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Beautiful overlooks throughout, challenging rock scrambles and a well maintained fire road on the way back

What an amazing trail

hiking
2 days ago

Really beautiful trail with wooded areas, waterfalls, and streams. Somewhat protected from the wind so a little less cold than the more exposed summit hikes. This is a great option to mix it up a bit. We were there two days after it rained and there were a few slick spots but it was very manageable overall. It’s closer to 5 miles when you include the fire road (which you need to use if you are doing the full loop), and there’s an interesting old cemetery near the start as well.

Amazing hike! The ascent isn't too bad until you get to the boulder scramble and then it gets a little challenging; definitely requires a little strength, agility and balance. Hiking footwear recommended. There were places where simple running shoes would have been less than desirable. All in all, once you get to the top, it couldn't be more worth it. One of the most rewarding experiences of my life to date.

This is my second time hiking this trail and its one of my favorites. I love the challenge. This is a difficult trail that involves climbing over, through, and down boulders. It’s not for the weak at heart, children, or dogs.

amazon hike! arrived 9am on a saturday and had to park in the neighboring lot for $10. GO EARLY. not only will you get to park in the normal lot but there will be wayyyy less people to wait behind when you get to the top rock scramble. we made it to the top in 1 hr 20 minutes but took almost 1-1.5 hrs to go through the rock scramble portion cause there were so many people, many of who do not hike often. however, even with the line it was so worth it and so fun. tests your strength to go through the scramble. walking down was easy.

Great trail!! Loved the waterfalls!! Great idea to do trail clockwise!!! Easy wide path at the end then! Entire loop was more than 3.5 though!! Total was more like 5 miles if you count Rose River Trail loop and Rose river fire road.... you have to get back where you started for a total of about 5 miles. We just started out later and sunset came earlier so ended up finishing and it was dark. Trail was five stars though! Beautiful views!

This is probably my favorite trail in the entire park. This is like a giant playground. It feels exposed and if you are afraid of heights, this probably is one to stay away from ...but the views are amazing and worth it. It is a pretty easy hike and the payoff for the view is well worth the scramble. NO DOGS allowed on the trail for obvious reasons ...I don't want someone hurting their fur baby trying to get them up to the summit for a pic, there are plenty of other places for that in the park..

best hike ever

hiking
10 days ago

Nice hike along water down to an overlook with a view of a waterfall. Many people hike down to the overlook and back the same way, but the loop was a less gradual/strenuous walk — even if it was a bit longer.

This was an amazing hike. Of course the highlight of the hike is the rock scramble and spectacular views! Started our Hike Saturday morning about 9:30am. The lot was full and we had to park in a private lot for $10. We did not get back to the truck until 6pm. The crowd and backups in the rock scramble slowed us down. Would love to do this hike on a weekday with no crowd. I am a short guy so that made it more difficult LOL. I have also done “Humpback Rock” and “MaCafee Knob”. This was definitely the most challenging.

Indeed the best Waterfalls along Skyline Drive. Super crowded with hundreds of people on the trail during weekends. You will have better luck with parking if you go to the Big Meadows lot instead of the Falls lot along Skyline Drive. That way, you could hike the Story of the Forest too. This hike is a mile down to the 71 foot high Falls but it all up hill on the way back. You gotta climb 574 feet back up and the trail runs along a stream. There was many sections that were muddy so I do recommend hiking poles. There are sections with logs steps that create terraces to level things out but the trail is very steep and a long haul back up.

Third time summiting Old Rag. I really believe it is Virginia’s best hike...assuming you avoid the crowds. We arrived at 6 AM on a Sunday, with 15 or so other cars in the lot. We only saw a handful of folks on our way up, and only had to contend with 3 or 4 people on the rock scramble in its entirety (no waiting!). At the summit, there were maybe 5-10 other people, but we easily found a private spot to enjoy the views and lunch for 45 minutes. The descent down the backside of Old Rag and the fire road is a nice reprieve from the arduous hike and scramble up. We arrived back at our car at 11:15 AM to hordes of people and cars arriving (the Old Rag lot was full and there were dozens of cars parked at the private lot next door). If you value quiet and privacy over camaraderie, I highly recommend getting here early!

This hike is NOT 7.7 miles as listed. It is 9.6 so plan additional time for the extra two miles. Also be forewarned that the downhill section through Cedar Run is quite rocky and steep which can make for slow going, especially if it’s wet. Both the uphill through White Oak and the downhill through Cedar Run are ruggedly beautiful areas. There are no real views on this hike other than the dramatic waterfalls and rushing water. Several opportunities to swim or slide. White Oak is much more heavily trafficked than Cedar Run. Cedar Run feels more like walking in wilderness. The stretch on the fire road is fairly boring. It’s longer than you think and uphill almost to Skyline Drive. If you’re in good shape it’s more in the moderate range than Hard but the rocks and rough terrain can make it more difficult. It is fairly steep up and down either way you go. It a harder hike than Old Rag but the effort is rewarded. Bring a pair of sturdy, waterproof trail shoes. Sneakers not recommended.

