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South River Falls Trail

Intermediate
 4.3 (8)

A steep trail leading to an overlook of South River Falls.


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Map Key

1.6

Miles

2.6

KM

Point to Point

2,944' 897 m

High

2,133' 650 m

Low

42' 13 m

Up

811' 247 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

26%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Though steep, the shortness of this trail makes it great for kids, especially as they'll be able to see a waterfall at the end.

Description

This trail heads past the drinking fountain at the South River picnic area. The trail begins by descending across the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (AT) and continues downhill along a straight, drawn-out stretch. The trail bends to the left, drops along several switchbacks, and then straightens out as the South River merges from the right (south).

Head across the tributary stream, which can be hard to spot in places, but can be heard fairly clearly. After around a third of a mile, the trail will cross another stream. Here, the edge of the falls should start to come into view as the trees thin out, revealing views of the park beyond.

Follow the trail for another hundred yards or so, and you'll arrive at a path on the right. This path dives very steeply toward the head of the falls and provides a number of slipping hazards to avoid. Stay straight on the South River Falls Trail as it leads to an observation point down on the right, toward the falls. Look for the ledge surrounded by a constructed guard wall.

From here, you'll find the best views of the falls, out toward the gorge, and the northeast ridge of Saddleback Mountain beyond. The trail continues down where it ends at the South River Falls Road.

Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this description. If you're interested in learning more details about great hikes, weather, camping / lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive Guide to Shenandoah National Park.

Contacts

Shared By:

Larry W Brown

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 8 votes

#7616

Overall
  4.3 from 8 votes
5 Star
38%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#192

in Virginia

#7,616

Overall
5 Views Last Month
845 Since Apr 19, 2016
Intermediate

0%
0%
57%
43%
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Photos

Some of the smaller falls along the stream that parallels the South River Falls Trail.
Jun 17, 2021 near Elkton, VA
View from the base of South River Falls.
May 12, 2016 near Elkton, VA
The scenic South River.
Apr 15, 2016 near Elkton, VA
Moss on the boulders along the South River Falls Loop.
Jun 17, 2021 near Elkton, VA
One of the many scenic views of the stream that runs along the South River Trail.
Jun 17, 2021 near Elkton, VA
South river cascades.
Apr 15, 2016 near Elkton, VA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 36 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Oct 19, 2020
Ta Yo
Jul 24, 2020
Paul Avazier
Oct 27, 2019
Sarahsaurus Frex
1.6mi
Sep 17, 2019
A Catalano
Jun 27, 2019
Melanie Wieland
3.3mi — 2h 15m
Nov 21, 2018
Jack Cunningham
Nov 10, 2018
Donovan Fitzgerald
Steep trail down to an overlook. You must continue down the road to access the base of the falls. Worth it!
Oct 12, 2018
Cheryl Ladota