White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails Loop

HARD 532 reviews
#2 of 185 trails in

White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails Loop is a 9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,372 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

The 1st section of the trail takes you to the right along about 30 big and small waterfalls! This is the strenuous section of the trip. There is a great rock wall for climbers on this section approximately 1-1.5 miles from the trailhead (road 643) parking lot (weakly hollow road) which also makes a great place for lunch. The yellow trail, marked by yellow markers, is the 2nd part of the loop, you will go over a steel bridge crossing the river where there is a fork. The yellow trail is to the LEFT, and the blue trail on the right goes 3 miles to skyline drive (which is not part of this loop). The yellow trail is a horse trail, but still climbs to approximately ~3200 feet gradually. There are no stair steps here, and you still may need to stop and catch your breath. You will encounter the next intersection which you should follow to the left (still yellow blazes). This leg of the loop ends at the skyline drive parking lot which can be your other entry point for this trail. At this intersection (4 way) you will take the blue blazed trail which returns in the direction that you came. The 3rd and final part of the trail is blue marked and starts from the skyline drive parking lot intersection. This leg has a very notable waterfall called "the slide" because it is a sheer gradually sloped face with lots of waterflow over it, kind of like a slide. Having reached the peak of the hike in the 2nd leg end, this leg of the hike is downhill all the way. BEWARE that there are 3 river crossings, and this can be dangerous because they are on logs if you don't want to get wet. You can safely scoot along on the logs and make all the crossing. The final crossing will have red blazes on the trees marking all the crossing (approximately 4 log crossings). Be careful as the rocks may be slippery and can result in serious injury. This hike can be considered more strenuous than old rag mountain which is right next door. If you are taking tons of pictures of the falls, swimming, or taking an extra long lunch, then you should plan on 6-7 hours for this hike. The trail has groups come through heading to big meadows etc and can be busy at times... so start early. Larger wildlife may be present, especially on days with fog.

hiking
3 days ago

Loved this trail! Only gave it 4 stars because it was so crowded. But it was beautiful and loved all the swimming holes

hiking
6 days ago

It was rated as strenuous and it certainly was. I had the first waterfall to myself and had a nice breakfast there. The hike back up to the car was a real doozy but it was all worth it. Great hike but know your limits before you decide to try this one.

hiking
14 days ago

We had an early 7:30am start from the bottom of White Oak Canyon and took the left side(blue) Cedar Run trail to start to the loop. It was straight uphill climbing and had us all sweating. Then came around and down White Oak Canyon back to the car. The waterfalls were refreshing and beautiful. The trails were in great condition. Be sure to pack water and a snack/lunch.

hiking
16 days ago

This hike will definitely test your endurance, but is so worth it. Give yourself plenty of time if you're going to complete the entire loop. There are several waterfalls and a few swimming holes that can eat up some time, and you end up hiking back in the dark. Perfect hike if you want to cool off on hot days. Keep an eye out for copperheads and rattlesnakes. There were many just chilling on rocks by the stream.

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing hike. Great views the abound. Loved the swimming hole with the water falls. Lots of people though.

hiking
rocky
17 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

Nice hike with beautiful water falls and lots of places to stop and take a dip to cool off. Very crowded and we rarely had a moment alone on the trail. Parking was full by the time we got there at 10, but there are local residents close to the trail head who offer their property for $10. Bring cash. Very easy to follow. Wear good waterproof hiking boots with good tread. Rocky trail and the rocks were very slippery. Poles would have been helpful, but not necessary. We ran into a very friendly and fearless deer. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes and copperheads on/under the rocks.

hiking
bugs
rocky
19 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

There are multiple hikes in While Oak Canyon, so be sure you know which trail you want since the difficulty level varies. We hiked the lower falls trail which is relatively easy to moderate since there are quite a few rocks to navigate around. There are a couple of foot bridges and a couple of stream crossings that have rocks for you to cross. The trail follows along the creek. Some people were fishing and others cooled off in the shallow waters. The falls were very nice and easy to view. There is very limited parking so you will have to get there early or hope someone is leaving. There is a fee to hike if you do not have a National park pass

hiking
rocky
24 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

Tough but lovely. Loved the water slide.

hiking
bugs
27 days ago

Great loop trail, shady, awesome workout.

hiking
1 month ago

Continuous waterfalls while hiking under an emerald sea of foliage. ‘Nuff said. Pitter patter.

hiking
1 month ago

TLC told me "don't go chasing waterfalls." Horrible advice - great waterfalls on this trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike and amazing waterfall

hiking
1 month ago

A fantastic hike. Get there early. Bring good hiking shoes. Take your time. Very rocky and narrow in many spots. Requires careful foot placement on the way down. Take a swim in the pools. The water is cold as ice but immensely refreshing. Many ticks. We found 20 on our dog! And one on my son. But he wore shorts. Don’t. Best to be covered with pants and long armed T-shirt. And hat. Bring plenty of water.

hiking
1 month ago

Outstanding hike. Took our time on the trail to stop at a few water holes along Cedar Run and great view points on White Oak. From the time we started to the time we got back into the car was about 6.5 hours and we enjoyed every moment.

best hike we've done within 2 hours of DC. gorgeous all the way and reasonably challenging without being too bad. super beautiful being next to the stream the whole way. tons of waterfalls. great waterfall swimming hole on the way up. EPIC natural waterslide coming down.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Definitely a challenging hike. Mostly uphill or downhill the entire way... not many flat sections. Has some very nice views of the waterfalls. Some of the waterfalls are more tucked away and not as easy to see. Probably not ideal for people with kids if doing the whole loop. For people with kids, you can access certain waterfalls from other trails. Did see a lot of dogs on the trail. Lots of spots to grab a snack and cool off by either putting your feet in the water or taking a swim in a waterfall pool. Bring plenty of water and wear suitable footwear.

If it’s summer, bring deet. Otherwise this loop is amazing. You can definitely stretch it to a day hike or even a 1 night overnight but it can also be a morning hike if you start early and push the pace. Wear good shoes. Waterproof boots/trail runners recommended

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

A corpsman and I completed this in 5 hours, be in good shape and bring plenty of water. we collectively drank over a gallon and ran out a mile shy of the finish line. Great hike

hiking
1 month ago

First time hiking in Shenandoah absolutely loved it! Great views I grew up hiking the high desert so this was a pleasant change! Great trail

1 month ago

super fun to hike. love the views and water falls. great for dogs too my dog loves to get in the water.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

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