South River Falls Loop Trail, Shenandoah National Park

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.

Description

Elevation: 2954 ft.

This 3.3-mile loop trail that takes visitors to the South River Falls and then returns via the South River Fire Road is touted as one of the best areas for breeding birds found along Skyline Drive. A walk along this loop in late spring or early summer could produce over half-a-dozen breeding warblers including cerulean, Blackburnian, and black-throated blue warblers, northern parula, Louisiana waterthrush, and American redstart. Other species to be on the look out for include white-breasted nuthatch, red-eyed and blue-headed vireos, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, and eastern towhee. Don’t forget to search for butterflies en route, such as spicebush, pipevine and black swallowtails, great spangled fritillary, common wood-nymph and red-spotted purple. As elsewhere in the park, keep on the look out for mammals such as white-tailed deer, bobcat, and black bear.

A map with additional information is available through the Shenandoah National Park website.

Note: Please be advised that this is a moderately strenuous hike with a 900′ elevation change up to the observation  point at the falls and a 1,200′ elevation change for the full 3.3 mile roundtrip hike.

Directions

Skyline Drive Milepost: 62.8

From the Previous Site on the Skyline Drive Loop of VBWT:

From Milam Gap to Tanners Ridge Fire Road, return to Skyline Drive and proceed south (approximately 10.0 miles) to the South River Picnic Area, just beyond milepost 62. Enter the picnic area, on left, and follow the road to the backside where the trailhead is located.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: 540-999-3500, rolf_gubler@nps.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission fee

Birds Recently Seen at South River Falls Loop Trail, Shenandoah National Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Downy Woodpecker
  • American Crow
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Gray Catbird
  • American Goldfinch
  • Blackpoll Warbler
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • White-breasted Nuthatch

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Camping
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Fee
  • Hiking Trails
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms