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Excellent trail. Gorgeous views. Challenging, but by no means brutal.

hiking
3 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.

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 a beautiful hike. Most of the trail is along streams and the waterfalls are awesome! If you do the whole loop I wouldn’t recommend small children. Also, wear hiking boots or waterproof boots. The whole loop is an all day hike.

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.

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.

13 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.

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!

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.

The hike is moderate not as steep the first section to the first waterfall. The waterfall is beautiful and impressive. All along the way you rock outcropping, moss and many fallen trees. This makes for a different trail hike with something different to see along the way. Would defined hike again.

hiking
26 days ago

Great hike! My girlfriend and I did the Rip Rap/Wildcat loop as a two day backcountry camping trip and had an excellent time. The NPS Guide recommends camping somewhere just after you turn onto the Wildcat Ridge trail off of the Rip Rap trail but we opted to get in another mile and half or so to shorten our hike the next morning. We hiked about 6 miles the first day and the remaining 3.5 the following morning. We managed to find a nice little spot to set up camp after about 6 miles, and realized hiking out the next day that we found one of the only decent spots to camp in that mileage range. You'd either need to hike almost clear to end of the loop or camp back at the trail merge otherwise. The first six miles had a few great views from the ridge line and then some cool stream crossings, small waterfalls, and a deep swimming hole as you hiked through the valley before heading back uphill again. I highly recommend bringing a change of socks as some of the stream crossings can be sketchy and there's a chance you're going to put a foot in the water... All in all, great hike, great way to see the leaves change.

Did this trail as a day hike starting from Rt. 56 and going counterclockwise, saving Mar Har for last.

I consider myself in pretty good physical shape and hoo-boy, did I get my money’s worth. Those with knee issues descending should consider doing Mar Har first (going clockwise from Rt. 56). There a significant evaluation climb and limited descending. Going down was just brutal. My middle aged knees are feeling their oats. Also, this clocked in at 14.3 miles.

If you’re looking for sunny vista views along the AT, make sure you watch the weather and arrive when the weather is best. I did the vista in the morning when it was overcast and then the weather cleared. It was still terrific, but was looking for sunny views.

Overall, this trail is definitely worth the work. Start early and make sure you celebrate appropriately when you’re done.

Gorgeous! but you get what you feel for. Very Rocky and steep up hill climbs. But the climb is worth it. Not a lot water after the water falls or Harper's Creek shelter. PACK LIGHT! carry water and a water filter.

hiking
1 month ago

Only managed to do part of the trail due to time restrictions, but decent hike. We went counter clockwise so had a decent amount of elevation change. Hope to return to finish the rest of the trail.

We only trailed about 2 miles in Bc we started so late. We went left to the blue trail which was really cool. It was a lot of hiking up. Pretty heavy trafficked for a Sunday. We’re going back tomorrow to checkout the left route.

This was a really great hike for us! We got to the parking lot at about 9 and it was relatively empty with only about 10 other cars there but by the time we left it was packed, so I would recommend getting there as early as you can to ensure that there is parking. We did the trail in the opposite direction as this page suggests, as that is what the Ranger suggested to us.

There are a ton of small to medium falls/rapids and a handful of large (30-80ft) waterfalls along the White Oak Canyon trail. At the bottom of the falls there are usually swimming holes, but it being October we decided to forgo that opportunity until a later time. The trail going up was a bit steep in some places, but was not bad overall. Once you get onto the connecting fire road, it was still a bit of an incline but not bad at all. It is also much smoother and easier to walk on that either of the two other legs of the trail. Cedar Run Trail was a much steeper, much more narrow, and much more rocky than White Oak Canyon. I would recommend very good shoes for that to prevent you from rolling an ankle. The trail was very scenic the entire way, but we felt that going down Cedar Run was doing it a disservice because we missed a lot of scenery because we were constantly looking down trying to find flatish surfaces to step on. There are also a couple times you have to cross the water going down, over logs and rocks. It wasn't a problem for us at all, but some people had dogs or small children that I'm not sure how they fared.

It was extremely empty when we started at 9, and we only saw 3 people on the trail until we got to about the fire road. After that it was much more crowded, though nothing too crazy. We finished the trail in just under 6 hours, but we probably should have stopped more to appreciate the scenery going down Cedar Run trail.

