Cedar Run Trail to Hawksbill to White Oak Trail Loop [CLOSED]

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Shenandoah National Park

Cedar Run Trail to Hawksbill to White Oak Trail Loop is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.5 miles Elevation Gain: 3,480 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


nature trips

bird watching






wild flowers



Note: This trailhead is currently closed by SNP and the County for the foreseeable future due to community health concerns— NO parking or road access is available. Please check with the park page for more information.

8 months ago

Took me 5.5 hours to hike this route including Hawksbill gap with about 30 min break overall ... it was a fun but strenuous hike with plenty of good sights. Took a small bag of almonds, raisins and packed tuna, about a liter of water, first aid kit, a petzl headlamp and an emergency ‘sawyer’ water filter in a small hiking beltbag for a convenient hike along the trail.

10 months ago

This trail was tough! I'm in decent shape but the climb up was hard for me. I had to take a couple breaks. The Cedar Run trail part was difficult but once we got to the climb up to Hawksbill, it felt even harder. I took a water break on some rocks on my way up, and a young bear climbed up onto the rock next to me. He looked at me to investigate for a minute and walked away. The view from Hawksbill is great though! The entire trail is full of interesting rock formations. We followed the AT for a bit, and that was a nice, easy hike. Whiteoak Falls was nice, too. There were several spots where you could take a dip in the water. The last few miles down were fairly steep, but not difficult. Including walking around at the Hawksbill summit a little, my GPS said we went over 13 miles. Bring plenty of water and/or a lifestraw. My hiking partner brought 4 liters of water and ran out (it was pretty hot though). I brought almost 4 liters and ended up giving him some of mine. But the Whiteoak Falls section has plenty of opportunities to refill and filter your water or use a lifestraw. It was strenuous, but I enjoyed this one!

11 months ago

This is a tough hike, be prepared if you go clockwise its a steep incline gaining almost 3000ft elevation in the first 4 miles. I saw someone said to beware coming up to hawksbill and they weren’t kidding that last 1.5 or so is steeper than cedar run but the view is worth it. The next section of Salamander Trail and AT isn’t bad with some slight up and down but mostly flat. The way back down White Oak is not as steep so it may be easier to go counter clockwise, but you would be going up hill for more distance that way. I really enjoyed coming back down White Oak and seeing the waterfalls gain in size the farther you went Bring plenty of water, at least 3 liters. Be prepared for some tough terrain, it’s really rocky on Cedar Run and White Oak Canyon. If you’ve got the energy then Hawksbill and the loop around the backside are really worth it. Side note: Does anyone out there know trail etiquette anymore? Hardly anyone moves aside for uphill hikers. Same for coming up behind people “Excuse me” and “Coming though on your left” fall on deaf ears. Not a dog owner but pretty sure pack out what you pack in includes your dog’s crap, in the least throw it out in the woods so its not on the trail.

Fri May 31 2019

awesome hike! Did it in mid May of 2019 and loved every second. actually hiked counter clockwise starting with White Oak Canyon and felt it was still very fun with some great places to stop on your final descent. going Clockwise will offer you more scenic stops on your way down if you want to take it easy on your knees. I was very happy with with the sights on this trek and felt while it was hard, it didn't wreck me like some reviews made me fear. Definitely be ready for a watering hole and shoes with some water proofing are a must. Bridge in the parking lot was washed out so parking is somewhat restricted but there is a pay lot a short ways down the road. Do it!

Sun Mar 17 2019

Took me 5 hours with minimal breaks. Some of the best of Shenandoah - creek, waterfalls, and great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Very challenging hike.

Sun Feb 24 2019

Thu Sep 06 2018

It’s a tough hike but worth it. Definitely AMAZING just don’t take the short cut to Hawksbill Summit you’ll pay the price.

Fri Apr 27 2018

This should be up there with the hardest ones listed! Breaking all three of these apart makes for a challenging hike as is. Combining them, though, and you're in for a long day. We started our day at the Lower White Canyon parking lot and worked clockwise - up Cedar, then Hawksbill, and down White. The falls on the way up Cedar are awesome regarding scenery and sound. The Cedar trail presents the usual challenges of hiking upwards - basic rocky trails and increased elevations - nothing surprising if you hike often. Along with a couple extra stops for pics, water, and catching our breath, the climb took roughly three hours. Hawksbill is kinda where the rubber meets the road - assuming you do Cedar first. It's generally a steep rocky climb and a good workout in itself. Doing so after three hours up Cedar is exhausting! Add in the fact that we went mid-April and it was still 40°. The summit itself is worth the hike (despite being underprepared for another 15° temp drop and what had to be 40mph winds that day). Plan accordingly! There's a decent stone building you can take a break and eat at if you'd like. In and out might've taken an hour and a half with one break. To get back to the White trail, you head back towards Cedar (sign post) and head left towards/on the Horse Trail for a couple miles. At some point you'll come to one of the streams that looks impassable, but you'll see a footbridge northward of the stream if you look left. The White trail itself is a pretty nice walk, but I do recommend Cedar first. Going up White looked way more intense as an upwards climb and a lot longer. Either way, it's beautiful and we'll worth pausing along the way to catch all the falls. Spring hadn't really hit yet, so we had clear views of everything through the trees, so the falls may be a little more obstructed mid year. Our whole day logged nearly 15 miles and 7 hours. (We strayed a little here and there though.) Recommendations: - 3-4 liters or a filtered bottle for the streams. There were several options to fill up and the way. - Hiking boots. Hiking shoes are okay, but you're ankles will thank you on the way down. - Waterproof is worth considering. We went after a storm and surprisingly kept dry feet. But if your a little more adventurous and wander off the path much, you might get a little wet, especially on the White trail. - If Hawksbill is part of your journey, consider the temp drop and wind. It can rush or ruin your trip if your not prepared. - Walking sticks are helpful on the way up. They become a nuisance on Old Rag, scrambling, but there not much in the way on this circuit. Hope this helped! It's hard, but hardly impossible.

Mon Nov 06 2017

We hiked this in the clockwise route, up Cedar, down White oak. The hike started a bit dreary but cleared up while on the AT where we stopped at one of the overlooks for a quick bite to eat. The transition from the AT to white oak is not intuitive, you pop out by stables take a right down the road to the parking lot where you'll find the next trailhead. Beautiful falls the whole way down, even in the fog :)

Tue Aug 08 2017

did this trail, sleepless, starting at 6:30am went up cedar run made it to hawksbill summit around 11 am ish. passed out for an hour in day shelter then proceeded down the AT where we came nearly face to face with a bear. came across some cool snakes and a turkey as well. loads of great water falls going both up and down

Sat Jun 03 2017

Great hike; have done it twice and will return. Clockwise route (up Cedar, down White Oak) is better. Bring 3L of water per person and sturdy shoes.

3 months ago

Sat Nov 10 2018

Mon Nov 05 2018

Sun Oct 14 2018

recorded Track - Jun 23 05:40 PM

Sat Jun 23 2018

Sun Jul 09 2017

Mon Apr 17 2017

Fri Mar 17 2017