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The first half/two thirds is pretty cool and fun. The last third was uphill torture for me. One of the toughest hikes I’ve done (I usually stick to moderate trails). Bring lots of water and a jet pack if you have one.

Was a good challenge for someone who is not a seasoned joker and slightly out of shape. Little foot traffic which was nice. Cool temperatures as it is mostly shaded. The river and small waterfalls were very pretty. Saw deer but no bear. We did get lost (did not see the trail marker) and ended up doing an additional mile down and back up a very steep climb. Also gets a little confusing when you get to the tourist/camp area. Lots of rocks and narrow paths, highly recommend wearing good hiking boots!! Also, look at the elevation...we started with the uphill climb for the first two miles or so, steady and a good “warm up”. Downhill was hard on my knees as it was fairly steep. There were quite a few spots where we had to climb up again and those required some stops/rests.

Where do I start. This hike is absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking views of many waterfalls! You can even climb a few rocks to get right up close to a few of the falls. Unfortunately we were not prepared for what was to come. The hike up was pretty tough. Once we got up to where you take the fire road to Cedar Run trail we took the wrong path (both have yellow blazes) we ended up hiking about a mile or so in the wrong direction and that’s when the fog rolled in. Temps dropped about 20 degrees and it began to POUR down rain. Needless to say once we started our decent down Cedar Run everything was soaked and muddy and it’s VERY steep. We were slipping and sliding all over the place and much of the trail down is nearly impassable by fallen trees and things. We hiked the trail counterclockwise which under normal weather conditions would’ve been much easier. This loop is definitely not for beginners. You will absolutely be sore the next day and your feet will most definitely get wet because there are several river crossings. Most of the way UP is well.....UP....steep and you will need to take breaks to catch your breath. This loop is a beast. Can’t wait to tackle it again in better weather.

What an absolutely beautiful hike! I expected it to be hard but I had no idea how hard it was really going to be. I’m not sure about the mileage because my phone said 8.4 miles when all is said and done and my watch said 9.6 miles. This is not for a novice hiker! We took this hike counterclockwise. We had met some other people on the hike that said that clockwise disease year. But I believe there is no easy way to do this hike. I really had to keep pushing myself. We got down to the bottom of the canyon and I was starting to feel tired. The hike downhill was strenuous. But the hike up was a test! With an elevation gain of 2200 feet on the way up it really testing me. The fire road itself was difficult as we were exhausted by the time we got to the fire and the fire is completely uphill. But I’m happy to say that I finished it!

This hike is one of my favorites in the area, but think maybe it should be marked as hard. Great views at the end but also cool waterfalls on the way up. Trail is a bit confusing after the waterfalls and before the AT. Follow the signs to the trail head for a quarter mile up the hill. Great breweries on the way back to C’ville as a reward

11 days ago

One of my favorite trails in the area. Gorgeous little swimming hole. Splendid views towards the end (or beginning depending on which way you hike). Could spend all day by the water on this hike on a hot summer day. Water is definitely a bit nipply tho.

Such a beautiful quiet trail. This is where I solo hiked for the first time and it is a hike I will never forget and find myself visiting at least once a year!

My son and I loved this hike. Absolutely lived up to its “hard” rating, this hike has a lot to offer. Waterfalls and elevation change abound on this test, but the rugged terrain was the biggest consistent challenge. If you hike it counterclockwise as most recommend, be sure to stop and look back from time to time to avoid missing all of the amazing views this hike offers.

hiking
18 days ago

Views were spectacular and easy enough for kids. Straight uphill to get there but all downhill coming off the mountain and a good wide “road” if you park at the hatchery. Little spotty figuring out the best way to get up and down the rock but we all did fine and well worth the climb.

Oustanding trail! Did the loop clockwise in 2 days so we could have Chimney Rock to look forward to at the end. Multiple water crossing that will even get experinced hikers boots wet, bring extra socks :)

Great hike. Loved that it wasn't heavily travelled. Fun rocks to climb on and sit on at the top. Great views!

I love this trail, but it is not that easy, not great for kids or older folks. Lovely views the entire hike up during winter/early spring and amazing views all the way around from the top. Very rocky toward the top.

Along with Old Rag, this is one of my favorite hikes in the region. Old Rag has the 360 views, this has great waterfall after waterfall. I recommend starting at the bottom, going up White Oak, and coming down Cedar Run (going counterclockwise from the bottom). You put your work in first, then relax on the way back down and get the slide waterfalls and waterholes to relax in if you wish. Clockwise from the bottom means you miss the water holes or end up wet or carrying wet clothes the rest of the way, plus your back is to all the great White Oak waterfalls and you would miss the approaches. I dislike starting at the top as it means you put the work at the end vice the start and have to fight the Skyline Drive traffic. The way up is strenuous, but doable if you are in shape and the constant waterfalls make the time fly by. Highly recommend this excellent day hike.

