Trail Run Project Logo

Whiteoak Canyon to Upper Falls

 8 votes

Length

4.7 Miles 7.5 Kilometers

85%

Runnable

Elevation

941' 287 m

Ascent

-942' -287 m

Descent

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

22%

Max Grade (13°)

3,521' 1,073 m

High

2,579' 786 m

Low

Conditions


All Clear 89 days ago
Some Mud History

Getting forecast...

A must-do run in Shenandoah National Park with views of the upper waterfalls of Whiteoak Run.

Larry W. Brown

Overview

This iconic out-and-back run from Skyline Drive descends past cliffs, surrealistic boulders, and tall hardwoods as it merges with Whiteoak Run. The reward for this run lies at the turning point in the form of the Upper Whiteoak Falls.
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Spring — Views — Waterfall — Wildlife

Need to Know

Similar to many of the waterfall runs that start from Skyline Drive, this run begins as an easy downhill, while the majority of the exercise is found during the run back up, returning to the starting point.

Description

The trail begins gradually downhill, bending first to the right and then to the left around a wetland. Head across a stream and then continue across the Old Rag Road - West. Continue for another quarter-mile, heading across the Limberlost Trail.

Head straight from here, and after a couple hundred yards, a small stream trickles in from the right and flows parallel to the trail. This is the Whiteoak Run that will continue down toward the upper falls. The flow levels of this stream vary drastically depending on precipitation and time of year.

Continue down the trail, passing small cascades and pools as they begin to grow the lower you get. Then, after approximately 1.3 miles from the Limberlost Trail, you come to another trail junction with Whiteoak Canyon Access Trail (at Bridge 3). Follow the trail to the left, crossing the stream on a bridge, and then continuing downstream on the left bank to where the trail widens. The top of the falls is ahead on the right.

The Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail/Whiteoak Canyon Road comes in on the left, around thirty yards down the trail. Continue straight ahead another 400 feet, to another widening in the trail. There are two rocky ledges toward the run that provide good spots to see the complete falls, which have a total drop of 86 feet.

Continuing past the upper falls, the canyon begins to narrow, and the trail is steep and rough. In order to reach the sixth falls, continue along White Oak Canyon, adding 2.7 miles and 1,110 feet of climbing to your run.

A longer and more strenuous alternative loop run that sees all of the falls is the White Oak Canyon to Cedar Run Loop.

Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this description. If you’re interested in learning more details about great runs, weather, camping / lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive Guide to Shenandoah National Park.

Flora & Fauna

In early spring, the green shoots in the swamp are false hellebore, Veratrum viride. Keep your eyes open for the disintegrating basalt boulder near where Whiteoak Run begins to flow next to the trail that provides a good example of columnar jointing.

Contacts

You & this Featured Run


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 8 votes

#1531

Overall
  4.4 from 8 votes
5 Star
38%
4 Star
63%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#35

in Virginia

#1,531

Overall
66 Views Last Month
1,177 Since Apr 14, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
0%
75%
25%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running