Overall Run: Hike to Shenandoah's Tallest Waterfall

Overall Run, tallest Shenandoah waterfall

by Bill & Mary Burnham

Peaks and waterfalls surely rank as one of the prime motivators-and rewards-for a day spent hiking, and doubly so if you work hard to get there.

There are no shortages of waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park, from the wildly popular Whiteoak Canyon to the Rose River Falls, where multiple cascades flow off bare-faced rock after heavy rains.

But there's only one "tallest:" 93 feet to be exact, and it's found on the western slope of the Blue Ridge at Overall Run.

Mary & Bill Burnham at the top

From the staggering falls, the mountainous panorama unfolds westward over Massanutten's double ridges, and farther off on the hazy horizon looms Great North Mountain.

Andy Nichols of Shenandoah Mountain Guides describes Overall Run as "the closest thing to Yosemite I've seen on the East Coast," from our cliffside perch atop this 93-foot free-fall plunge.

It's possible to reach Overall Run from Skyline Drive (MM 21), but we prefer a route from outside the park, near Bentonville. From here, the Thompson Hollow Trail and Overall Run Trail combine for two miles at a gentle uphill pace.

The approach road to Overall Run

You earn your views, however, over the last quarter-mile on an 800-foot climb to the crest of the falls. Retrace your steps to return, or combine this with Beecher Ridge Trail for an 11.5 mile loop.

Maps: USGS 7.5 minute series quad, Bentonville, VA. See also the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Map #9 (Shenandoah National Park: Northern District).

Directions: Bentonville is 10 miles south of Front Royal on US 340. Parking is on state route 630/Thompson Hollow Road.

Contact: Shenandoah National Park

We wrote the book!

This hike is fully described with mile-by-mile cues, history and map in the Burnhams' upcoming book, Day Hikes Near DC.