Grayson Highlands State Park in Grayson County is home to at least 3 smaller waterfalls with Lower Cabin Creek being the most photogenic.
The Lower Cabin Creek Trail is a moderate 1.9 mile loop hike with the Lower Cabin Creek Falls as its main attraction. The Upper Cabin Creek Falls is not visible unless the Creek is flowing very hard.
Further to the east, the Wilson Creek Trail is a completely different matter! The 2.1 mile loop is a rough trail and steep with several options to enhance the hike. While the complete loop is best suited for serious hikers, everone can make it down to the Creek to fish and walk around.
There are several waterfalls along Wilson Creek but these look much better after heavy rains! The main waterfall is really a large cascade but it can be powerfull when the Creek is up.
Both trails are reached from inside the State Park (entrance fee).
For Cabin Creek drive up to the Massie Gap parking area. It is best to hike clockwise once you reach the junction after 0.2 miles. Lower Cabin Creek Falls are at 0.75 miles. The Upper Falls are at mile 1.1
For Wilson Creek, drive east towards the Hickory Ridge Campground and park near the Country Store. Waterfall lovers not afraid of rough trails should hike the anti-clockwise loop – basically following the Creek upstream. The Falls are at 0.95 miles.
For a somewhat easier hike, you can do an out-and-back along Orchard Road.
Lands Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park – Warren County
Lands Run Falls is a great little leg-stretcher hike not far for the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park. It is only 0.6 miles to the Falls with a gentle profile.
BUT – the Falls require a bit of bushwhacking and it is very steep next to the creek. Use caution.
Most folks do not know about this waterfall and in summer it is a tiny trickle so do plan to visit after heavy rains!
Park at the Lands Run parking area at mile 9.2 then follow the fire road down until you cross Lands Run. You are now at the top of the Falls.
At that point retrace your steps a few yards and turn downhill. The creek should be on your left as you scramble down. Soon you will hear and see the Lands Run Falls then it is time to be extra careful!
Overall Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park – Warren County
At 93 feet, Overall Run Falls is the highest in Shenandoah National Park but also the most frustrating to visit and photograph!
We all want beautiful photos of this waterfall but the Park Services seemingly do not want to clear a few obstructive trees! Whatever their reasons, it is a shame because it could have been an incredible reward after such a long and steep hike to get there.
I hiked to the Falls from both the top and bottom parking areas and the easiest way is from the camping area at Mathews Arm. If you do not want to camp then the hike from the bottom is more scenic. Most visitors, however, park at Mile 21.1 and hike down.
The base of Overall Run Falls looks impossible to reach but it is actually not that hard! Just follow the directions below.
The top parking area is at Mile 21.1 near Hogback Overlook.
The bottom parking area is a small turnout at the end of CR630 near Bentonville. Do not block any entrances! Please find it on my map. Then follow the road into the Park where you will trail markers.
From Mathews Arm camping area just look for the Mathews Arm Trail. You can park in the Amphitheater parking lot if the roads are open.
There are two waterfalls of note. The first is called Twin Falls and you can see it after 2.7 miles when hiking from Skyline Drive.
The Overlook for Overall Run Falls is at about 3 miles.
To reach the base, continue down to mile 3.3 where you will find a camping area. Behind the camp site, bushwhack down to Overall Run Creek and up to the base just a short distance away. It is not a difficult bushwhack.
If you hike from the bottom parking area, there is a very popular swim hole at mile 1.
You will coss Overall Run twice on your way uphill. If these crossings are dry as shown in the ohotos below, you can expect Overall Run Falls to be just a trickle unfortunately!
This is the profile for the most popular route from Skyline Drive to the Overlook
To hike the complete 7.9 mile loop, I suggest to park in the lower lot then hike anti-clockwise – start uphill in Whiteoak Canyon, cut across using the fire road and descend on the Cedar Run Trail. This is a VERY CHALLENGING hike.
Most Park visitors just park at mile 42.6 and hike down Whiteoak Canyon and back up! It is 2.3 miles to the first waterfall – Whiteoak Canyon Waterfall #! It is 4.4 miles all the way down to waterfall #7 (including all the bushwhacking). This means you have a very steep – making this a 8.8 mile return hike!
Whiteoak Canyon Falls #1 (the topmost waterfall) is 2.3 miles from the top parking area. There is an overlook where you get a limited view of the Falls from a distance. Most folks turn around there. DO NOT!
Continue down the trail for a short distance until you reach the creek. Then bushwhack upstream untl you reach the base of Whiteoak Canyon Waterfall #1.
On high water days you can hear #2 from the trail but it cannot be seen.
From the base of #1, return to the trail and hike about 0.5 miles until the trail returns to the creek. At that point, turn right and bushwack upstream to the base of Waterfall #2.
Return to the trail then hike 0.2 miles where you will hear and see Waterfall #3 from the trail at a small clearing high above it. Honestly this may be the best view of #3 if the creek runs high and fast because it will be near impossible to make it to the base!
Nevertheless, to get to the base hike down the trail a short distance until you reach the creek then bushwhack upstream. Please know the creek is narrow near the base with high rocks and the shear force of the water and spray over the Falls will soak your camera! This will work much better when flow is low.
Let’s continue down to Waterfall #6 which is right next to the trail and a very popular swimming hole for locals hiking up from the lower parking area.
#6 is a beautiful split waterfall – the prettiest in Whiteoak Canyon.
Then look for a small trail to the right leading to the top of the falls. Scramble up there then continue to bushwhack until you reach Waterfall #5!
