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