Sweet little hike. Great waterfalls. Although, being a non-frequent hiker, the climb was a bit tiresome(thanks for 600ft of elevation change).

This is one of my favorite day hikes period. Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls. At the top , you are feet from skyline drive and have great views to the east in a few spots. It is hard. Steep up and steep down. If you want one of the hardest day hikes in the area; add a summit of Hawksbill with an incredible view of the Shenandoah Valley.

hiking
11 days ago

One of the best places for sunrise/sunset if your up to scrambling up and down the rocks.

The southern part of the trail is excellent. No more can be said than that. Just go....however, the scramble and boulder stair case gets so backed up that you could be there for hours if you decide to go late in the morning. I saw one poor bastard that walked from the northern section of the route get stuck in the blasting wind.

12 days ago

Nice trail. Easy down, but have to come back up. Be sure to do the full loop in order to see all the springs and falls. It's easier to take the left trail down, then take Rose road back up.

I highly recommend downloading the area on Google Maps beforehand as there is no/limited cell service there.
Otherwise, to repeat others: go EARLY (and also maybe not on the last nice Saturday of the season when the trees are in peak color); I planned to arrive by 7am but I snoozed on my alarm clock. Lot had just filled up when I got there at 8:40am, so I was one of the first people to park at the adjacent private lot and paid $10 to the lady there. From there the walk was a bit tiring and crowded getting up to the rock scramble. Just pace yourself here.
Rock scramble: If you are out of shape, I wouldn't recommend it. I work out, so it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was bit worried as some reviews said it was really hard. It was more like a really good workout. If my two friends could do it high and if Tina Fey could do it at night, I figured I'd be able to hike it. 3 spots we had to wait in line to pass and people were helpful (if you need assistance). After the summit, the downhill is easier and turns into a less exciting trail back to the lot. Finished in about 5h50min.

hiking
12 days ago

Very fun hike! I’ve done this circuit a handful of times. Took my 8 year old son and he was able to complete. It did however take us all day. Great views! The scramble at the top is always the best part. Like an adult playground. Depending on the time of year and day you go, it can be a little busy. I prefer weekdays during late fall.

A beautiful trail on a beautiful fall day! Plenty of waterfalls and rock outcroppings to enjoy during your breaks. I benefitted from having hiking poles, but they aren’t strictly necessary. Good shoes, however, are!

Well maintained trail! Beautiful views!

I've done this hike twice and it doesn't get any easier the 2nd go. I always have a hard time finding where to park because my GPS cuts out before I get there. Once you start hiking it's pretty steep but I wouldn't suggest hiking poles unless you really need them because the rock scramble at the top definitely uses your upper and lower body. both times it took me about 4 hours from start to finish and that's even with asthma. The views are so worth every bit of temporary pain. Go do it!

A great hike with a few challenging moments in the rock scramble. My father and I were carrying backpacks (we way overpacked with sweatshirts and hiking poles we hardly used) which made some of the narrower spots in the scramble difficult. It was extremely chilly at the summit, but the midday view was amazing. Not too crowded. We lunched at the Byrd’s Nest Shelter, and the entire trip took us 5.5 hours. This was our second hike (ever)— wish there was more scrambling!

Challenging incline going to the summit. The rock scramble is serious fun. Some upper body strength required. Great views and pic opportunities.

I really pushed it and did it in 3.75 hours.

Highly recommended. Get there early too. Before 8:30am You don’t want to get stuck waiting in the scramble.

Put us to work, it’s a full body workout in some of the rock scramble. Worth it all for the view at the end. Fellow hikers were great and helped us along in some spots. Great trail!

Great hike. The scrambling is difficult for shorter people. I'm 5 foot and needed help from my husband and another fellow hiker in 2 spots.

This is actually about a 9 mile, not 7.7mile, hike if you take the loop. Be prepared! Not a difficult hike by any means. I’d rate this at easy to moderate myself. I didn’t feel poles were needed but a good pair of shoes to descend Cedar Run Trail certainly were. Lots of river crossings and few logs left to cross on now. The rocks are pretty slick but still a fairly easy crossing unless of course you have a dog. It took us 5 hours 30 minutes with our pup. Beautiful waterfalls and views on the first leg!

Fabulous hike. Non-stop beauty all the way. We are avid hikers and found this hike to be more on the moderate than hard end. It is the most scenic hike we’ve done while in this area.

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