Whiteoak – Hawksbill – Cedar Run Loop

Short and sweet, this run packs a punch with an average ascent of over 300 feet per mile, with spectacular waterfalls along much of the route.

  • 11 miles
Running time
  • 2–3 hours
Total ascent/descent
  • 3,300 feet
    305 feet/mile
GPX file
What to wear

The run begins with 4 mile, 2950 foot ascent to the summit of Hawksbill, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park. From there, it’s a gradual 7 mile descent back to your car. Two repeats of this loop are an excellent prep for big western 100s.


Leave the parking lot on the White Oak Trail. In 0.2 miles, take a left on the Cedar Run Trail and climb for 3 miles. Cross Skyline Drive at Hawksbill Gap and pick up the trail to Hawksbill Summit. Reach the summit at mile 4.0.

Leave the summit and follow the trail to the Applachian Trail (AT). Take the AT northbound back to Hawksbill Gap (mile 5.9). Cross Skyline Drive and follow the trail to White Oak Fire Road. At mile 6.8, reach White Oak Fire Road and take a right. Cross the creek above the upper White Oak Falls at mile 8.4. Pick up the White Oak Canyon Trail and descend 2.6 miles back to your car.

Last updated May 19, 2020

What you do is up to you, but you shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date. Review a map beforehand and carry it with you. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. Do not count on having cell phone service while on the run. The VHTRC is not responsible for your welfare on any of these runs. If you go on one of these runs and get lost, run out of water, get injured, mauled by a bear, or die, or if anything else goes wrong, it's your fault; not ours. You assume all risks here and the VHTRC assumes none at all. Legal issues aside, some of these runs are more remote than others and the VHTRC is not suggesting that you do any of these runs, unless you are prepared to accept full responsibility for yourself.