Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #3, Virginia

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Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #3 in December 2011

In December 2011, I had a chance to visit Shenandoah National Park, and I decided to do the hike to see the waterfalls of White Oak Canyon. I’m not sure why I chose this specific trail, but I believe I knew it had a number of waterfalls along the trail.

I discovered while hiking that there were more waterfalls than expected, though I always wonder whether to count all of the drops along a creek/river as just one waterfall, or how to decide what counts as a separate drop. I decided that there were 5 interesting drops in the canyon, which you can easily find by looking for the correct category tag. I also found that there were 2 “side-falls”, which were waterfalls that were not on the main creek/river, but instead flowed into them. It was an interesting hike, but you should realize that it’s also a strenuous hike, depending on how far you go. I went a pretty good distance (almost 5 miles round-trip), but that also includes a significant elevation decrease on the way down, followed by a significant elevation increase on the way up. It will definitely give you a good workout, but make sure to bring water!

Directions:

  1. At the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive, head south on Skyline Drive.
  2. After five or six miles, you should see the parking area for the White Oak Canyon Trail, which is where your journey begins. It’s just after the entrance to the Skyland Resort.
  3. From here, follow the very clear signage for about 2.5 miles to the first falls. After the first lower falls, this is the next in succession. Be aware: the further downhill you progress, the longer the uphill climb you have. The uphill climb is where the difficulty lies.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 4.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #3?

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Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #4, Virginia

Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #4 in December 2011

If you’re visiting Shenandoah National Park, and you’re interested in seeing a number of waterfalls, then White Oak Canyon is a great choice to see at least seven waterfalls (or what are least seven somewhat distinct drops). As I’ve mentioned before, though, you’re in for a hike.

The Upper Falls is large, but somewhat hidden by trees. The other falls further upstream (Lower #1, 2, and 3) are each drops of moderate size, and some of them are particularly beautiful. There are also a number of side waterfalls that flow into the creek (#1 and #2). Could the be more interesting drops and side-waterfalls further downstream? I’m sure there could be, but as you keep hiking more and more downhill, the nagging thought that you have to climb uphill builds to a critical mass. The trail does end at another parking area, so if you knew that someone could meet you there, you might feel much less nagged. After hiking for some way, I decided that if I went any further, I would be regretting going any further. That was probably true, as I was worn out by the time I got back up to the parking area. The hike was definitely amazing, especially in late December, and I would definitely recommend a visit to Shenandoah National Park. If you decide to hike on the trail, be prepared! Bring water and snacks. In the warmer months, bring sunscreen and even more water.

Directions:

  1. At the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive, head south on Skyline Drive.
  2. After five or six miles, you should see the parking area for the White Oak Canyon Trail, which is where your journey begins. It’s just after the entrance to the Skyland Resort.
  3. From here, follow the very clear signage for about 2.5 miles to the first falls. After the first lower falls, this is the next in succession. Be aware: the further downhill you progress, the longer the uphill climb you have. The uphill climb is where the difficulty lies.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 4.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #4?

White Oak Canyon Side Falls #2, Virginia

A side-waterfall in the White Oak Canyon (December 2011)

If you’re ready to put in the effort to hike down into White Oak Canyon, you’ll be rewarded with a number of really beautiful waterfalls. The hike down isn’t really that bad. It’s the hike back up that’s strenuous. You can keep hiking for a ways, as it actually connects into another trail head. If you have somebody that could pick you up, the downhill hike would be pretty enjoyable!

There are a number of drops along the main river/creek. If you are paying attention, though, you’ll notice a number of other side waterfalls. One of them, described here, isn’t particularly tall, and it might not even be flowing during the summer. The other waterfall I noticed, shown at right, was actually much more impressive. It was a particularly beautiful falls, and actually was one of my favorites along the hike. It does require an additional downhill climb, if I remember correctly, but it’s well worth it.

Directions:

  1. At the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive, head south on Skyline Drive.
  2. After five or six miles, you should see the parking area for the White Oak Canyon Trail, which is where your journey begins. It’s just after the entrance to the Skyland Resort.
  3. Follow the very clear signage. This is one of the first small waterfalls you encounter along the trail. I’m not exactly sure what the distance was from the trail head. Be aware: the further downhill you progress, the longer the uphill climb you have. The uphill climb is where the difficulty lies.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 4.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is White Oak Canyon Side Falls #2?

Tunnel Overlook Falls, Virginia

Tunnel Overlook Falls in December 2011

Sometimes I wonder why I post about certain waterfalls, but I guess I’ll report (nearly) every waterfall. Tunnel Overlook Falls is wildly easy to miss if you aren’t intentionally searching for it. And even then, you still might not notice it with all of the beautiful scenery surrounding you.

