Charlottesville, VA: White Rock Falls

On this 4.6-mile loop, enjoy lunch beside a boulder-lined creek then burn off your meal with a steep climb beside the White Rock Falls cascades.
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On this 4.6-mile loop, enjoy lunch beside a boulder-lined creek then burn off your meal with a steep climb beside the White Rock Falls cascades.

For solitude on the northern stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, skip the hordes at Humpback Rocks and drive southwest to MP 18.5. After parking, cross the parkway and look for the White Rock Falls trail marker. Follow the yellow-blazed trail as it unfurls beside lichen-covered rocks and gurgling White Rock Creek. The trail crosses the creek after 1.4 miles, where you'll find boulder-lined pools ready-made for wading.
To finish the loop, rock-hop across the creek to switchbacks that travel close to the falls, tempering the scenic pay-off with a steep, 400-foot climb. An easy-to-miss side trail before the last switchback leads to hidden, but stellar views of the 35-foot falls. Once at the top, snap a photo of Priest Mountain then continue over rippling brooks and small wooden bridges. At the parkway, follow the trail across the road to Slacks Overlook, visible to your left. From the overlook, walk right to pick up the blue-blazed Slacks Overlook Trail, a narrow multi-use trail shared with mountain bikers. Turn right at White Rock Gap Trail (a left leads to Sherando Lake Campground) and continue for a half-mile back to your car.
-Mapped by Amy C. Balfour

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.4

Waypoints

WRF001

Location: 37.8961706, -79.0453702

Park in the dirt parking area at MP 18.5 on the northwest side of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cross the parkway to reach the trailhead and begin the clockwise loop.

WRF002

Location: 37.8932793, -79.0523815

After an easy descent, the yellow-blazed trail follows White Rock Creek.

WRF003

Location: 37.8991296, -79.0577137

Rock-hop across White Rock Creek near the base of the 35-foot falls.

WRF004

Location: 37.9010598, -79.0565228

Break up the 400-foot climb with a bit of wading in a trailside pool.

WRF005

Location: 37.9020588, -79.0557289

Catch your breath and take in a view of Priest Mountain from the overlook near the top of the falls.

WRF006

Location: 37.9045456, -79.0551056

A wooden bridge traverses White Rock Creek.

WRF007

Location: 37.9070872, -79.0515125

Cross the Blue Ridge Parkway and walk a few steps to Slacks Overlook, visible to the left.

WRF008

Location: 37.907883, -79.0509117

Turn right, heading southeast.

WRF009

Location: 37.898266, -79.0390027

Turn right and hike half a mile to the parking lot and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

White Rock Creek

Location: 37.8991296, -79.0575743

Enjoy a bit of wading at the base of the falls.

White Rock Falls Trailhead

Location: 37.8961029, -79.0455955

Leashed Dogs Allowed

Location: 37.8938127, -79.0512764

Cascades at White Rock Falls

Location: 37.9010683, -79.0564048

Trailside Cascades

Location: 37.9014492, -79.0558362

Ascent

Location: 37.9029731, -79.0552247

Slacks Overlook Trail Junction

Location: 37.907883, -79.0507615

White Rock Gap Trail Junction

Location: 37.898266, -79.0389222