as opposed to Skyline Drive) so that you get the climb out of the way while you are fresh, leaving the downhill (which is also tough on tired legs) for the final leg. I would avoid starting from Skyline Drive and then finishing with a pretty beastly climb back up.

In June, we made the loop counterclockwise. In September, we did it in reverse, clockwise. Regardless of which direction you hike, this is one of the more strenuous hikes in the area. You should be in decent shape before attempting this circuit. Either way, you have to climb 2200+ feet to Skyline Drive. We hike every weekend and this is one of the toughest trails in the area. Don't overcommit yourself. You can always bail out by turning around. Do not underestimate how hard descending is either.

I have a slight preference for traveling clockwise going up Cedar Run and coming down Whiteoak Canyon. Both sides are necessarily steep to have great waterfalls, the terrain has to be steep. There is more solitude on the Cedar Run side and there are more water features on the Whiteoak side.

When starting from the bottom, if you need more mileage, you can always cross Skyline Drive and climb to the summit of Hawksbill before heading back down. This hike alone is enough to kick my butt. I do not need to be a hero any longer now that I am in my 50s.

There are far fewer people on the Cedar Run side and the waterslide on that creek is a really cool feature and a lot of fun to slide down. Up top near Skyline Drive, you can find some solitude. People making the circuit seem to be only a tiny fraction of the visitors to the area and consequently, there's a fair amount of peace on the bridle trail/fire road connecting the two trails. Though walking fire road isn't usually my cup of tea, smooth fire road after a tough climb through rocky terrain is a welcome respite. The crowds start to mount on the Whiteoak side and can be very large especially at the bottom pool which is easily accessible from the parking lot. It seems to be the local swimming hole in the summer and is often packed with kids and young adults playing and horsing around. It is what it is.

Crowds were significantly smaller in September than in June and the water levels were a lot lower. I would estimate 18" less water was coming across the ford just above the upper fall on the Whiteoak Canyon side. The falls were a lot less spectacular as a result, but with a lot of leaves already off the trees, we could actually see a lot more of the waterfalls. If you are uncomfortable crossing at the ford where the fire road meets the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, there is a foot bridge just a few yards upstream.

The trails are well-blazed and there are hardly any places where you could get confused, to the point where a map is not wholly necessary. But it is always a good idea to carry one with you. You can get a small map at the ranger shed in the lower parking lot. If you get confused, wait but a couple of minutes and another hiker will come by.

Trekking poles will really help you especially with the steep downhills. This walk is always a beast on my knees. Ibuprofen and beer after the hike are de rigueur.

Also, no matter how much breeze is blowing, when you are in the woods in either of the canyons along the water, the local humidity is going to be high and the breeze minimal. You are going to sweat a lot especially going up hill. I used every bit of 2.5 liters of water. Do not attempt this hike without ample water.

Be safe, leave yourself plenty of daylight to make the hike, work up to this hike by doing progressively more strenuous hikes, bring trekking poles if you have them for the downhills, pack plenty of water, and expect the loop with stops to play in the water to take about 6 hours, 5 hours if you don't dillydally, but this place was made for dillydallying.

By: Melanie B. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 18, 2016
We have hiked this before and it's a good circuit. BIG problem with hornets this time. From bottom parking lot, headed up the White Oak hike side, the first large watering hole is great to view, but stay on the path! Near a large rock shortcut back to the path, one of our hikers was attacked 15 to 20 stings. People that helped were also stung. No other problems with the hike but that. Thank goodness no one was allergic. Stay on the path.

By: Melanie B. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 18, 2016
We have hiked this before and it's a good circuit. BIG problem with hornets this time. From bottom parking lot, headed up the White Oak hike side, the first large watering hole is great to view, but stay on the path! Near a large rock shortcut back to the path, one of our hikers was attacked 15 to 20 stings. People that helped were also stung. No other problems with the hike but that. Thank goodness no one was allergic. Stay on the path.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 04, 2016
Hiked from the canyon parking area to the upper White Oak falls, something we have done several times. Another good hike today, despite the large Labor Crowd on the lower trail. Significant problem today, however, was the presence of hornet nests in at least three places in the lower half of the hike. Multiple people, including several children, were stung multiple times. There was no indication of threat, and the hives were in the ground, so groups just kept walking into the problem. We left the trail at one point to go around the problem but not everyone is able to do that. If the source problem cannot be addressed, then at least there should be a warning to hikers - particularly those accompanied by young children.

By: WH Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 04, 2016
Great hike but really tough, it is important to know the trail and where you are going, we ended up taking a wrong turn and hiked 12.6 miles instead of the specified 7.6. We drove to the trails the day before and chatted with the Rangers at the trailhead but they clearly did not direct us properly on the intensity of the hike. The map provided did not properly show the options available for this trail, I will be sure to get my own maps moving forward

By: 20ThruHiker12 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 13, 2016
We arrived before sunrise to try to beat the heat and the crowds. Saw a couple of bear, which was awesome. The hike itself and the waterfalls were nice but extremely disappointed in the lack of respect from other hikers. LITTER EVERYWHERE! We couldn't believe how much trash was left near the swimming holes and on the trail itself. Clearly the people frequenting this spot haven't heard the term 'leave no trace behind.' Sad to see that hiking has become the 'trendy' thing to do and people with no trail etiquette have taken over. I guess they assume that the rangers will clean up after them since they are being charged to park. Will probably not do this hike again any time soon.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Started at noon, with leisurely breaks we finished this hike as described at 6pm. It was very humid and hot, but we just dipped into one of the several swimming holes along the trail to cool off. The trail was mostly simple to follow, only a few turns that were well marked. I read that a lot of people like to hike the loop with cedar run first. While I guess it could be easier I don't really think that going up those step rocky parts is easy and going down hill on WOC would be strenuous also. The main benefit would be the fireroad, but let me say: at the point we got to the fire road it was hot and we were tried. We still walked the whole thing in less than 45 minutes, it's not that bad. We also some saw activity up on skyline drive and then realized a ranger was shoo-ing a bear off the drive. We stayed back and luckily the trail spilt off in to a separate ridge so I don't think we were followed by a bear! So my only question is: do people actually slide down that rockslide? It looks fun but the safety patrol in me thinks that it's dangerous. Overall I would say all the ratings are accurate and be sure to bring plenty of water or a good water filter to refuel.

By: Pauline Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 01, 2016
Spectacular hike, and going a day earlier than a busy July 4th weekend guaranteed few people on the trail. The way up is spectacular. The way down is rough going. Each step going down the rocky path alongside Cedar Run was difficult. I thought I was in shape with my daily one-hour walk, but I was woefully unprepared for this. Ice on the knees at night helped. The natural Slide is delightful.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Great hike! I went with my two adult daughters. We did the hike as written and suggested. I would say, much tougher than I expected and usually have no trouble with a 8-10 mike hike. The hike up to the Upper Falls is a series of switch backs so we expected (maybe hoped) for some relief on the fire road across or down the other side. Fire road was one complete incline for the 2.2 miles. Traversing down the other side was tricky and my girls and I had legs of jello at the end. That being said, the waterfalls were amazing. More dramatic on the way up but equally beautiful Not crowded being a Wednesday but traffic starting to pick up.

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

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Finally hiked the famous White Oak Canyon. Beautiful falls, though many of the "falls" are more like "runs" -- water running down sloping rock. No significant problem going up. I didn't like the Cedar Run portion. It was one of the rockiest segments I've been on in all the trails I've tried here. I would have been greatly aided by my hiking poles and suggest using them. This is one of those trails on which I had more trouble going down than up. Saw a mother bear and two cubs on the way up, another bear on the way down. A camper using a hammock (how do they sleep?).

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

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2016
We just did the Whiteoak Canyon trail starting from the parking lot at the bottom of this map. We hiked from there to Upper Falls and back down with two of my flat-land friends from Florida and it was a perfect hike. Lots of falls to see, just enough of a workout, great weather. We got there early, so parking wasn't a problem, but when we left, several vehicles were parked along the road. Highly recommend starting early to get good parking and a relatively less-populated trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2016
I hiked this trail with my friend and my 2.5 yr old pitbull. We all had a great time! We did the whole loop. We did get caught in a pretty bad rain storm at the halfway point, had to seek shelter for about an hour, then got back on the trail for the back half. Our GPS logged it at over 9 miles, not 7.3. It was pretty strenuous, but so beautiful and not crowded at all. I would recommend for all semi-active people looking for a pretty hike and a good workout!

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

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

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Parked at Weakley Hollow "P" lot. Surprised to see the CLEAR-CUT forest behind the little ranger station kiosk -- a private woodlot sale? Started trail at 7 am, 35F, up Cedar Run to Hawksbill parking lot. A few early-spring flowers and birds no deer, no bears. Low/average water in the streams. The rest of the loop was a very easy run down the fire road and a pretty easy run down White Oak Canyon back to W.H. No rangers working as usual - why? Total time for the whole 7.9 mile loop: 2 h 34 m, my second best time ever.

By: Ellen and Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Now 60 and almost-50 and we are still able to do this hike! Nice day if a little chilly at the start. Arrived at 7:15 a.m. Second car in lot. However, the lot fills up and nearby property owners charge $10 to park on their land. Went up Cedar Run, up Hawksbill, then down White Oak Canyon. Trees not leafed out but some wild flowers were starting to pop out. Two migratory bird species heard & seen (Louisiana Waterthrush - several Blue-headed Vireo - three). More muddy than expected but not too bad. Love this hike but usually go elsewhere as there are too many people on White Oak Canyon because of the water falls. This time, not too many people - maybe due to holiday weekend. Whatever the reason, it made for a more pleasant hike. People were generally well-behaved. Only one had dog off-leash and she put the dog on the leash when asked to do so (but why have to ask her? it is a national park - the rule is that dogs must be on leashes). Only two pieces of dropped trash. Most people knew enough to single file when hikers were coming in the other direction or passing. Only two groups clogged the entire trail forcing us to stand to the side and wait.

By: slowandpoke Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 10, 2016
My husband and I took the day off and decided to hike this trail because we figured that a weekend day would be way too crowded based on reviews. Since it is spring break for some of the universities in the area we did encounter a good amount of people (~20 or so), but mostly on the White Oak side as most were hanging out by the larger falls. We went with the reviews and hiked the circuit backwards - Cedar Run/White Oak - what an a** kicker! Up up and up for ~2200 feet, but the trails were well maintained and easy to navigate. We (okay, mainly I) ended up taking plenty of quick breaks to catch my breath, which was rewarded with constant views of streams, falls and enticing swimming holes. As we neared the fire road/horse trail that would connect us to the White Oak trail it got nearly silent as the water coming down the mountain was underground - pretty cool and welcome news that we were nearly to the top. We enjoyed the wide and flat walk on the fire road, making up for time from our slower ascent. We hit the White Oak Canyon trail, crossed a cool foot bridge and worked our way down. Again, I have to say, the work done on this trail is some of the best I've seen. We will definitely be back to hike this one again since we're training for some backpacking trips out west this summer. Go out and enjoy this one!

**The only disappointing experience was that people seem to think that nature is their own personal trash can. We picked up about 4 empty water bottles, a bottle cap, a kid's juice box, and an empty granola bar package. Unfortunately we couldn't safely get to an empty gatorade bottle we saw from the trail. PLEASE be good stewards/practice good Leave No Trace principles and PACK OUT what you bring in. There are trash cans at the trailhead that you can throw everything away before heading back to your car.

By: Suzy & Tom Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2016
Great hike!  We took the advice of other reviewers and did the hike in reverse.  Cedar Run is rocky and the footing is treacherous at times so we were glad to be going up and not down.  It is a long "up" though and we were happy to finally reach the yellow trail which is mostly flat or downhill to the White Oak Canyon trail.  The Cedar Run trail was quieter (far fewer people) and equally spectacular in its own way following the run for most of the time.  Our GPS measured the hike at 8.85 miles.

By: Tyler Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 21, 2016
My boyfriend and I hiked this loop yesterday. It was definitely difficult, but the conditions made it more difficult. We have done Old Rag before and absolutely loved it. This one is definitely difficult, but in a different way. Since we have had so much precipitation this year it was extremely slick and the hike down Cedar Run resulted in a lot of sliding. The horse trail between White Oak and Cedar Run is all uphill (so be prepared!) and it ended up taking us 9.6 miles even though we never got lost. I can imagine this hike would be much more manageable when it's not so wet. The views for the first 3 miles on White Oak were beautiful! We loved walking right next to the falls. It was just the last 6 miles that left us quite exhausted. At the end we both agreed that it would be easier with drier conditions. Overall, we enjoyed going, but it was more than we expected!

By: MarshMudMan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Snow!! I think I have previously given this hike four stars, but with today's snow, I'm giving it an extra star. I started this hike from Hawksbill Gap on Skyline Drive shortly before 9. The snow started falling about 15 minutes later and then didn't let up until 1 or 2 pm. By the time I got back to my car, there was about an inch of snow on the ground (and on Skyline Drive) but only a quarter inch or so at the lower end of White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run. The trails were snowy (obviously!) but I didn't encounter any problems with ice. After first hiking several miles on the Appalachian Trail and around Skyland, I took the White Oak Canyon trail down to the White Oak - Cedar Link trail, and then went up the Cedar Run trail back to my car. Despite the cold weather (it didn't get much above the freezing point) and perhaps because of the snow (it was really beautiful), the trail was not empty. I ran into a couple dozen people as I descended White Oak Canyon and then saw many of those people again as I went up the Cedar Run trail. Apparently the Park Service had closed Skyline Drive sometime after I entered the park due to the snow. It was a long, slow, and snowy drive back to the entrance station, where I had to wait a little while for a ranger to come and unlock the gate so I could go home. But, it was totally worth it. Today was a great day in the woods!

By: BrianJB Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Took advantage of all the rain (and a foggy day. . .) to do this hike up White Oak, down Cedar. Falls were fantastic - going on all sides, including several that usually aren't visible. Only caveat - Cedar Run descent is steep, and the combination of wet rocks and muddy boots made for slow going. If I had to do it again in the conditions, would do in reverse. Did per the directions (used the fire road to complete the loop) but would strongly recomend the longer loop (via Limberlost and the AT) if you've got the time.

By: Evan Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Hiked the WOC/Cedar Run circuit today. Followed the directions closely. This was a GREAT hike, but it's not the easiest. We had terrific weather, and the falls were beautiful. There is a great deal of elevation gain on this hike, and descending Cedar Run can be challenging - it's very rocky and steep. If you can handle that, you won't be disappointed by this excellent hike.

By: Becky Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Not sure how, but we ended up hiking 10.5 miles instead of 8. We parked in the correct lot and followed the trail markers, but we found the markets a bit confusing and not a whole lot of help on the trailhead map or the two maps along the route. Beautiful waterfalls because of the recent rain. The trail got a little treacherous at some points because of trickling water down the mountain and fallen leaves made it slippery. All in all, though, a beautiful area and great, challenging hike.

By: Barb Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 08, 2015
Absolutely beautiful. More water and stronger water falls then I was expecting this time of year. I have hiked the White Oak canyon up and back several times which is by far a favorite but today we continued the loop by crossing over and following the horse trail to Cedar Run down and back to the parking lot. I gave it only a 4 because the hike down Cedar Run was far steeper then we expected and took much of the enjoyment out of the hike. We like a challenge but this was a very rocky straight down hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 08, 2015
A fantastic circuit, and truly beautiful water trails. I probably would do the circuit in reverse next time (i.e. head up elevation on the Cedar Run trail, and make my way back down to the parking lot via the White Oak trail), but it was really fantastic. Very few other people out on the trail - we actually were planning on doing Old Rag but out of fear it would be bottlenecked and packed, we made a change last minute.

Ended up going all the way to Skyline Drive, jumping on a short section of the AT and returning back over SD to a connector to Cedar Run. Probably 9-10 miles?

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 01, 2015
We hiked to the lower Whiteoak Falls following a rainy week. The river was full and the falls were flowing strongly. Beautifully colored leaves covered the ground. It was a fantastic hike. I can't wait to return to jump in the swimming holes!

