Falls of Cedar Run in Virginia

Cedar Run Falls #3

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.

NOTE – My Virginia Waterfall Map shows the loop trail if you want to combine these two trails.

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.

Directions

The top parking area (Hawksbill Gap) is at mile 45.6 on Skyline Drive.

Cedar Run - Top Parking
Cedar Run – Top Parking along Skyline Dr

The lower parking area is off Weakley Hollow Road near the community of Syria.

Cedar Run - Low Parking
Cedar Run – Low Parking

Please study my Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

Trail Map

You are enterng a National Park and there is a fee station at the lower trailhead.

Cedar Run - Lower Trailhead
Cedar Run – Lower Trailhead
Trail Map - Falls of Cedar Run
Trail Map – Falls of Cedar Run (click to enlarge)

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.

Cedar Run Falls #3
Cedar Run Falls #3

Continue upstream to Cedar Run Falls #2 at mile 1.2 where the swimming hole is located.

Cedar Run Falls #2
Cedar Run Falls #2

Cedar Run Falls #1 is at 1.8 miles.

Cedar Run Falls #1
Cedar Run Falls #1

You can continue a bit further to the popular Cedar Run Cascade (a sliding rock!) at 2.1 miles.

Cedar Run Cascade
Cedar Run Cascade

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).

Cedar Run - Crossing
Cedar Run – Crossing

Trail Profile – Cedar Run and Whiteoak Canyon

Anti-clockwise Loop starting/ending at the low trailhead. The Cedar Run Trail is the Yellow Section.

Profile - Cedar Run - WhiteOak
Profile – Cedar Run – WhiteOak (click to enlarge)

Rose River Falls in Virginia

Rose River Falls #1

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.

Rose River Falls #2
Rose River Falls #2
Rose River Falls - Falls 2 - Bushwhack
Rose River Falls – Falls 2 – Bushwhack

Directions

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.

Rose River Falls - Parking
Rose River Falls – Parking

Please study my Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

Trail Map

Trail Map - Rose River Falls
Trail Map – Rose River Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile – Rose River Falls

Profile - Rose River Falls
Profile – Rose River Falls (click to enlarge)

Dark Hollow Falls in Virginia

Dark Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park – Madison County

Dark Hollow Falls is one of the shortest waterfall trails in Shenandoah but be prepared for a steep return hike!

At 70 ft it is one of the higher waterfalls in Shenandoah and very visible from two viewing areas.

At 0.55 miles you can view the falls from an observation point but it is most rewarding to continue down the steep and sometimes slippery trail to the base of the falls at 0.72 miles.

Dark Hollow Falls is practically across the road from the Big Meadows tourist area and the parking lot fills early on busy days.

Dark Hollow Falls - Fall
Dark Hollow Falls – Fall View!

Directions

Park at the Dark Hollow Falls parking area at mile 50.7. Please study my Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

Dark Hollow Falls - Parking
Dark Hollow Falls – Parking

You will immediately cross Hogcamp Branch creek and stay on the left bank all the way down until it drains into the Rose River.

Continue on the left bank of the Rose River until the observation point and then down to the base of the falls.

It is a 1.44 mile return hike.

Dark Hollow Falls - Observation Point View
Dark Hollow Falls – Observation Point View

Trail Map

Trail Map - Dark Hollow Falls
Trail Map – Dark Hollow Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

Profile - Dark Hollow Falls
Profile – Dark Hollow Falls

Lewis Falls in Virginia

Lewis Falls

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!

Lewis Falls - Observation Point
Lewis Falls – Observation Point

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. 

Directions

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.

Please study my Virginia Waterfalls Map for precise locations.

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.

Trail Map

Trail Map - Lewis Falls
Trail Map – Lewis Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

Profile - Lewis Falls
Profile – Lewis Falls (click to enlarge)

Big Rock Falls in Virginia

Big Rock Falls

Big Rock Falls in Shenandoah National Park – Madison County

Near the retreat of a former U.S. President (Hoover) is lovely Big Rock Falls.

It is a moderate 1.5 mile hike down to the Falls then another 0.4 miles to Camp Rapidan (the Retreat).

The waterfall trail can be combined with the Laurel Prong Trail and Appalachian Trail for a tough 7.2 loop.

Directions

Park at Milan Gap (Mile 53.0). Then cross Skyline Drive and hike down the Mill Prong Trail to Big Rock Falls.

Please study my Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

Trail Map - Big Rock Falls
Trail Map – Big Rock Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

Profile - Big Rock Falls
Profile – Big Rock Falls (click to enlarge)

Falls of Naked Creek in Virginia

Falls of Naked Creek 2

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!

Falls of Naked Creek 1
Falls of Naked Creek #1
Falls of Naked Creek 2
Falls of Naked Creek #2
Falls of Naked Creek 3
Falls of Naked Creek #3

Directions

Park at Naked Creek Overlook at mile 53.2.

