South River Falls Trail

MODERATE 393 reviews
#7 of 185 trails in

South River Falls Trail is a 4.6 mile moderately 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.

Distance: 4.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,272 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

views

waterfall

rocky

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.

hiking
bugs
7 days ago

trail is actually only a 3.3 mile loop per signage

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful trail. Very well groomed and absolutely with the hike to the waterfall. Saw quite a few copper heads on the way.

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful trail. Very well groomed and absolutely with the hike to the waterfall. Saw quite a few copper heads on the way.

hiking
12 days ago

I took my thirteen year-old daughter and eleven year-old son and their friend on this hike yesterday morning. We arrived early before the heat and potential storms had a chance to creep in. It turned out to be a great choice, as we had the hike mostly all to ourselves. We didn’t see another hiker until we began to make our way back to the fire road from the base of the falls on the return to the picnic area. The trail was my first timber rattlesnake sighting in seven years of frequent hiking in the park, and the thing was beautiful. We caught it basking in the sun on a large rock overlooking the falls, just before the observation point. Continuing on, we saw an eastern rat snake at the beginning of the narrow path that leads to the base of the falls. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t amped up walking through the narrow path after seeing the rattler and rat snake (although I know the rat snake to be essentially harmless). The cove at the end of the path was a suitable payoff. The water was cool and the waterfall beautiful. I love taking the kids on Shenandoah’s waterfall hikes because of the challenge the trek back uphill provides them. Definitely manageable, but enough of a climb to give them the added benefit of physical exercise. I loved the hike and would like to come back in the cooler months when the falls are rushing!

hiking
21 days ago

Did the loop by taking the South River Trail down then the Fire road back. Beautiful moderate trail. The base of the falls was worth it, but a little rocky for medium to small size dogs. Our American Beagle stuggled in some parts but overall doable.

hiking
24 days ago

Nice loop through a lush green forest with a must see waterfall at the lowest point. 1000 ft of elevation drop/gain, but only moderate steepness. 3hrs total with dog.

hiking
rocky
25 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Nice short trai . Greenest and cleanest trai. I saw 2 snakes under rock around waterfalls.

hiking
1 month ago

Such a fun trail. Easy down. More challenging on the way back up but worth and not too hard. The falls were worth it.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Its a long downhill, but beautiful nontheless. We made it to the falls overlook, but not to the base of the falls. We did not have our trail guide with us, but another hiker passing us on the way back said if we would have continued past the overlook to a service road and walked down the hill, there was another trail to the base of the falls. He said it was well worth the hike. We decided to head back. it was starting to rain - slick/muddy trail. Made it back to the truck just in time.

hiking
bugs
muddy
1 month ago

This trail was awesome! My husband and I are avid hikers and this trail was challenging enough to make us sweat but not so hard that we couldn’t visit and enjoy the sights. Absolutely stunning views of the river, water falls, and Shenandoah’s beautiful mountains. We made it into a loop by meeting up with Fire Road trail. It was about 5 miles round trip. Very lovely.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

I took the fire road down and came back up the river trail. Definitely a work out for an out-of-shape me, but if you are in relatively good shape you’ll be fine. Did see 2 rattlers, one of which refused to move which caused a traffic jam of people scared to go past. Falls are beautiful and definitely worth going all the way to the bottom and up the rock scramble.

hiking
1 month ago

It was pretty crowded and space is limited so I would suggest doing this hike early. Water is deep enough to wade and swim but very cold

1 month ago

Beautiful view at the waterfall throughout hike. I recommend taking fire trail down and shorter hike back up.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this trail.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

Buggy, muddy, full of mosquitoes and not a well maintained track. However, less crowded and shady.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike for the family with a swimming hole at the end of the trail. Followed the fire road out instead of going back up the trail. The incline was not as steep, but proved to be rather tiring anyhow

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

it was nice! half of it is much more scenic than the other. we recommend starting by going on the fire trail and then stopping at the waterfall, and THEN going back up to the lot by the scenic route. I did it once before and ending w the fire trail wasnt nearly as exciting )-': It was a beaut of a hike, and the trail was a humble one, get ready for some Uphill !!!!

2 months ago

Good hiking trail. A little muddy. Completed in about 3.5 hrs with family.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a beautiful trail, and I only hiked it in the early spring before the majority of the foliage returned to the canopy. It’s very steep but worth the hike. If you’re brave enough you can climb your way out on top of the waterfall itself.

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