Overall, the trail was mostly easy. Between the upper and lower falls, the grade increases and you must be prepared for a steep return.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Water level was quite low but still enough to make for some beautiful falls. Even went for a swim, it was freezing but this was the last chance of the year. I filmed almost all of the falls: https://youtu.be/sqBhKOzBcGM

By: imref Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 14, 2015
Did the entire loop, starting with the Cedar Run side then coming back the White Oak Canyon side. I'm glad we chose to go up the Cedar Runs side as it's a more gradual climb than if we had gone the other direction. However the White Oak side is much prettier with nicer swimming holes. The hike took us about 8 hours, though we probably could have done it in 7 if we had pushed harder. We only stopped a few times, the biggest negative is that there are so many great places to stop and either just watch the falls or play in the water, but not enough time to stop at everything given the length of the hike. Even if you are just doing the White Oak side I'd recommend starting at the lower lot and going up, then back down, rather than the reverse.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
I'm going out there again tomorrow. I'm a trail-runner and this forms the core of my go-to training run when getting ready for Western 100s with big climbs. I highly recommend climbing Cedar Run to the top of Hawksbill Summit and getting a great view of the eastern Shenandoah Valley and Massanutten Mountain. It's nearly a 3K climb, which is hard to come by in the mid-Atlantic. In the summertime, start the ascent from the parking lot at around 4:30 a.m., beating the crowds and the heat and being rewarded by arriving on top at about the same time as sunrise it's about 1:45 from the parking lot. Simply gorgeous! White Oak Canyon is probably the most heavily traveled trail in SNP, so instead of using it and its accursed stairs, I recommend descending from Hawksbill, and taking the bridle trail across the face of the eastern ridge to White Oak Falls for a cooling dip, followed by staying on the bridle trail as it ascends northeast towards Stony Man for about a mile, and then turning right on the Old Rag Fire Road to return that way to the parking lot.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 10, 2015
Like everyone else says, it is a beautiful hike with breathtaking waterfalls. We did Robertson Mountain first and joined White Oak from the top. It was hard on the knees since it is a steep decent and we were already worn out from the first leg of our hike. Not sure if it was the time of the year but the falls and the river seemed to be the local swimming/ hanging out spot for locals. It was pretty crowded. Ran into a group of young men smelling strongly of alcohol, that was pretty disappointing, also the fact that the whole way down all we did was avoid dog poop and pick up trash that people have left behind. I guess LNT is not a common practice at this particular trail. If you haven't gone, you definitely should, maybe try going really early to beat the crowds. As for me, once was enough.

By: Chris, Maddy, & Ajax Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 02, 2015
Hiked the Cedar Run/White Oak Canyon trail yesterday with our dog, we all loved it. Lots of places for our dog to swim and explore. Pretty vigorous and consistent uphill no matter which way you start. But that just makes the second half much easier. We did the cedar run part first. Saw a black snake on the way back down which was cool, he was out basking in the sunlight. There were quite a few other people hiking the trail, and a few large groups. Our dog loved it and did just fine on the trail despite all the rocky parts and water crossings. All the stream crossings have pretty easy ways across, whether rocks or foot bridges, etc. Definitely recommend, especially now that its spring and warmer out. The many waterfalls and cascades were beautiful. No spectacular views really, but the waterfalls and lush landscape made up for it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 23, 2015
I wanted to see the Trillium in bloom and I wasn't disappointed. Cedar Run is steeper so, like many, I hike this backwards going up Cedar and down White Oak. Steep climb up front, then gentle downhill down the fire road. White Oak is better kept so going down is easier on that trail. With that being said, you can do it either way. Moving relatively fast 4 hour hike Water levels were up so the waterfalls were rolling right now. Nobody here today on a weekday. Parking is usually a problem on busy weekends, so go early or later. If not, you will probably be parked on the road. Enjoy.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 12, 2015
Started out from the parking area at 10:45am and finished at 3:15pm. We followed the prescribed route from Hiking Upward but I would also recommend doing this hike clockwise. The Cedar Run trail section can be very steep in parts and I personally prefer doing steeper sections going up instead of down.

The waterfalls were beautiful with all the rain we received during the week. Probably encountered 30 people on the trail but we were alone for most of the hike itself. I would recommend bug spray because the gnats were out in full force and stopping for more than 5 minutes anywhere along the trail would guarantee you a face full of them.

By: FatHiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 04, 2015
This was my second time on this hike, and the spring weather had the water flowing well. Even with all the water, it was easy to stay dry on the water crossings. If you're not in a rush, plan plenty of time for the views. The vegetation hadn't sprouted, and we were rewarded with spectacular views up and down both canyons. All-in-all a fantastic day hike for all who enjoy flowing water!

Lastly, I highly recommend starting your hike upward on Cedar Run (backwards to the trail map). The elevation changes are not as drastic, which makes for an easier uphill run. Some of the sections of White Oak can be quite steep for us less agile hikers. Cedar Run also seems to be less crowded. So you don't spend as much time waiting for others (or passing others).

By: hikeforadventure Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 29, 2015
We loved this hike and agree with the other review comparing its difficulty to Old Rag. While it was not quite the rock climb Old Rag is there are several river crossings and icy sections of Cedar Run that had us checking our balance. We would not recommend coming down the Cedar Run side if it has recently rained or snowed, and friends don't let friends wear worn down old sneakers. Hiking shoes with traction are a must!

We went up the White Oak side, crossed over on the fire road (which coming in this direction be forewarned the fire road section is all uphill) and took Cedar Run down. It took us a total of 7 hours (this includes the time we took to stop and eat lunch/enjoy the views).

By: novarider Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 19, 2015
First time doing the cedar run section of white oaks canyon. Great hike for a serious workout. The view this time of year is fantastic allowing you to see Old Rag mountain in the distance. This hike is nearly comparable in my opinion to Old Rag in difficulty depending on the elements. This time around the trail had several iced over sections making it tricky to navigate without sliding off a cliff. The cedar run half of the trail is especially rugged making navigating with a heavy pack all the more difficult (I strongly suggest trekking poles). Camping is minimal and fires are mostly forbidden. Great way to spend a fee free Monday on the trail.

By: Long Beard Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 17, 2015
We hiked hiked White Oak Canyon trail in hopes of doing a circuit hike of Cedar Run on our descent ,our morning start from home was delayed slightly . By the time we reached the connector trail at the top and checked our time we would have been doing Cedar Run in the dark. So we re-traced our steps back down White Oak trail. Which was great as it was a different perspective of the falls. The ice on all of the rocks and falls was amazing and beautiful. This hike is rated a four , but it does not seem like a four since there are so many sites to stop and see and photograph (which is another reason we ran out of time). I rated this as one of my favorites for the beauty of the trail, for solitude on a Saturday , not as much, quite a few other hikers. Looking forward to a return trip to finish Cedar Run!

By: Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 03, 2015
Lovely hike - my first time on this hike with the top few miles glazed with ice and my micro-spikes left in the car! Teaches you to tread really carefully! I would highly recommend this hike - the rain and the ice meant I mostly had the day to myself. Cedar Run is a real gem after the splendor of white oak's falls.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 28, 2014
Great hike after Thanksgiving.  Led a group of 7 going up Cedar Run and then down White Oak Canyon.  4-6 inches of snow past the 2nd stream crossing on Cedar Run and was running high so went upstream about 50 ft to cross.  Winter Wonderland at the top and beautiful.  Hiking time was about 5 hours including stop for lunch.  This hike should be rated 6 for streams, and more difficult than Old Rag Mountain hike in my opinion.  Wanted to hike up to Hawksbill, but only so much daylight this time of year.  With the leaves off the trees you can see Old Rag Mountain on yellow blazed trail just before you reach White Oak trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 08, 2014
First time hiking since January! Started up Cedar Run at 6:50am. Very chilly but sunny about 1/4 way up. Ran down the forest road, mostly walked down White Oak Canyon. No animals except a few squirrels and birds. Water levels moderately low. Thanks to Martha's Elves for the new big stepping stones across the first, lower crossing (going up CR). Met tons of hikers coming up WOC. Warning: One of the big stepping stones on the WOC river to the cut-across connector trail SHIFTED so much, a dry crossing will be almost impossible. Total loop time: 3 hours (not exactly a record!)

By: Lecia J Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 18, 2014
Awesome Hike! Beautiful views and the leaves are looking fabulous.

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Two reviews in a row...cool. Wet day on this circuit today we got nailed by wind and rain along the fire road and horse trail, and then again about midway down the Cedar Run trail. None of that matters. The waterfalls are powerful with all of the rain this week and the leaves are turning yellow and red around mid-mountain. Even with the weather this hike was stunning today and should be for the next few days at least. We used the bridge to cross White Oak because the water was too high to use the rocks. And the first crossing of Cedar Run was a little wet towards the far bank as we ran out of rocks to step across (poles recommended). The trail was wet and the leaves made it slippery in places but overall the trail is in good condition even after all this rain.

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I hiked this on a beautiful Wednesday after some good rain the week before. This time I did the circuit clockwise (last time I did it as described) and I'm glad I did. I wasn't overly impressed with Cedar Run the first time, but walking up with the run in view helped me not miss falls and views that I missed last time. The water was really running and made for some impressive falls. The walk up Cedar Run is difficult and very steep in places, but stopping to take pictures gives plenty of excuses to take a break. During the walk down White Oak Canyon I watched one guy rappel down through the waterfall after the main falls, and I watched two guys free climb down the left side of the Lower White Oak Canyon falls. This is turning into one of my favorite hikes.

By: LIsa D Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 09, 2014
My husband, 2 friends, and I set out to hike this circuit hike this morning. Weather was spot on. We decided to do it clockwise, doing the cedar run side first, and I'm glad that we did. It was INTENSE getting up there, but then we were downhill longer than we were uphill. The hike took us (newbies!) 7 hours (that includes lots of pausing for food and to climb on rocks, sit by the water, soak our feet, etc.).

This hike is not easy, but we did it, and we never hike, so I definitely recommend it. Absolutely gorgeous scenery

By: A Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Overall the hike was a great one...

trails were always easily visable and well marked

I arrived at the parking area at around 9:00am and there were about 6 cars total (wen i got back the parking lot was packed... 20-30 cars)

it had rainesd that night and morning so there were many standing poos of water in the midle of the trail for the first milke or so.  I would deff reccoment a waterproof hiking boot.  The climb was SERIOUS and i am in good shape. it will require a few rests on the way up but well worth it for the many waterfall views.  the horse trail was a steady incline with not much to look at (everyones least favorite portion of the hike) and the decline on the blue trail becomes quite technical at times and would be made easier with poles

all in all this is not a beginners hike nor for people who may not be in decent shape but does provide great waterfall views


By: kidsummit Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 29, 2014
Hiked this with my daughter and her friend both 15. This hike is rated 4 it is steep and today was a bit like hiking up a Narnia scene waterfall on the trail due to all the recent rain. Great pools and falls along the way. The water is cold and refreshing. Be prepared to climb a mountain staircase.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 27, 2014
AMAZING. I did this hike starting from Skyline Dr. Going down Cedar Run trail was very rocky and I slipped in several places, be careful. Most of the way down this trail you are along a stream that just keeps getting bigger and more beautiful. Great views of waterfalls. Many places I saw groups of people playing in the falls, sliding down rocks and in one place jumping from rocks into the water. At the bottom was a nice waterfall that you could walk right into. The hike up White Oak Canyon Trail was pretty steep in places, very rocky. Also awesome views of even more waterfalls. This is now one of my favorite hikes. Took me about 6.5 hours, and this includes plenty of stops to get my heart rate back to normal. Will do this again in the winter to see the falls iced over.

By: Clark Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 01, 2014
This hike was great. There are only a few lookout points to the rest of the valley, but the views of the falls are amazing. This would be a good summer hike, as there's a lot of shade and multiple spots to swim, as well as a rock slide. This hike is decently strenuous. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a good amount of food for this hike. I wouldn't recommend this trail to a beginner.

By: Ducky Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Best to do this hike in the spring when the waterfalls are running at their peak.  It is also nice to take a dip in the water during the warm summer days.

Bring plenty of drinking water and take your time. Not only is this a great cardio hike but the waterfalls and river is fantastic to walk along.

It is one of my favorite hikes in the entire park.  Happy trails and Enjoy.

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Great hike. I got to the parking lot at about 8:15 and there were plenty of spaces available. The best part of the hike, IMHO, is the section along WOC Run. The waterfalls are numerous and impressive, especially the main falls at the top. The Forest Service road was dreary...mostly uphill, nothing to see, and exposed. The horse trail link to the Cedar Run trail was a little better but not much to see either. If you still have legs after reaching the Cedar Run intersection then you can cross Skyline and climb to the Hawksbill Summit for lunch. It adds about 2 miles to the overall hike but the view from the top was worth the climb. I thought the Cedar Run trail was nice with water along almost all of it, but with the foilage growing in it was difficult to appreciate a lot of it. I also found Cedar Run to be surprisingly steep along much of the route. It could have just been the downhill perspective but it sure seemed like it would be a challenge to walk up.

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 10, 2014
Took a group of teenagers, who are future US Marines, on this hike. From the start to the finish, this was a great hike with NO boring spots. The 4 major waterfalls are great and the water is deep. It was cold, but feel free to jump from hight's of 10+. The smooth rocked waterfall makes for a great fast moving slide. Great hike that is good for the whole family, to include the four legged family members.

By: JULIE SEVER Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 05, 2014
Overall great hike. Lots to see on the way up. Wish it was warmer so we could've enjoyed the water. The waterfalls were spectacular. We got there around 9 am. The parking lot was full and we saw a good bit of people on the way up but overall not too crowded. The fire road on the way back was very boring and pretty much all uphill. Wish it was flatter to give my legs a break. But good workout. Old rag is still my fave. If I hike it again im going up to the top and then turn around to climb back down. The only interesting sight past the fire road was the natural water slide..and the water was waay to cold to enjoy that. My advice... depending on why youre going and what you wanna see... Go up and back out. Not around. Too boring.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 01, 2014
A great start to the new year! 7:45 a.m. up Cedar Run, ran down the forest road, ran down White Oak Canyon. No snow or ice anywhere, other than a few icicles near water's edge (no climbing ice at all). No animals seen except a few squirrels and birds. Lots of water flowing everywhere. The (going up CR) second crossing was a challenge though the newly fallen oak tree really helped. Park Service really ought to make some stepping stones. One green dome tent on the FR near Skyline Drive, and lower down on WOC numerous hikers coming up. Total loop time: 2 hours 45 mins.

By: Ellen & Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 30, 2013
Tried to do Cedar Run up/WOC down on Friday Nov. 29. The water at the first water crossing was way too high. The first two stones were all but covered with fast-flowing water, making the distance too far for even the long-legged member of the team. Considering that this crossing is right at the edge of the falls, jumping that far - even if possible - was just too risky. We turned back and soon thereafter, met three volunteer trail workers who had a saw and an axe and they were going to put a downed tree over the gap. We had a time crunch and couldn't wait. We went back on Sat. Nov. 30 and indeed, they had put a log over the gap but of course it was completely encased in ice. We managed to get across anyway but it was slow-going to say the least. The rest of the hike up had quite a bit of ice so footing was tricky.

We handled the second water crossing by putting on our neos and wading across the shallow area. We met one person who had taken off his shoes and socks and waded across. There really wasn't any choice as no rocks had any exposed surface.

From Skyline Drive to Hawksbill Summit was mostly snow, some bare gravel, but a couple of wicked ice patches. The horse trail and fire road were fine. It was necessary to use the small bridge just upstream from the usual water crossing. We hadn't even known that bridge was there! Thanks to the folks who clued us in. WOC going down had quite a bit of ice and mud. The lower water crossing which is usually a piece of cake was also tricky. All this turned a five-hour hike into a six-hour hike.

By: LarryP Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 25, 2013
We got a late start (about 1:00) and went up White Oak Canyon & down Cedar Run. Two sets of hikers coming up Cedar Run warned us about the blowdown at the water crossing, but they all said it was passable. We found it a bit of a challenge, but you can hang on to branches and step on the still accessible stones to get across. It slowed us down a bit, and we got back to the parking lot after it got fairly dark (about 6:15). It is still a great hike, but allow extra time on the Cedar Run side.

By: Fred Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 21, 2013
Hiked the Cedar Run/White Oak Canyon. I decided to start up Cedar Run, hit the yellow blaze fire road (nice rest on the legs) and down White Oak. About 3/4 up Cedar Run a very large tree (80 feet) blew down and took with it a couple smaller ones. This happened about a 50 yards from where I just passed. A couple others that I passed on White Oak said that part of Cedar Run is now blocked, part of the trail wrecked and the marker buried. I noted many, many similiar possible blow downs that could happen in windy conditions...be aware. Met the Park Ranger on the fire road crossing and he was very informative and nice. The trip down White Oak was very good with only one area blocked by deadfall. There were only about 20 or so hikers that we met. Plenty of water for the falls on both trails. Note: There is a trail to the left of the ranger station...leads up to private property and a cable will block the way so you must start up the White Oak Canyon trail and look for the cement marker to get on track. I would recommend that the "less than fit" hikers take White Oak first if you are doing the loop. Cedar Run is a tough one to start if you are not in good condition. Beautiful hike and day to match.

