South River Falls
ElevationAscent: 829' 253 m
Descent: -830' -253 m
High: 2,947' 898 m
Low: 2,117' 645 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)
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“A moderately easy, out-and-back hike down to the scenic South River Falls.”— Larry W. Brown
Family Friendly Easily accessible, starting and ending from a picnic area, and with a waterfall at the end of the hike.
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. Return to the South River picnic area and parking lot using the South River Falls Trail, the way you came.
If you'd like to extend your hike, you can add a short loop by continuing to South River Falls Road, and then connecting to South River Falls Trail, where you can make your way back to your car.
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.
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Land Manager: NPS - Shenandoah National Park