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White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails

HARD 139 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
8.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2539 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

If you like water this is a great hike. If you want a great view at the top, pick another trail. You can go clockwise or the reverse. The Whiteoak Canyon trail is a much better trail so if you prefer coming down on the best footing trail, go clockwise. That is go up Cedar Run. If you do this just remember to look back a lot while coming down the White Oak Trail because it has most of the waterfalls. Cedar Run has some beautiful emerald green pools. Both trails stay very close to the streams. The connection at the top is partly by fire road and partly by a trail that parallels the scenic highway on top of the range. If you come up Cedar Run the trail will go off to the right just before a parking lot. It will take you to the fire road where you turn right. At the end of the fire road you will be at White Oak Canyon. There is a trail that heads up on the South side but you want to cross over the foot bridge and then head down along the stream on the north side. There are two parking lots that intersect this trail, one on skyline drive south of big meadows, and one that needs to be accessed off road 643 in the lowlands. You will come to an intersection starting at the off-skyline 643 parking lot, suggest you go right and run the loop counterclockwise. The trail markers are blue on the trees, then theres a short yellow section, then blue again for the return. make sure you double check your GPS at the intersections to stay on the right trail. The 1st section of trail takes you to the right along about 30 big and small waterfalls! WATERFALLS galore! 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. A short way past the falls section you will encounter a map on the trail and you can decide if you want to turn back and call it quits for the day. If you would like to continue on the loop for a total of 8 miles, you can take the yellow trail section. The yellow trail is the 2nd leg 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. No views here, and no waterfalls here. 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 leg 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 stair stepping 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. The rest of the way after the last crossing is a mostly rockless path back to the starting (road 643) parking lot (weakly hollow road). 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

4 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

VERY STRENUOUS!! Make sure you have enough water! My husband and I did this trail last year, great experience but will not do again. We were diverted off trail by Park Rangers due to a deceased hiker along the trail which made the trail twice as difficult. Once we made it back onto the trail we were on our way back up. We climbed up rocks for a good solid hour, I thought I would never see the end but seeing a HUGE bear definitely put a pep in our step to finish! All in all, great views, challenging hike, but make sure you are capable and prepared!

5 days ago

Great hike! Met amazing hikers, saw 2 bears up close, great waterfalls and cliff dived!

7 days ago

16 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

Great views and this trail is bomb.com... funny thing there was a tree that fell on the path and my friends and I had to go through it LOL. But it's a great way to break ankles LOL and take L's

1 month ago

It's easy getting in down cedar but that incline along white oak is tough. Beautiful waterfalls throughout. Cool part is you stay alongside the water the whole time. Several easy crossings as well. Camped on the link trail not to far from the rushing water. That sound of the water will rock you to sleep.

1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty difficult trail with lots of pretty waterfalls. I didn't get the views I was hoping for though, and in April the forest is still pretty dry and brown. Maybe I'll try again in the summer. Either way I'd definitely recommend it for a good workout with opportunities to cool down by the river.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trait is great for a strenuous workout and lots of waterfalls to cool off. We parked at the Road 643 parking lot. We took the Cedar Run Trail up to the Skyline, and came down from the White Oak Canyon Trail. Total distance was 9.5 miles with 2,480 feet elevation. There is a self administering hiking fee at the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Great Hiking and beautiful waterfalls.

Parking = limited
Hiking shoes = Highly recommended (water resistant)
Stay with the blue marks. I do not recommend take the horses trail.
Moderate/Difficult / Hard = you will have all 3
A lot of Rocks = Some areas are technical
Kids = I don't recommend this trail for kids under 10 years old.
Bring enough Water = on my way back, I saw a young couple that were lost without water and I gave some water to both.

trail running
1 month ago

So good...

hiking
1 month ago

A fantastic trail that when hit early in the morning is a good time. I hit it at sunrise and it was not getting busy till 930 ish so I got most of the trail done with little sight of other humans. I did see a big single bear and a momma with a cub later in the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun and beautiful hike. Kicked my butt on the way back up! The waterfalls are really nice and refreshing.

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

2 months ago