7 Majestic Waterfalls of Shenandoah National Park Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is a haven of natural beauty and home to a collection of stunning waterfalls. With its pristine forests, meandering streams, and cascading falls, the park offers an array of captivating waterfall hikes that will leave you in awe. 

Whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or breathtaking vistas, Shenandoah’s waterfall hikes have something for everyone. Each hike presents a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the park’s picturesque landscapes, from the enchanting Dark Hollow Falls and the serene Rose River Falls to the impressive Whiteoak Canyon and Cedar Run Loop. 

So grab your boots and your camera, and get ready to embark on unforgettable journeys to witness the impressive power and beauty of the top 7 Shenandoah National Park waterfalls!

1. Whiteoak Canyon and Cedar Run Loop

Beautiful shot of Upper Whiteoak Canyon Falls, which sits off Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive
Beautiful shot of Upper Whiteoak Canyon Falls, which sits off Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive.
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Distance: 8 miles (loop)
  • Duration: 5-6 hours 
  • Unique Features: Multiple waterfalls, scenic canyons, stream crossings
  • Trailhead Location: Whiteoak Canyon Parking Area, accessible from Skyline Drive

The Whiteoak Canyon and Cedar Run Loop is an 8-mile trail that takes you through Shenandoah’s scenic canyons and lush forests. As you embark on the hike, the sound of rushing water accompanies your journey, building anticipation for the majestic waterfalls that lie ahead.

As you progress along the trail, you’ll encounter a series of dazzling waterfalls that showcase the raw power and natural beauty of cascading water. The hike’s highlight includes the wondrous Whiteoak Canyon Falls and Cedar Run Falls. Both offer a stunning view of rushing water plunging over rocks, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

The trail itself offers a mix of rugged terrain, stream crossings, and quiet forest paths, adding to the sense of adventure and exploration. The trail’s gradient and challenges make it a moderately difficult hike. Still, the reward of reaching the waterfalls is well worth the effort.

Reaching the waterfalls provides a moment of awe and serenity. The crashing sound of water, the mist in the air, and the surrounding natural beauty create a peaceful and refreshing atmosphere. You will definitely want to reward yourself with some time to relax here.

2. Dark Hollow Falls

The 70-foot-tall Dark Hollow Falls cascades down the rocky outcrops
The 70-foot-tall Dark Hollow Falls cascades down the rocky outcrops.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.4 miles (out-and-back)
  • Duration: 1-2 hours 
  • Unique Features: Picturesque 70-foot waterfall, quiet forest surroundings
  • Trailhead Location: Dark Hollow Falls Parking Area, accessible from Skyline Drive

Dark Hollow Falls is a gripping natural wonder that will captivate you with its picturesque beauty. 

This hike is a moderate 1.4-mile out-and-back trail leading you to the lovely sight of a 70-foot waterfall nestled in a quaint forest. 

Arriving at Dark Hollow Falls, you’ll be greeted by a thrilling display of nature’s power and artistry. The water plunges down a series of rocky tiers, creating a soothing and awe-inspiring scene. Water droplets fill the air, adding a refreshing touch to the experience.

The surroundings of Dark Hollow Falls are equally alluring, with rocks coated in greenery and other vibrant foliage. The forest setting adds a sense of peace and makes the waterfall even more captivating.

3. Rose River Falls

The 67-foot Rose River Falls with great views of the cascading waterfall
The 67-foot Rose River Falls is the hike’s highlight and rewards you with superb views of the cascading waterfall. NPS photo
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.7 miles (loop)
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Unique Features: Cascading waterfalls, serene forest scenery
  • Trailhead Location: Fishers Gap Overlook, accessible from Skyline Drive

The hike to Rose River Falls takes you on a scenic 3.7-mile loop, leading you through the enchanting Rose River. On the trail, you’ll encounter a series of cascades that create a soothing atmosphere.

As you arrive, you’re welcomed by an exquisite display of nature’s brilliance. The water gracefully tumbles over the rocky outcrops, creating a stunning cascade that delights your senses.

The beauty of Rose River Falls is enhanced by its surroundings. The thick forest envelops the falls, providing a pleasant backdrop that adds to the tranquil ambiance. The bright greens of the foliage and the refreshing misty air create a charming atmosphere that invites you to pause and appreciate these wonders.

4. Lewis Falls

Lewis Falls waterfall in Shenandoah National Park that plunging 81 feet into the rocks below
Lewis Falls is an impressive waterfall in Shenandoah National Park that plunges 81 feet into the rocks below.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.3 miles (loop)
  • Duration: 2-3 hours 
  • Unique Features: Cascading waterfall, pleasant forest setting
  • Trailhead Location: Big Meadows parking area, accessible from Skyline Drive

Lewis Falls offers a marvelous experience, immersing you in the beauty of a cascading waterfall within a lovely forest setting. This 3.3-mile round trip through the stunning beauty of the park is breathtaking. As you approach the falls, the sound of rushing water is thrilling.

The water gracefully cascades down a series of rocky steps, creating an enthralling waterfall scene. 

Surrounded by the tranquility of the forest, Lewis Falls invites you to pause and appreciate its natural beauty. The sound of the cascading water, the lush greenery, and the vibrant moss-covered rocks create a peaceful ambiance that grips your senses and offers a break from the outside world.

