Overall Run Falls

  • Highlights: Waterfalls, great views, wildlife, wildflowers
  • Distance: 5.4 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 1,476 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: Mathews Arm Campground registration parking area, Skyline Drive mile 22.2
  • Website: Shenandoah National Park
  • Beer Pairings: Shotwell Run Brewery—Centennial 5 Cent IPA & Penny Porter

The Hike:

Overall Run Falls is the highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park. It tops out at 93’; however, during the dry summer months, the falls may have minimal to no water flow. The views are fantastic any time of year. The trail is well marked and well maintained, although there are several trail junctions.

Begin this hike at the Mathews Arm Campground, just past the camper registration station there is a hiker parking area on the right. The trailhead kiosk is at the far end of the parking lot. Begin on the Traces Trail an easy loop with remnants, or traces, of early settlers. Reach the first trail junction at .5 miles and turn right on a short connector to the Tuscara-Overall Run Trail.

At the next cement post/junction, turn left on the blue-blazed Tuscara-Overall Run Trail. The trail begins a gradual descent to the falls through some large boulders and stream crossings. Pass through Bearwallow at 1.6 miles. This is bear country, so make some noise so they will know you are coming. Wildflowers line the trail and forest floor.

At 2.4 miles, the Mathews Arm Trail joins from the left, this will be the return route on this hike. The decent becomes much steeper at this point with steps and switchbacks. The 29’ high Twin Falls will be on the left at 2.6 miles. Several side trail lead to some nice views. The best views are yet to come.

Continue on the main trail and at 2.8 miles reach to top of Overall Run Falls. On our visit in early May, Overall Run was high after recent rains and the flow over the falls was at full capacity. After taking in the top of the falls views, continue down the trail a few hundred yards to a rock outcropping. Fantastic views of the Page Valley and Massanutten Mountain abound.

Enjoy your time at the falls and then retrace your steps, going up this time, to the junction with the yellow-blazed Mathews Arm Trail. Turn right here and follow this trail as it gradually widens to a former fire road. The climb is constant but gradual. Turn right at the junction with the blue-blazed Traces Trail. The trail continues around the campground and returns to the parking area and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

About 20 minutes southeast of Shenandoah in Etlan is Shotwell Run Brewery. They have indoor and outdoor seating, food trucks visit frequently, and The Blue Quartz Winery is co-located here. Their outdoor beer garden has great views.

Kathy really liked the Centennial 5 Cent IPA. Centennial hops are used five times during the brewing process resulting in an IPA with great aroma, flavor, and bitterness. We brought a crowler of 5 Cent home with us. Pete liked Penny Porter, an English-style porter made with English brown malt and Fuggle hops. The roasted malts give this beer its traditional caramel and chocolate notes. 

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.