Riprap Falls in Virginia

Riprap Falls in Shenandoah National Park – Augusta County, Virginia

Looking for a long, challenging hike with waterfalls, swimming holes, mountain vistas and wilderness? Then Riprap Falls should be on your list!

You can do an easier short hike up to Riprap and the swimming hole from a parking area in the valley but not today! Instead, let’s drive up to Shenandoah National Park and take the long trail down and back up!

For the best waterfall opportunities go when Meadow Run is flowing nicely – meaning after a rainy period.  The swimming hole is good even when the creeks are dry in summer.

You can do this hike in several ways but we prefer the 9.2 mile loop – combining the Riprap Trail, Wildcat Ridge Trail and Appalachian Trail.

This is wilderness hiking (a rough trail) and more secluded than many other trails in Shenandoah so please read of post about Hiking Safety.

Directions

Please look at our Virginia Waterfall Map for precise locations.

Since it is a long and steep 9.2 mile hike, it is best to get an early start! In Shenandoah NP, park at mile 90 in the small parking lot for the Riprap Trail.

The Trail

It is best to hike anti-clockwise in our opinion so you can catch the scenic views in the early morning.

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

As you start on the trail, turn right and follow the Appalachian Trail (White-blazed) for about 0.35 miles then turn left on the Blue-blazed Riprap Trail.

Riprap Trail Sign
Riprap Trail Sign

At the 1 mile mark you will get a great view of the valley below. There are even better views at 1.3 miles (Calvary Rock) and 1.5 miles (Chimney Rock).

Chimney Rock Views

The trail will now head downhill rather steeply. At around 3 miles you will hear water to your left as Meadow Run comes into view. You will now follow the stream all the way until you head uphill again.

Riprap Falls begins at 3.15 miles and is a series of cascades. You can bushwack downstream to find your perfect scene but our photo was taken from the trail!

At 3.3 miles you will cross Meadow Run and shortly after the swimming hole appears to your left!

Meadow Run Crossing #1
Meadow Run Crossing #1
Riprap Swim Hole
Riprap Swim Hole

After crossing back over Meadow Run at 3.5 miles your next goal is to find the trail leading you back up the mountain!

Meadow Run Crossing #2
Meadow Run Crossing #2

At 4.1 miles the Wildcat Ridge Trail appears suddenly and you may miss it if not attentive.

Turn left, cross Meadow Run and begin the long and steady climb.

Meadow Run Crossing #3
Meadow Run Crossing #3

You are now in deep woods and there won’t be any views until high up along the trail.

Wildcat Ridge Trail Views
Wildcat Ridge Trail Views

At 6.5 miles you will reach the Appalachian Trail. Turn left and hike north for 2.7 miles back to your vehicle.

Trail Profile

 

Riprap Trail Profile
Riprap Trail Profile (click to enlarge)