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White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails - Looped

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Numerous water falls and deep emerald green pools
Near:Etlan, VA
Distance:8.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:2500 ft
Hike Time:5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots

Summary: If you like water this is a great hike. If you want a great view at the top, pick another trail. You can go clockwise or the reverse. The Whiteoak Canyon trail is a much better trail so if you prefer coming down on the best footing trail, go clockwise. That is go up Cedar Run. If you do this just remember to look back a lot while coming down the White Oak Trail because it has most of the waterfalls. Cedar Run has some beautiful emerald green pools. Both trails stay very close to the streams. The connection at the top is partly by fire road and partly by a trail that parallels the scenic highway on top of the range. If you come up Cedar Run the trail will go off to the right just before a parking lot. It will take you to the fire road where you turn right. At the end of the fire road you will be at White Oak Canyon. There is a trail that heads up on the South side but you want to cross over the foot bridge and then head down along the stream on the north side.
Trailhead: Pick up route 231 just south of Sperryville, headed south. At Etlan turn right on Rte 643 and about 4.5 miles down 643 turn right on Rte 600. 4.7 miles up Rte 600 is the parking lot on the left. (Lat:38.32305 Lon:-78.20862)
Trail Guides for White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails - Looped :
Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah Park
by Michael Barreda (PATC)

Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: National Park Service - Park Emergency 1.800.732.0911
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Keith Ferguson, who has posted  10 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 3   Submit your own review
Reviewed by John on 2/11/2012
I did White Oak + Hawksbill summit + Cedar Run Hike and this was my second time hiking in Shenandoah national park (first was Old Rag mountain). The trail to the Hawksbill summit from the Skyline drive was covered with about 2 inches of snow but I didn't have any problem. The White Oak waterfalls were awesome and I'm glad I did the hawksbill hiking too because the view from the summit was great. I got lost once at a cedar run water crossing and I didn't find Cedar Run as exciting as White Oak Canyon. I saw only 4 groups of people the whole trip and I can't imagine doing this on weekends with crowds because the trails are narrow.

Reviewed by UK on 7/23/2011
We hiked this one in summer and missed the spectacular views of waterfall because there wasn't enough water. The water was clear and the pools were really green. It is a beautiful hike we took a bit longer route and I completed it in 6 hours (my hike-buddies got back faster than I did). Going down from Limberlost parking , whiteoak canyon trail (4.8 miles), coming back up on cedar run trail to Hawksbill gap parking (3 miles), and walking back to our parking on Skyline drive (2.5 miles)completed the circuit of slightly over 10 miles. Beautiful hike, very well-maintained trail, and the hike up on cedar run trail is a constant steep uphill. Will love to go back in spring/fall.

Reviewed by Amanda on 1/17/2011
We did this hike in order to see the frozen falls. It is very cool in the winter and much less heavily travelled than in the summer. We tried to use the lat/long coordinates in our GPS that are posted above with the directions to get to the parking lot and got lost. I am not sure if the coordinates are incorrect or if it was a GPS user malfunction, but I'd follow the directions.

Reviewed by Bill on 2/21/2010
This was the first winter hike for the "Stanley Adventure Hiking Team" Conditions at the White Oak Canyon Trail head parking lot: 12 degrees, 3 inches of fresh snow. Wind: none (thankfully) White Oak canyon is pretty consistent uphill trek. The conditions made it MUCH less than ideal. The snow and ice cover required every step to be planned in the rough areas. The falls in the winter are a site to see. Ice covering everywhere the water was splashing, freezing things in place. We took a lunch break near upper falls where the where the bridge crosses the stream (Robinson River) Caution, there are two trails at this point, The White Oak Canyon trail, and the White Oak Fire Road. The published “White Oak Canyon-Cedar Run hike requires yo

Reviewed by CAK on 10/22/2009
Oct 21 - The colors fall leaves were wonderful, trail well maintained and traveled. From the bottom to the half-way point is 2.5 miles, on the topographical map, it shows something less than 2 miles. The switchbacks add mileage so allow more time and effort for the round trip. Awesome waterfalls but the rock formations and colors were equally cool.

Reviewed by Viewer on 5/25/2009
Started at RT600 and didn't make it to the top, on the return we took the off shoot on the other side of the creek. Turned out to be a very nice and less rocky trail, not as scenic though.

Reviewed by RyanW on 7/31/2008
I did this last Friday with a buddy of mine. We started out around 9:30 am at the bottom of White Oak Canyon, crossed over to Cedar Run on the fire road, then came down cedar run and ended around 3 pm. Both streams had the perfect amount of water in them for swimming. The waterfalls on White Oak are more spectacular that those on Cedar Run, but Cedar Run has a waterfall that you can slide down! Cedar Run also had more deep pools so we found it to be better for taking a dip in. The entire trail is beautiful, and not nearly as strenuous as it's neighbor Old Rag. We saw a small bear along the fire road which was cool. If you want to see waterfalls and swim, this one is great, but it doesn't offer the views or exciting climbing of Old R

Reviewed by DocTao on 3/14/2008
White Oak Canyon is an excellent Hike. If the Lower Falls are your forte enter from Va 600 parking area. The Trail here is moderate but easy to traverse.The payoff is the Cascade pools on the lower 2 Falls. Cool, in the late spring or summer, Frigid in the Fall, Winter months. If you can not bear the uphill trudge spend your day here. The crowd during the summer shows up in the Hot,Humid afternoons. Plan accordingly. If you want the whole enchilda it can be rough on the knees climbing out toward the Skyline Drive. Circuit info in my next Post.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Virginia Hiking, Virginia Trails, Virginia Hikes, Madison County Hiking, Madison County Trails, Madison County Hikes

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