Please study my Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

Trail Map

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.

Trail Map - Falls of Naked Creek
Trail Map – Falls of Naked Creek (click to enlarge)

Profile of the Naked Creek Trail

Profile - Falls of Naked Creek
Profile – Falls of Naked Creek

Falls of Big Creek in Virginia

Falls of Big Creek 3

Falls of Big Creek in Shenandoah National Park – Page County

The amazing Falls of Big Creek are no longer secret per say, but receive only a handful of waterfall enthusiasts every year.

The reason is simple. It is a very tough, lonely and sometimes dangerous hike down to Big Creek. I will say the section down to the Creek is doable for most experienced hikers wearing proper gear, but once you turn upstream towards the Falls it becomes quite challenging.

It is roughly 2.8 miles (one-way) from the trailhead to the waterfalls.

There are three major waterfalls to enjoy but I have not explored the top section nor the lower part of Big Creek – meaning there could be more waterfalls waiting to be discovered! Get out there and explore, friends!

The lower Falls (#3) is the first one I encountered and it is the largest and most impressive. #2 and #1 are relatively close to each other and smaller but very scenic.

Directions

You can reach the Falls from a limited parking area from Jollett Road in Elkton but I am describing the trail from the top and back.

Park at Hazeltop Ridge Overlook at mile 54.5. Look for a trail marker in the center of the overlook. This is the Powell Mountain Trailhead.

Falls of Big Creek - Parking
Falls of Big Creek – Parking

Always study my Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

Trail Map

Hike down the blue-blazed Powell Mountain Trail for 1.67 miles where you cross a small creek. It is a very quiet and seldom used trail so it may be overgrown at times and covered with spider webs!

Falls of Big Creek - Trail
Falls of Big Creek – Trail (I turn left near this bear study marker)
Trail Map - Falls of Big Creek
Trail Map – Falls of Big Creek (click to enlarge)

Turn left after the crossing and bushwhack down the mountain – always keep the creek on your left and stay close to it. You can see this section on the trail map marked in light green.

After roughly 0.6 miles you will reach Big Creek. It is time to turn left and follow the Creek upstream (stay left of Big Creek) where you will encounter waterfall #3, #2 and #1 in order!

Note my GPS trail on the map above. At times you have to swing wide away from the Creek in order to scale the high cliffs safely.

Afterwards, retrace you steps or bushwhack back to Powell Mountain Trail – it is very rough country I can tell you now!

Falls of Big Creek 3
Falls of Big Creek 3
Falls of Big Creek 2
Falls of Big Creek 2
Falls of Big Creek 1
Falls of Big Creek 1

Trail Profile

Profile - Falls of Big Creek
Profile – Falls of Big Creek (click to enlarge)

Falls of Dry Run Creek in Virginia

Falls of Dry Run #7

Falls of Dry Run Creek in Shenandoah National Park (Rockingham County)

I challenge all hardcore hikers to go and see the Falls of Dry Run Creek in Shenandoah NP!

So far I documented seven waterfalls – during my research I saw photos of only 3, meaning I hiked in an area that’s rather unknown even to experienced waterfall enthusiasts.

I must start with a warning – do not hike down Dry Run Creek unless you are VERY comfortable with insane terrain. It is wet, slippery, steep and plain dangerous. It is much easier in summer but you need to go when the Creek is flowing hard; early Spring. Or after several days of heavy rain in the area.

AGAIN – When the Dry Run area is in flow, you will face danger down near the waterfalls.

I urge you to read my article about bushwhacking in Shenandoah!

Now for some good news!

Dry Run Creek is flanked by a Fire Road that runs all the way from Skyline Drive to roads down in the valley. This means you have a relatively easy trail to navigate in order to get down – BUT you have to leave this road and bushwack in order to see any of the seven waterfalls listed here.

It is not all about waterfalls! About 0.7 miles down this Fire Road is a small trail on your right that leads to the top of a scenic rocky outcrop called the Lost Cliffs!  So check that out for a nice landscape photo opportunity.

Directions

On Skyline Drive, park at the South River Overlook at mile 62.5 then cross the road and look for the gated fire road slightly north of the outlook (on the west side of Skyline Dr).

Dry Run Trail Start
Dry Run Trail Start

The fire road is not in good condition so expect tall grasses and mud, etc.

At 0.7 miles you can take the short side trail to the top of Lost Cliffs. Scrambling required.

Dry Run Trail - Lost Cliffs
Dry Run Trail – Lost Cliffs

Continue down the road until is crosses Dry Run Creek at mile 1.3. This is where the fun starts!

The Trail and Map

You can see the Fire Road, the parking area and the location of the Lost Cliffs on the map below.

Also look at our Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

The seven waterfall locations are accurate as per my GPS. You may discover other waterfalls either upstream of downstream so do not hesitate to explore on your own.

