Falls of Whiteoak Canyon in Shenandoah National Park – Madison County
The Falls of Whiteoak Canyon is Virginia’s TOP WATERFALL TRAIL. If you have only one day to see as many waterfalls as you can then this is the place to go!
There are 7 waterfalls to enjoy on this trail but some bushwhacking is required as well as scrambling over slippery rocks. Wear proper shoes and be careful!
After heavy rains the whole canyon becomes a waterfall spectacle with water tumbling over the canyon walls everywhere you look – a sight not be missed!
And when you combine WHITEOAK CANYON TRAIL and CEDAR RUN TRAIL you see at least 10 large waterfalls and several smaller ones and cascades!
If you just want to hike Whiteoak Canyon and your main goal is to photograph waterfalls, then I suggest you park in the lower parking area shown on the trail map above.
For accurate directions, please see my Virginia Waterfall Map!
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)