"South River Falls" Top 5 Page for this destination Shenandoah National Park Things to Do Tip by chewy3326

Shenandoah National Park Things to Do: 112 reviews and 322 photos

  South River Falls
by chewy3326

The 4.5-mile loop to the base of South River Falls is a fun trail to see one of the park's higher waterfalls. From the South River picnic area, the clearly marked trail heads immediately downhill, passing a junction with the Appalachian Trail just a few hundred yards past the trailhead. From that junction, the trail descends, sometimes switchbacking, until it reaches South River, which it follows to a viewpoint high above the falls and the South River's rocky canyon. This viewpoint, 1.3 miles from the trailhead, has a very limited view; especially when trees have foliage here, as most of the view of the falls is now blocked by trees. If you've made it this far, you might as well follow the trail further onward; at a trail junction with a fire road, take a right and descend into the forested river canyon. When the trail reaches the stream again, a rocky trail heads off into the canyon- the next two hundred or so yards is walking through the spectacular and rocky canyon floor until you reach the base of the falls. South River Falls drops 83 feet and is one of the highest in the park. Watch out for snakes. The waterfall can dry up to a trickle in the summer, so the best time to visit might be winter or spring.

For the climb up, head back to the fire road junction, then follow the fire road until it intersects the Appalachian Trail. Take a right at the AT and follow it back to the original junction of the AT and the South River Falls trail and then return to the parking lot. The total elevation gain of this trail is about 1300 feet.

Directions: The trailhead is at South River Picnic Area. Make the turnoff at Mile 62.5 of Skyline Drive, then follow the one-way picnic area road to the far end of the picnic area, where there'll be a large sign for the trailhead.
Website: http://www.guidetosnp.com/web/LogoftheDrive/logc5.aspx#hc-47

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 6, 2011
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