The 14 Best Waterfall Hikes in Shenandoah National Park

As full-time RVers, we chase waterfalls all over North America. We have seen some spectacular cascades, but the ones we discovered in Shenandoah National Park were truly something special.

These 14 breathtaking Shenandoah National Park waterfall hikes are worthy of your hiking bucket list!

Whether you are looking for a quick hike to a swimming hole at the base of a waterfall or a longer adventure, we are helping you find your perfect Shenandoah waterfall.

Let’s go!

About Shenandoah National Park

Male hiker in gray shirt and blue backpack sitting on a rock overlooking the mountains of Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful natural paradise located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA. Covering an area of 200,000 acres, the park boasts a diverse range of landscapes, including scenic mountain vistas of the Shenandoah Valley, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

You can explore the park through its 500 miles of hiking trails, including a section of the famous Appalachian Trail, or take a scenic drive along Skyline Drive, which runs the length of the park’s ridgeline. The park is also home to a rich variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and numerous bird species.

The park is well-marked with mile markers, which is a great way to identify various trails and overlooks. You will see a mile marker listed for each waterfall trail below, when applicable!

What makes Shenandoah National Park a haven for cascading waterfalls?

Shenandoah National Park’s landscape and location contribute to the creation of several beautiful waterfalls within the park. The park is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is a region characterized by its higher elevation and steep, rocky terrain. 

This topography leads to the formation of many streams and rivers that flow through the park and over the rugged terrain, resulting in cascading waterfalls.

In addition, the park’s location in the eastern United States means that it receives a significant amount of rainfall throughout the year, which further contributes to the creation of waterfalls.

The park’s diverse range of landscapes, from dense forests to rocky cliffs, also provides unique settings for the waterfalls to flow through and enhances their scenic beauty. As a result, Shenandoah National Park is a great place to experience the natural beauty of waterfalls and is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

READ MORE: One Day In Shenandoah National Park

Trails to Shenandoah National Park Waterfalls

White wall of water running down over a slick rock face in Shenandoah National Oark

Waterfalls are dynamic and ever-changing, and it is no wonder that humans have found them so captivating over the years. Trust us, every step of the following hikes is worth it when you finally reach the point to see water flowing down rock faces in a mesmerizing display of motion and sound.

Below you will find a list that includes a mix of the most popular waterfalls in the park, as well as some trails that are a bit farther off the beaten path.

Important Notes:

  • Some waterfalls may be dry in the warmer summer months. We recommend hiking to these waterfalls in Spring or after heavy rain as this is the best time for higher flows at waterfalls. You can always check trail conditions at one of the Visitor Centers or on AllTrails
  • In addition, Shenandoah National Park is home to black bears, so always carry bear spray and be bear aware. We did see one black bear during our hike to Overall Run Falls. Stay calm, make noise, and give them their space. It doesn’t hurt to brush up on your bear safety before getting out on the trails. 
  • Finally, Shenandoah National Park is one of the most dog-friendly National Parks, and many trails on this list are perfect to bring your adventure pup along. Just note waterfall trails are often rocky, and steep and can have slick/muddy areas so be sure your dog is adapted to that kind of landscape. They must remain on a leash! 

Map of Waterfall Trailheads and Parking Areas

Doyles River Falls

Series of three white waterfalls among green trees at Upper Doyles Falls in Shenandoah National Park
Upper Doyles River Falls

The Doyles River Falls trail is one of our favorite Shenandoah waterfall hikes! It features not one, but two stunning waterfalls – the Upper Doyles River Falls (63 feet high) and Lower Doyles River Falls (28 feet high).

The trail is particularly breathtaking in the spring when the dense, bright green vegetation is in full bloom, and the falls are at their fullest and most powerful.

Bright white falls in a dense green forest that make up lower Doyles River Falls in Shenandoah National Park
Lower Doyles River Falls

We felt the trail to the Doyles River Falls was one that left us feeling most removed from the outside world and most immersed in nature.

Everything was green, almost as if you were enclosed in an enchanted forest, with nothing but branches and leaves all around. 