By: MarshMudMan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 20, 2013
I've previously done parts of this trail with my 11 and 13 year old daughters as an out-and-back (lower parking lot to Upper White Oak Falls and back) and have really enjoyed it. Today I was with a friend from work and we did the entire loop and then some. The parking lot had only a few cars when we pulled in at 8:30, just behind a ranger who was running the fee station. We hiked up White Oak Canyon, stopping at both the lower and upper falls for extended breaks. The falls are running well definitely more water than there was during the summer. After taking the White Oak Canyon fire road over the ridge, we decided to hike up Hawksbill Mountain, which added another 0.8 miles of distance and 700 ft of elevation change (each way) to the trip. Apparently whomever made the trail up Hawksbill Mt. had never heard of switchbacks - the trail goes steeply up the side of the mountain. The view from the top was pretty spectacular, presenting a nice panorama of fall colors. After lunch on top of Hawksbill, we retraced our steps to Skyline Drive and then took the Cedar Run Trail back to the car. I think that doing the loop in the opposite direction mentioned on Hiking Upward (that is, hike up Cedar Run and down White Oak) would be even more challenging since the Cedar Run Trail is a bit steeper than the trail up White Oak Canyon. The disadvantage to doing the loop in that direction may be that you run into tons of people when you come down the White Oak Canyon. When we got back to our car 5 hr 15 min after leaving, the lot was packed...and we ran into very few of those people on the Cedar Run Trail. Overall, it was a great day of hiking on a scenic, moderately challenging trail. If you have the time (and legs for it), I definitely recommend the side trip up Hawksbill Mountain. Then, the hike has everything: streams, waterfalls, and great views!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 19, 2013
A 7 a.m. start up Cedar Run, down the fire road, down White Oak Canyon, total time 2 hours 40 minutes. Woods are now full of beautiful fall colors, especially bright yellow - it's like walking through Lothlorien. Water levels are up, too, and all the falls look great. On Cedar Run, saw a yearling (?) black bear but no mother bear. On White Oak Canyon trail, the big fallen tree still blocks the trail a ways above the lower falls and the steep walk-around is getting eroded and muddy - be careful.

By: Ellen Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Perfect day, incredible weather. Haven't done this hike since 2008 and really missed it. Now I'm 58 and to my delight, the hike was actually easier for me than it was five years ago. Arrived at the entrance on Rte 600 (bottom of trail) just before 9 a.m. Few cars in parking area already. Honor-system payment box replaced by booth staffed by NPS ranger. Fee is $15. I absolutely do not mind paying a fee to use the national parks, but then I expect them to get the port-a-johns emptied out more often. They were absolutely disgustingly full. Headed up Cedar Run - trail in good condition. Found tons of cars parked on Skyline Drive and not unexpectedly, lots of people climbing up to Hawksbill Summit. Came down White Oak Canyon. Trail in good condition. Lots of people enjoying the day and the pools. We took our sweet time - it was far too pretty a day to rush up and down the trail and you get plenty of exercise even if you go slowly because it is a fairly tough hike. I just love this hike! Will return in a few weeks for the foliage.

By: Kevin G Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 28, 2013
One of the best hikes I've ever been on, both for the views and the challenge aspect. My friend took along his 9 year old and hung in there like a champ the whole way.  We actually went in the opposite direction (starting up Cedar Run) and was definitely less traveled while going uphill.  Once we got to the top near Skyline Drive we started seeing more people.  By the time we reached the White Oak Canyon Trail with all the waterfalls, there were loads of people there during the descent.  Overall though it was a great experience and by far the best views of the park!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 27, 2013
7 a.m. start up Cedar Run, down the fire road, down White Oak Canyon: 2 hours 40 minutes (not a record). Perfect weather. Almost no foliage color change. Only three other people on the trail, plus one pink dome tent way off to one side. Few animals except little birds and some chipmunks. Water levels are low - which is a good thing since at the second (going up) Cedar Run crossing, the log bridge has washed away! That's going to make it much harder to get across at normal water levels. Big tree down on White Oak Canyon 20 minutes above the lower falls, so look for the cut-across dirt scramble (Martha, help!).

By: Jordan D Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 31, 2013
After having gone through many of the hikes located around DC/NoVA, I started to make my way out to hikes farther away, specifically near Shenandoah. The prior week to doing White Oak/Cedar Run, I had completed Overall Run/Beecher Ridge, also at Shenandoah National Park. Myself and two others completed the circuit as shown on Hiking Upward and it was an awesome time! There are no particularly noteworthy overlooks of the surrounding hills that a lot of hikes provide, however the real takeaway with White Oak/Cedar Ridge is the waterworks. This place is a natural waterpark! We swam in several of the water holes/waterfalls located throughout this hike, and you'll hike alongside water, streams, and waterfalls for most of the duration of the hike. There are waterfall 'slides' at several points near the last stretch of this. My group took a rest break and went down the first one we saw, which was pretty tame and relatively safe (and a lot of fun!). There were more slides farther down the hike that were longer and appeared to be more risky, however there were some people taking their chances with it and having a good time. I would recommend you do this hike only if you are planning to get wet, as the water is such a large part of the appeal of this hike. If you're looking for good overlooks, I'd go elsewhere. There are many scenic waterfalls here and overall it presents a unique experience that many of the other hikes don't provide. My group was training GoRuck style (40 lbs of bricks in a rucksack) and this was also a very challenging hike for us with a lot of elevation gain. Be prepared for a good workout and be ready to dedicate a large part of the day to hiking this circuit. Enjoy and be safe!

By: DC Urban Refugee Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 30, 2013
My 10-year old daughter and I hiked this the Friday before Labor Day weekend. I was worried it would be crowded based on the reviews but we arrived at 10:15am and were the second car in the lot. During the loop we only passed 6-7 other hikers/groups. I haven't hiked a lot in SNP but the waterfalls and views were amazing. Definitely plan on lunch at the top of the White Oak Canyon trails. The vista over the waterfalls is stunning. While it's a large elevation gain on WOC, my 10-year old did it with little difficulty. Just take a few breaks and/or go for a swim on the way up. Be careful at the top of the main WOC Falls Overlook. We missed the Bridge Path Trail and took the wrong turn (to the right) that sent us up to Skyline Drive and added another 4 miles to the hike. The side trips on the Limberlost trail and the Appalacian Trail made for a hike we will not soon forget. The three river crossings on Cedr Run on the way down are a lot of gin. My daughter went swimming on the Cedar Run leg and loved it. I highly recommend this hike.

By: Joe Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 18, 2013
The waterfalls here are awesome. I went on a rainy day so not as many people to deal with. I will have to go back for a swim at some point. It was a good challenge as well. Some pretty vertical climbs. Very nice.

By: Scott M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 20, 2013
I hiked this with a couple of friends who all enjoyed this hike. The slides were definitely our favorite part of this hike. This is a good hike for all levels. My one friend hasn't hiked much and I've hiked some of the biggest mountains in the world. The views on this hike aren't spectacular unless you want to look at a stream all day- you never get that cleared view but the streams/waterfalls make it worth it still. Get there early as it begins to get crowded after 8am...Doesn't have the views of Old Rag but overall a better hike in my opinion.

By: T Hayes Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 13, 2013
It was an absolutely beautiful hike. However, it had rained the previous day, so a lot of the trail had water flowing down it. I wouldn't recommend this hike for the naive beginner hikers (like myself). It's super rocky and after the rain, easy to slip and injure yourself. However, the scenery was worth the risk! Definitely sore the day after and the day after that though!

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 04, 2013
What a way to spend America's Birthday with a trip to the SNP...This website's second most popular hike is truly a hiker's hike...it is serious! Hiking down seemed harder than hiking up as the rocky terrain was very tough on the joints...but the rewards are epic...the falls are all over and water is everywhere...especially with the 15 minute downpour during the Cedar Run trail...my toes start hurting when I think the name "Cedar Run"... We added the Hawkbill Summit trail which certainly added to the difficulty...as well as rewards... 3,198 feet...total ascent... For a complete...cool...summer hike...White Oak/Cedar Run is a gem...even with the rain...quite tough...must be recommended even though the word is already out...plenty of company out there today...

By: Hans ( und Heidi ) Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 28, 2013
We trekked the whole grande circuit today, from the park lot at the bottom of White Oaks, up to the peak of Hawksbill Mountain. Returning by decent of the Cedar Creek. 11 miles, I approximate 6000' of combined grade. We are 52 and it took nine hours with breaks and a 10 minute swim at the bottom.

I love this hike. I did it last year with my daughter home from university. It is a long day, bring more water than you could be expected. I think this is a better hike than Old Rag. It is longer , But the views are better, and you avoid the bottle necks and crowds at Old Rag. The accent is prettier in the beginning with all the water, as is the decent. The trail overall is more rugged on the feet, but less boring in the return back, especially if you jump in.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 09, 2013
Great hike today up Cedar Run, continuing up Hawksbill, then down the Forest Road and down Whiteoak Canyon to the parking lot. Lots of people already out hiking and camping when I started hiking at 7 a.m. On the hike saw a hot orange salamander, the mountain laurel in bloom, and clouds pouring like a waterfall over nearby mountain tops. Also notice the trail elves have been repairing or adding water diverts to several places along the loop - thanks.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 26, 2013
This is a fantastic hike. It took about 4/12 hours but if we had started earlier we could have taken 8 hours to do it because we would have stopped more to enjoy the views and do some rock climbing. I have climbed Old Rag a few miles up the road 5 times and wanted to try this one. This hike has beautiful views of water and waterfalls most of the way. You can almost always hear rushing water which is nice. We started at the bottom and took the 3 mile climb on the cedar run portion. This is 3 miles on a stair climber basically--It's straight up. When you get in view of the parking lot, turn right and take the poorly-marked yellow horse trail 1.7 miles to the White Oak Canyon trail. Stay to the right. In contrast to this hike, the Old Rag hike is wooded switchbacks all the way to the rock scramble, then fun on the rock scramble with great views---then 4 miles of wooded, non-scenic woods on the way down. You are just basically heading back to the parking lot after the views on top--anxious to get back so you can get to a winery. In contrast, White oak Canyon is scenic the whole way. You have to be in pretty good shape to do this hike, or take a lot of breaks. I recommend a lot of Naproxen before you start and before you go to bed! I will definitely be doing this one again and be bringing my better camera with zoom. I recommend this hike highly.

By: Logan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 16, 2013
What a wonderful hike. We had the weather odds against us, but lucked out. It only rained for about 20 minutes our whole hike. The water crossings were very high and we had to find alternative routes to stay on the trail which was fun and challenging. The snow from last weeks massive snow storm was pretty much gone off of the trails. However, we did find some bear tracks which made us on edge for awhile, but other than that, it was a great hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 16, 2013
I led a small group of hikers from Central Virginia Trailblazers (www.cvatrailblazers.org).  Most of the people who were signed up for the hike backed out due to the weather forecast, but it ended up being a perfect day except for a brief rain shower...and best of all, we had the trail pretty much to ourselves. We missed our turn at the fire road and ended up hiking further up the mountain to the Limberlost Trail, and then hopped on the Crescent Trail to get to Cedar Run.  This added about two miles to the loop, but allowed us to enjoy the view from Crescent Overlook.  The trail was a little muddy, and there were still a few inches of snow on the ground at the higher elevations.  My trekking poles came in very handy.  We were slowed down by the water crossings, but managed to complete the hike in about six hours.  Definitely a strenuous but enjoyable hike.

By: Willard Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 05, 2013
First time I hiked this trail, and loved the amount of beautiful views it had to offer. The icicles were melting throughout the hike due to the weather warming up a bit, but those left over definitely added a nice touch to the hike. The water level for both WOC and Cedar Run was adequate. Worth bringing a nice camera if you plan on stopping to take pictures along the trail.

If you start your hike on WOC take note that the fire trail connecting the two trails is all uphill which fails keep new hikers/nonhikers entertained. (Thought my friend who volunteered to come with me was going to give up at this point in the hike) Took at least 5 hours including stops to take pictures. Didn't see a soul the whole time. I really enjoyed the hike and thought it was perfect, but it was a bit much for my nonhiking friend who was really struggling by the end.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 15, 2013
A gorgeous day to hiked up Cedar Run, down the FR, down White Oak Canyon. Two deer, one large woodpecker (mostly black plumage, with a little red on the head, one small striped woodpecker.  Few other hikers on this beautiful afternoon. Total time out from and back to Weakley Hollow parking lot: 2 hours 15 minutes - this time it was intentionally a work-out stamina hike & run (a new personal best time).

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 13, 2013
Hiked CR-FR-WOC loop Jan 6 and again today, Jan 13. What a difference... Jan 6 the upper three-fourths of the ridge was covered with hard crusty snow which turned out fairly easy to walk on but made running down the FR difficult. One week Jan 13 later the snow was entirely gone... but much of the trail and rock crossings were muddy and slippery, water levels in the runs was high. Running down the FR was easy due to the melt-softened soil. The upper half of the ridge was sunny and warm while dense, cold fog filled the valleys.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 05, 2013
This was one of the tougher hikes we've done in this area. We started off around 9.30 am on a sunny saturday morning at the White Oak Canyon Boundary Trailhead, entering the park from Madison (which was a great idea!). The initial hike to lower whiteoak falls was very easy, getting steeper as we proceeded towards the upper falls. The trail got icy gradually and pretty much all of the trail was covered under ice/snow. The cascades of waterfalls were absolutely breathtaking and totally worth the hike in the ice! We continued onto the whiteoak fireroad/cedar run loop after the whiteoak upper falls and hit the skyline drive after about 2 miles. Having good hiking gear, especially for the snow is highly recommended. It is advisable to pay particular attention to the trail markers at the transition from whiteoak fireroad to cedar run, since the two trails run pretty close in the same direction and it might be easy to get on the wrong trail. The cedar run hike was through a snow covered trail too, may be not as spectacular as whiteoak, but the rock faces make a beautiful landscape. There were fewer cascades and the slopes are steeper. The 3 mile hike down after whiteoak fireroad was pretty challenging, not the easiest hike without appropriate gear. We couldn't have hiked down without the sticks we picked up on the way after whiteoak fireroad. All in all, a great hike! Absolutely worth the challenging icy trail conditions. The gorgeous cascades and white mountain faces were spectacular.

By: K & K Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 02, 2012
Great day for a hike. A cloudy, cool morning quickly became a warm, sunny day with excellent weather to enjoy White Oak Canyon. We started from the bottom and made our way up to Skyline Drive. Most of this hike is a path along the stream- not too grueling besides the incline. Since we went later in the fall, the whole path was covered in leaf littler of course, making some sections a little more slick than expected. Otherwise, the rocky soil and tree roots provide a bit of a footing challenge, but nothing insurmountable. Not much to climb up or over besides some fallen trees from this fall's storms. Do note: many trees were still across the path, but most of the rest were cut back. However, some weren't cut back all the way and could present a hazard to those looking down for footing- some think branches and trunks are at head-level. The water wasn't moving too quickly and there didn't seem to be all that much volume, but the various falls along the trail were still quite beautiful. I imagine that everything looks a lot more stunning in the spring. We went up and back instead of taking Cedar Run back to the parking lot, but we'll certainly do that next time- we heard there are some great sights on that side as well. It took us about 4:45 from the lower parking lot to Skyline Drive and back, but we took several breaks to take in the falls and eat lunch, then a rest at the top.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 08, 2012
Wonderful hike this morning! Sunny and mild heading up Cedar Run at 8 a.m., a refreshing cool breeze on along the Fire Road, and not many people along WOC ... very humid back at the Weakley Hollow parking lot by 11:15 a.m. Few other hikers, perhaps due to predicted precip which never happened. Park Elves have been doing fall maintenance along the Fire Road with gravel patches and cleared wash-outs (thank you, Martha).

By: Gary Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 01, 2012
There are a lot of great reviews of this hike but I did things a little different so I thought I'd add my thoughts as well. I'm 50 years old and just getting back into hiking after about 3 years off. This was about my 5th trip to Shenandoah in the last 2-3 months. I was formerly an avid hiker in upstate NY with frequent trips to the Catskills and Adirondacks. I found the hike to be challenging and although I didn't have trouble finishing, my legs are still reminding me about what I did to them. A friend hiked with me as well and he had not hiked for 18 years (he's now 36). This loop was probably not the best choice to reintroduce ones self to hiking after being out of it for that long. We chose to start the hike on Skyline drive and then descend Cedar Run, take the cutoff trail to WOC, and then climb to the fire road/horse trail and back to our starting point on Skyline Drive. Our distance with these modifications was just over 7 miles. The long drop down Cedar Run was pretty quiet for a Labor Day weekend. The many rocks and roots kept our minds occupied. That sure changed when we got to the WOC trail. It was full of families with kids and dogs out to make the most of the last days of summer. In spite of the crowd, I really enjoyed the beautiful falls all along the climb. I prefer to climb rather than descend steep trails so the counter-clockwise route was a better choice for me. My body handles the strain on my knees much better and I feel more in control of my movement. We had light showers off and on throughout the day and a light fog was setting in as we neared Skyline Drive. With Old Rag in my sights, this was a great training hike to help me get back into shape and enjoy some great waterfalls along the way.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 18, 2012
Great Hike. Agree with others that clockwise is the way to go if you are doing the loop. We passed others doing the opposite direction and they were totally gassed coming up the White Oak Caynon as we were coming down. Take lots of fluids with you and a bathing suit if you want to cool off. We hike faster than most and did the whole loop in 4:10, with a 10 minute lunch break and several 10 minute breaks at the waterfalls.

