Beecher Ridge and Overall Run Loop via Appalachian Trail

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Shenandoah National Park

Beecher Ridge and Overall Run Loop via Appalachian Trail is a 11 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Rileyville, Virginia that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 11.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,847 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly








wild flowers


Beautiful waterfalls, very steep ascent, and nice woods. The early part of the hike is though the woods on the ridges. Lot's of dogwoods and redbuds in the spring and a few viewpoint spots. Coming back up Overall Run offers stream bed hiking, very steep uphill climbing, some very nice views and a few spectacular waterfalls. When you leave the parking lot turn right at the first trail marker post and follow that to the Tuscarora trail where you turn right. At the next TM post, turn left on Matthews Arm trail for short distance to pick up Beecher Ridge trail. BR trail will run into Overall Run Trail. Cross over the run and start back up. Above the waterfalls this trail joins with the Tuscarora and you return the same way. You can reverse the loop but if you do keep a closer look out for the waterfalls, which may be behind you by the time they are visible.

8 months ago

The waterfalls were almost dry in October 2nd week but there was enough water in the swimming hole. Te best options to camp are also near the swim hole - one right in front of it. You can park at the Thompson trail head (outside the park about 30 minutes drive from dicky ridge visitor center and parking limited to ~10 cars only though) and set up camp before doing the hike of you don't want to carry your back pack the whole way - which can be challenging given the elevation. Another plus of starting at Thompson trail is that you will climb up first while you are fresh and untired.

8 months ago

Isolated trail, probably rarely used. The woods are pretty but the trail is so uneven you mainly end up watching your footing and not the scenery. The trail going down Overall Run is very rocky and uneven. You need good hiking boots and I was very grateful for hiking poles. I slipped several times on lose rocks. It was so rough it took me a lot longer to go down than I expected. The trail on Beecher Ridge was much nicer, mostly compact dirt with some rocks. There is a stretch of trail on Beecher Ridge with warnings about active yellow jacket ground nests, so watch out there.

I didn’t plan this well with the rest of my day so I didn’t have time to go all the way around. I did go to the “waterfalls” and back but honestly I didn’t see anything that really resembled a waterfall. The overlook identified on the alltrails map was a lovely spot to break and had a great view though. Would do this again.

Sun Jun 30 2019

A little background, I this was my first time truly mountain hiking, so consider me a beginner, although my hiking companion was very experienced. We had originally planned to spend the night so I had a 22lb pack with me. We started at Hogback Overlook then followed the Tuscarora Overall Run to Mathews Arm to Beecher Ridge (clockwise) then back to the Tuscarora Overall. Calculations gave about 11.6 miles. We saw over 30 people and a few dogs on the first leg (closer to the campground) and probably a dozen more near the swimming holes (near Thompson Hollow). We didn’t see any bears, probably due to the high activity in the area but we did see a few bear scats on the last leg. As other reviews have said, it was a steady decline for the first 5/6 miles. It had rained the day before so the rocks were a little slippery and the soil around them was loose so getting good footing could be difficult in some portions. Once we got to the water crossings about 5-7 miles in there were some nice camping spots but we weren’t ready to stop and set up camp so we kept going. Waterfalls were beautiful and we could hear lots of people swimming and we were able to refill our water supply. We were hoping to camp around mile 8-9 but didn’t find any existing sites and the sides of the trails were pretty overgrown so we decided to press on. Once we reached the switchbacks, I was already a bit tired but hoped once we made it up, we could find a place to camp. For a beginner with a full pack, the switchbacks were very difficult. We stopped pretty frequently and also passed and chatted with a few other groups with beginners who were similarly challenged. Much to our dismay, after the switchbacks, there is actually about 1/2mile portion where camping is prohibited so we kept going. In this area though were two beautiful lookouts that made climbing the switchbacks worth it and we were able to get some good pictures! Again we were hoping to find an existing camping site on the Tuscarora overall (after the intersection of Mathews Arm) but couldn’t find any spots that weren’t too over grown and at this point, we were far from any water source, which we had hoped to camp near. So we made the decision to keep going. We very slowly finished the last two miles, with frequent stops and although they were not as steep as the switchbacks they were a steady incline that never seemed to end to me, my highly experienced partner was fine. So it took us approximately 8 hours to complete the whole trail with full gear. Since I was completely exhausted by the time we exited Hogback Overlook, I would not recommend beginners doing it all in one day but that was just how it worked out for us. It was a beautiful trail and maybe would have worked out better if we went counterclockwise and would have been ready to camp down near the water and finished the trail in two days.

