FATMAP by Strava

Whiteoak Canyon -> Cedar Run Loop

A spectacular hike with eight waterfalls and plenty of summer swimming holes.

Hiking Moderate

12 km
713 m
713 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
337 m
High Point
1 km
Whiteoak Canyon -> Cedar Run Loop Map

White Oak Canyon is one of the most talked-about hikes in all of Shenandoah National Park. This circuit includes six waterfalls "ranging from 35 to 86 feet and many smaller cascades along the Whiteoak Canyon Trail," according to the NPS. It's also "one of the most popular places to hike in Shenandoah National Park," they continue. There are countless swimming holes along the route, though you should expect some company during the warmer months due to its popularity.


The lower trailhead (as mapped) is the most common place to start. Parking is limited, and some spaces require a fee. You could also begin on Skyline Drive at Hawksbill Gap, milepost 45.6. Nearby Hawksbill Mountain is another excellent day hike that begins from the same trailhead.

Starting from the lower trailhead, this loop pairs Whiteoak Canyon Trail and Cedar Run Trail, plus a little bit of fire road in the middle. It can be hiked in either direction, though counter-clockwise would offer the best views of the waterfalls since you'll be hiking towards them.

Another spin on this route could be to shuttle the Whiteoak Canyon Trail between Skyline Drive and the lower trailhead. Leave a car at one end, and start your hike from the other.




Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area