The trail was too crowded for my taste, but it was a beautiful day with no humidity. I recommend an early start, the parking lot was packed and we had to find a spot up the access road.

A $15 per vehicle fee is required to access the park and Ranger station at the lower trail entrance collects fees and provides directions. They said credit cards are accepted.

By: Hikermom Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
We followed the advice of the other reviewers on this page and hiked the trail clockwise starting with CR.  I DEFINITELY recommend that option, unless you want to retain the possibility to bail out part way (because you surely don't want to miss the falls on the WOC).  The hike up to Skyline drive is a very long (several hour) trip that basically goes straight up.  It's quite pretty but it's your basic uphill trail with plenty of rocks and roots to keep you occupied.  There are a couple of falls on the way that give a break from the narrow trail but you will want to plan your schedule so your lunch break is on the way down because that's where the nice spots are.  Once you get to the top you have a (very long) slog on the horse/fire trail which is quite boring (although no different from any other horse/fire trail in SNP).  I definitely would not want to be doing it going uphill.  Once you get to the main WOC, it's very, very pretty.  The many, many falls and views are definitely worth the hike.  It's a VERY steep downhill, with rock staircases in many places, and much preferable to be going down than up.  But, I would NOT want to be going down if the rocks were wet.  As a matter of fact, I don't think the WOC should be done with wet rocks either direction.  The whole thing, with lunch, really does take 5 hours.  We are usually much speedier than the estimates on these websites, but no so much on this one.

By: Rich Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 22, 2012
This is a great hike close to DC and away from the throngs at Old Rag. I strongly recommend hiking the loop clockwise. It's approximately a 2,200 ft ascent from the valley floor parking lot to the Hawksbill Gap lot on Skyline Drive -- the highest point on the loop. So while you have to go up regardless of which canyon you start with, the Cedar Run ascent is about 1/3 of the trail while the WOC part plus the fire road link between them are about 2/3 of the trail -- you just feel like you're climbing forever and there's not much scenery on the fire road to take your mind off of it. Also, the views down into the valley on WOC are better viewed when you're hiking down the trail than when you're hiking up and having to look over your shoulder every few minutes. Finally, Cedar Run typically has fewer people while WOC is inundated with the hikers and the curious (families with kids, tourists, grandparents, etc.) who come down from the Skyline Drive parking lot. If you start up Cedar Run, you get relative quiet, and then can hike down into WOC in the later part of the day as people are hiking back up to their cars on the Drive. For dog owners, we took our 8 month old Lab mix with us and -- while there are several steep sections of the trail -- he had no problems navigating them. There are only two or three scramble areas on the entire loop, all small. The rest is made up of easily cimbed rocks and rock stairs. He could access many of the pools in both canyons without any problems, and enjoyed how cool and deep the water was. Finally, having dragged up Old Rag over the last 30 years countless time, I prefer this loop to it. Fewer people, closer proximity to streams hiking both up and down, much larger pools to swim in (which you only get on Old Rag if you come down the back side along the fire road), and dog-friendly.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 14, 2012
Very fun hike. Pretty hard as well. The uphill is quite the challenge with a 30 lb pack. I found it fun at some points to walk/climb/scrabble up stream and enjoy some of the rocks and smaller falls. Some very nice spots to lay out on a bald rock and take a nap. I hiked up the Cedar run side and down the White Oak Canyon side. Saw a black bear on the fire road at the between Cedar Run and White Oak trails. I am 2 for 2 as of now. One last week at Old Rag and one this week here. Take lots of water and a lunch is advised. Have fun!

By: Stephen Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 27, 2012
This is my first time hiking this trail. I arrived at around 6:50 AM, and there were only a handful of cars in the lot. Note that this was on a Sunday. I did the circuit clockwise, as recommended by many here. I didn't find the climb up too challenging, but it certainly wasn't "easy". It took me 1:26 to get to the horse trail. It's essentially all down hill from there. The horse trail and fire road were nice and relaxing after the climb up. The falls were nice on the way down. The trail was a bit wet, and it is very rocky. I slipped and fell a couple of time, not too bad, but disconcerting, as I don't slip that often. Be careful!!! I made it back to the parking lot in 3:21. Besides a couple of picture breaks I did not stop much. I had high hopes for this hike, as the reviews are quite good, but it was a bit too rocky and slippery for me. It didn't help that it was an the warm and humid side, and there were are lot of mosquitos. Now, I must add this hike really started off on the wrong foot...there was only one port-a-potty in the parking lot, and it was almost filled to the point of overflowing. That is bad, but even worse was the industrial strength air freshener used in there. It lingered in my nose for most of the hike, and I can still smell it, over five hours later...so make sure you take care of your business before you arrive, or be prepared to do it outside...

By: Gary and Brandon Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Hiked counterclockwise Tuesday, May 22, 2012, starting at the lower parking lot at 8:30. Great hike as described and would do again. Everything wet and more rain threatening. Temperature in the low 70's. The hike up White Oak to the fire road is an amazing artwork of many many many stone steps. Going up this trail was a good choice when wet because coming down when more tired could have been slippery and more hazardous. Bugs were minimal after the rain. Well maintained trail with good water runoff management. Up hill 1.6 miles on fire road was a trudge as expected. Terrain down Cedar Run was also excellent, but mostly a rocky sloped path rather than steps. Some steps though. Many places water runoff followed the trail, but was only surface with no sinking in mud. Lots of rocks for good footing so slipping was not an issue. Sun peaked out for a short time around noon and brought out some more bugs along Cedard Run, but still not too bad. Passed 5 small hiking groups totaling 15 people along the hike and some local kids at the lower swimming hole in Cedar Run. 6 hour trip including many short stops to look at the major and minor falls. Comfortable with 4 to 5 half liter bottles of water and 4 energy bars. Would need more water if it was hot. Water cascading and dripping over the rock cliff faces from the rain was very scenic. Suggest good hiking boots to protect soles of your feet and ankles. This is a rocky hike. We recommend this trail to anyone fit enough for the hike, but did not give it 5 stars because it cannot compare to some of the places we've hiked in the western states. If you're not in shape or don't have time for the circuit, you could start at an upper parking lot and hike the White Oak trail down to the upper falls. Great view.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 13, 2012
Gorgeous gorgeous day for my favorite hike loop (I agree with Greg, below, about going down the fire road). Started at 8am from Weakley Hollow empty parking lot, got back to car at 11 to full parking lot. Along the trail saw a 4-foot black snake, lots of poison ivy, masses of little grasshoppers on the forest road, and trail maintenance on the WOC side. Didn't do the trail up Hawskbill Summit this time but did it two weeks ago.

By: Mike & Linda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 12, 2012
We did the clockwise (up Cedar Run first) route.  This is one of our favorite hikes.  Saw a large barred owl along Cedar run, and quite a few folks going down Cedar Run.  it was pretty crowded in WOC.

My pedometer read 18K+ steps for the hike.  No wonder my feet were tired!

Mike

By: rsjrny Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 27, 2012
WOW!!!! Need I say more. Spent 6 hours on this hike and was amazed with every step. Hiking up I hiked a 0.89 mph because I must have stopped every 100 yards to enjoy the falls and pools. This is a must do. Ran into 18 people on the beautiful sunny 65 degree day. I recommend doing this hike during the week if you can.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 07, 2012
The best hike I have done on hiking upward. The only downfall is so many people not as many as old rag but still too many for me. I would love to hike this again on a Wednesday when not so many people. Very easy map to read you will never get lost. I did this hike at 10:00 and the parking lot was about ½ full. Took me 5 hrs 31 minutes and I took over 200 pictures.

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Recommend going up Cedar Run and down White Oak Canyon--that way when you are on the fire road interconnector at the top you are going downhill and can make good time as you traverse from one canyon to the other. (The fire road would be a long dull uphill slog if you went the other way around.) Innumerable small waterfalls on the relentlessly uphill Cedar Run stretch, five large waterfalls on the White Oak Canyon stretch. Went one weekend and right back the next weekend, that's how much I like this hike.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 26, 2012
Started at 8:00 am again, hiked clockwise from the bottom: up Cedar Run, down fire road, down White Oak Canyon back to parking lot. Weather was mild and dry, CR and WOC streams were both low. The downed tree a bit above the first CR water crossing has been removed. Only a few others out hiking (or maybe I just go too early?). Completed loop in 2 hours 50 minutes.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 17, 2012
Started at 8:00 am, hiked clockwise: up Cedar Run, down fire road, down White Oak Canyon. Weather was cool and comfortable. Flat sections of trail were lightly muddy. Water in CR and WOC was low - the two CR crossings were very easy, almost walkable. Had to scramble through the branches of one down tree a short ways above the first CR water crossing. A few patches of old snow and ice on the ground around the Hawksbill parking lot. Being Friday there were few people out, just two (retired-looking) couples on WOC side. Completed loop in 3 hours.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Started out in beautiful sunshine, hiked into snow about halfway up White Oak Canyon Trail, then trekked through near blizzard conditions at the top of Cedar Run.  The snow and wind made it treacherous at times, but we were prepared.  What a hike and what an experience.  The mountian streams and waterfalls are absolutely beautiful on both trails.  We actually encountered 7 other hikers, so no, we weren't the only idiots out there.  Ashley is a photographer and got some awesome shots, so definitely bring your camera if you do this hike.  Oh yeah, there was one other little thing that made this hike so good.  I popped a ring and the question at the base of "The Slide".  She said YES!!!

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 10, 2012
I did White Oak + Hawksbill summit + Cedar Run Hike and this was my second time hiking in Shenandoah national park (first was Old Rag mountain). The trail to the Hawksbill summit from the Skyline drive was covered with about 2 inches of snow but I didn't have any problem. The White Oak waterfalls were awesome and I'm glad I did the hawksbill hiking too because the view from the summit was great. I got lost once at a Cedar Run water crossing and I didn't find Cedar Run as exciting as White Oak Canyon. I saw only 4 groups of people the whole trip and I can't imagine doing this on weekends with crowds because the trails are narrow.

By: Jeff W. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 05, 2011
White Oak Canyon section of the trail was very scenic with waterfalls and a nice cliff view near the top. This portion of the hike wasn't difficult but was very populated with many large groups. Amazingly enough, for the length of this hike, I didn't even see the first sign of wildlife which i would attribute to the crowds of people. This section would be a 4.

The Cedar Run portion is really where the challenges lie. The varied terrain, rocks, log and rock crossings and the steep decents would rank a 5 but it was well worth it. This hike has something for everyone.

I still can't believe how many people I encounter with nothing more than a 16oz water bottle on hikes such as this. Be prepared and you will enjoy this hike.


By: Adam Freeman Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 10, 2011
Almost 25 years since the last time hiking the Cedar Run - White Oak Canyon loop - and what a great hike it still is! No need for any duplication of spelling out all of the fantastic views, water features, hazards and surprises - everything about this classic old hike makes it one of the best to visit in the SNP.

From the perspective of my last trek, around 1987:
In the peak summer heat of the '80s, our small group encountered very little water - I would describe it as a trickle on Cedar Run, not much more on the White Oak side either. What a difference from the drought of that year to what we experienced recently! Water volume was strong, the "chute" sections of Cedar Run were thundering!

IIRC, Gypsy Moths had been making an impact as far as defoliation of the canopy at the time - I seem to recall the dry "rain" of Gypsy Moth scat along the hike. Thankful for their disappearance - the fall leaf show was tremendous!

Something I was unable to read mention of on this thread was whether any other hike enthusiasts made any "archaeological" discoveries along the way - evidence of any era of pre-park dwellers. Besides the usual sightings of rock walls, scattered stone structural foundations, and mountain turnpikes my wife and I fairly easily came across a site of interest along the Skyland-Big Meadows horse trail. We ran this hike clockwise from Cedar Run, and in an area along the White Oak Fire Road, discovered what appeared to be a trash dump. I took pictures of what was there - and based on the remains, it may have been either the scattered remnants of a mountain home or CCC work campsite - or both. Broken fragments of china, stove pipe sections, tin cans, cast-iron stove, chunks of coal, and '30s era glass "pop" and liquor bottles - and the familiar rusted-out washbasins - great material to document on film! After doing some internet work at home, the china date code indicated February, 1937. This would have to have been from CCC or SNP workers, as I would bet the "scattered kitchen" items were all from about 1938-40.

I hope that everyone who hikes and has an interest in the history of the area takes pictures of their finds - and always leaves such sites intact for others to interpret and enjoy!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 09, 2011
It was our first time hiking in the Shenandoah and we picked this trail because of all the waterfalls that it promised us we would see. I was also very glad to find this website as the coordinates of the parking lot helped very much in guiding us to the right place, as well as the very detailed direction that this site offered. Without it, we would probably get lost for sure.

The hike was very strenuous to us beginners, especially the steep climb up to the top overlook of the WOC falls. The hike down was also a bit problematic as well, since it was continuously downhill and put a lot of pressure on our knees. Halfway down we realized why so many hikers whom we passed had canes. There were some tricky/slippery spots along Cedar Run, so be careful when you make your way down.

While on our way up, we asked hikers who were going the opposite direction of us how far the main overlook was. And also how far did we have before we made the turn into Cedar Run. One group said that they never went all around the loop before, but they gathered it was a longer hike than to just turn around and head back and suggested that we did that. They meant well, but we were glad we didn't follow their advice, as the hike down Cedar Run was a lot of fun as you get to skip around rocks across streams three times as well as witness "The Slide" :)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 10, 2011
This was an excellent hike!! I was expecting to get turned around a bit due to others posting they got turned around, but the trails were very well marked and the narrative on this site is spot on. This is only my second hike in the area (the first being Old Rag) so I don't know how the falls usually look, but the water was running solidly and COLD. My 8 year old did this with me and jumped in the lower falls of White Oak Run, afterward complaining, "I can't feel my ears!" There were numerous people on both the white oak trail and cedar run, but didn't see anyone on the horse trail. The only problems I ran across were a couple of sections of the cedar run trail near "The Slide" that looked washed out from the recent rain...I took a couple of spills there so be careful. Overall...Awesome!!! :)

By: WV Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 25, 2011
This was a nice hike and had the trail all to myself, I made a variation and hiked white Oak Canyon-Limerlost-Cresent Rock-Cedar Run which I think made it about 11 miles. The rocks were a bit slippery but thats to be expected after the rain we got but I wanted to make sure I did this hike when the creek was flowing good. The Cedar rock trail was in pretty bad shape compared to the other trails so be prepared to take your time coming down it. I ran into a bear and her to cubs and saw some deer so the wildlife viewing was nice.

By: Emily Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 31, 2011
I'm an experienced hiker. I read up on this trail ahead of time and checked in with the rangers. Started on WOC.

While the scenery was beautiful, I would forewarn hikers that the trails are not as clearly marked as I would like and the map from the ranger station leaves some interchanges unexplained. Rangers called this site a loop, but we missed the change to cedar run heading down, because its not so much a loop as two separate trails.

Since the switch from the WOC to the fire road was not clearly (or at all) marked but followed instinctually without problems, we proceeded the same when looking for cedar run thinking based on the map and experience that continuing would lead us to the trail back to the car and took a pretty long detour down the horse trail instead and ran out of steam around mile 10. this is where we came face to face with a beautiful deer and saw two bears not too far off parallel to the trail.

without the detour this would have been manageable, so if you try the same "loop" watch out for that tricky trail switch, even after we back tracked we didn't find it. rangers said it happens often that people miss that switch and that you need head to the road to start the cedar run trail. by the time we got back to our car, the ~8 mile hike was probably more like 15! not what we had planned for the day.

also spotted a rattle snake on WOC.

By: DavidZ Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 18, 2011
Started at 8am up cedar run, only 1 other car in lot.  Really enjoyed the pretty tough and long climb up cedar run, the falls are very nice and saw a bear about 30 feet away above me off left side of trail. He initially ran off but then stopped and was watching me. I slowly moved off and we both went about our business. The horse trail is all downhill in this direction, must be tough going the other way.  Of course WOC is awesome, swam in two places on the way down, the cold mountain water is amazing.  I think clockwise is better if you start early,,,can cool down and take you time coming down WOC.  This is my favorite hike in SNP

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Wow this hike was fantastic.  I reversed the order and went up Cedar Run and down White Oak, just to make the route finding a little more interesting.  When I got to the top of Cedar Run I crossed over Skyline Drive and tacked on the short climb up to Hawksbill, highest point in Shenandoah, just for kicks, for a total of almost 3000 thigh-burning heart-pumping feet of elevation gain.   On the way down the falls and scenery in White Oak are awesome, and of course this is where you see a lot more people.   In addition to the usual litter saw not one but two pairs of boxer shorts drying on rocks in the sun.  People, its bad enough you gotta leave your cigarette butts and copenhagen cans on the trail, but your friggin underwear?  C'mon.  But this was a small beef, not enough to take away from a great hike.  Oh, and one more beef.  A squashed goose on Berry Hollow road just beyond the parking lot.  Probably the same idiot that left his underwear on the trail cant take the time to swerve around a slow dumb bird. 