Mon Mar 18 2019

Great trail with some great payoffs for views and waterfalls. I started at the bottom of the mountain by parking at the Thompson Hollow Trailhead. Took BL’s advice on that one by running the name through google maps and it was very easy to get to. I like to go up first and then down towards the end of the hike as a personal preference, but we had to go this way as skyline drive was closed for the north side of the park. So, it’s .7 miles from parking lot to actual loop and can get really muddy depending on rain/snow. Once on the trail, I didn’t notice too much mud. Decided to go clockwise to hit the tougher vertical incline first as well as see the falls as the sun peaked over the mountains. It was after daylight savings in March and we started hiking from the parking lot at 8:15. Got to the second fall just as the sun came over and it was awesome. Outside of the uphill climb, the trail was easy going. Some fun water crossings that should not have you get wet and a very chill decline coming down the clockwise loop. Didn’t see any bears, but they should be popping out here soon. The All Trails map doesn’t show the trail marking outside of the red line on half the trail, but it’s there. I would have zero hesitation in taking my dogs on this trail.

Sun Sep 23 2018

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!

Fri Sep 07 2018

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.

Sun Jul 01 2018

07/01/2018: Awesome overnight loop that is clearly marked and well traveled. I went counter-clockwise, so the first day was mainly a steep descent. Once I reached the bottom, I found an awesome campsite near the swimming holes at the far end of the loop. (Great hammock-camping spot at the base of the falls, tricky to reach though.) Day two was definitely a leg day. Once you round out the far end of the loop it’s all uphill from there. If you’re carrying a 30lb+ pack I would consider it a moderately strenuous climb. Overall awesome hike and a great introduction to overnighting in Shenandoah National Park.

Sat Jan 06 2018

Some may choose to begin this loop from the bottom rather from the top of the ridge. If so, one has to park at Thompson Hollow Trailhead (look for the location on Google Map). The capacity of the parking lot at Thompson Hollow Trailhead is limited to no more than 10 cars, counting spaces on both sides of the road.

Mon Nov 06 2017

Great overnighter in November, beautiful fall weather and leaves. I agree with others that this hike is definitely longer than 10 miles, probably more like 12. The uphill slog on the return is intense and thus the Hard rating. Happy Hiking to All!

Sun Sep 24 2017

Rocky trail--pretty much 6 miles down then 6 miles up. Streams are pretty dry, but the swimming hole was nice. Plenty of good campsites near the bottom of the trail, and one good one about halfway up (1750 ft elevation) on Beecher Ridge trail. The topo map shows you can hike to Overall as an extension, but don't do it. The trail peters out and then aims you towards someone's private land.

Mon Jul 31 2017

We did this all in 1day, the mileage is misleading. The whole thing is closer to 14 miles. Beautiful view at the end, most of the Beecher loop was overgrown with poison ivy -wear pants. The last half of the loop is almost all steep uphill and rocky. Be prepared

Sun Jul 09 2017

A note on the difficulty rating: 3/4 of the loop I would describe as easy to the easy end of moderate. The bottom portion of the loop follows a horse trail so its really not steep at all. If you follow the loop clockwise you run into trouble on the last bit of Tuscorora where theres a series of switchbacks. If you've hiked 10+ miles before and you're just day hiking it I would rate this loop as solidly moderate. My girlfriend and I were both hauling 30+ lbs packs for overnight camping, I would say it starts to veer into difficult / strenuous when you add in the packs. The trail is dog friendly but our dog had pretty well torn up his paws by the time we finished the loop. Consider paw protection. I'm not sure what the recent commenter was referring to when she said she was unable to follow the trail. We did the loop within a month of the comment being posted and the trail was very clearly marked / blazed the entire way. If you happen to have the PATC North District map with you there's almost no way you could get lost on this loop. If you are staying the night there are 3-4 campsites that are all wonderful, 3 are at the far end of the loop and 1 is between the stream crossings on the backend of the loop and the waterfall, pretty much right where the swimming holes are. USE A BEAR BAG. We had a total of 3 black bear sightings over a day and a half. It could have been the same one all three times I don't know. First sighting was on our first day, he was in scrub off the trail to the right, our dog scared him more than he scared us. The second sighting was at night when a bear visited our camp, he made an attempt at our bear bag as evidenced by fresh claw marks on the tree in the morning with scattered bark at the base of the tree. The third sighting, after the falls on the second day, the bear was right in the middle of the trail about 30 ft away from us. This was a great loop with some awesome views and some nice swimming holes / camp sites. We will be coming back with friends. Oh also I would say the Tuscorora trail is pretty well traveled, we saw a lot of people on our trip in the middle of July 2017. The campsite we stayed at was right near the Beecher Ridge connector / Tuscorora / overlook trail post at the back of the loop. We were able to people watch all afternoon /evening.

