White Oak Canyon Trail

HARD 309 reviews
#6 of 185 trails in

White Oak Canyon Trail is a 9.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,408 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

beach

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

washed out

White Oak Canyon Trail is a great hike where you can splash around in lots of waterfalls. The trail is well maintained and has a few markings to keep you on track. The path is narrow, with lots of rocks and fallen leaves. As a result, it is a bit slippery, so you should wear hiking boots or shoes with good traction. There are upper and lower parking lots and a $20 fee to park. Arrive early as this is a popular hike. The parking lot on Skyline Drive fills up fast. You can also use the White Oak Canyon parking area, which is accessed from outside of the Shenandoah Park. Parking fees also include park entry. The upper falls are quite large and feature small pools to swim in. Upper White Oak falls is the last waterfall along the trail although you can hike on further if you want. If you're interested in swimming the biggest swimming holes are close to the lower falls and the White Oak parking lot and are more crowded. And you climb the trails the holes get more shallow, but are fun for a dunk and more secluded. Make sure you bring some swimming gear or shorts if you want to swim.

hiking
rocky
7 days ago

I hiked this trail all the way to the other end parking lot. Most of the trail did not allow camping so I had to camp at the other end and hike back the next day. Other than that it was a great hike....hard but I really like hiking next to a creek and constant water source. I could drink all the water I wanted and cool off in the water as well. There were a few good swimming holes but I wasn’t sure how to use the app so didn’t mark the spots. The hike was tough. Steep and long down and up hill. If they lift the no camping restrictions I’d hike it again.

hiking
14 days ago

All downhill from Skyline Dr and all uphill on the way back, as reviewers have already said. Nothing extremely steep, but a steady uphill that'll burn the quads a good amount. Solid workout. 5 hours to complete with 45 minute lunch at bottom.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

2 months ago

Completed the trail in 5hrs. Down and back up to Skyline Dr.

hiking
blowdown
2 months ago

Beautiful running falls but lots of blow downs. Very crowded. Beautiful wildflowers too. Skyland across from the trailhead makes for a great after trail lunch!

hiking
2 months ago

Out of every trail I have done, this is my favorite. The Billy Goat trail at Great Falls, MD is short but holds a special place for me and White Oak Canyon is even better. I have done it 3 times now, out and back, to the top past Skyline drive. It can be very challenging at the upper parts and if you dont stop, you are exhausted by the time you reach the road. it is a nonstop waterfall the entire way up. word pf caution, I was 2 inches from sitting on a copperhead or whatever it was by the water...be careful. you will not soon forget this one.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Very strenuous hike, even for experienced hikers. Worth it for the view.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. Amazing waterfalls.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

I have been to this trail 3 times in the since October of 2018. My husband took me to stay at the lodge for the apple festival and then we took our step kids 2 weeks later and then I brought my girlfriends a month after! Hands down, favorite trail in Virginia so far! It’s difficult(especially when going in dec/Jan and iced over

hiking
muddy
rocky
4 months ago

Expected rainy and slippery trail conditions but was pleasantly surprised when the sun and clouds came out and no trace of a rain cloud! The trail had some uphill challenges but overall, a moderate hike through the park with gorgeous waterfalls along the way! Would definitely do this again when it starts getting warmer.

6 months ago

Gorgeous trail. Best waterfalls I've seen since moving to VA.

6 months ago

Awesome in winter. Water was high. Very quiet. Lovely!

6 months ago

Did the Golden mile loop first time hiking in more than 10 years and had a blast

7 months ago

Gorgeous hike. Beautiful scenery throughout hike.

7 months ago

11-17, took us 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete. Very special hike with beautiful waterfalls. Lots of elevation gain (abt 2200 ft.)

7 months ago

Beautiful. Challenging but doable. Will definitely go back.

hiking
7 months ago

Great challenging trail. I’m 52 and not on great shape. This trail was an adventure. Each time I felt like turning around there was another spectacular view. Take time to take in the beauty and sounds of nature. Last leg starting from the South is very steep. Use poles along the way to stabilize. Breathe deep and complete this wonderful trail.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike with plenty of waterfalls. Ended up starting at White Oak Canyon, then taking the left onto the fire dirt access road then another left onto Cedar Run Trail (by the Hawksbill Gap Parking lot). If you want to make it a much more difficult hike, ditch the White Oak trail at the first waterfall and rock climb up the river to the third falls. All together 9.5 miles.

hiking
9 months ago

We went after a hurricane so we were the only ones there. The water was raging and I've never seen the falls so big! It was a easy to moderate hike and the trails were well maintained. My dog and I enjoyed some of the many swimming holes on the way up to the falls. It was beautiful!

10 months ago

This was an AMAZING hike. The views were well worth the work. Remember, you go down then up. It was quite wet. Wear good footwear.

hiking
11 months ago

This trail was all-around amazing. The waterfall views were lovely. The trail is moderately difficult but my teenager and pre-k children had no problems. Awesome hiking trail to take alone or with the family!

hiking
11 months ago

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Great hike. Steep and rocky

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Great Hike, nice waterfalls. Not too strenuous or muddy. The area between high and low falls is a little steep, but it’s not too bad. Plenty of spurs to go off the main trail and get up close to the water. Plenty of flat rocks to relax and have lunch on. Got a late start because the road at the base was washed out so you have to go around to Skyline drive if it’s rained recently.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

lots of walking and walking

hiking
Monday, May 28, 2018

Decent Hike. The path is clear, and easy to follow. If you love waterfalls this trail is for you, but I found this hike to be pretty boring. There are several falls you hike to and past, but the time spent hiking between them gets to be redundant and not very challenging. The hike backup is slightly more difficult due to the incline, but again. Is not very entertaining. Considering it rained yesterday, this was a good hike as the falls were raging, but on a clear day there are much more difficult, rewarding, and entertaining hikes to enjoy.

hiking
Monday, May 14, 2018

Beautiful falls. Started at upper Whiteoak on Skyline Drive and hiked all the way down to lower Whiteoak. Like most trails in this park not clearly labeled, and easy to venture off onto other trails. If you do both sets of Whiteoak Canyon trails (upper & lower), give yourself time to hike back before dusk... tougher trek back. And it is about a 50 minute drive from the lower parking lot back up to the upper (Skyline) parking lot.

hiking
Saturday, May 12, 2018

This was absolutely beautiful and the views were amazing. It was overcast but so humid. A lot of rock steps- which had moss.

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