White Oak Canyon Trail

HARD 216 reviews
#4 of 144 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
2408 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

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
21 days ago

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
1 month ago

Great hike. 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

Great views and waterfalls here!

2 months ago

Best swimming hole hike in Virginia. Lots of places to cool off in the water along this trail. Summer time favorite. I guess news has spread because its definitely become more crowded over the years.

hiking
2 months ago

This is not the best way to do this hike. The best way is to do a loop hike from Skyline Drive. Start at the Hawksbill Gap Parking area (Milepost 45.6) and start down the Cedar Run Trail to the Whiteoak-Cedar Run Link Trail and up the Whiteoak Canyon Trail until you reach the Whiteoak Canyon Fire Road. Follow the fire trail back to your car. You will see 2 waterfalls on the Cedar Run Trail and 6 waterfalls on the Whiteoak Canyon Trail. This is a 7.3 strenuous loop with 2794' elevation change.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail. Not a difficult hike to the falls since it’s downhill but the hike back up can be absolutely exhausting! I like the loop with Cedar Run for the full experience.

3 months ago

Great hike!

6 months ago

very challenging...goes from easy to strenuous. pay attention to trail markings, signs, and the trails itself. very beautiful. wear hiking shoes. lower falls is more scenic than starting at upper falls.

6 months ago

Super pretty hike

hiking
7 months ago

Hard but beautiful. Recommended to do it during fall season.

7 months ago

Beautiful falls worth the effort. Regular hiking shoes will do, not too slippery.

hiking
7 months ago

My friends and I took a short hike to see two waterfalls. We loved the crisp air and the smell of nature. The trail was maintained and somewhat marked. The path was narrow and had lots of rocks that stuck out and fallen leaves. As a result, it was a bit slippery. It's easy to fall off the trail.

It is suggested to wear hiking boots or shoes with good traction, bug spray for nets, carry a stick to fight off the rattlesnakes, and use hiking poles to climb the steep trails.

hiking
7 months ago

Very rewarding to hike up to the upper falls. Definite strenuous, but very much worth it especially since you can take a swim in the falls to cool off when you get back down to the bottom.

7 months ago

Beautiful hike on a well maintained trail.

hiking
8 months ago

This is a fantastic hike. I would recommend hiking up to White Oak Trail from the parking lot down below. There is a $20 fee to park there, and you should arrive early parking fills up fast. Beautiful views, a steep hike up to Skyland or the parking lot on skyline Drive. Make sure you bring some swimming gear or shorts there are some areas where you can bathe in the waterfalls.

8 months ago

will def do this again!

hiking
9 months ago

The hike was not bad at all. Might seem long. The hike back was harder but worth it. Our group had 3 younger boys 8, 9 and 10 year olds and they did great. Had a blast.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail is beautiful! We came through the lower parking lot. I would say this trail is moderate, there was some uphill and downhill parts and a lot of rocky areas but it was worth the hike after seeing the beautiful waterfalls. We stopped at the waterfalls on the lower part of trail and went back down. Im hoping to come back soon and do the upper part of the trail.

hiking
9 months ago

Great views and lots of places to stop and swim!

hiking
9 months ago

I'm not exactly sure why this trail is labeled as "hard." My friend and I parked at the uphill entrance and then viewed the falls going down before going up. I usually prefer going down first if the trail is a little treacherous. Heavily traveled so if you want a really good shot, go early.

9 months ago

Great hike. Splashed in the lower falls. Upper falls was big but pools were small. Few people in the morning. Got very busy in the afternoon.

9 months ago

My wife and I celebrated or 25 wedding anniversary today with this trail. It was well marked and the sights were amazing. Thank you park service and volunteers that maintain the trails and park. The only thing better than the falls was the smile on my beautiful wife's face.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike! Me and my friend did it last weekend. We arrived around 12pm and park on the white oak parking lot - was not very busy.
It was not hard to find the way but trail is full of rocks and stones. That is kinda hard. First we went down to waterfall then back up to the parking lot which was harder because it was a small hill.
We did only the upper waterfall because we did not have enough time to do both.
Amazing, peaceful and great view!

10 months ago

Great hike, but not what I was expecting.
I started the At the White Oak Canyon parking lot, which is accessed from outside of the Shenandoah park. There was a entry fee, which would carry over into park entry.
I finished at the Upper White Oak falls, you can continue on the trail or to others at this point, but it's the end of the waterfalls.
The hike is 6.14mi and took me 3.5 hours to complete, including a quick lunch stop.

If you're interested in swimming the biggest swimming holes are close to 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.

10 months ago

amazing views by far one of best trails I've been on

10 months ago

Very nice hike with beautiful falls at the end. Saw a bear, water snake, and scarlet tanager. The parking lot is large and the trail can be busy. There are decent fishing spots along the trail.

10 months ago

Waterfalls we're breathtaking but the hike was very rigorous hiking back.

hiking
11 months ago

Rocks. Lots of em. If you start from the top it starts of real nice. Going up is a completely different story. But it's a fun trail with a few watering holes if you'd like to take a swim. Lots of people. And rocks.

hiking
11 months ago

We hiked it from the top down and then turned around and just went back up the same way. Going omg down you don't really realize how steep it is! Definitely recommend starting from the bottom first before it gets hot outside

Load More