Doyles River (Upper + Lower) Falls:

  • Length:3.4 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,184 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

South River Falls

Hiking couple and their dog standing at the bottom of the cascading South River Falls in Shenandoah National Park

The hike to the South River Falls starts with a sharp descent along a few switchbacks as you follow along the South River, guided by the sound of the falls. 

Upon reaching the observation point, you are treated to a partial view of the 83-foot South River Falls (obscured by leaves most of the year).

However, we found the true beauty of the falls can only be fully appreciated from the bottom, where you can watch the water as it tumbles down the rocky cliff face, creating a misty cloud of spray that while can be felt from the overlook, can be truly experienced from the base of the falls.

Descending the trail to the bottom of the falls is steep and rocky, with both inclines and declines,  however, the view from the bottom of the falls is worth the effort, as you are treated to a breathtaking full view of the South River waterfall and can feel the cool mist on your face.

In the spring, we found this trail to also be a picturesque array of trillium flowers. These delicate white and pink flowers create a beautiful contrast against the green foliage, adding to the already stunning scenery of the hike.

Pink and white trillium flowers in a sea of green leaves along the South River Falls trail in Shenandoah National Park
Trillium flowers blooming along the trail

South River Falls Trail and South River Fire Road Loop:

  • Length: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,272 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 2.5 -3 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

South River Falls Trail :

  • Length: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 757 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1.5 hours – 2 hrs
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Overall Run Falls

The view of a white towering waterfall from above, shooting over a sharp rock cliff among a sea of bright green leaves and trees

The boundary trail to Overall Run Falls (the tallest Shenandoah National Park waterfall) starts off as a winding journey through dense forest and across cool flowing streams before challenging hikers with a climb up a steep incline to the highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park.

Once you reach the top you are rewarded with spectacular views of the mountains from the top of a rocky cliff that makes it all worth it. Be careful though – it is a steep drop-off!

Hiking couple standing on a rock overlook in front of the mountains in Shenandoah National Park

The trail to the falls from the backcountry (rather than from Skyline Drive) is not heavily traveled, which adds to its sense of remoteness and makes for a peaceful and quiet hike. However, this also means that the trail can be challenging to navigate at times, with overgrown vegetation.

The trail is generally very narrow and we suggest shoes you are fine getting wet or muddy and bug spray or pants to help you navigate the overgrown trail.

We also recommend bear spray and being vigilant, as we did see a black bear on the first mile of the trail.

As you approach Overall Run Falls, the sound of rushing water grows louder, and the anticipation of reaching the falls builds.

Finally, the trail opens up to reveal the stunning sight of Overall Run Falls, a towering 93-foot tall waterfall that crashes down the rocky face into the clear pool below. 

Overall Run Falls via Tuscarora-Overall Run Trail:

  • Length: 6.3 mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,594 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 3.5-4 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to do the entire loop, you can hike this as an out-and-back hike to the falls, by following the same path back. This will be a left onto the Tuscarora trail at the split when starting the trail. This makes the trail about 5.5 miles in total, which we found to be a perfect mix of length, viewpoints, and interesting river crossings!

There are also a couple of other options for hiking to Overall Run Falls:

Upper Overall Run Falls via Matthews Arm Road:

  • Length: 4.5 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 984 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 2 hours – 3 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Overall Run Loop:

  • Length: 8.2 mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,991 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 4.5-5 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Dark Hollow Falls

A narrow series of falls navigating large rock boulders and green moss at Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park

The Dark Hollow Falls trail is a well-known Shenandoah waterfall hike and is one of the most popular as it is easily accessed right off Skyline Drive and only requires a short hike to the first viewpoint.

Dark Hollow Falls is a beautiful display of multiple cascading sections and is impressive at over 70 feet high and it is easy to see why it is so popular.

However, we feel the best experience is had by continuing down to the very base of the falls and then on past Dark Hollow Falls to Rose River Falls, which offers a more peaceful and secluded experience away from the crowds.

Dark Hollow Falls Trail (mile marker 50.7):

  • Length: 1.6 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 583 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1-1.5 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: No

Pro Tip: As this is a popular trail, the Dark Hollow Falls trailhead parking area can fill up quickly. Try to visit during shoulder season or arrive early or hike later in the day to avoid the crowds

Rose River Falls

A female hiker sitting on a rock looking down at the cascading water of Rose River Falls in Shenandoah National Park

The Rose River trail winds through lush forest and over several streams and a picturesque bridge, with several opportunities to stop and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Rose River Falls itself is a hidden gem, tucked away in a secluded valley with a private swimming hole at the base of the falls.

