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White Oak Canyon Trail

HARD 408 reviews
#8 of 195 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

running

beach

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

washed out

fee

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
1 month ago

Great trail!! We did 7 of the 9 miles starting at the Skyline Drive trail head. the first 2.5 miles are moderate with some ups and downs. This gets you to the Upper Falls which is incredible! If you decide to go further, heed the warnings! it's steep down, which means steep up! But there are several other falls and the pain is worth it! Some great spots to stop and rest by the falls and eat lunch or some snacks as you go beyond the Upper Falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent in and out trail. Steep at parts coming back but very doable for a family.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is pretty easy to hike going down to the falls. We saw some nice view from the top and some little falls but we never get a chance to see the big falls.. Going back its hards because its pretty steep. So far its not my favorite trail.. im a type of hiker to like to see the view of the mountains..

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing water falls and very challenging! I loved it!!

hiking
1 month ago

My favorite hike I’ve ever been on! So so beautiful!!! I’m so thankful!

hiking
1 month ago

fog limited the views but gave the forest an ethereal quality than that made the hike really enjoyable. I would honestly say the difficult rating is undeserved as the trail is wide and not Rocky especially compared to others in the park.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Cool trail! The trail was pretty easy and doable.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

ITS A HIKE DOWN THEN UP TRAIL if you start via GPS location on here. It was a fun easy to me (young 20’s tall male) hike. This time of year water was very low so not too many places to swim. Went on a Monday; so there was nearly nobody else out. Strung up my hammock just below the last fall before making my way back up. Not as many scenic openings as I would’ve hoped. I will give this trail another shot when there has been more rain.

hiking
2 months ago

Go early, bring lots of water and enjoy this beautiful and challenging hike

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike. Great during hot season. Places to cool off in the water. Very incline. No dirty litter bugs like at our southern borders. Loved it.

hiking
3 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in the park, but better to start from the bottom and make it a loop as you go up. Gives you more payoff after the hardest work.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Disappointing to see human feces (with a torn NPS map used as TP) right off the trail, several wads of used TP, and one lady peeing less than 10 feet from the trail and next to a stream on my hike yesterday (8-23-19). This is a heavily trafficked trail, though most people start from Skyline and maybe don’t go all the way down to the boundary parking lot. I hiked this from the bottom up to Skyline and back down, lots of waterfalls to see, but also loads of people on a Friday.

Hiked up to bigger waterfall & back to trailhead

hiking
3 months ago

Skinny dipped in a thunderstorm really high, rope jump into water

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked down from Skyline Drive. We passed two beautiful waterfalls and continued so that we could see the other four waterfalls that were marked on our map. However, we ended up turning around before we reached them all, because they appeared to be more like cascades than waterfalls. I think the water was very low (August), which may have been the reason for this. In any case, the trail seemed to be getting progressively more difficult as we went down, and we decided that it wasn’t worth it anymore for the cascades. The hike back up was a bit brutal because it was steep, but overall it was a good hike. I do wish we had gotten to see the swimming hole that people have mentioned, although I don’t regret turning around early.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail for family outing and exercise.

hiking
4 months ago

Very easy gradual descent from Skyline for a couple of miles. Deceptively so. It then gets much steeper for the next couple of miles. Nite that the falls are a long way from Skyline. May be better approaches from the bottom end if that’s your main goal. Inevitably a steep return but overall a solid hike that I wd do again.

hiking
4 months ago

Good but far from the SNP exit I usually enter from. Chased it for a while and finally did it. Chased it for a while. It’s shorter and less elevation change than most trails I’m used to taking out in CO so need something a little more challenging on East Coast. Didn’t disappoint

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Starting from Skyline Drive it’s quite a hike before you hit waterfalls, but very beautiful. Be prepared for the return trip uphill to be very steep and difficult. Bring swim suits if you plan to hike all the way to the southern most waterfall- open swimming areas that we loved and were refreshing after the long trip.

hiking
rocky
5 months 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
5 months 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
6 months ago

Beautiful trail !

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

7 months ago

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

hiking
blowdown
7 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!

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