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South River Falls Trail is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Stanardsville, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 4.6 mi Elevation gain 1,272 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (6)
Contact
Getting There

Virginia Tourism Corporation, 901 Easy Byrd Street , Richmond, VA, 23219, Phone: 804-786-2051, Fax: 804-786-1919

Directions from Front Royal, VA: Skyline Drive travels the entire length of Shenandoah National Park. Mile markers are placed along the right-hand side of the road heading south. They are numbered from north to south beginning at the northern terminus in Front Royal, Virginia. Facilities, trails and park features use the mile markers as points of reference. Park in the South River Picnic Area where the trail begins near the third parking area. The milepost is 62.8.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (700)
Photos (657)
Recordings (550)
Completed (1171)
Clisby White
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Visited the park about a year ago. Forgot to add this one to the list. Nice hike to a waterfall.

Shlomo Siegelman
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Hiking
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Patrick Serfass
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HikingGreat!Rocky

A great 5.5 mi hike when you do the whole loop and the out and back to the waterfall. We were a group of 6 with two septuagenarians, a 7 yo and 10 yo. Took us 3 hours of moving time (2.1 mph). Probably more like 5 either stops. The other reviews saying the hike to the bottom of the waterfall being well worth it were totally true. I’d go so far as to say that the hike isn’t really worth it without the stop to the bottom of the waterfall. We got lucky and we’re the only ones there for 30 mins. But then two big groups came and it took the magic (and safety—covid) away so we left happy that we’d had so much time to ourselves. We preferred going CCW because the other half of the loop, while uphill and slightly longer, was less rocky for our tired legs. One note, our GPS had significantly longer mileage than what’s posted here and on the trail markers. So be conservative in your estimates.

Kaitlyn McGrory
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

very nice scenic trail. we did it clockwise which was very nice because the scenery was all on the tail end of the trail. mostly downhill the first half and then all up hill the second half. great sights and beautiful waterfall.

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Carrie Lensch
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Hiking

Easy in, tough out

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Kim Overholt
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HikingGreat!

Amazing! Best SNP water trail by far if you hike all the way down to the falls.

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Bryce Chapman
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Amazing view of you go all the way to the bottom! Not too many people on the trail. Hike out to the AT is all uphill. Completed it in under two hours. Bring plenty of water if doing the full loop.

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Veronica Olson
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Hiking

Just went to the falls overlook and back. According to the map it is 1.2 miles out but was actually 3.2 miles out and back. Not much of a view in the summer, hard to see due to the trees, just barely got a glimpse of the falls. For this to be worth it I’d recommend going the whole way and setting aside probably 4-5 hours to finish. Looks like it would be a nice view of the falls at the bottom. Not really worth it to only see the lookout and quite a bit of effort.

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David Pritchett
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Hiking

Trail was well maintained and safe for most. The elevation change is more than some other websites let’s on. Saw many people w small dogs and small children that should not have been on that trail. This is a moderate trail and new comers should beware. This is a difficult trail if you are not an avid hiker.

Justin Q
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Peice of cake compared to white oak canyon/cedar run but with a waterfall view at the bottom like dark hollow falls.

Caitlin Rosing
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Hiking

Moderate hike starting on a descent about 1.5 miles. Encourage you to go down to the waterfall and maybe even a swim for a great reward. Took the fire road to Appalachian trail and it was quite the hike up hill. Took 3 mid 30 something females 3 hours with 30 minutes swimming time at the falls.

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Jeremy Zimmeman
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HikingRocky

Amazing hike! highly recommend going the extra half-mile to go down to the base of the falls. This is definitely the roughest part of the trail but the view is amazing!

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Jenny Roslak
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Hiking

Very well maintained trail. Nice little overlook of the falls but don’t stop there! Another ~3/4 of a mile and you’ll hit the bases of the falls where you can cool of with a swim in some freezing cold water! You’ll need it before the hike back out!

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Juan C. Sotomayor
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HikingRocky
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Rich Sisson
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Great hike steep at the end to get down the the falls and back up fire road a steady uphill on the loop back but a nice wide flat path to finish the trip.

Benjamin Rogers
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Hiking

Two Black Bears spotted on the trail today! The first one was very close, we said, “hey bear!” In a kind but stern way to let him know of our presence. He took a look at us then went back to foraging, seemed like he couldn’t care less. We continues walking as not to disturb him. Then not much further down the train we spotted another, larger, black bear making his way though the woods. He was further away and there was no eye contact. Really amazing experience! Otherwise it was a beautiful day, moderately trafficked trail. Half of the people were kind enough to wear masks as we passed each other on the trail. Good work out, and the falls were lovely, but packed at mid day. I height recommend!

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Kyle Taylor
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HikingBlowdown

Gr8 trail - limited parking so come early. Go all the way to bottom and short scramble up (300-400 yards) to base pools for a dip!

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Sarah Stein
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Hiking

Beautiful trail that’s mostly wooded (so an escape from the sun). The trail itself is mostly wide, well-maintained, and very easy from a technical perspective, except for the immediate access to the waterfall itself, which is a bit rocky (but probably less than .25 miles). We were caught in the rain hiking back on the fire road, and we would recommend you take that route in bad weather (it’s very wide and easy). There’s around 1200-1300 feet of elevation gain on the way back, but it’s gradual and spread over 2.5 miles, so there’s never a steep grade. The waterfall itself was beautiful, and the hike overall was excellent. There was a tree down on the fire road route, but it was easy to pass under.

Kyle Remnant
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Hiking

We went on the morning of 7/12. A beautiful Sunday morning for a hike. Started at 9am with the trail to ourselves, but passed at least 20-30 hikers on the return hike. Get there early on the weekend. Moderate seems accurate, there are just two tough parts: the short rock scramble to get to the falls and the last half mile coming back up. The scramble is quite rocky and the last half mile is quite steep. We managed both parts well with two dogs. The water was low, making the couple stream crossings easy. I wouldn’t recommend this hike right after a steady rain. Any other time, perfect hike. Someone was hiking with a baby stroller... this is not the trail for that. I’d be shocked if they made it the whole way.

Meredith Nakayama
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Trail can be tough for length because you hike the uphill on the 2nd half of the hike after you have seen the falls. The falls are beautiful. Very picture worthy.

Fiona Rutka
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Hiking

Beautiful trail, waterfalls, and native plant life. Highly recommend!

Tiffany Little
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HikingRockyScramble

The climb back is the worst. I recomend sticking close to the falls so at least it will keep you cooler. If you're going for the whole hike I wouldn't recommend children.

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Phoebe A.
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HikingBugsRocky
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Michael Cumbia
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HikingRockyScramble

This was an amazing hike. We clocked it at 2.4 miles almost all downhill. About half way in you follow the stream that leads to the falls. There is a nice overlook that lets you see the top of the falls. The trees were in full bloom so the view from the over look wasn’t great for us. There is a short rock scramble at the end, but it is well worth it. The fall is the prettiest that we have been to next to Cascade. We were able to wade in the pool at the bottom of the fall and relax for about an hour. YOU WILL NEED IT. The hike back up is no joke! We decided not to take the fire lane, but either way is is an all uphill climb. The elevation is steep and there are 2.4 miles of it. The last .5 was the worst. I’m not sure if it was because we were tired or if it was just that bad. I personally think this is a little harder than a moderate hike. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for the return. There are snakes in the trail, we saw two rattlesnakes. We also saw a bunch of deer. The hoarding lot was empty when we got there at 9. But it was filling up quick when we wrapped up our hike.

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