I tracked this on my Fitbit app with GPS sync, and it said we took 5 hours 57 minutes over 8.35 miles.

hiking
1 month ago

It was such an incredible hike! My favorite in Shenandoah! It took us about 5 hours, but we went at a good pace and took a few short stops along the way. I suggest parking at the white oak boundary parking (the coordinates All Trails gives you; note parking filled up around 10 AM), then start to the right on white oak canyon trail. This way, you’ll start going up hill then end going down hill, which is definitely the way to go!!

There are gorgeous waterfalls, lookouts, and swimming holes, and parts are at a pretty steep incline with some rock scrambles. The middle part of the loop, Whiteoak Canyon fire road, was also at an incline but didn’t have any rocks or anything—just trees, so it felt kind of long. Going down Cedar Run Trail is very rocky and sometimes slippery; highly recommend good hiking shoes. There are some pretty waterfalls, swimming holes, and lunch spots on this part of the trail. You will have to cross a few streams.

The trail was busy but not too crowded. The leaves are starting to fall with some pretty fall colors. Definitely suggest starting this trail early in the day as the sun sets earlier this time of year.

Always a great hike...

All around great hike...

Nice trail... Following alongside the river and multiple cascading falls. Going clockwise allows you to come up on the falls, with the exception of the first one where you’ll come up from behind it, but can climb down to the bottom to get a great view.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely recommend going counterclockwise on the loop! We went clockwise and skipped right past all of the scenic parts. We had a great time but got really frustrated having to cross the river three times and the water was up to our knees. Bring water shoes!

hiking
1 month ago

Tough due to all the rocks but a good hike. Not many view opportunities but a great day in nature.

Absolutely it was an adventure!! We went to this place on a sunny day and started hiking uphill at 1:30. We took rest for five minutes at couple of places and sat down whenever we needed some rest. We thought of doing a loop trail which was 8 miles and we couldn’t find that loop trail with the signs so we lost of our way and headed up straight for the other end parking without knowing. After sometime we realized we are not heading back to the beginning point and it was almost six in the evening. We started returning and like after just five minutes we saw a black bear which is coming Down the hill looking at us. (That’s the first time looking at the bear!!!!!) we started running back to the other parking place, and some other hikers after 20 minutes and we made it to the other parking and thankfully, other hikers were so nice and dropped us to our parking place!!! Did I mention that it was our first hike and went without any preparations? ;)

So I recommend starting early as 10 o clock in the morning would be the best if you want to complete the loop, of course it was very steep and wet rocks but the view of waterfalls makes it worthy!!

12.57 miles, 1st time on this trail, took a wrong turn and ended up taking a little longer route back. It rain the night before, very foggy at 7:30am, drizzling rain through the trees most of the morning. Made it a little wet and muddy. Great hike. Definitely took advantage of the waterfalls and swimming holes every chance!

this was a pretty challenging trail, but the hike next to the waterfalls made it worth it to keep going definitely recommend waterproof and grippy shoes alot of wet rocks

Was boring at times with only a couple great views. The watering hole was a lot of fun though.

To be honest this loop Cedar Run up and White Oak canyon down is not difficult at all. Very easy hike even for my friend who never hikes. Enjoyable hike with lots of waterfalls and places to swim. There are about 4 times needed to wade across the stream but its not deep just remove your shoes and cross. The trail is very well maintained and is not steep.

Great hike! Lots of water along the trail and the waterfalls are great. If it’s been raining prepare to get your feet wet, the main entrance was flooded and you have to cross at your own risk. There was one other creek crossing about shin deep and lots of deep puddles along the way. It gets really good when you start to climb. There’s lots of rock and opportunities to roll an ankle. Definitely worth going back over and over again!

Thoroughly enjoyed this hike! The waterfall is stunning and has two great access points. You will see the water holes after about 5.6 miles of hiking to the left of the trail. There is a noticeable side trail that leads to them that is mostly rock. Two were particularly great for swimming! We set up camp near the first swimming hole, there was a second great spot across a path above the first hole as well. The descent is tough on the legs when carrying 30+ lb overnight packs. I would consider the hike strenuous when you include the weight.

Bears are common on the trail, but usually scare off if you’re making plenty of noise on your way! I’d suggest bringing bear mace just in case, especially right before hibernation and after. Also, bring a bear bag for the night to hide all wrappers from food and uneaten food.

We took a different route on the way back for a portion of the hike to avoid the steep ascent on our second day in the rain. It took us onto Trace Trail and through a campground which gave a good boost to our moral when the temps dropped 20 degrees after being wet for 24 hours!

Even in the rain it was a stunning hike and a great test of strength with packs! I plan to do it again. Great hike to swim and cool off in the summer.

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