5. South River Falls

83-foot-tall South River Falls flows into the river below at the base of the falls
The 83-foot-tall South River Falls flows into the river below at the base of the falls.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 4.6 miles (out-and-back)
  • Duration: 2-3 hours 
  • Unique Features: Majestic 83-foot waterfall, relaxing atmosphere
  • Trailhead Location: South River Picnic Area, accessible from Skyline Drive

South River Falls presents an opportunity to witness the grandeur of an 83-foot waterfall in a picturesque setting. As you embark on the approximately 4.6-mile out-and-back trail, your anticipation will build, guided by the soothing sounds of flowing water.

You will be awestruck by the sheer magnificence of this natural wonder. The water cascades down the rocky cliffs in an impressive display of power and beauty. 

6. Overall Run Falls

93-foot-tall Overall Run Falls plunges into the pool below
The 93-foot-tall Overall Run Falls plunges into the pool below.
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Distance: 6.4 miles (loop)
  • Duration: 4-5 hours 
  • Unique Features: Tallest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park, scenic vistas, stream crossings
  • Trailhead Location: Thompson Hollow Trailhead, accessible from VA-675

The hike to Overall Run Falls takes you on an approximately 6.4-mile loop trail that leads to the grandeur of the tallest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park. As you venture along the trail, you’ll be surrounded by the park’s serene beauty and panoramic vistas.

Arriving at Overall Run Falls, you’ll be greeted by an astonishing sight. The water plunges down a series of rocky tiers, creating a mesmerizing array of cascading water. The sheer height and power of the falls make it an awe-inspiring spectacle.

In addition to the impressive waterfall, Overall Run offers stunning views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. As you take in the beauty of the falls, you can also appreciate the vastness of the park’s natural landscape, providing a sense of peace and tranquility.

7. Doyles River Falls

A misty day at Doyles River Falls creates a calm and beautiful atmosphere in the forested setting
A misty day at Doyles River Falls creates a calm and beautiful atmosphere in the forested setting.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.4 miles (out-and-back)
  • Duration: 2-3 hours 
  • Unique Features: Lower and Upper Doyles River Falls, serene forest scenery, swimming holes
  • Trailhead Location: Doyles River Parking Area, accessible from Skyline Drive

Doyles River Falls takes you on an approximately 3.4-mile out-and-back trail, guiding you through the sheer beauty of Shenandoah National Park. As with the other hikes, the gentle sound of flowing water accompanies your journey, setting the stage for the superb waterfalls ahead.

The Lower Doyles River Falls welcomes you with its graceful cascade, offering a picturesque display of flowing water over mossy rocks. As you continue further, the Upper Doyles River Falls reveals itself, gripping you with its sheer beauty and the peaceful ambiance of the surrounding forest.

The beauty of Doyles River Falls extends beyond the waterfalls themselves. The trail winds through idyllic forest scenery, with glowing greenery, towering trees, and the soothing sounds of nature. Along the way, you may also discover inviting swimming holes. These provide an opportunity to cool off and connect with the natural elements.

Final Thoughts

Shenandoah National Park’s waterfalls offer a diverse range of spectacular hikes that showcase the beauty and power of nature’s cascading falls. From the breathtaking Dark Hollow Falls to the enchanting Rose River Falls, and the stunning Whiteoak Canyon and Cedar Run Loop, these hikes offer a glimpse into the perpetual charm of waterfalls in Shenandoah.

Lewis Falls, South River Falls, Overall Run Falls, and Doyles River Falls further add to the park’s collection of awe-inspiring waterfalls. Each has its own unique features and natural surroundings. Whether it’s the tranquil forest settings, panoramic vistas, or the soothing sounds of rushing water, these hikes allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Shenandoah’s waterfalls.

As you explore these trails, take the time to pause, appreciate, and connect with the natural wonders that unfold before you. The waterfalls’ sights, sounds, and tranquility will leave a lasting impression, reminding you of the timeless appeal and captivating power of nature.

Whether you visit for a day or spend several days exploring these hikes, the 7 best waterfall hikes in Shenandoah National Park promise to be memorable experiences celebrating waterfalls’ beauty, diversity, and serenity in this sensational natural landscape.

Are you ready to experience some of Shenandoah’s waterfall hikes for yourself? If so, why wait? Plan your trip to visit these incredible Virginia waterfalls today!

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FAQs

What is the best waterfall trail in Shenandoah National Park? 

The Whiteoak Canyon and Cedar Run Loop are often regarded as one of the best waterfall trails in Shenandoah National Park. This is my favorite as well.

What is the closest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park? 

The closest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park depends on your location within the park. Still, some of the accessible waterfalls are Dark Hollow Falls, Rose River Falls, and Lewis Falls.

Does Shenandoah National Park have waterfalls? 

Yes, Shenandoah National Park is home to numerous beautiful waterfalls.

What is the highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park? 

The highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park is Overall Run Falls, with a total height of approximately 93 feet.

How many waterfalls are in Shenandoah National Park? 

Shenandoah National Park is home to over 70 waterfalls of varying sizes and heights.

About Me

My husband and I have three precious daughters and live in the Kansas City, KS area. One of our favorite things to do is travel across the country visiting our extraordinary US National Parks!

Let us know what you think about our content and if you have any questions, suggestions, or have any favorite memories or tips you would like to share. We would love to hear from you!

Happy Travels! Sandy

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