Rose River Falls Trail (mile marker 49.5):

  • Length: 2.4 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 656 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1.5 hours-2 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

To do both Dark Hollow and Rose River Falls in a loop (which we highly recommend):

Dark Hollow and Rose River Falls Loop:

  • Length: 5.1-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,443 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 3 -3.5 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: No

Whiteoak Canyon & Falls

A white waterfall crashing down onto large boulders at the Whiteoak Canyon lower falls in Shenandoah National Park

While many waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park are accessed from Skyline Drive, Whiteoak Canyon’s lower falls and upper falls are accessed through a boundary trail at the edge of the park. Contrary to the hikes down to the falls along the Skyline Drive, in Whiteoak Canyon you cross a few bridges as you traverse up the canyon to the falls. 

This trail walks you right along the babbling stream, complete with crystal clear swimming holes which our dog Azalea instantly fell in love with.

Rocky steps were slick after a recent rain during our hike, but that just meant we were in for even more of a treat when we got to the falls.

This trail was peaceful and quiet on a spring afternoon and while we only hiked to the lower falls due to the time we had available after work, the trail was perfectly packed with a variety of smaller falls that made for a great shorter adventure without having to complete the entire trail.

Lower Whiteoak Falls via Whiteoak Canyon Trail:

  • Length: 2.7 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 380 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

If you have time, consider hiking all the way to the upper falls as well!

Whiteoak Canyon Trail to Upper Whiteoak Falls:

  • Length: 5.0 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,437 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Graves Mill Trail

Female hiker sitting pleasantly cross-legged on a green moss covered rock as small waterfalls cascade on the rocks around her on Graves Mill trail

One of the highlights of the Graves Mill hiking trail is the wide river that runs alongside the trail, providing a soothing and tranquil ambiance.

The sound of the flowing water and the sight of the clear river create a serene environment that is perfect for relaxation and contemplation. The trail follows the river for the entirety of its length, with several opportunities to stop and enjoy the view.

Along the trail, you will encounter several small waterfalls to enjoy. This trail is not one of the “main waterfall hikes”, but it could be worth a trip if you are looking for a more laid-back hike outside of the heart of the park.

A long narrow stretch of water flowing over smooth rocks in a forest of green in Shenandoah National Park

We also enjoyed the scenic drive to this trailhead, meandering on a backcountry road through farmland with majestic horses and playful cows grazing in vast green rolling hills the whole way.

This trail is convenient if you are staying on the east side of Shenandoah National Park, and is just a short drive from Madison Virginia. 

Graves Mill Trail:

  • Length: 4.3 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 426 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Little Devils Stairs

Pink flowers in a field of green leading up to a small waterfall at the top of the gorge the Little Devils Stairs trail leads you up

For a whole different trail experience in Shenandoah National Park, we recommend hiking Little Devils Stairs.

While not a specifically named Shenandoah waterfall hike, this trail leads you up a series of impressively steep rock stairs through a gorge that is filled with a series of cascading falls rushing down the center, especially in the spring’s rainy season. 

Female hiker and her dog standing among a mass of large rocks in a gorge in Shenandoah National Park

Little Devil’s Stairs gives you a nice mix of steep hiking (concentrated in the first couple of miles), a bit of rock scrambling, beautiful waterfalls, impressive rock walls, and a peaceful walk in the woods among towering trees and bright wildflowers.

Little Devils Stairs Trail:

  • Length: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,489 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Pro Tip: We recommend hiking this trail counterclockwise. This will bring you up the gorge, navigating back and forth across the waterfalls, and then lead you back down the Keyser Run fire road and past a family cemetery for a well-rounded hiking experience. Keep your eyes open for a great overlook near the top of the fire road on your descent with plentiful mountain views!