By: Bob Swart Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 25, 2011
Beautiful hike today. Went up Cedar Run and then across to White Oak Canyon. Not too many folks on Cedar Run Trail or on the Fire road. Waterfalls and pools were beautiful! Saw a few folks on Cedar Run, lots on White Oak. Weather  was good, not too hot. Water level seemed normal in some posts, low in others.

By: Jessica Crum Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 17, 2011
Easy to get lost with all the forks and hard to understand their mini map. It would be better if they installed a park trooper guy ever half a mile to give you lemonade, trail mix and an inspiration quote. satan personally hand crafted this hike.

By: Trail Princess Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 16, 2011
This hike was by far the best hike I've been on thus far. Not only was it beautiful, but it was a great challenge the first 2/3 of the way. I did get a little lost, only because I veered right instead of left at one point, but met up with someone who had a better map and he set me straight and called me a Trail Princess - hence the name - because I don't mind getting lost hiking. I went by myself and had no problem other than the small misstep. Including getting lost a couple miles in the wrong direction, the hike took me 5 hours exactly. If you are not a fan of steep hills upwards, you will not enjoy this hike. I found myself having trouble leaving, that's how much I loved it. I was a little disappointed that it was over when it was - I suggest this hike to anyone who calls themselves a hiking enthusiast.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 29, 2011
We didn't do the complete hike, just went to the White Oak Lower falls today.  It was a great hike and got a lot of good photos.  The hike was good and even the portion just before the falls wasn't bad.  The falls are great but too many people where on the trail.  It was ridiculous trying to leave the parking lot.  We where third in line trying to leave and had to wait for people trying to come in to back back down the road until they could find a spot to get off the road so people leaving could get by!  The falls where worth it but the traffic not so good.  Need to go very early or very late.

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 28, 2011
Started out from Skyline Drive at about 10:30 under changing skies. It was a cool humid day for most of this hike. We had no trouble finding the trailhead, as it was right in front of our car at the Hawksbill Gap parking area.
We took the Cedar Run trail down, with the trail becoming more and more populous the closer we got to the falls and the lower parking area.

The scenery is awesome on the Cedar Run trail, and, as noted in many reviews, the trail is steep and the footing is precarious in spots.  On the way down we took time to check out a barred owl that flew a short distance away at our approach.  We were very happy with the relative solitude, about what you would expect for a holiday weekend.

When we got to the lower falls to eat lunch there were numerous people wading in the water, and a lot of people with dogs, many of them appropriately leashed, but not all. One person was carrying his dog, due to a report of a snake on the trail. After lunch we took the blissfully smooth and empty link trail over to WOC and the crowds.

The WOC falls are great, and there was plenty of opportunity to view them, though we were never alone here. The upward journey on this trail was strenuous after picking our way down the Cedar Run trail.  When we reached the top we were able to soak our feet in the numbingly cold water above the upper falls before embarking on the last leg of the hike, a long uphill walk on the WOC Fire Road/horse trail to the Cedar Run trailhead.  Though this part of the hike is not rugged, it is still a bit tiring after climbing the WOC trail.

We will do this trail again on a weekday or in cold weather due to the popularity of the WOC falls. Next time, we'll start out in the lower parking area and climb the Cedar Run trail and then proceed downhill from the top of the Cedar Run trail. All in all it was a strenuous six hours, but worth it for the scenery, the wildlife and the constant sound of water.

By: Donna Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 28, 2011

The good:  The scenery is spectacular and I absolutely loved all of the waterfalls.  The trail was not as crowded as I had expected it to be.  Everyone we encountered on the hike was nice.  My children loved it and even my 9 year old was able to navigate through the rocks and the trail without a problem. 

The not-so-good:  It was a lot more difficult for me than I expected and I injured my knee on my way down.  Also, at the end of our hike, in between the Cedar Run Falls and the parking lot, the trail forks.  BOTH trails have blue paint on the trees and we got confused as to which trail to take.  Unfortunately, two of our children turned to the left and got on the Cedar Run Falls link trail instead of going to the right which would have taken them to the parking lot.  It got dark, they were lost and we had to call the Park Rangers to help us find them.  They were quickly found, all was well...But it is confusing at that fork in the trail.


By: Rose Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 22, 2011
Went today around 9am, hoping the road was fixed. The streams are very high, but the road is now only blocked by the last stream before the ranger station. (This is between the upper parking lot where the portapotties are and the lower parking lot just after the turnoff from Weakley Hollow Rd.) So we parked in the lower spaces and went right up from there (lots of people also just drove through the stream-covered part of the road to the upper parking lot... it was only ankle-deep).

WOC trail was packed, but no one was on the horse trail and we saw a bear cub!! Also a deer at close range and hundreds of tiger swallowtail butterflies. The upside to all the high water (tons of rain) was that the falls were all spectacular. Several brave people swimming in the frigid water of Cedar Run. Stream crossings were difficult... I brought some water shoes and was VERY glad I had.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 22, 2011
I took Cedar Run up and the White Oak Canyon Trail down. Cedar Run is less eventful and I was glad I saved the large falls for last. It's a steep hike up, but once you reach the Horse Trail, the rest of the way is down hill. Some of the crossings were tough and the water was ice cold. Bring water shoes! I made the mistake of putting my hiking boots on right out of the car and had to cross ankle deep water while crossing over to the upper parking lot. My feet were soaked for the remainder of the hike until I gave in and put my chacos on, which I wouldn't recommend while going down White Oak Canyon. It was very slippery, steep, and mostly rock.

If it's possible, try going on a weekday, The  trail was absolutely packed. Cedar Run was less busy, but that may have been because I hiked it earlier in the day. USE THE PORTAPOTTY BEFORE YOU LEAVE! You won't have much of a chance for privacy on the trail except the Horse Trail. The sound of rushing water certainly doesn't help either.

Also, be careful of the huge pothole right before you reach the white oak canyon parking lot. You do not want to hit it going 35 mph. It covers the left side of the road when entering the lot and it's unavoidable, so take it slow!

By: Coree Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Went to go hike and the entire road to the parking lot is washed out. No way you could get a car across it and I wasn't going to walk through the high water -- really strong current.

Probably won't be able to get through there for the next couple days.

By: Dawn Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Wow! Gorgeous and challenging trails.
If you haven't been here before, please make sure you come prepared! Loved having our dogs with us and meeting so many people along the way.

By: Roscoe Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 03, 2011
This is a heck of a hike. I enjoyed doing it at a fast pace to see what kind of shape I was in.

I went counterclockwise because I like seeing the falls first. Not as much water as I had hoped for this time of year -- I guess there hasn't been much snow this Winter. But still good stuff.

Cedar Run is really a fun challenge -- you have to watch every step coming down because it's so steep. Not recommended if you have bad knees, that's for sure.

The snow is gone except for the upper part of the fire road (and even there, it's very minimal and will probably be gone entirely in a few days).

By: Indiana Jones Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2011
starting from the non-skyline drive parking lot, if you do this loop counterclockwise all the great falls are on the right side trail...(must be like 20 of them!!!).....on the left side of the loop there is the slide and about 2 or 3 LOG river crossings....(make sure u can do this!!) or if you dont mind slipper rocks and getting a little wet you can walk right through them. me, i stayed nice and dry and scooted on the logs.

you could make this a much longer hike by going counterclockwise, and where the yellow and blue trail meets, keep going on blue 3 miles up to the upper skyline drive intersection. then walk to the other skyline drive parking lot and take the blue trail back. that should add about 6 miles or so making it a much bigger loop. started out late and didnt get to complete the bigger loop, but did get to complete the loop presented here and explore a little more than that.

no wildlife whatsoever on this day.

crowded with church groups.

good day.

good times.

this hike was more strenuous than old rag.... as half of old rag is a horse trail. lots of stair stepping here.. much more than old rag. old rag is alot more climging however.

there is a great "wall face" to free climb for the serious climber located about 1-1.5 clicks up the right side trail.

:-)

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Early start - 7:20 a.m. Up Cedar Run. Chilly but the sun came up by the second water crossing. No other hikers on C.R. or Forest Road. Going down WOC, met three groups and a few couples with dogs (on leashes - thank you) coming up. No flowers or budding trees yet.

By: Pat Palmer (Hagen) Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 20, 2011
The sheer amount of cascades and waterfalls was stunning. There are only a couple of things keeping me from giving five stars. One was the lack of views. I'd imagine in summer when everything's all leafed out, there are none whatsoever.

The other minor thing is, in the future, I'd do the reverse and start with Cedar Run. The little upturns on the Cedar Run Trail as you're coming down can be a bummer if you're getting tired.

I just missed the ice by a couple days, thanks to the warm spell we just had. When frozen up, I bet it's an ice climbers paradise.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 05, 2011
http://www.meetup.com/hiking-162/photos/1252018/21263540/  After I returned from hiking this in January, I immediately created a Meet up to hike it again.  Look at our pictures to see why, for the experienced hiker, you absolutely must put this on your calendar while there is still ice to traverse.  15 of us had the time of our life first hiking up Cedar Run to Skyline on the ice and then forming a human chain to hike across the frozen waterfalls along the Appalachian Trail before we headed back down White Oak Canyon to enjoy the falls shrouded in fog.  There is only one tricky turn.  Hike about 2 miles on the AT.  Once you see a cement post & Skyline Drive overlook above, watch for a a sharp left turn.  Bushwhack right towards Skyline Drive which you can see.  On Skyline Drive you should see a sign to Limberlost.  Follow Old Rag Fire Road a short distance to White Oak Canyon Trail rgiht turn. Hike is 10 miles (12 if you include Hawksbill Peak when you first cross Skyline).  Micro spikes are a must   Yak Trax & Stabalizers were not enough.  Think I may have to do this again before the ice melts.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 15, 2011
Spectacular ice formations both along the trail & the waterfalls. Tried a more challenging version of this hike totaling about 13 miles and 3,000'+ elevation gain.   We also started at the bottom of the valley but headed up Cedar Run to Skyline Drive, crossed the road & checked out Hawksbill Peak (highest in the park) then took the Appalachian Trail where we had to bushwack 5+ times around huge ice blocks on the trail before heading down White Oak Canyon to watch others climb the ice. A winter hike, regardless of distance, not to be missed.  Spectacular!!!!

By: breathtaking Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 28, 2010
Absolutely amazing.  Saw  maybe 4 small groups out in total, but the parking lot was packed when we got back to it.  I guess we left early enough--around 11ish on a Sunday morning--to put us in front of the pack.   We did not have any expectations and found it absolutely breathtaking.  Having the leaves down added to what you can see.  The amount of cascades, their volume of water, their heigth were all suprising.  We did Doyles Falls a few months ago and saw nothing but trickles.  NOT the case today.  Stunningly beautiful.  Liked it better than Old Rag. Had to cross the stream twice without bridges and that was a bit scary with a big rambunctious dog on a leash and a 9 year old, but added to the thrill.  Watch out for ice, though, as quite a bit was accumulating and made steep downhill sections a bit treacherous.  And bring lots of layers.  We went from hiking in t-shirts uphill on sunny oak canyon trail to wearing our winter coats, gloves, and hats on the shaded downhill cedar run section.  Took us five hours to do the 8 miles with a lot of rests with our child and stopping for lunch.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 06, 2010
Probably my favorite day hike... done Cedar Run-Forest Road-White Oak Canyon many times and usually go at a normal pace to "smell the roses." But today set out early to try to hike quickly as a workout challenge. So many others also out especially backpackers, never saw so many backpackers in here. Great day for a fall hike, lots of gorgeous red and gold foliage! And set a new personal best time: from Weakley Hollow (P) parking lot up Cedar Run, along the fire road, and down White Oak Canyon back to (P) in 2 hours and 40 minutes.

By: BethieP Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 10, 2010
This is a beautiful hike. None of the photos can do the waterfalls justice! Something to note though, if you enter from the Weakley Hollow parking area, the SNP Rangers at the trailhead charge you $7 per person to get onto the White Oak Canyon trail. While I didn't balk since I know the money goes to a good cause, it did take me offguard. This was definitely worth the drive from the DC metro area. I could see how this could get overly crowded, particularly on hot summer days. While we encountered quite a few people, it wasn't packed this beautiful Sunday. I would definitely do this hike again.

By: KB Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 28, 2010
This hike was great.  A little more crowded than I was expecting- there were people swimming or relaxing alongside every waterfall on the hike  This is likely because it was perfect weather and a Saturday.  We did take advantage of the waterfalls and the pools of water beneath for swimming.  There was even a rock fit for sliding on the Cedar Run trail. We completed the circuit in 6 hours allowing time for swimming, scaling the rocks, and lunch.  This is a relatively strenuous hike, as you hike from the bottom of the mountain up to the ridge at Skyline drive and back down but well worth it for the spectacular views.  :)

By: virtualso Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 14, 2010
Crowd Factor: Since it was National Park Day, there were a good number of families and groups out and about. We arrived at the trail head around noon. Many were swimming in the lower White Oak falls. The number of hikers dropped significantly at the fire road and Cedar Run descent. Scenery: Park rangers warned us at the outset that the falls were mostly dry due to the lack of rain. Indeed, the falls were not as spectacular as I remembered. Still, people seemed to be enjoying the leg dipping in shallow waters. Not a lot of high altitude scenery as previous reviewers have noted. Challenge Factor: We pushed ourselves on our White Oak ascent. It was a good workout. A clock wise circuit (starting up Cedar Run) would have been significantly more challenging. We did the circuit in approximately 5 hours, including lunch.

By: Aaron Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I hiked up from the lower parking lot and had a great time! It's only about 0.75 miles from the lower parking area to the lower set of falls, and the trail is actually quite flat in places. The lower falls are great for swimming, and even in August, the water felt like it was 65/70 degrees! Felt amazing. Hiking up from there to the upper set of falls was a bit more strenuous, but no worse than nearby Old Rag. It looks like most of the directions here say to start from the upper parking area near skyline drive, but personally I would recommend the lower one. I did this: 522 into Sperryville, Right @ 231 and go 9.9 miles past the Old Rag signs, right at 643 (with brown White Oak Canyon sign and across the street from a general store), go 4.3 miles and turn right at 600 (Weakley Hollow Rd, with White Oak Canyon sign), and go another 3.7 miles - parking lot will be on your left.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wow what an experience. My girlfriend and i hiked 18 miles... not a circuit trail to bring you back around was apparantly closed 2 years ago dont know if thats true but we tried it all parked at snp no trail to bring you back around saw 2 black bear one was skiddish but the first was stalking us about to charge my girlfriend freaked out. we got to the end of the fireroad and that was when we realized it wasnt a circuit it was right after we were about to be prey so my girlfriend didnt wanna go back in and go past the bear again she called the  police lol and then transferred us to the pak ranger but they didnt know where we were to get us so i told her that we had to go back in and 30 mins later we did and walked back 5 miles and camped just before dark and finished bright and early in the A.M. and i did it all with no sleep at all the night before we wnet (poker lol) but overall wouldnt trade that experience for anything and now am about to be hunting nearby at rapidan for bear lol

By: Zoe Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 03, 2010
I just did this hike today and it was amazingly fun!  We went down from mile marker 42.5 and then back up.  The first half of the hike (upper 3 falls and back) is relatively easy if you are in decent shape.  The second half (lower 3 falls) is steep, but worth it.  The sixth and final waterfall has a great swimming hole at the bottom of it.  I brought my swim shoes, though, and was glad that I did. 

Save your water for the way back up the trail.  You don't need a ton going down, but coming back definitely provided a workout and you will sweat out a lot of fluid.  We saw lots of families on the first half of the hike very few kids down by the lower falls and for good reason -- it is steep.

Today it was a beautiful 80 degrees out.  Perfect time to go.  The water is icy cold!  But I have gone in the Great Lakes in October plenty of times and was used to the chilly temperature, which definitely felt good after all the hiking. 

By the way, our group were three relatively fit people in their twenties, but we did it in regular gymshoes.  Near the beginning of the trail and the top waterfall, you'll see more people in flipflops and strappy sandals (which is not appropriate footwear at all) but as you go down, the crowd definitely gets more hardcore.  More boots, more backpacks, more alpenstocks. 

By: Beth S Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 13, 2010
This was a great hike. As others have stated, I also took the WOC trail up along the falls, got some great pics, and cooled off along the way. It was 95 degrees out, so believe me it was needed. Ran into plenty of people, but not overly crowded. Enough so that you felt if you ran into trouble you could get help, but enough that you still felt you were on a trail alone doing a nice hike. Came down the Cedar Run tail. The 8.2 miles kicked my butt and I think I am in pretty good shape (triathlete and all - did a 10.5 mile hike in 3.5 hrs just 2 weeks ago). but this was killer and the 8.2 miles took me 4.5 hrs (w.stops for pics). Great workout, beautiful falls. Would do it again just for the workout and swimming holes! But would leave more time for the drive out... didn't realize how far it was from DC!

