“Among the best hikes --if not the best hike-- in Shenandoah. Enjoy waterfalls for 9 miles.
— Nicholas Crow
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife
You can turn around at any point and still consider this a great hike. The payoff is all around you and the river is very accessible during the first couple of miles.
This route has you climbing through Whiteoak Canyon
along beautiful waterfalls. During warm months you're under canopy and during winter months you'll likely enjoy fog. Sections are fairly steep, but you'll be never far away from a great view allowing you to catch your breath. Once past upper falls, your climb continues across a bridge and up a fire road the connects you to Cedar Run Trail
. From here you'll hike down 2500ft along Robinson River, where you'll discover more waterfalls and will see more wildlife. Near the bottom there is swimming area and waterfall slide.
Need to Know
This route looks like a 7 mile hike on some maps, but when you actually do it you'll find it's just over 9 miles, so please adjust your plans accordingly.
When hiking this loop you are immediately greeted with easy stream and bridge crossings, leading up to a steady climb. Rains changes the nature of the stream crossing; sometimes you have to splash through a couple inches of water at 3 of the crossings. The careful stacking of rocks or the use of trekking poles can prevent a wet misstep. During this period the trail is also wet, so bring a change of socks just in case.
Though never far from water, each crest and bend reveals yet another waterfall. Near the top there is stunning overlook where you can peer down the canyon and enjoy the waterfall far below you. After the upper falls the Whiteoak Canyon
trail continues on, but you'll cross the river using the bridge, which will take you to a fire trail where you'll gain more elevation. The whole area is heavily forested and is absolutely remarkable when the leaves change.