Lewis Falls

Female hiker standing on the edge of the Lewis Falls overlook where the waterfall tumbles over the cliff to the pool below

The Lewis Falls trail is a short but rewarding hike in Shenandoah National Park, featuring a stunning 80-foot waterfall. The trail is easily accessible from Skyline Drive, with only a short distance of trail leading you to an observation point from the top of the falls. While the observation point offers great views of the surrounding mountains, it doesn’t provide a full grasp of the falls itself.

From the observation point, the falls can be seen tumbling down over the rocky cliff, but the rest is truly up to your imagination.

We recommend taking the longer loop trail to get a better viewpoint of the falls if this is one of the only waterfall hikes you will be doing in the park. This being said, we would recommend a few of the other hikes before this one if you are willing to hike a bit more or venture away from Skyline Drive for a more remote experience.

Lewis Falls via Lewis Spring:

  • Length: 1.7 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 656 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Lewis Spring Falls Trail:

  • Length: 3.0 mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 872 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1 hr 45 mins – 2.5 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Other Waterfall Hikes In Shenandoah National Park:

If you have time for more waterfall adventures in Shenandoah National Park, consider these additional trails:

Jones Run Falls:

Includes one stream crossing on a trail that traverses the woods on the way to a 42-foot waterfall.

  • Length: 4.7 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,276 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 2.5-3 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

The Jones Run Falls trail can also be combined with the upper and lower Doyles River Falls for a large loop full of amazing Shenandoah National Park waterfalls:

Appalachian and Jones Run Trail Loop via Browns Gap (Upper and Lower Doyles River Falls + Jones Run Falls, mile post 84):

  • Length: 6.6-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 1,345 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Naked Creek Falls (mile marker 53.2):

A true backcountry trail that is not well marked, often overgrown and offers you the opportunity to get in the spirit of exploration! 

  • Length: 1.5 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 679 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: No

Cedar Run Falls (Hawksbill Gap parking area):

A rocky trail that passes several swimming holes, ending up at the Whiteoak Canyon falls area

  • Length: 5.8 mile out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,230 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

Lands Run Falls (mile marker 9.2)

An easy trail along a closed service road along a creek and past a waterfall

  • Length: 3.8 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 872 feet
  • Estimated Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Dog Friendly?: Yes

READ MORE: The 10 Best Hikes in Shenandoah National Park

Fulfilling Travel Tips

Hiking couple standing on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, with layers of green mountains stretching out behind them

There is something mesmerizing about the constant flow of waterfalls as they effortlessly leap over a rock cliff to their fate below. We love how you can hear them before you can see them, and how their power and beauty can stop you in your tracks. 

Waterfalls will be most dramatic after rain, which makes spring the perfect season for chasing waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park.

Wear shoes you are willing to get muddy and cross streams in and enter into the enchanted forests that wind their wall to these epic falls.

Whether you choose to explore Shenandoah’s most popular waterfall hikes, the amazing trails along Skyline Drive, or opt for a more remote adventure, there are plenty of places to appreciate the incredible waterfalls within the parks boundaries and miles of trail that will get you up close to nature for an experience that leaves you inspired and fulfilled. 


Entry into Shenandoah National Park requires an entrance fee:

One of the best ways to visit Shenandoah National Park is by camping right in nature!

Shenandoah National Park Campgrounds:

Other Area Accommodations:

The towns surrounding Shenandoah National Park are full of great campsites, ranging from RV resorts to no-frills campgrounds. If you are looking for the perfect one-stop shop for comparing RV parks and glamping options and prices with instant booking, we highly recommend Campspot.

Our other favorite resources for finding great campgrounds and campsites and reading reviews include Campendium, RV Life, and iOverlander.

Here are some highly-rated private campgrounds not far from Shenandoah National Park:

You can also check out HipCamp and TheDyrt for more unique camping experiences and accommodations.

RV Rentals: If you are looking to get closer to nature but don’t have an RV, consider renting one through RV Share. We used this service when renting out our Casita and found them to be high quality and easy to use!

Another great option is glamping if you are looking for a more upscale nature-centric stay. Here are some great options near Shenandoah National Park:

You can explore all Shenandoah National Park area accommodations, including hotels and private rentals, and compare prices on, which is a great resource for unique stays at the best rates. Some top towns to consider include:

Looking for inspiration for other great East Coast National Parks to explore? Check out these guides:

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