Being that July was the hottest month on record, and it could be many more months until we can actually wear a sweater in Florida, we think it’s about time to head north for a cool September journey. And what could be more refreshing and soothing to the soul than looking at and hearing a waterfall.
Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, a gorgeous, historic national treasure, features a 105-mile long scenic byway called Skyline Drive. Here, travelers are treated to endless breathtaking views from atop the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is easy access to numerous trails including the Appalachian Trail from this highway and that is where you can access some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the nation. Bring your hiking boots, park your car from one of the parking places along Skyline Drive and get ready to relish the splendor of early fall along the blue-blazed, forested trails.
Find your perfect waterfall from the list below:
Overall Run Falls, from
mile 21.1 in the North District
of the park, is the tallest waterfall
at 93 feet. It’s an impressive
drop and also provides a
view of the Shenandoah Valley
and Massanutten Mountain
to the west. You’ll have rock
ledges to sit on as you enjoy the
scene. The hike to the falls and
back is 6.4 miles round-trip,
with a climb of 1850 feet.
Rose River Falls, from
mile 49.4 along Skyline Drive,
is a dazzling cascade of 67 feet.
After lots of rain, there are as
many as four cascades. For
most of this hike, you’ll be on
a beautiful trail in one of the
park’s federally designated wilderness areas. The hike is 2.6 miles round-trip, with a climb of 720 feet.
South River Falls, at mile
62.8 in the Central District
of the park, is truly spectacular.
It’s a waterfall of 83 feet,
the third tallest in the park. A
rock ledge with a stone guard
wall offers you a good resting
place as you enjoy the sight—
and the thundering sound—of
falling water. The hike is 2.6
miles round-trip, with a climb
of 850 feet.
Jones Run Falls is at mile 84.1 in the South District of the park. Those that want a waterfall to soothe spirits and bring peace should try this one. The hike is 3.4 miles round-trip, with a gradual climb of 915 feet. The waterfall is a jewel— a cascade of 42 feet, surrounded by rocks, moss, and bushes. While sitting on flat rocks right in front of it, you become part
of the scene.
Other waterfalls in the park are Whiteoak Canyon Falls, mile 42.6; Cedar Run Falls,
mile 45.6; Dark Hollow Falls, mile 50.7; Lewis Falls, mile 51.4 and Doyles River Falls, mile 81.1.
There are five additional falls beyond the first one in Whiteoak Canyon, for those who are true long hikers and climbers, and there’s a second falls beyond the first one on Doyles River. In fact, you can make longer hikes of each of these nine hikes to a waterfall. Just be sure to have a good map. All of the falls are described, with a map, in the inexpensive guide Hikes to Waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park. Most of the waterfalls are less impressive in a dry season, so it may be wise to check with a ranger about water flow.