By: Nick McLennan Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 03, 2010
Steller hike is all I have to say about this one.  The trail is wide and very manageable right to falls. The great thing about the first set of falls is there are so many swimming holes along the way, so on a hot day cooling off is not a problem.  I climbed all the way to the top of the first set of falls taking pictures and video along the way. When I was done cooling off at the top, the sky opened up and lightening and thunder roared through the sky, so I will have to wait another day to go to the upper falls. All in all a great day, hightly recommend.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 15, 2010
What a beautiful hike, however it kicked our butts! My fiance and I tackled this beast on Saturday. Our athletic hubris (sure we're in our early thirties and have run a couple of marathons) got the best of us. We went up WOC and down Cendar Run Creek. I would advise heading up WOC first as you can spend more time in the onset admiring the falls. If you set out to do this 8.2 trek be prepared for an extremely strenuous adventure. As mentioned by a reviewer below (BTW thanks), use these directions to the WOC parking lot  "I suggest Sperryville .7mi , right @ 231 9.9 mi (go past Old Rag turns), right @ 643 (brown White Oak Canyon sign & a store @ turn)  4.3 mi, right @ 600 Weakly Hollow Rd (brown White Oak Canyon sign) 3.7 mi to parking lot." I feel bad for the suckers that parked at the "other" parking lot off of Skyline Drive with the intention of doing the 8.2 circuit, yikes. Starting from the WOC is a more enjoyable experience. Remember forewarned is fairwarned. Overall a fanstastic must for any trail enthusiast.

By: M Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I've heard a lot about WOC over the years, but today was the first time I've had a chance to get out there.  I followed the route as described and found it to be a great hike, though the ruggedness of Cedar Run combined with frequent muddy trails made it tricky. It's rare that I find the uphill portion of a hike easier than the downhill, but the Cedar Run Trail was definitely tougher than the way up.  I was surprised that the hike actually only took 3.75 hours - I think 5 is a liberal estimate. If you just want a nice day seeing some waterfalls, a quick hike from 600 to the lowest falls in WOC would still be a good reward...  I would definitely spend more time on the WOC side than the Cedar Run side comparing views and overall experience.

Beautiful day, perfect weather, and overall a great experience.  Given the reasonably equivalent difficulty and length, most days I think I would choose Old Rag over this since I find the views and scramble to be a better reward than the waterfalls. However, If I'm in the mood for waterfalls and rushing water, I can't think of a better trail - Great experience, I'm sure I'll be back.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 16, 2010
What a beautiful hike!  We were one of the unfortunate people that started the hike from the top of skyline drive and hiked down into the waterfalls.  There were numerous signs warning not to hike beyond your limits by hiking all the way down to the lower falls.  Those signs were right.  Saving the climb till the end was not any fun!  But the waterfalls were sure worth it.  The upper falls were awesome falling 86 feet to the bottom and the lower falls you could walk right up to the base of it.  Just be careful if you do.  We saw three northern water snakes sunning themselves on the rocks.  Overall, great hike... just start from the bottom.

By: John Smith Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 12, 2010
A very nice hike, but there was an awful lot of trash on the trail, some of which we hiked out for the scumbags.  Also, a word to the wise -- stick w/ your Church Group ladies w/ kids -- especially if you have no idea where you are going, don't have a map, and clearly brough very little water.  I hope you all made it out alive.

By: Molly Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 21, 2010

This is a truly stunning hike, even in the very early spring when there really isn't any green to speak of.  Every time I came to another waterfall, I thought "ok this is the 'big one,'"  then I'd come to another set of falls and think, "ok, maybe this one is it," and then I'd come to an even more spectacular waterfall!

The steeper sections are nicely spread out with flat or less steep bits in between.  The upper part that connects from the White Oak trail to the Cedar Trail is a bit boring, but that's only about an hour out of the whole thing.

I will definitely be back for more later in the season.  This will be a new favorite for me!

By: misha Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 07, 2010
Hiked the described route clockwise and added a loop to the top of Hawksbill and around it. There was 3-4 ft of snow in some places, so showshoes would have helped. Winter boots are a must. It was comfortably warm, but so far this winter wonderland has not turned into watery mess. 

By: Hikegirl78 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 06, 2010
Great hike! We did the entire White Oak/Cedar Run loop on Sat in a counter clock wise direction. The White Oak side was easily manageable despite some patches of snow. The Cedar Run side was a different story! There was so much snow it took us over an hour to go 1.6 miles on the fire road (from the footbridge to the fire road/trail split)! I could have used a pair of snowshoes! It would have been a miserable hike if it were not for the super sunny skies and 50 degree temps all day. Even the hearty golden retrievers were looking at me wondering "What in the world are we doing in all this snow?" The fire road was covered in snow but manageable with patience. The decent down the trail back to the parking lot was slippery and difficult to navigate in some sections. It can be done, just not rushed.

Overall we enjoyed the waterfalls and all the water. Makes me wish for spring to hurry up!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2010
http://www.meetup.com/CharityHikers/calendar/12717071/  Snow sure makes a difference. Hats off to Kyle & Michael who did the entire trail counterclockwise in 5 hours. They said Cedar Run was very slippery & slushy.  Jennifer & I made it to the top of White Oak Canyon and decided we'd had enough exercise so turned around.  All of had hiking shoes/boots.  I was the only one with yaktrax.  Many had been here and there were a number of parking spots.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2010
Kyle and I completed the full circuit, ascending White Oak Canyon and descending Cedar Run in about five hours.  Of the two, White Oak is in much better shape.  There was a lot more snow along the Cedar Run trail (the little canyon gets less sun, I think), and the combination of steep trails and slushy snow made the descent quite slippery.  I believe I must've fallen five or six times, and I was very happy to have had my poles, especially at the crossings.  I did wish I had brough my yaktrax along.  I definitely had a few moments when I was wondering how I was going to find footing heading down something steep.  Overall, White Oak was beautiful in the snow and the ice, but Cedar Run is pretty treacherous.  It would not be too difficult for a hiker to get injured.  Hiking up Cedar Run would probably be advantageous since the Whiteoak trail had less hazardous conditions.

By: Sam and Thunder Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 21, 2010
Took a friend new to hiking today and the scenery of snow and ice on the falls didn't disappoint.  Saw several deer and a unlucky turkey that had been something's lunch.  We tried to go up Cedar Run trail, but with about 2 feet of snow drifted across the path and only a set of ski tracks, we turned around and took the spur trail over to WhiteOak canyon.  It was much easier on packed, but slushy snow.  We talked to a couple at the lookout near the foot bridge who was going to try and go down Cedar Run.  I was afraid of trying to go down this way today and of trying to explain to my wife why I was late for dinner, so just turned around and went back down Whiteoak canyon to the parking lot.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 30, 2010
This was the first winter hike for the "Stanley Adventure Hiking Team" Conditions at the White Oak Canyon Trail head parking lot: 12 degrees, 3 inches of fresh snow. Wind: none (thankfully. White Oak canyon is pretty consistent uphill trek. The conditions made it MUCH less than ideal. The snow and ice cover required every step to be planned in the rough areas. The falls in the winter are a site to see. Ice covering everywhere the water was splashing, freezing things in place. We took a lunch break near upper falls where the where the bridge crosses the stream (Robinson River) Caution, there are two trails at this point, The White Oak Canyon trail, and the White Oak Fire Road. The published White Oak Canyon-Cedar Run hike requires you to take the left at this intersection onto the fire road. (Don't ask us how we know this, we won't tell) The fire road is wide and much better suited for a winter hike than the rocky trail. You continue to gain elevation until you come within view on Skyline drive, where you turn south onto the Cedar Run trail. At the 5 hour mark we start the downhill leg of the hike.  At times the trail is VERY narrow and in the winter conditions, trekking poles are a must. A number of times, the poles were the only thing that stopped a slide in to the icy waters of Cedar Run. It's surprising how few pictures you take when you are worried about taking an unwanted winter swim. To say it was adventure coming down is an understatement. There are two stream crossings, and you study every step you are going to take, because mistakes here are unforgiving. We averaged 1.1 mph for the entire hike with rest breaks and lunch. Could we have done it faster, sure, but safety was more of a concern, rather than speed. I can't wait to take this hike again in the spring. Would I do it again in the winter??? I think so, but my brain may have frozen a little too!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 17, 2010
Weather was horrible today.  35 degrees, gusting winds, rain, and fog on top of about 4-6inches of snow, ice, and slush.  Was trying to make up my mind about getting out of the vehicle at all and this big white and black dog appeared out of the fog.  I read the tags and the dog was from the bottom of the mtn near nethers.  Decided the dog was up for the hike so why shouldnt I be...  Down the trail we went, the dog in the lead.  He knew all of the good view points and ended up being quite the guide.  The trail was gorgeous after we dropped out of the dense fog.   So much ice covered the canyon walls.  Truely worth every slip and slide moment!  The dog followed me half way back up the White oak canyon trail then turned to go home. I finished the hike by myself and ended up soaking wet by the time I made it back to my vehicle.  This was an amazing chance to see the drive with snow and ice all over the canyons.  I dont think I will venture out again in those conditions.  The trail would be fairly demanding in good weather.  The slush really took its toll on the dawgs today!   Cant wait to do it again!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 16, 2010
http://hiking.meetup.com/162/calendar/12308534/  9 hikers went up Cedar Run (2 hours) & down White Oak Canyon.  Going up was a definite workout, but it gave us the opportunity to leisurely enjoy the somewhat frozen waterfalls on our way down.  Hike took us a bit over 4 hours because we stopped often on our way down White Oak Canyon.  Enjoy our pictures on this link.

By: misha Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2009
Plenty of water, spectacular waterfalls, and a lot of people. I highly recommend bushwacking up Negro Run as there is a waterfall there too.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 14, 2009
Just got home after a grueling, but enjoyable hike. When I arrived at White Oak Canyon, the water rushing over the roadway to the upper parking area gave me pause. Do I drive my car through the 3" water or park in the lower lot and hike across the water? I didn't have the clearance that the two trucks already in the upper lot had, but took my chances and soon was in boots and heading up the canyon. Cloud-filtered sun soon gave way to full sun and blue skies and I took off my long sleeved shirt and made the climb in shorts and T-shirt.  The temperature was around 60.  I was glad I was wearing waterproof boots as I found myself splashing along wet paths and even having to step onto a submerged rock to continue up the steep and often slippery trail. The sun drenched vistas and thundering waterfalls made the climb more than worthwhile as there was many times more water cascading through the canyon than I had seen on 3 previous climbs.

At the top of the upper falls I was unable to cross on the rocks and went farther up the trail to cross on the bridge. From the bridge I turned right, not left and wound up following the creek all the way to Limberlost Trail which like most of the climb beyond the bridge was shrouded in fog. With my long sleeved shirt back on I headed south on Crescent Trail and ended up at Crescent Overlook where the fog was so thick that try as I might, I couldn't find access to the Appalachian Trail to take me to Hawksbill. So I sat on the wall in the empty overlook, pulled on my hooded jacket and ate my lunch, hearing, but not seeing the occasional car on the Parkway. 

After lunch I headed down through woods in hopes of intersecting with the AT but realizing that should I become injured off trail, I might not be found for weeks, so I climbed back to the Parkway and followed it south. I eventually entered a fire road and picked up the yellow blaze to its intersection with Cedar Run and began a very difficult downhill hike. 

Cedar Run is more rugged than Oak Creek Canyon and presents a number of challenges including two creek crossings that are usually not a big deal.  Today they were major obstacles for me. I arrived above the upper crossing and watched as a hiker crawled 20 feet across a slippery dead trunk five feet above the swirling water to an island and then tried almost successfully to cross the last 10 feet on another log. Coming off the log he slipped on a wet rock and got one boot into the water.  I decided to take my chances on rocks farther upstream, knowing that one of the steps would have to be on a rounded rock two inches under raging waters. Though my poles helped steady me across the creek, I lost my footing and my one boot went under.

Below the fog the warm sun made me forget about my wet foot as I continued to pick my way slowly over soggy portions of trail and wet slippery rocks.  I was glad that I was alone, because few of the hikers I know would have wanted to deal with this very difficult descent. At the lower crossing, about a mile from the parking lot, I searched for ten minutes to find a suitable crossing, but in the end, joined two of only four hikers I encountered on the trail and waded, knee deep 20 feet across the creek where the double blue markers show the way. On previous hikes I have been able to cross without getting my boots wet, but not today. 

I sloshed to the car, changed clothes and pulled out of the parking lot at 4:00 p.m. dragging my car bottom as I drove through the creek  to the lower lot and out to Rt. 600.  I'm 63 and do a lot of biking, but tonight my knees are reminding me that, I hadn't been on a trail since vacationing in Sedona a year ago. Good thing I have lots of photos and videos to remind me how enjoyable this strenuous hike really was.

By: Willow Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 04, 2009
This was a great hike.  My boyfriend and I went on a Friday morning and we hardly ran into anybody.  The streams were pretty low at this time of the year (especially Cedar Run) but the solitude was nice.  I'm planning on coming back again in the spring.  Even though the water was low there were still some great views!  We didn't run into much wildlife on the trail but as we were driving away from the parking lot at the end we almost hit a blackbear in the middle of the road!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 17, 2009
Wow!...what a grueling day! What we expected to be a 7.9 mile hike turned into about a 15 mile, 10 hour marathon!  My girlfriend and I entered the trail at the White Oak Canyon parking lot at mile marker 42.6 off Skyline Drive around 7am. Google maps led us to the Skyline Drive entrance and we were unaware that there was a much more user-friendly entrance at the bottom of the canyon.  The lower entrance leads to a much easier hike. Not realizing that we were adding several miles to our hike by using the Skyline Drive entrance, we headed down the White Oak Canyon trail.  About a mile down the trail we saw two doe off to the right of us. We continued down the long, gradual sloping White Oak trail stopping to take photos along the way, for some blister treatment and to play in one of the pools for a while. At the bottom of the canyon we took the turn up the Cedar Run trail.

When hiking up the Cedar Run trail…well, it basically consists of a very exhausting, steep, rocky, slow-going, hike for three miles.   The temperature was close to 90 degrees and this part of the hike took it’s toll on us.  I began to suffer from heatstroke about midway up.  Fortunately, there are several cold mountain water pools along the way and my body temperature returned to normal pretty quickly after dunking my head in a few times.  I also wet down a towel that I would wrap around my neck occasionally as we took breaks on the upward climb.  There is an upward section that is currently being blocked by two fallen trees so just be careful traversing this part of the trail, as it is near the rocky edge of the falls.  On one of our breaks, as we were sitting there quietly, an eight point buck came out of the woods and passed right by us on the trail…it was literally five feet away from us as it went by.  It never ceases to amaze me how relaxed some of these animals are around people.

Continuing our way up Cedar Run, we did hit a parking lot on Skyline Drive, but it wasn’t ours so we continued back and headed east on the horse trail/fire road.  This ended up taking us back down into the canyon.  We then began another uphill hike out of the canyon, back to our original parking lot.  On the way up we did see a mother bear along with her two little cubs.  She gave us a quick look and then the group headed in the opposite direction.  The rest of our hike was uneventful and we were pretty exhausted when we finally reached the car at 5pm.   

The wildlife on this trail was wonderful and the hike was very challenging to say the least!  We hiked Old Rag a couple of days ago and I personally felt that this was more challenging than Old Rag primarily due to the hiking conditions of the day and the length of this hike. (don’t take Old Rag lightly though!)  I would suggest using the lower level entrance for this trail...you will have a more enjoyable hike as a result.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 05, 2009
A great hike and a great adventure . . . spectacular views and a tough, wet and slippery hike down Cedar Run . . . in the dark!  My new trail dog broke free of his leash at the intersection of Cedar Run just below the Hawksbill Gap parking lot and chased a deer toward the Rose River loop a few miles south, so I ended up hiking the Rose River loop in addition to WOCR.  Finally at 8:30PM in the dusk, I started down Cedar Run with my trusty maglite in hand.  Thirty feet into the woods a black bear (around 250 lbs. or so) stood on its hind legs about 40 feet away (it felt like 5 feet).  Made it back to the lower parking lot at 11:12PM.  I drove back up today (7/6/09) to find my dog at the Skyline Drive stables . . . he'd been turned in by a couple of kind AT hikers!  Now we're both looking forward to hiking WOCR again in full daylight.

By: mijoy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 06, 2009
Hiked this trail from the Hawksbill parking area.  Went down Cedar Falls first then came up and around.  Going down the Cedar Falls trail took a few hours as with all the rain it was VERY wet and slippery.  The views of the falls were spectacular.  Definately not a hike for the beginner.