But you are not done yet! Cross the creek and scramble up the steep bank to the top of #5 and you will see Waterfall #4 reveal itself just a short scramble away!
Back on the trail walk down just a few steps and you will see Tim’s Creek coming in from the left. Cross the creek and turn left. Scramble up the bank and bushwhack upstream until you reach Tim’s Creek Falls (Waterfall #7)
Falls of Cedar Run in Shenandoah National Park – Madison County
The Falls of Cedar Run are not as popular as those of the Whiteoak Canyon nearby but the trail offers seclusion (for the first 1.5 miles when hiking downstream) and beautiful scenery.
Unfortunately, it is also one of the steeper waterfall hikes in Shenandoah and this can cause problems when inexperienced hikers try to combine the Cedar Run and Whiteoak Canyon Trails – a VERY challenging 7.9 mile hike.
I suggest waterfall enthusiasts carrying camera equipment (such as tripods) should tackle each trail separately. Visit Cedar Run and Whiteoak Canyon on different days so you can arrive early at each waterfall for the best shots.
The Cedar Run Trail is 3.6 very steep miles between the top and lower parking areas.
Should you start at the top or bottom? I prefer to park at the lower lot and hike up to the cascades and then back down. It is shorter hike with faster access to the three waterfalls and the cascade.
NOTE – Cedar Run #2 is a very popular swimming hole. Go early to find parking and to avoid groups of swimmers at the Falls.
The top parking area (Hawksbill Gap) is at mile 45.6 on Skyline Drive.
The lower parking area is off Weakley Hollow Road near the community of Syria.
You are enterng a National Park and there is a fee station at the lower trailhead.
After crossing a low water bridge, you will turn left and flank Cedar Run all the way to several waterfalls. I saw 5 waterfalls all worthy of photos but decided to focus on the three larger ones, starting with Cedar Run Falls #3 after about 1 mile. This is the prettiest waterfall along Cedar Run.
Continue upstream to Cedar Run Falls #2 at mile 1.2 where the swimming hole is located.
Cedar Run Falls #1 is at 1.8 miles.
You can continue a bit further to the popular Cedar Run Cascade (a sliding rock!) at 2.1 miles.
You will cross Cedar Run just upstream of the Cascade. From here you can turn back or continue to Skyline Drive (another 1.5 very steep miles).
Trail Profile – Cedar Run and Whiteoak Canyon
Anti-clockwise Loop starting/ending at the low trailhead. The Cedar Run Trail is the Yellow Section.
Rose River Falls in Shenandoah National Park – Madison County
Rose River Falls is one of the prettiest in Shenandoah! After heavy rain there may be several parallel falls tumbling over the 67 ft rock face.
The first 0.5 miles is also a horse trail – please know horses have right of way. After 0.9 miles the Rose River comes into view of the left. Follow the trail to Rose River Falls #1 (main falls) at 1.25 miles.
But there is more! Continue to mile 1.35 then bushwack down to Rose River Falls #2. You will see the top of the falls first then carefully make your way down to its base – it is very steep.
Park at Fishers Gap Overlook at mile 49.4. I prefer the area along the fire road nearby BUT DO NOT BLOCK the road. Then cross Skyline Drive and enter the trail.
Lewis Falls in Shenandoah National Park – Page County
Its proximity to Big Meadows makes Lewis Falls a very popular destination in Shenandoah National Park.
Unfortunately in summer the waterfall slows down to a mere trickle but if you visit after heavy rains it can be very spectacular.
The 0.9 mile trail is steep and rocky and it gets slippery near the waterfall so please wear proper shoes!
There is a observation point above the Falls with handrails for safety and while it is possible to bushwhack down to the base I’ve decided to not show that trail.
The reason is simple – the trail to the base is dangerous and in full view of folks at the observation point (especially when the vegetation is thin). I do not want to encourage the general tourist (with no bushwhacking experience) to try and follow anyone down to the base.
Park at in the small lot at mile 54.4 (west side of the road) or across the road at mile 54.3. The hike straight down for 0.9 miles.
The blue-blazed trail is clearly marked and crosses the Appalachian Trail. Near the Falls it meets up with the Lewis Spring Falls Trail coming from the amphitheater at Big Meadows. You can do a loop hike when combining these 3 trails.
Falls of Naked Creek in Shenandoah National Park – Page County
The East Branch of Naked Creek is a waterfall-rich stream that flows down from near Skyline Drive to the community of Jollett.
It is best to access Naked Creek from the Naked Creek Overlook by bushwhacking for about a mile down to a series of waterfalls. I encountered three waterfalls but there must be a few more either upstream or downstream.
There are no trails and the going is rough, steep and almost impassable in the Spring when the growth is tall and green. But I went anyways – and twisted my ankle down in the hollows. I had to hobble my way back up through the most terrible terrain.
The area is unexplored for the most part and it would be most interesting to do a multi-day hike from Jollett to the headwaters of Naked Creek!
Looking at the trail map below, note the East Branch of Naked Creek is the lower creek flowing from left to right. The creek on the right is a side creek.
Walk down through the meadow. Others suggest to go left to the side creek and hike down following the creek, BUT I prefer to start at the middle of the overlook and hike straight down (west) until I meet the East Branch of Naked Creek.
I cross Naked Creek then hike left (some day I will explore to the right!) and follow the Creek downstream. Things get interesting once the side creek comes in from the left – two major waterfalls appear soon after!
It is about 0.8 miles from the parking area to these waterfalls.