Waterfalls have a magical appeal that draw people from far away or close by for hiking close to the bubbling, majestic cascade trickling down the mountainside. Getting close to one is not difficult in the Shenandoah Valley.
Overall Run Falls in the Shenandoah National Park is one of nine major waterfalls in the park and is the tallest. It is the first to dry up in the summer since it is fed by a small stream, but the views of the wilderness are still an attraction for this trail. Plus, views of the Shenandoah Valley and Massanutten Mountain are a bonus on this hike in Virginia.
Another popular waterfall hike in the park is Whiteoak Canyon. The Skyline Drive Trailhead for this hike is at mile 42.6 near Skyland. This trail has a series of six waterfalls, with the uppermost fall being the highest at 86 feet. The lower falls is about a one mile hike. The upper falls is a much longer and steeper hike. Both offer water pools and beautiful cascades along the trail.
Hikers can traverse along side the waterfall for many miles, taking in the views, resting on the rocks, or slowly manipulating the journey of sounds that cascade down the beautiful terrain.
Hikes to the Overall Run Falls can be varied depending on the walkers preference of difficult or easy treks in the woods. The trailhead is located in the North District at mile 21.1 on Skyline Drive. There are two hikes that can be accessed at this spot – Overall Run Falls and Traces Trail.
Waterfalls have a reputation of being therapeutic — balm for the eyes and sound for the ears and cooling temperatures in summer. These waterfalls in the Shenandoah National Park will not disappoint.
Walkers must be cognizant of the type of terrain, wearing appropriate gear. Walking sticks are also recommended for climbing ease as well as downhill treks. Even though there is plenty of water in the falls, hikers should take a supply of drinking water as well as snacks to sustain the walk whether short or long.
Getting an early start in the morning is a good idea so daylight assists in finding the trails marked by colorful blaze signs often on trees and sometimes on rocks. Taking it slow and easy is totally up to the walker who may want to soak in all that nature has to offer while others appear to be in a hurry to finish or stop at the top. It is truly a personal preference.
There is a fee to enter the park but there are many options for a day pass or year pass. It is up to individuals to decide which is the best for them. Senior citizens are rewarded with a lifetime pass for $10, and most take advantage of this rate.
Be prepared before you take off to find the waterfalls with food and water supplies, walking gear, insect spray, and anything else that will make you more comfortable. Just don’t get bogged down with stuff that could be left in the car. Read up at nps.gov/shen and virginia.org.
This is definitely an escape to nature with amazing sites and sounds.