I had entered the park and was driving along the Skyline Drive. At one point you drive under a tunnel, and then there is an overlook directly after the tunnel (if you are heading southwest). This overlook provides a spectacular view of the mountains. If you listen closely, as I did, you will notice the trickle of water. Right in a corner near the tunnel is this small waterfall. It might not be truly natural, as it might be a byproduct of building the tunnel. Even so, the water is coming from somewhere! The falls might even be more interesting after a strong rainfall. I wouldn’t go searching for this waterfall by itself. The falls in White Oak Canyon are much more impressive, but you might pass this along the way.

Directions:

  1. I entered the park at the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive.
  2. Head south. After a few curving miles, you’ll pass under a tunnel, and then an overlook will be directly after the tunnel.
  3. Park at the overlook, and then search for the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (be careful near the other cars!)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: Roadside

Where in the World is Tunnel Overlook Falls?

White Oak Canyon Side Falls #1, Virginia

A side waterfall in Oak Creek Canyon (December 2011)

I visited Shenandoah National Park in December 2011, which probably seems like an odd time to visit the park. The weather was beautiful, the temperature was just right…it was a wonderful day for a hike to see waterfalls. So which waterfalls to visit? I decided to visit White Oak Canyon, as there seemed to be a number of separate drops along the river.

This is not a hike for the faint of heart. It is not very problematic as you begin your hike downhill. It’s really the uphill return that causes issues. I was worn out by the end, to say the least. As you hike along the trail, there are a number of falls along the main river, Robinson River. There are also a few waterfalls along tributaries. One of those “side” falls is surprisingly tall, while this one is smaller. I believe it might be one of the first waterfalls you see along your hike, though it is obviously not considered the main attraction.

Directions:

  1. At the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive, head south on Skyline Drive.
  2. After five or six miles, you should see the parking area for the White Oak Canyon Trail, which is where your journey begins. It’s just after the entrance to the Skyland Resort.
  3. Follow the very clear signage. This is one of the first small waterfalls you encounter along the trail. I’m not exactly sure what the distance was from the trail head.  Be aware: the further downhill you progress, the longer the uphill climb you have. The uphill climb is where the difficulty lies.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 4.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is White Oak Canyon Side Falls #1?

Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #2, Virginia

The first lower drop in White Oak Canyon is described here. If you decide to torture yourself by heading downhill (which is not the real torture…heading back uphill is), then you’ll encounter a number of other drops. This particular drop is not amazingly photogenic, and it can be rather difficult to get shots of the better drops that are partially hidden from view. Even so, it is well worth visiting White Oak Canyon.

Directions:

  1. At the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive, head south on Skyline Drive.
  2. After five or six miles, you should see the parking area for the White Oak Canyon Trail, which is where your journey begins. It’s just after the entrance to the Skyland Resort.
  3. From here, follow the very clear signage for about 2.5 miles to the first falls. After the first lower falls, this is the next in succession. Be aware: the further downhill you progress, the longer the uphill climb you have. The uphill climb is where the difficulty lies.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 4.6 miles round-trip

A lower drop in White Oak Canyon (December 2011)

Where in the World is Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #2?

Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #1, Virginia

The first lower falls encountered in White Oak Canyon in December 2011

As mentioned previously in Upper White Oak Canyon Falls, I visited Shenandoah National Park this past December, and decided to hike to see the falls in White Oak Canyon. On the hike, I counted at least seven larger waterfalls, and I believe the first lower falls I viewed was one of my favorites.

Now, this can get very confusing. There are two different places you can begin the hike. I started at a higher elevation and hiked downhill. You can also do the opposite, and therefore the order you view these falls will switch. The first falls you clearly see are the Upper Falls, which are obscured by trees. Keep hiking, and you’ll find a number of other falls. There may be a few falls upstream from this that just can’t be seen due to the angle of the canyon rocks.

I can’t remember how far from the trail I had to deviate to see the falls. I don’t believe it was a particularly long distance, maybe 100-200 feet or so? I did do some mild rock-hopping to get a better view of the falls, though. I personally think it is one of the more photogenic along the hike.

Directions:

  1. At the intersection of US-211 and Skyline Drive, head south on Skyline Drive.
  2. After five or six miles, you should see the parking area for the White Oak Canyon Trail, which is where your journey begins. It’s just after the entrance to the Skyland Resort.
  3. From here, follow the very clear signage for about 2.5 miles to the first falls. This is one of the first falls you will encounter if you continue along your journey. Be aware: the further downhill you progress, the longer the uphill climb you have. The uphill climb is where the difficulty lies.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 4.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Lower White Oak Canyon Falls #1?