Sun Jun 18 2017

I would give this five stars if we were able to follow the trail... but we had a hard time finding where to follow. Starting the loop moving counterclockwise, we became unsure of the trail due to overgrown shrubs and sparse markings right after we passed the falls. We changed courses and walked back the way we came. It was beautiful and enjoyable, except for the hiccup described above.

Tue Jun 06 2017

Great for summer activity

Tue Feb 14 2017

Loved this trail. The incline is tough & definitely not for beginner hikers. The falls are great & the view of the canyon is awesome! The trail is very rocky & can be slippery when wet.

Sun Oct 30 2016

Wonderful fall overnighter. The descent down overall run past the falls is rocky. The plentiful rocks coupled with a bed of dry leaves made for tricky going under the load of a full pack. Found a beautiful campsite near the connector of Beecher ridge. Beecher Ridge Trail was glorious with the autumn color and the ascent back to the Hogback lot was invigorating

Mon Jun 27 2016

I did this hike in the middle of May. It had rained a lot the week before so the waterfalls were flowing really good. I did the trail clockwise and do think that was the best way. It is downhill the first half and uphill the second half regardless. The first half I saw 10 bears! 10 black bears! The first was by himself and crossed the trail 15 yards in front of me very casually. He saw me and pretty much ignored me. Then later on I saw 3 different sets of a Mom and her 2 Cubs. All 3 times they went running or climbed up a tree once they noticed me. Pretty cool seeing them in their natural environment. All this happened before I got to the bottom where you get to the falls and the pools. Definitely spend some time down there and you can take a dip under the 20+ foot waterfalls. Then you start your way back up the mountain. The 92 foot waterfall is really cool, you can get out to top of it if you are brave and have some athletic ability. Great views from there. From there you can kinda stay near the water instead of staying on the trail. You just need to do a little climbing up a couple of the smaller waterfalls. Overall it was an awesome hike with the wildlife and the waterfalls!

Sun May 08 2016

Great hike, great views, great work out. New favorite. The water was roaring as it had rained all week. Parked at Thompson Hollow trail head, and took a left at Overall Run trail. Glad I did, as coming down the other side, it seemed like it would have been a much longer ascent. The pools at the end before getting back onto Thompson Hollow trail would have been even more inviting if it had been warmer.

Sat May 07 2016

Waterfall was very cool.

Sat Jan 02 2016

Great trail, very scenic. Fun and challenging day hike!

Sun Aug 16 2015

Challenging hike. A good workout. 2000 ft in elevation gain. I'll go back in Winter/Spring when the water flow is better. More water makes it a 4-star. Today, dry creek beds; the 92 ft waterfall just a trickle. I parked at Thompson Hollow, making this 8.5m. The views and scenery got better and better as I went along.

Mon Jul 30 2012

A fun hike, it's difficult to score trails as they change seasonally in my opinion. Took this hike with my girlfriend on July 29th, creeks were pretty dry and the waterfall was a trickle. You're able to reach the top of the waterfall when it's more or less dry, great photo op. The trail becomes narrow at times from the Thompson Hollow Road entrance, of course worse in the summer with all the growth. Bugs were tolerable, and the trail itself became more bugless and wider as you gain elevation. Other hikers told us they saw a rattlesnake about 15 feet from the path and turned around (coming towards us). We did not see the snake thankfully.. I will say the views were tremendous at the "top" (top: overlook from the side of the mountain facing the ridge). I'd say roughly 150 degrees of viewing. Overall Overall Run was fun, but I'm sure much more enjoyable in the Spring.

1 month ago

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