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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
- Distance: 7.4
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.
Location: 37.8932793, -79.0523815
After an easy descent, the yellow-blazed trail follows White Rock Creek.
Location: 37.8991296, -79.0577137
Rock-hop across White Rock Creek near the base of the 35-foot falls.
Location: 37.9010598, -79.0565228
Break up the 400-foot climb with a bit of wading in a trailside pool.
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.
Location: 37.9045456, -79.0551056
A wooden bridge traverses White Rock Creek.
Location: 37.9070872, -79.0515125
Cross the Blue Ridge Parkway and walk a few steps to Slacks Overlook, visible to the left.
Location: 37.907883, -79.0509117
Turn right, heading southeast.
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
Location: 37.9014492, -79.0558362
Location: 37.9029731, -79.0552247
Slacks Overlook Trail Junction
Location: 37.907883, -79.0507615
White Rock Gap Trail Junction
Location: 37.898266, -79.0389222