Cedar Run Falls is located in the central district of Shenandoah National Park. This is a pretty waterfall that flows into a deep swimming hole.

Cedar Run Falls is located in the central district of Shenandoah National Park.  This is a pretty waterfall that flows into a deep swimming hole.  There are two ways to get to the Cedar Run Waterfall: from the top of the mountain off of Skyline Drive and from the bottom of the mountain off of Weakley Hollow Road. If you start from the top off of Skyline Drive, the trailhead and parking area are at mile marker 45.6 across Skyline Drive from the Lower Hawksbill Mountain Trailhead. From the top, it’s 1.6 miles down 1,500 feet to the waterfall, making the total out and back hike 3.2 miles.  The Cedar Run Trail is marked by blue blazes and is easy to follow.   Around 0.7 miles in, the trail starts to follow Cedar Run, and at around 1.4 miles, the trail crosses Cedar Run. Continue to follow the trail for another 0.2 miles until you come to the main falls.  To return to your vehicle, retrace your path, and hike back up the Cedar Run Trail.   

I usually prefer to start the hike from the bottom of the mountain and hike the 1.3 miles up the trail to the falls as the trail is not as steep starting from the bottom.  The trail starts on the far side of the Whiteoak Canyon Trail lower parking lot, which is off Weakley Hollow Road.  Follow the Cedar Run Trail for 0.1 miles crossing an iron bridge, then turn left at the fork staying on the Cedar Run Trail. Follow the blue blazes of the Cedar Run Trail, and in 0.2 miles the trail crosses Cedar Run.  There is a small waterfall at the trail crossing, which is nice to look at as you cross Cedar Run. Follow the trail for another mile until you reach the main falls. There is another large waterfall just before the main falls, but the canyon walls at this point are very steep, and there is no easy way to get down to these falls.  

Once at the main falls, to reach the base and the swimming hole requires leaving the trail and crossing back over Cedar Run near the top of the falls.  Hike down the far side to the base, and enjoy a nice dip in the swimming hole.  Just above the main falls is another waterfall called “The Slide.”  The Slide is a natural water slide that is fun to slide down.   To return to your vehicle, retrace your path, and hike back down the Cedar Run Trail 1.2 miles before turning right to stay on Cedar Run Trail, crossing the iron bridge back to the parking lot for a total of 2.6 miles out and back.  

For a longer hike, a 7.8-mile loop, and to see more waterfalls, continue up the Cedar Run Trail for 1.6 miles toward Skyline Drive.  Just before you reach Skyline Drive, turn right onto Skyland/Big Meadows Horse Trail, and follow it for 0.6 miles to the Whiteoak Fire Road.  Turn right onto the fire road following the yellow blazes for 1.6 miles until you reach the Whiteoak Canyon Trail.  Turn right again crossing over Robinson River and follow the White Oak Canyon Trail for 4 miles past some of the best waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park.  At the trail junction with Cedar Run Trail, keep left onto Cedar Run Trail, crossing the iron bridge back to the Whiteoak Canyon Lower parking lot and your vehicle.  

For tips on how to capture a waterfall with silky smooth water, click here. 

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Snack
  • Water
  • Swimsuit
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RT Distance 2.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Cedar Run - Whiteoak Canyon Loop

Great hike with lots of waterfalls (8 waterfalls total) completed the 7.7 mile loop, a lot of great views and the trail is well maintained. The only downside to the loop is the fire road used to get back to the parking lot, it was a bit bland.

Just beautiful!

What a beautiful hike. I wish I hadn't been so tired from already climbing up White Oak and horse trail to really enjoy these falls. I'll certainly be back to do just the falls section.


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