White Oak Canyon Trail

HARD 245 reviews
#6 of 166 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

walking

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.

1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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

2 months ago

Gorgeous hike. Beautiful scenery throughout hike.

2 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.)

2 months ago

Beautiful. Challenging but doable. Will definitely go back.

hiking
2 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
3 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
3 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!

5 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
6 months ago

7 months ago

Great hike. Steep and rocky

7 months ago

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.

7 months ago

lots of walking and walking

hiking
8 months 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
9 months ago

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
9 months 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
9 months ago

Great views and waterfalls here!

10 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
10 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
10 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.

11 months ago

Great hike!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

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.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Super pretty hike

hiking
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

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

Monday, November 06, 2017

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

hiking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

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
Friday, October 20, 2017

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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Beautiful hike on a well maintained trail.

hiking
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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.

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