By: tdj Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 31, 2009
We hiked the circuit counter-clockwise starting at Hawksbill Gap.  We had a huge thunderstorm the night before which made the Cedar Run crossings a little more challenging.  The rocky Cedar Run trail was very slippery, also.   The constant sound of the rushing water was awesome.  Great views and a gorgeous hike.  Given the weather, we thought the trail would be packed, but was pleasantly surprised that the hiker traffic wasn't too bad.  Took us 5.5 hours (including our lunch stop.)  This is a must do hike.

By: Chance Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2009
My friends and I had the best hike ever at WOCR. The scenic views were just spectacular with such amazing cascading water falls. The sound of flowing water made the hike much more relaxing, even with the challenging steep climbs. We saw a few wildlife creatures up close such as a snake, an owl, flock of ravens splashing about in the water and a black bear. I would like to say "thank you" to the two good samaritans that walked with us and made noise in hopes of scarying the bear away. Overall, this is now one of my best hiking experiences ever and plan to visit again before the summer ends.    

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 16, 2009

Did the hike counterclockwise from White Oak Canyon Parking.  Temps were in the 70's with a slight overcast and took me less than 4 hours to complete.  This was by far one of the best hikes I experienced in the SNP.  Very challenging and lush greenery all over the trail runs along the streams - thought I was in a rainforest jungle.  Numerous spots to rinse and cool off along the WOC and CR portion. 


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 25, 2009

This was great hike for me so far..!!

Hike was a bit strennous compared to it's difficult level with Rip Rap hollow, with all the steepy climbs. But the stream and the waterfall make it all go away

It was not that green on the top of the mountain or once we reached horse trail and starting of the Cedar trail during this time

We had swim holes (am not sure if we are allowed to swim there), with people swimming at all points and it would be great.

I'd love to camp at any place along the trail, but unfortunately we dont have any camping spots. I love this hike for the steeps, waterfalls and the stream all across and definitely plan for this probly around fall


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009

We went up Cedar Run Creek and wow was that tough took a little less than 2 hours for 3+ miles.  Coming down White Oak Canyon was a nice change.  Google directions took me to a dead end. I suggest Sperryville .7mi , right @ 231 9.9 mi (go past Old Rag turns), right @ 643 (brown White Oak Canyon sign & a store @ turn)  4.3 mi, right @ 600 Weakly Hollow Rd (brown White Oak Canyon sign) 3.7 mi to parking lot.


By: Brandon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 05, 2009

The best stream hike. There was water everywhere, you can even get your car wet in the parking lot!

It was a bit tougher than I expected, especially the descent down Cedar Run.

That's all I can type. This is a must for spring hikes.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 09, 2008
Beautiful weather, great views/sounds of the waterfalls/runs, and good company equal a great dayhike.  My wife and I did this as an out and back from the rte. 600 parking lot to the yellow blazed horse trail and back.  The trip took us about 3 hours with lunch at the top portion of the falls.  We actually thought we were doing the moderate to easy White Oak hike listed on this site, but we soon figured out that that hike was referencing starting from Skyline drive instead.  Basically, it just made this one seem a little more on the moderate/sometimes difficult scale, especially with a loaded daypack.  Either way, it was a great day and a decent challenge and warm up for a stab at Three Ridges in a couple of weeks. Tom

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 18, 2008
Great hike! I went with some friends and my dog and everyone greatly enjoyed the hike up and down. Fall colors were amazing, and there are tons of places to stop along White Oak to enjoy lunch next to a waterfall. The White Oak trail was very busy - lots of people up and down - but we only ran into one group on Cedar Run. The connecting fire road was a little boring, and a bit longer than we expected, so I could see doing the hike in the opposite direction just so the fire road portion is downhill rather than up. If you bring a dog along, make sure that he is comfortable at water crossings, as there's a few major ones along Cedar Run and in getting to the fire road.

By: Derek Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 10, 2008
I'm not sure I understand the purpose of a circuit hike here why would you purposely walk a return that takes you on a fire road as opposed to going by all the waterfalls again?  The Cedar Run waterfall is only like a mile off the White Oak trail, so you might as well just add a couple miles that way and see the White Oak waterfalls again.

By: James Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 20, 2008

This is a great hike if you like waterfalls and swimming! It is NOT a scenery hike, but about seeing many cool (but small) waterfalls. Went clockwise and hiked up the Cedar Run trail in about 2 hours, on a very hot and humid day. This turned out to be a great idea...so we took our time on the way down, hitting most of the swimming pools and waterfalls on WOC. With the exception of the rock slide on Cedar Run, WOC has much more to see and do as you are closer to the water. WOC is also much more trail like, and therefore has many more people on it as well. There was lots of wildlife out as well; saw several snakes, spiders, and a bear cub when we were coming down the horse trail. Make sure you bring lots of water/gatorade when its hot as I went through over three liters. Be sure to get the Shenandoah NP year pass ($30) to avoid the $8 per use charge. I spent about 7 hours...all together and still wanted more time!


By: Rachel H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 12, 2008
This was the hike that, three years ago, turned me into a backpacker. I remember the hike up to the falls being strenuous for my out-of-shape self, but we were so richly rewarded on a hot summer day with water running well over the smooth falls and a deep pool down below. It was busy but not crowded, and there was a sort of knowing camaraderie among those of us who had journeyed up to this amazing spot. I couldn't believe that places like this existed, and since then have been on the hunt for more :)

By: Michelle Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 02, 2008
What a great surprise! I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this hike because it was listed as 'easy to moderate.' It was a nice little stroll at first but once you get past the lower falls, it was rocky and got my heart rate elevated. There's some great views of the BR mountains and the scenery along the trail is nice (falls, rockfaces, etc). There are many great spots for a quiet lunch and many of the small pools looked inviting (wish I'd brought my suit). Overall I loved the hike! Can't wait to go back and do the Cedar Run loop along with it.

By: MclaughlinFamily Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 22, 2008
Great Hike -- awesome waterfalls!  My group of two 13-yr-olds and two 10-year-olds (+ me) hiked the loop counter-clockwise.  Moderate grade at first led to a steeper and steeper hike throughout.  The wildlife made the hike more and more exciting.  About 1/2 way up the WOC I sidestepped around one of my slower hikers and a hand assist on a nearby rock found me about 10 inches from a basking coperhead who fortunately didn't have any interest in me.  Did scare me abit.  On the fire road leading to the Cedar trail an adult black bear ambled across the path about 30 yards ahead of our gaggle.  Always exciting to see.  On the way down the cedar run trail we enocuntered a large coiled rattle-snake in all its 'Discovery Channe' glory.  Scary, but fascinating after we moved out of striking range.  It had two full coils underneath its raised head and was a wide as my forearm.  Its rattle resembled and ear of indian corn with 90% of the kernels off and it made an unexpectedly loud hissing noise as it warned us/threated us off.  We'll remember it forever.  The water in the pools was wonderful/frigid and the entire hike took about 6.5 hours.

By: Sarah Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 22, 2008
One of my favorite hikes in the area for the length, workout, views of waterfalls and the lovely swimming holes. We hiked up White Oak, stopping at the second falls for the view, perfect place for lunch. The ascent is a bit steep, but a nice workout. The connecting horse trail to the Cedar Trail is a bit boring, but provided a nice, fairly easy grade, which was a good break because the Cedar Run train is quite steep  (downhill) and rocky, and a little hard on the knees. I suggest good boots for this one. The best part of the day was when we stopped at the last swimming hole on the cedar run trail and played on the natural waterslide--it was FREEZING, but lots of fun. We didnt see much wildlife, but saw a few bears on our way into the park, and a big black snake along the trail. The total time was 5, hrs 15 minutes, with a stop for lunch and a stop for playing on the slides. We'll come back in august when the water is a bit warmer......

By: Netty Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 21, 2008

This was my first time doing the White Oak/Cedar Run trail, and while it was definitely a challenge for me, I thought it was great. We used this hike as a training day, as we are working towards hiking a 14'er in the fall.

I used the research from this page, which was wonderful for a hiker like me that really needs to know what they're in for! The only thing I wasn't expecting was the steady incline in the fire road! Also, I thought the Cedar Run trail would be steeper from the other reviews, and even with a bit of rain in the last hour of our hike, it wasn't unbearable at all.

Overall fun hike, great views and scenery, and a good challenge. Only thing I would change next time is allowing some extra time to play in the water!


By: Shutter Nerd Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 01, 2008
I really enjoyed this hike.. I've hiked Old Rag about 10 times.. and this hike was a good change. I have to say that I like Old Rag better. Old Rag has better views. When I got to the parking, a ranger told me that Cedar run is a bit more challenging.. So I hiked Cedar Run to Horse trail to White Oak Trail.. It really kicked my butt.. Cedar Run is really steep.. It was a real work out!!

I think I actually recommend doing White Oak Trail and hike back to the parking.. Horse trail (fire road) is boring, and not much to see there.

There is a ranger station at the trail head, and they will charge you money.. They do accept credit card, which was nice..

MAKE SURE YOU BRING ENOUGH WATER!!!!! I BROUGHT 1 LITER, AND IT WASN'T ENOUGH!!

Other than that... great hike overall!!!

Shutter Nerd

By: Darrin Jackson Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 01, 2008

Best hike of the trip; this hike was really one to remember.  I started around 7am down Cedar Run at mile marker 45.6 to start off the hike; I suggest starting at the White Oak Trail unless you enjoy stair climbers, lol.  I only ran into a few people along the hike and there was plenty to see the whole way.  I know it says the hike is moderate but it's really worth the trip to go the 7.9 miles to see every bit of it! 

You won't regret the sweat iafter you see the waterfalls along White Oaks and the pools of water along Cedar Run.  I was in kind of a rush when I did it; wish I had more time to enjoy the scenery.  It took me a little under 3.5 hours to finish, but if you're enjoying the views it should take you about 5hrs. 

I recommend this for anyone who is physical fit to do so.


By: Yanks26 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 24, 2008

This is one hike we can never ever forget in our life time. 

We (with my wife , daughter (10 years old), brother-in-law and his Wife from PA)  Age group in 30's  (Men have  hit 40) reached the parking lot at 11 am. Was quite a drive from our resort located in Basye,VA . We  are amateur hikers decided to take this trail.  I take regular long walks with my daughter  for 6 miles every week so we thought this could be done very easily. They told us the loop  was 8.2 miles. The park rangers did mention it was a bit strenuous for the whole hike and asked us to take just the half of it. They told us it should take 5 hours with half hour lunch break

It was fun during the first  half of the loop  seeing the water falls. Had lunch and snacks all the way.  We took lot of water with us. We followed the directions to the “T”  which was on this Web site.  It was great to see the Lower Whiteoak falls and Upper Whiteoak falls. It was great sight. We heard people mention of rattle snake they had seen a few mins earlier We saw deer and a  bear cub on the Cedar Run Trail.. My  wife and daughter were a  bit scared  and were hoping not to see the mother bear around.  It was around 4 Pm already and then blue blazed trail began and our never ending trail  began which never seemed to end.  It was around 8 Pm we were thinking we were lost  but we were still seeing the blue marks on the trees and hoping it’ll take us to our parking lot.  We a saw a tent and thought we could get help from them but nobody was there in it. Then at one point the Blue marks  stopped near the stream and  saw the  blue marks on other side of the water So we had to cross the stream  I for some reason had got the GPS  (used in the car ) with me and this website had provided the coordinates for the parking Lot.  We were a few degrees away from it so we started moving towards the blue marks (It was a little comfort knowing GPS can help). It was getting darker  At 8.30 pm we saw the blue marks again end  at the  stream and saw  them continue on the other side of water  so we had to jump on the slippery rocks again  to cross the stream. My daughter slipped on wiggly rock while crossing. My Wife and daughter were getting desperate and my daughter was tired and crying we are lost and going  to die.  After crossing the water again we saw the concrete marker and the parking was 0.8 miles. We had no flash lights and so used our cell phone and the GPS we had for the light. At the concrete marker we finally saw a  couple who had the miners hat with the light attached so asked them  if we could follow them. We finally reached at 9.37 pm and my daughter was so pleased to see our SUV and the bright lights of the car. We had hiked for a total 10 hrs and 40 mins with the breaks. In all, this hike made us better hikers and next time we’ll be more prepared. Maybe be ready to camp if necessary.  My suggestion to amateurs like me is to start real early like 8 or 9 am and give a lot of time if you do get lost and be ready to camp in case you get lost. Don’t forget your flash lights . BTW Cell Phones don’t work  so forget calling  911


By: Bridget, Adam & Riley (woof!) Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 22, 2008
Started the hike at the intersection of Cedar Run off skyline drive. Weather was varied throughout the hike--we got hail, rain, and then abundant sunshine! Trail maintence was going on on cedar run--taking care of those slippery leaves others commented about. Most are cleared now! Saw lots of other hikers on the white oak section. As to be expected for a nice spring saturday. Riley loved swimming in and out of all the great pools along both trails. Trail was muddy/slippery in some areas along White oak. Great hike overall. As for difficulty-we were definitely tired at the end of the day and consider ourselves to be quite active/fit.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 22, 2008
The scenery is unforgettable. Before turning down on Cedar Run Trail I walked to the top of Hawksbill Mtn and enjoyed world-class view from the top. Some hikers claimed they saw bears, but I had no such luck.

By: Ellen and Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, December 25, 2007
A relatively warm Christmas day - family on other continents, no kids, so Christmas seemed like a good day to take a hike. This time, we tested our theory that it is better to go UP Cedar Run and DOWN White Oak Canyon. The idea here is that while they are about the same length and the same steepness, Cedar Run has trickier footing, whereas WOC is well-maintained and has a lot of rock and/or concrete stairs. Turned out to be a very good idea, particularly as we decided to leave Hawksbill Summit via the Appalachian Trail, which we took all the way to the White Oak Canyon trailhead. This added about 3 ridgeline miles to the hike, so we were more tired than we would otherwise have been had we just gone back down Hawksbill and then across the fire road to White Oak Canyon. All together, it was thirteen miles. There was little ice on Cedar Run and none on White Oak Canyon, but it was 35 in the a.m. and near 50 during the day. A fair amount of ice forming on the Appalachian Trail. Check weather carefully before trying any of these trails over the next few weeks. It is just about to turn to ice.

Note: White Oak Canyon at the top, for about a mile, is flat and wide and easy. However, the recent ice storms have  brought down tree limbs all over the place so we spent a lot of time climbing over them or moving them aside.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 25, 2007
Great hike, really beautiful. We are used to long hikes, but not all-up, all-down (e.g., we are used to hikes with a lot of ridgeline hiking). Even so, this one proved reasonable. We didn't find it at all arduous.

A few notes relevant to what others have said:
1. The four of us ranged in age from 42-52. Two of us hike every weekend, 7 &  11 milers, the other two are in good shape. I wouldn't call going up White Oak Canyon a 4. It just wasn't that tough.
2. Coming down Cedar Run - definitely a 4 - but due mostly to the leaves, which were deep and slippery (even though they were dry). Just trickier, with more rocks and tree roots and seemed a bit steeper. In the future, we'll go up Cedar Run (we find uphill easier) when we are fresh. It just takes a lot of concentration to hike down a relatively steep slope with tons of tricky footing. It is just mentally exhausting and you don't get to enjoy the scenery as much.
3. The Hawksbill Summit add-on. Why bother climbing up the highest peak in SNP and not go to the summit? Supposedly, the 1.7 miles is a 2-hr round trip hike. Baloney. It took us 20 minutes to go up (0.85) at a slow, steady pace. If you are reasonably fit, it shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes. Coming down - about 12 minutes. And it is SO worth it. It is gorgeous up there.

Altogether, we clocked 10.5 miles (using Garmin) in 5 hrs even (again, tracked on the Garmin). Will post track on Trimble Outdoors.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 23, 2007
The only reason I did not give White Oak/Cedar Run Hike 5 stars is because of how cold it was this time of year!  Bundle Up!  Wear more than you think you need in layers so that you can take them off and wrap around your waist or stuff in your sack.  Windproof Gloves and warm hat (covers your whole head, not ear muffs) are neccessary.  Going up the trail can be done at a good clip (we saw a black bear cub!) but once you cut over to Cedar Run coming down the trail takes serious leg strength and balance.  Consider your fitness level.  My legs were both shaking!  Also this time of year there were too many loose leaves on the trail.  It was guesswork as to where to put your foot and just hope there wasn't a loose rock under the leaf pile.  My favorite part was going across Skyline Dr. and picking up the Appalachian Trail for about 20 min before coming down Cedar Run trail.  Makes you feel like a REAL hiker for the day!  I am in excellent shape and the whole hike took me 5.5 hours to give you some perspective.  No lunch stop, just snacks the whole way. And I burned over 1700 calories!

