White Oak Falls


December, 2008

State: Virginia

Location: Shenandoah National Park

Height: 86, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?

Crest: 20?

Water Source:

Waypoint: 38.564N 78.3637W

Summary: White Oak Falls is one of the many, and perhaps one of the most impressive, waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park. The falls consists of 6 major drops over a mile stretch where the creek drops 1000'. Seeing all the falls is an arduous hike, but well worth it.

White Oak Falls is one of the larger waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park. It consists of 6 major drops of varying heights along with countless small drops over a mile stretch. The first big drop is the most impressive, being nearly 90 feet high and having excellent views.

You can reach the falls from the top or the bottom. The White Oak Canyon Trail starts at mile post 42.6 on the Skyline Drive. A fairly level and easy trail of 2.3 miles takes you to the first big drop. This hike alone is worthwhile. The trail continues steeply downhill for another mile, passing many more drops, before ending at a parking area on Route 600. The total elevation drop from the upper parking area to the lower one is over 2000 feet.

If you are just interested in seeing all the falls, it might make more sense to start at the bottom and work your way up. All the falls are within 1.5 miles of the parking area. It is a long uphill climb, but at least the trip back is down hill. It is a steep down hill, and by no means easy, but it is a lot easier than having to climb uphill and hike another 2 miles to get back to your car. The downside to this is that the lower parking area is quite a ways from Skyline Drive.

I visited the falls in December, when the park closes at 5pm and the sun sets even earlier, so I did not get a chance to visit all the falls in White Oak Canyon.

It is possible to get to the base of the big drop. The falls are bigger than the photos may suggest. It would be good to a get a photo of this fall with some people in it to give it a better sense of scale.

Nearby Falls

There are a lot of waterfalls of various sizes in Shenandoah National Park. The Cedar Run Trail, which also has a terminus in the parking area on Route 600, passes by Cedar Falls. You could make a long loop hike by combining Cedar Run Trail, White Oak Canyon Trail, and one of several connecting trails. The smaller but much easier to visit Dark Hollow Falls is about 5 miles south on Skyline Drive. Elsewhere in Shenandoah you can find South River Falls, Lewis Falls, Doyles River Falls, Jones Run Falls, Rose River Falls, and Overall Run Falls.

Photo Gallery



Closeup of cascades above first big drop

Cascades below the first big drop

The beginning of White Oak Canyon Trail

The trail below the first big drop

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 14-Sep-2010 16:07:51 MDT.

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