You will note a vague green trail on the map. That is my bushwhacking route. It does not mean it is the best way to reach the waterfalls, or the safest or the easiest! I was exploring with no markers or waypoints to guide me.

Basically I hiked down the Fire Road to the Park’s western boundary, bushwhacked down to Dry Run Creek at the boundary, then followed the creek upstream.

Waterfalls #3 and #5 are both massive cascades. Most folks who hiked in the area made it to #3. But #5 is even more impressive. It is a huge and tall cascade.

Trail Map - Falls of Dry Run
Trail Map – Falls of Dry Run (click to enlarge)
Falls of Dry Run 1
Falls of Dry Run 1
Falls of Dry Run #2
Falls of Dry Run #2
Falls of Dry Run #3
Falls of Dry Run #3
Falls of Dry Run #4
Falls of Dry Run #4
Falls of Dry Run #5
Falls of Dry Run #5
Dry Run Falls #5 - Vista
Dry Run Falls #5 – Vista
Falls of Dry Run #6
Falls of Dry Run #6
Falls of Dry Run #7
Falls of Dry Run #7

Profile – Fire Road

NOTE – This is a profile of the fire road down to the park boundary and not the bushwhack trails down to the Falls which are much much steeper!

Trail Profile - Falls of Dry Run Fire Road
Trail Profile – Falls of Dry Run Fire Road (click to enlarge)

South River Falls in Virginia

South River Falls

South River Falls in Shenandoah National Park (Greene County)

It is said South River Falls (83 feet) is the 3rd highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park!

Unfortunately, the view from the overlook at 1.3 miles is somewhat disappointing BUT there is a trail down to the base of the waterfall! For some reason the park rangers do not show this trail on maps!

This “secret” trail makes the steep hike very worthwhile and we recommend a visit – especially after a rainy period.

It is 2.15 miles from the parking area to the base of South River Falls.

Directions

Please study our Virginia Waterfall Map for accurate locations.

Park near the trailhead in the South River Picnic Area at Mile 62.8. You will find restrooms nearby.

South River Falls Parking
South River Falls Parking

The trail crosses the Appalachian Trail at 0.1 mile then turns downhill with several switchbacks. It is a rough and rocky trail as is typical in Shenandoah so please wear proper shoes!

South River Falls - Rough Trail
South River Falls – Rough Trail

The overlook at 1.3 miles is where most visitors turn around and return home.

South River Falls - Viewpoint
South River Falls – Viewpoint

Do not turn back if you are prepared! The trail will get rougher but it is clearly marked with blue blazes all the way to the river.

At the river, do not cross! Look to your right and you will see more blue blazes leading you uphill through the foilage.

South River Falls - Base Marker
South River Falls – Base Marker

After just a short, rocky hike you will find yourself at the base of South River Falls!

South River Falls - Base Trail
South River Falls – Base Trail

Trail Map

Trail Map - South River Falls
Trail Map – South River Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

South River Falls Profile
South River Falls Profile (click to enlarge)

Falls of the Doyles River in Virginia

Doyles River Falls #1

Doyles River Falls in Shenandoah National Park (Albermarle County)

Doyles River Falls (there are two waterfalls to be exact), is a must-see in Shenandoah National Park. At 28 feet and 63 feet respectively, these Falls are very popular with visitors so plan to arrive early and be prepared for a steep return hike! It is 3.2 miles down and back.

If you can, visit after a period of heavy or consistent rain when these waterfalls truly come to life. In early Fall they are mere trickles of water!

Directions

Please look at our Virginia Waterfall Map for accurate locations!

You have two options:

  • The most direct hike starts from the Doyles River Parking area at Mile 81.1. This is the route I use for the fastest up-and-down when trying to avoid the crowds.
  • You can also park at the Browns Gap Fire Road (Mile 83) and complete a 5.8 mile loop hike that includes the Falls of Jones Run.
Doyles River Parking
Doyles River Parking

Trail Map

NOTE – This is a steep 3.2 mile return hike so pack water and wear proper hiking shoes!

From the Doyles River parking area, follow the blue blazes down to the Falls. There are some side-trails (AT, Doyles River Cabin and Browns Gap Rd) but look for a blue blaze when in doubt!

At 0.85 miles you will cross the Doyles River on a bridge meaning the Falls will be on your left further down.

Doyles River Bridge
Doyles River Bridge

You will reach Doyles River Falls #1 at 1.28 miles. It is a short scramble down to its base.

Doyles River Falls #1 - Fall
Doyles River Falls #1 – Fall

Return to the trail and continue down until mile 1.6 to see Doyles River Falls #2.

Doyles River Falls #2
Doyles River Falls #2

If you feel energetic you can continus along the trail but you won’t find better waterfalls!

Trail Map - Doyles River Falls
Trail Map – Doyles River Falls (click to enlarge)

Trail Profile

Doyles River Falls Profile
Doyles River Falls Profile