By: jmgradon Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 10, 2007
I agree with the couple below who said it would be a crime to do this circuit without adding Hawksbill Summit.  It's only an additional .8 miles to the top of Hawksbill from the top of the Cedar Run trail.  I agree that 30 minutes is the maximum time it should take to get to the top for anyone capable of doing the White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run circuit and you can practically run down back to the start of the Cedar Run trail.   My 13-year old son and I did the entire hike in under 6 hours and we took a number of rest breaks.  By the way, I have been toying with the idea of combining this hike with a hike up Stony Man, starting at the White Oak Canyon trailhead down in the valley, continuing up the trail all the way to Skyland and then up Stony Man and then taking the AT all the way to Hawksbill and then down Cedar Run back to the trailhead.  My guess is that this is about 15 miles, but I am not sure.  Has anyone ever done this or have any idea how long it really is? 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 06, 2007
This hike was great!  We saw a small black bear within 15 minutes of the starting point and enjoyed the waterfalls a great deal. 

By: Judy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 06, 2007
My husband and I, and our 4 grown kids did this hike.  We were disappointed in the dryness of the waterfalls, there was not much water at all.  It was in the 90 degrees for an October day, that was pretty surprising.  We were huffing and puffing along, the only leaves that had changed were at the very top of the mountain.  But once we got up there, the view of the falls was nothing but rock and few trickles of water.  It took us 7 hours to go 8 miles and my knees were really giving out on the way down.  It was quite steep.  We had hiked in PA many times, but not in VA.  The mountains were much steeper and the cost to hike for the 6 of us was almost $60.  (It's free in PA).   We  didn't  see any widelife either.  It was a long day.  I suggest  that  you  get in shape for this hike.  Plus, there is no view of  the  Blue Ridge mountains at all, you are in the deep of the forest the whole time. 

By: Andy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 21, 2007
I hiked this loop in the middle of July.  Overall, this hike was awesome.  The waterfalls are spectacular.  As far as the difficulty is concerned, I don't think it's quite as strenuous as some make it out to be.  The uphill between each of the waterfalls is quite steep, but if you plan on stopping at each of the six falls to take pictures and rest a bit, then it is doable, even for those in moderate physical condition.  The one caution I do have is for those with bad knees or weak joints.  The Cedar Run trail which brings you back down from the top of the ridge is pretty rocky in spots and not very well maintained.  You'll be doing doing some "hard stomping" on parts of your way down.  My bud who did this hike with me has some knee problems and while he managed the uphill well, he was defintely hurting on the way down.  However, the wildlife everywhere was just gorgeous.  Plenty of deer, rabbits, etc.  And the neatest surprise of all occurred when we were wrapping up our hike toward the end of the day at the bottom of Cedar Run trail.  My buddy's knees were hurting and my wife and I were pretty tired as well, when we heard some lout rustle not too far off to our right.  At first we couldn't make out what it was, but it became evident soon afterwards when we caught sight of a mother black bear and her two cubs about 200 yards away from us.  The two cubs were running around and playing.  Eventually the mother made way over a ridge out of our sight and the two cubs followed her.   Wow...I never saw a bear in the wild before and it was a truly exhilarating experience.  My buddy was totally psyched seeing these bears as well and totally forgot about his sore knee joints!

By: Beatlunch Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 07, 2007
My bride and I are either just shy or just over 50, in generally average cardio fitness, non-runners (we walk instead, she does yoga, I lift, etc. etc.)  We had our donuts and coffee and drove up from D.C.

Did the loop from lower parking lot up White Oak Trail to Horse Trail to Cedar Run and back to the lot.  Beautiful cool morning to start and made good time up W.O.C.  Cool breeze and lots of shade helped temper what was to become a 90 degree day later.  Found that walking around the neighborhood did little to prep our 50 year old bodies for the verticals.  Turned off W.O.C. at the junction with the Horse Trail and followed it steadily upward for about 2.5 miles to junction with yellow markers and Skyline Dr.  We then took Cedar Run, had lunch at a nice falls pool and made it back to the car at 4 p.m.  (We set off at 8:45 A.M., took lots of breaks, and had a "swim" with our lunch - 'bout an hours' worth...)  All in all, about 7 hours of walking, 8 miles or so, and about 5K up and downs.  Here is what we learned:

1.  Need to do this more to get in shape for it.
2.  It was difficult to gain 10 pounds of weight (backpack with lots of water, lunch, etc.), and do 2 hours of stair climbing.    Cool thing is is that as I type this the night of, my legs are once again happy.  Once accomplishment sets in, its all worth it and you wanna go back for more.
3.  The horse trail, that others have said was uneventful or boring was frustrating in this direction for those so out of shape 'cause it was mostly uphill.
4.  Most of the cement marker posts have little silver bands near the top.  We only today discovered (this was our third time out here) that the bands give you directions.  We finished the horse trail and initially missed the turn for Cedar Run because we strayed onto the yellow trail instead of hanging an acute left at the three-way intersection.
5.  Cedar Run was a tough go for us because by the time we got going down, our muscles and joints had pretty much been used up for the day.  This is a trail with few level or even stretches, and all of the loose stones and irregular steps were pretty challenging.
Lastly, we were thankful to have more water waiting for us to drink in the car.  We went through around one and a half to two liters per person, but were thirsty and out of liquid with about a 1/4 of the trip remaining.  Bring lots of water on these hot, dry days...

We will return , but will probably avoid Cedar Run to save time, frustration, and spend more time in the water near the falls on W.O.C.

Beatlunch

By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 29, 2007
This hike was just wonderful! I did add to the hike by hiking the full length of the White Oak Canyon trail up to Skyline Drive. I crossed Skyline at Skyland and headed south on the AT. I took the spur trail up to Betty's Rock to gain the summit. I then continued down the AT to cross back over Skyline and head back down the Cedar Run Trail.  The hike was 11.1 miles with about 5000 ft. in total elevation change. I started at 6:50 am and was off the trail at 2:30.
 The trails are well marked and obviously well traveled. I was fortunate and did not see a single soul heading up White Oak until I reached the intersection with the Limberlost trail. The Streams and waterfalls were perfect and beautiful! Wildflowers lined the trail most of the way, though Spring lost it's grasp a bit towards the top. Trails were well maintained and without obstacles. A trail crew had recently cleared the Cedar Run Trail per the ranger I contacted to check on conditions. some loose stones on the Cedar Run Trail bear a bit more caution when you are tired and heading down. I stopped for a half hour, much needed, rest and lunch at Betty's Rock. Conditions were a bit raw on the western side of the Mountain making me wish I had packed a light pullover. The streams offer multiple opportunities for cooling off and resupply of water if you have a filter. This hike is a must do and would be gorgeous in the Fall. Absolutely one of my favorites!    

By: Dan an' Cal Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 28, 2007
This is a great hike. First off, the drive just getting there is fantastic. White Oak trail itself is a bit steep, but thats better anyways since its good to be really hot before jumping into one of the many great swimming holes. And the waterfalls are beautiful.  The only downer really is the amount of people.  The Cedar run return hike, in my opinion, is even better because its less crowded and feels more secluded. And there are a few really beautfiul spots on Cedar Run as well.  Also, something no one has mentioned here, when the horsetrail turns into Cedar run, you come close to another parking lot. If you go to the parking lot and cross it, there is another trail that leads to the highest point in all of the Shenendoahs.  Its short, but really steep. That add one hike is estimated to take 2 additional hours. We didnt have time because we started our hike late, but i think it would be a really great add on.  The loop took us 6 hours, and that includes a really long lunch, and few scenic detours. Overall it was a blast.

By: tawlk Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 08, 2007

We really like this hike, even though the first time we took it we didn't know if we would make it back to our Jeep.  Last summer we found this hike in a book that we bought and parked at the Cedar Run parking lot on the Skyline Drive as suggested....little did we know that the White Oak Canyon would kick our butt.  It didn't help that we were hiking on 4th of July weekend, the temperature was over 90, and the sun directly overhead.  I would highly suggest following the route as described here; starting at the bottom and going up the White Oak Canyon was much easier.  Also since you will be doing this segment first, your chances of getting some good pictures without huge crowds greatly increases. 

This time, we hiked on Easter Sunday.  The trail wasn't too busy, we only met 4 couples and a group of 6 (safe to say no one was swimming this time).  There was about 3" of snow at the top from a storm the previous day, but the trail was well beat.  As for camping, good luck...  There are a few spots on the Cedar Run side, but this is definately a day-hike.


By: Michele P Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 17, 2006
We had an unusually warm day for December, but still had the trail almost all to ourselves. We were surprised at how beautiful everything was, considering the rating for Views was given a 1 out of 5. It was a great workout, with plenty of photo opportunities. We look forward to returning in the Spring, with more greenery and more water.  White Oak Canyon Trail is prettier than Cedar Run Trail, and the fire road is completely boring. Next time we will try it backwards, climb up CRT and down WOCT.   

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, December 04, 2006
Where to begin..well, it was cold. Not just cold, but darn cold.  The trip up through White Oak Canyon was great.  Absolutely beautiful.  Even with the cold, biting wind, the views were so nice that it made up for everything.  We had the entire trail to ourselves, never seeing another human being from start to finish.  Some obvious blowdowns from the recent ice storm, but this trail was clear. 

We stopped and enjoyed a nice lunch out of the wind up past the second falls.  Things at this point were going well, but our progress was a bit slow due to freezing and thawing trails (depending on the sunlit areas).  Things were a bit messy, but not too bad.

Things began to get rough on the hike across the White Oak fire road.  The steep nature of the road began to take its toll on my wife -she is a runner and is in great shape.  We started to see a lot more blown down timber on this trail, things were getting sloppy due to thawing, except in the shade areas which were still frozen.  We noticed our water bottles were freezing.  Thermometer said 31 at 1pm.  Wind was in the teens.

We thought once we got off of the never-ending steepness of the White Oak Fire Road that things would improve.  The Cedar Run trail was a mess.  Massive blowdowns, trail blockages.  The rocks were slippery due to ice and mud and a lot of negotiating the fallen mess was required.  Our progress was incredibly slow which was frustrating.  The views along the Cedar Run trail were not as good as WOC, but there were a couple of nice spots.  Unfortunately, we were running low on time so the time to enjoy then was short.

Overall, Cedar Run trail was arduous.  I love hiking in SNP, but I'm not sure if I would repeat Cedar Run.  Tough on the knees and feet.

Still, any day in the woods is better than a day in the office!  I recommend enjoying the WOC trail.  If you decide to do the WOC Cedar Run loop, leave plenty of time.  It took us 5 hours 20 min and there wasn't  much daylight back in those coves on the way down!  We only stopped 10 min for lunch and we did not linger too long, save to take pics at the various falls.  We normally keep a pretty nice pace.

By: denise Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 17, 2006
Most of the fall foliage was gone, but none the less, this is a great hike especially since the area had over four inches of rain the day before. The rain made the stream crossings a little deeper than advertised; there was no way to stay dry. Much of the Cedar Run trail was a stream. These were small inconveniences when compared to listening and seeing both Runs roaring down thru the canyon. Water rushed over the lower falls so fast, on impact there was mist flying 20 feet into the air. As you hiked up the canyon to the upper falls, you can hear and see the constant flow of the runs making their way to the bottom. I'm not sure of the nature of this hike without a previous down pour, but if you time this hike right, you are in for a treat.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 30, 2006
There are three hikes in Virginia that I continue to return to time and time again, this is one of those (St. Mary's and Old Rag rounding out the 3). I'm a sucker for any kind of waterfall, and this one definitely does not disappoint. The two trails, white oak and cedar run are two completely different trails. White oak contains the most waterfalls, and it seems like every few minutes you find another one. It is definitely crowded between the parking lots and the first waterfalls, but the falls and trail in between aren't too bad. White Oak is also very rocky and I find that my knees tend to ache for a day or two after this hike. While Cedar Run is quite a bit easier on the knees (not as rocky), but still contains some falls. I've only passed one person on this trail so its been great for wildlife (my parents have seen bears). Oh, and if you are a photographer, you can pretty much guarantee you'll never hike the whole trail ... too much to photograph (more of my photographs can be found here).

By: Lesley Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 28, 2006

By: JL Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 04, 2005
This is a very pleasant hike with plenty of spots to stop and look at the stream for pools or waterfalls. On the way up the White Oak Canyon trail there is a small copperhead snake (venomous) that has decided to make the trail its home. It is marked with an orange ribbon and stones on the path encourage hikers to walk around its house, inside a rock crack. We extended the loop by continuing up on White Oak Canyon trail (i.e. not turning left on the fire road) till we reached the Limberlost trail. Turned left on Limberlost (easy trail going through a hemlock forest devastated by the Woolly Adelgid insects) then continued till we saw on the left the sign for Crescent Rock Trail. We continued on the Crescent Rock Trail till we reach the road. We turned left on the road and enjoyed the beautiful views off Crescent Rock Outlook. Then we continue on the road descending till we reached the White Oak Fire Road on the left and finished the loop as described here. This longer loop took 6hrs and added summit views to the hike.

By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 05, 2004
The Cedar Run-Forest Road-W.O. Canyon hike is my all-time favorite hike in Virginia. Gorgeous water falls, lots of exercise. My record time for the loop is 3-1/4 hours, starting-ending at the lower parking lot. In spring 2004 I hiked the trail 4 Saturdays in a row. It's also a good winter hike, since there's almost no one else hiking and the views are better. I love starting the hike at sun-up to beat the crowds. And it's nice to stop at the church-bookstore in Sperryville for coffee on my way home.

By: M.R.Hyker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2003
I've been doing this hike at least every other year since 1999. It does get crowded but most of the traffic is at the top from people who walk in from Skyline Drive. Most of who park off-park hike up and back down White Oak Canyon. The Fire Road and Cedar Run is travelled far less than White oak Canyon. As with all of the other Waterfall Hikes in the Park, they are at their best in the early spring after ice out or a prolonged period of rain. However, I like to do this one in the fall. I guess because the canyon gets cooler faster than the surrounding landscape the colors come in earlier and seem more intense. See the following link: http://maryland.sierraclub.org/hc/pictures/2003/20031011WhiteOakCanyon.asp
If there is one thing prettier than a waterfall hike it is a waterfall hike with some splashes of color.

By: Carl Hanbury Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 03, 1911
With 4-friends, I hiked clock-wise the Cedar Run-White Oak Canyon circuit. I was surprised at seeing so many people on the Cedar Run portion as 10-years ago when I'd hiked it solo, I only saw 4-scouts. This time there was even a group of 4 from PA.  Ascending Cedar Run was not as tough as I'd expected it to be. The sun was out it was cool, but not cold. Our group found the hike a challenge, but were very pleased with the beauty of both trails. A word of caution, near where the White Oak Canyon Fireroad, and White Oak Canyon Trail meet, don't ford/ cross the stream because it is slick and can result in serious injury. Instead continue on for maybe 30-yards and cross on the bridge. The bridge is almost impossible to see from the dangerous crossing. This is an exceptional hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 09, 1911
Great hike! My boyfriend and I really enjoyed this hike. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect! We did the white oak/cedar run hike.  To add to it, we did the entire white oak hike, then turned around and hiked down the mountain and hiked across the fire road to do the cedar run section.  (we actually got lost because we missed the fire road on the first run, but we will just pretend that we were super ambitious!)  Only complaint I would have is that the paths aren't marked all that well, however if I would have pulled out the directions I printed from the website we wouldn't have had a problem! The pictures I took were fabulous! Can't wait to hike this again in the fall when the leaves change!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 18, 1910
Great hike to do. Finished in about 5 hours. I'm 46, work out regularly, and run marathons/ half marathons. Had actually run 10mi the day before so my legs were a bit tired but I did surprisingly well. Next time will take a bit more time to stop for pix and enjoying the waterworks.

Started at the Hawksbill Gap parking lot  around 10:30.  It was about 77degrees [DC was about 90.] Took the CR down. The trail wasn't too crowded at all.  I came across a few deer, a bear cub along the trail  and a few human families enjoying some of the CR swimming holes on the way down. There were a few hikers doing the loop in reverse and we crossed paths on the WOC. Connected to WOC at the bottom of CR and looped back up. The WOC is a relatively steep climb and not as shaded as CR. It was definitely sunnier and hotter. Be sure to pack enough water and other goodies to keep you going. Took the fire road back to the parking lot. Was in my car by 3:30-3:40.

Would also like to do this loop during the fall and spring to see how things are during those seasons.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 30, 1910
What a great challenge!  The snow must've been 6-8 inches and drifts were up to a foot.  I Learned a valuable lesson on this hike  When it snows, add at least an extra couple of hours on your estimated finish time.  I went up there with 6 others and even at starting around 8:30 am, did not finish until 4:30pm.  With the snow covering up most of the Cedar Run portion, there were a number of slips and slides to say the least, but no one was injured.  The last two stream crossings were challenging with the water high and the snowmelt, but beautiful.  The falls were incredible and are well worth seeing.  I would not recommend those who aren't fit to do the whole loop.  At the most, make it and out and back from rte. 600 to the top of the higher falls.   I've done this loop at least three other times and it seemed like a totally different hike with these conditions.  Plan accordingly, be careful, but enjoy.

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