There’s something almost magical about waterfalls. Maybe it’s a combination of beauty and sound, or maybe the sight of flowing water adds movement and life to a landscape. But whatever makes waterfalls so enthralling, you can experience it at a number of waterfalls near Charlottesville VA.
Shenandoah National Park features an array of waterfalls of different sizes, from small cascades along streams to imposing and awe-inspiring falls. All of these waterfalls near Charlottesville VA are accessible from parking places along Skyline Drive. (We’ve written about the merits of traveling down Skyline Drive before. This is another great one!)
Special note: access to all of these waterfalls near Charlottesville VA does involve a downhill hike, and consequently an uphill hike back to your car. The trails are clear and well-traveled.
Overall Run Falls
In the North District of the park, you’ll find access to Overall Run Falls at mile 21.1. Overall Run is the tallest of Shenandoah’s falls at an impressive 93 feet. It is a fairly strenuous round-trip hike of almost 6 1/2 miles, but if you’re up for it, the views of the Shenandoah Valley and Massanutten Mountain are added bonuses.
Rose River Falls
Located off mile 49.5, this 67-foot waterfall can actually branch into as many as four cascades after heavy rains. This is a more manageable 2.6 mile roundtrip hike, and this particular trail is part of one of the park’s federally designated wilderness areas.
South River Falls
Further on down Skyline Drive, South River Falls sits off mile 62.8 in the Central District of the park. It’s another stunner at 83 feet, the third tallest in the park. South River Falls also features a rock ledge with a stone guard wall where you can rest and watch the falls. The hike is another manageable 2.6 miles roundtrip.
Jones Run Falls
At mile 84.1 in the South District of the park, Jones Run Falls is a soothing, almost spiritual, peaceful falls. The almost 3 1/2-mile hike features a gradual climb, so it’s often considered easier than others. This 42-foot falls is surrounded by mossy rocks and an almost fairy-like forest scene. The flat rocks at the base of the falls give you an up-close encounter opportunity.
Other Waterfalls and Hikes
There are several other falls throughout the park. The National Park Service lists them as:
Whiteoak Canyon Falls, mile 42.6
Cedar Run Falls, mile 45.6
Dark Hollow Falls, mile 50.7
Lewis Falls, mile 51.4
Doyles River Falls, mile 81.1
Five additional falls are out beyond the Whiteoak Canyon Falls if you’re interested in a long hike and climb. In fact, all of these falls can be folded into longer hikes that’ll take you to more off-the-beaten-track waterfalls.
Learn more and get maps at the National Park Service website.
We’d love to provide the accommodations for your waterfall questing getaway. Located close to the Shenandoah National Park, Prospect Hill is a historic gem of an inn convenient to fantastic outdoor adventures as well as to Charlottesville. Don’t forget to download our free area vacation guide to help plan your trip.