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Overall Run Falls

 

A breathtaking view of Shenandoah National Park's tallest falls is your reward for taking this strenuous round trip hike of 6.4 miles to the 93 foot Overall Run Falls.  The trail is somewhat difficult and the return trip is all uphill.  However, if the season is right you'll be happy you hiked this.  In a dry summer, there could be little or no water which would be a disappointment.

Park at the parking lot just south of Hogback Overlook at milepost 21.1 on the west side of Skyline Drive.  The lower end of the parking area leads onto the Appalachian Trail.  Head south along the AT, following the white blazes for 0.4 miles.  When you reach the junction of the Tuscarora - Overall Run Trail, turn right on this blue blazed trail.

This is the southern terminus of the 252 mile Tuscarora Trail.  This long distance trail travels into West Virginia, Maryland and meets back with the Appalachian Trail near Marysville, Pennsylvania.  The Tuscarora Trail was built when it was thought the AT would need to be rerouted further west into a more wild setting.  Since Federal efforts protected the AT, now this trail creates a long loop with the AT or just another option for those hiking the AT.

The falls are another 2.8 miles away along the Tuscarora - Overall Run Trail.  The hike is now downhill over some steep and rocky sections.  At 1.1 miles (0.7 miles from AT), the trail turns right at a trailpost.  To the left is a connector trail that leads to the Traces Trail and Mathews Arm Campground.

At 2.7 miles you'll cross the Mathews Arm Trail.  A trailpost points you ahead on the Tuscarora - Overall Run Trail with the falls just 0.5 miles ahead.  You are now walking through one of the park's wilderness areas, designated by the US Congress in 1976 to be kept free from human modification forever.  Soon the trail goes very steeply downhill, on the edge of a deep gorge to the left.

A side trail eventually opens out onto a view of the waterfall at 3.2 miles.  A cascade over rocks, rushing down an impressive drop of 93 feet.  There are views of the falls, gorge, valley and Massanutten Mountain beyond.  To return simply retrace your steps back to the parking area.  There is an elevation gain of 1850 feet for this strenuous hike. 

Another option for this hike is starting from Mathews Arm Campground and utilizing part of Traces Trail, then the connector trail to the Tuscarora - Overall Run Trail, then onto the falls.  This is a round trip hike of 6.5 miles (compared to 6.4 miles).  We have pictures and maps below.

For more information on hiking in Shenandoah National Park, check out these books and maps; Hiking Shenandoah National Park Shenandoah National Park - National Geographic MapsBest Easy Day Hikes Shenandoah National Park Appalachian Trail Guide to Shenandoah National Park: With Side Trails, and 75 Hikes in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park.

Overall Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park

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