Great hike with my dog. Highly recommend

We hiked up the Cedar Run Trail which was strenuous for the entire way up (about 3 hours). This was a good trail to go up because there were a lot of smaller waterfalls and a steady stream. When we got to the top, we got a little turned around and accidentally went the wrong way. So make you’re reading your map carefully. We went down the White Oak Trail which was beautiful. The waterfalls were huge! Great photo opps. Trails were well kept even with the recent windstorm. The whole hike took us a little over 6 hours.

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful!

I hiked this loop counter clockwise, starting at the ranger station off of Weakley Hollow Rd, on 3/10/18. Due to the recent wind storm there are a couple of trees down across the trail on the White Oak Canyon side of the loop, a couple across the fire road, and around 6 across the Cedar Run portion. Overall though, this is a great hike with lots of beautiful waterfalls and ponds.

We hiked this on one of the windiest days of the year with 4 very small children & it kicked our butts! The view was worth it, and we’d definitely do it again, but this was a huge challenge for us! We parked in the Priest Wilderness parking lot on 56 & hiked in from there to the overlook. Did about 7 miles total, as we skipped going to the shelter.

I did this hike in January after a bunch of rain\snow. The falls were flowing great! it was a nice hike! A few inches of snow on top of the mountain but none at the bottom. Cedar Run was not too spectacular in my opinion, but I loved white oak canyon so much I took my 5 year old daughter the next weekend to hike a small portion of it. only one view to speak of near the top of white oak canyon. It's gorgeous! not too strenuous if you're in decent shape, but will definitely leave you sore the next day.

hiking
1 month ago

If you're not in pretty good cardiovascular shape (guilty), this trail can be challenging. The last leg of it is uphill (climbing out of the beautiful gorge) the whole time. The rest is moderate. This trail offers a lot of variety of views, moss and lichen covered rocks, plenty of woods etc.

hiking
1 month ago

Krista, thanks for posting your review on the alternate route to Spy Rock. The more people that try this route, the more it will become recognized as superior to the Fish Hatchery route to Spy Rock (hopefully the National Forest will eventually support it). Yes, you can take a normal car up Meadows lane road when the weather is good but you need to be careful and take it slow. There are plenty of good camping areas along the alternate route because it’s all on NF property. However, camping at the base of Spy Rock is not recommended (no water and to much traffic). E-mail me if anyone wants recommendations on camping areas (I know the area very well). Spyrock“at”Mac”dot”com

By the way, the alternate route parking is in Crabtree Meadows. Little grassy spot, be careful of foliage.

backpacking
2 months ago

The fish hatchery is open, thank you, Mike Y.! I let my GPS take me there from northern. VA and I ended up at the alternate route. No problem. A little longer but easier on the body. This was the 4WD route, but my little Honda Accord made it up and down just fine. Just took it slow and watched for holes. Warning - it’s easy to get turned around hiking back down the morning after. Next time I do an overnight i’ll take the fish hatchery route just to east my mind. All in all an amazing trip! The sunset and sunrise simply cannot be beat! Great pick for my first overnight :)

hiking
2 months ago

Nice trail. There was a small hill to climb but nothing to steep. The trail was nice and clean. The only thing was that there was some residential housing close by about halfway thru, but other than that it was a nice walk. There is some well kept cannons and historical sights at the end as well

The trail the app took us on was extremely challenging by horseback - borderline dangerous. Thank goodness we had good horses! Wouldn’t recommend riding in the wintertime as the trail was frozen solid at the highest points of the path. Several really slippery, rocky, mountainous areas where we dismounted & lead our horses. No doubt a beautiful hike but wouldn’t recommend for horses.

2 months ago

Excellent day trail.

Dog friendly hike! Not too crowded.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great views. Watch out for bears.

This was definitely a strenuous hike. I hiked this loop counterclockwise. There are many waterfalls shown on the map with some not shown but most of them you cannot get to without trekking off of the trail. I logged 3.7 miles from parking area to the junction of the skyland - big meadows horse trail. From there I crossed the footbridge then continued onto the fire road - horse trail. Around 5.5 miles I continued onto the horse trail which leaves the fire road at this point and is fairly close and runs parallel to the Skyline Drive. Close to a parking area on the Skyline Drive, around my 6.2 miles logged, I turned left onto the Cedar Run Trail. This was the roughest trail between it and White Oak. Simular story, some of the waterfalls on this trail are not accessible without trekking off of the trail. Getting to some of the waterfalls looks extremely dangerous, so if you do decide to be real adventurous, be careful. I managed to trek to a few and decided that was enough and stayed on the trail after that. Both trails were muddy and ice covered in spots, I slipped a few times coming down Cedar Run. When I finally reached the car, I had logged a total of 9.8 miles with a GPS unit & Fitbit.

Great horse trail.

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