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Whiteoak Canyon - Hawksbill Summit Loop


The best of Shenandoah streams, waterfalls and mountain top views while avoiding fire roads!

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4,038' 1,231 m


1,165' 355 m


3,652' 1,113 m


3,649' 1,112 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (26°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife


Combines trails following two streams with a jaunt along the AT and a climb up to Hawksbill Mountain Summit, the highest point in Shenandoah park, for awesome views. Waterfalls, swimming holes and even a water slide on the lower portions of the trail. Have lunch at Byrd's Nest picnic shelter on Hawksbill Mountain Summit, or take a side trip to Skyland Resort for an earlier lunch.

Need to Know

National or Shenandoah park pass required. Free parking at trailhead is limited. Private parking nearby $10. Restrooms available at trailhead parking area.


Whiteoak Canyon Trail starts gently with a bridge crossing the stream and continues to follow the stream up through the canyon. The trail becomes steeper and halfway to Skyland Drive there is a sign warning of the steep trail. However the trail up stays steep for only a short distance where you reach a wonderful view of the upper waterfall. Shortly thereafter you reach the intersection with a fire road that crosses to Cedar Run Trail. You can bail out at this point (see Whiteoak Canyon to Cedar Run Loop) or continue up White Oak Canyon Trail to Skyline Drive.

Cross Skyline Drive and go up the road to Skyland Stable where you turn left to join the AT (or take a side trip to Skyland resort restaurant for lunch). Take the AT south for views of mountains to the west. Pass intersections on the left with three short trails that lead to parking areas along Skyline Drive. Take a left onto Salamander Trail to climb Hawksbill Mountain. Byrd's Nest picnic shelter is just below the summit. There are awesome views from in front of the shelter and a lookout area at Hawksbill Mountain summit, the highest point in Shenandoah Mountain Park.

From the summit go back past the shelter to Lower Hawksbill Trail which descends steeply to Skyline Drive. Cross Skyline Drive to Cedar Run Trail which follows a stream down the mountain. This section is very rocky and has three stream crossings that may be wet after heavy rain. There is a swimming hole below a hidden waterfall in the narrow gorge portion of the trail and a water slide at a stream crossing on the lower section of the trail. Finally take the right at the fork to return to an intersection with Whiteoak Canyon Trail which takes you back to the parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Heavily forested. Mountain laurel blooming along upper sections of the trail in June.


Shared By:

TN Vol77

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 11 votes


  4.6 from 11 votes
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129 Views Last Month
2,857 Since Jun 8, 2019



Autumn view from the cliff near Crescent Rock Overlook.
May 24, 2016 near Stanley, VA
A winter afternoon view from Timber Hollow Overlook in the Central District .
May 24, 2016 near Stanley, VA
The second of 6 waterfalls in Whiteoak Canyon (the 1st being the very upper falls).
May 15, 2016 near Stanley, VA
The lower falls of Whiteoak Canyon (the 6th of 6 waterfalls).
May 15, 2016 near Stanley, VA
Looking back across the bridge connecting Whiteoak Canyon trail to the fire road.
Jan 17, 2016 near Stanley, VA
Whiteoak Canyon Falls.
Jan 17, 2016 near Stanley, VA



Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 45 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In


Apr 18, 2021
Christian Hunter
11.7mi — 6h 59m
Oct 17, 2020
Derek Morris
Fairly busy on Saturday. 12.7mi — 1h 25m
Jun 24, 2020
Shawn Carney
Feb 9, 2020
Paul Karns
A really great hike. Lots of ascent, with great views and a nice bit of the AT. 13.9mi — 5h 58m
Oct 19, 2019
Bryan Randall
Oct 3, 2019
Ryan Gillikin
16h 46m
Sep 7, 2019
Shari Morris
HARD HIKE. A LOT of steps. Covered in rocks. A it felt like a constant uphill climb even during the downhill part LOL. The views are amazing. 13.4mi — 8h 41m
Jul 16, 2019
Rachel Gaal
Duration includes all stops. Very steep down cedar run trail but a nice hike with variety of views! Need new shoes 13.6mi — 8h 15m