There may be nothing more rewarding on a hike than to end up at a waterfall! And that’s exactly what you can do on this circuit of Cedar Run, the Cedar Run/White Oak Canyon Link and the White Oak Canyon Trails.
There is a nice place to stop off and have a picnic lunch on a large rock. You’ll cross of the Robinson River, find a nice swimming hole and wind up at some waterfalls.
The Hiking Trails
This hike has some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Shenandoah National Park.
There are 4 waterfalls on Cedar Run that you can enjoy especially during the summer, as well as the swimming hole in White Oak Canyon.
The Waterfalls on Cedar Run and White Oak trails are well worth the hike!
This is a 2.2 mile circuit hike on the Cedar Run, the Cedar Run/White Oak Canyon Link and the White Oak Canyon Trails.
You can access the trail from the park boundary on SR 600. The trail head is at the top of the parking lot to the right of the National Park Service kiosk / shed.
Starting the trail, you will hike 0.2 miles to the first trail marker (a cement post) and turn left onto Cedar Run Trail.
Next, hike 0.5 miles to the intersection (next cement post) with the Cedar Run / White Oak Canyon Link Trail and turn right.
Then hike 0.9 miles, cross the Robinson River and turn right onto the White Oak Canyon Trail.
Hike 0.75 miles to the parking lot.
To get to the waterfalls, hike an additional 0.5 miles on the Cedar Run Trail above the link trail to the first falls on Cedar Run.
To visit the lower falls on the Robinson River (White Oak Canyon Trail), turn left at the intersection with the link and White Oak Canyon Trails and hike an additional 1.2 miles.
What to Expect
Cedar Run is a gradual uphill hike with a short incline before the intersection with the link trail. The first half of the link trail is rolling hills with the later half descending the ridge.
The White Oak Canyon Trail is a gradual descent to the parking lot.
Trail Age Appropriateness
The 2.2 mile circuit hike is best for children 5 years and older. Children 7+ years are able to add the Cedar Run Falls extension and children 9+ years are able to add the White Oak Canyon/Robinson River Falls extension. The extensions add elevation to the hike.
It takes about 7 hours to finish the trail so make sure to plan ahead and make a day of it.
If you take the 2 mile hike, it will take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours give or take with the kids.
Things to Do / Enjoy
While being out in nature, there is always so much for the kids to explore. With that being said, here are some things that stood out for the kids when we visited:
- Balancing on rocks to cross the Robinson River
- Rock scrambling along Cedar Run
- About half way up the Cedar Run Trail, there is a short access trail on the left to the Run with some big rocks for picnicking, rock scrambling, and cooling off
- Before crossing the Robinson River, there is a great swimming hole to the right of the trail with a large rock for sitting and / or picnicking
- Being in the tree canopy hiking along the ridge on the link trail
While we didn’t stay at the one small campsite halfway on the link trail, if you do want to camp you will need to obtain a backcountry camping permit.
Hours & When to Go
The park can be visited from dawn to dusk. It does definitely get busier on the weekends so if you prefer to have more of the place to yourself, you can visit during the week if possible.
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Prices & Fees
To enter the park, there is a $15 park entrance fee.
The park is free to enter on the following days:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January)
- First Day of National Park Week (April)
- Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act (August 4th)
- National Public Lands Day (September)
- Veterans Day (November)
Getting There & Parking
The trail can be accessed from the park boundary on SR 600. There is parking lot available, however, on the weekends it gets crowded so go early if you can or visit during the week.
Good to Know Before You Go
- This hike is not jogging stroller passable
- Please take your trash with you. This is a trash free park.
- Trail markers are at trailheads and intersections. The metal bands are stamped with directional and mileage information
- Trail blazes are found on trees and rocks throughout the Park. The color identifies the trail type: hiking trail (blue), appalachian trail (white), open to horses (yellow)