Hiking to a huge frozen waterfall in Shenandoah National Park

Park at Thompson Hollow Trailhead
GPS: 38.80194, -78.31461
Main attraction: Hike, big frozen waterfall.
Hike: 6 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy
Map and Directions

Overall Run Frozen Waterfall, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia


Last weekend we visited the tallest waterfall in the Shenandoah National Park. And guess what? It was frozen! Despite of the winter, temperatures were warmer than expected - it felt like spring - and it was a pleasure to be outside and enjoy the beauties of the nature.

Snow footprints help to follow the trail

Snow footprints

Starting from the Thompson Hollow trailhead, it took us about 2 hours to reach the waterfall overlook. The trail was completely covered with snow, what made the hike exhausting, specially in the afternoon, when the snow was already melting down making our way down slippery. Luckily, some hikers had already been there so we could easily follow their footprints.

We gotta confess that walking over soft snow is also pleasant and enjoyable, mainly on the way down, where you can almost let your body descend without much effort.

Our feet became totally wet, so it was helpful to bring extra pairs of socks and shoes.

Tree Bridge

The challenging - funniest part of the hike was to walk over a fallen tree to cross the Overall Run river. Adorable for slack-liners. After crossing the creek, it took us 1 hour of steep hiking to reach the main overlook. We sweat so much that it remind us of our summer hikes. Curiously, we didn't find other hikers along our trip - first time ever.

Frozen Waterfall in Shenandoah National Park

Frozen Waterfall

Predictable as it is, the best part came when we got to the overlook. We had a snow picnic sitting on the rock ledges with amazing views of the frozen waterfall, the canyon, the Shenandoah valley and the Massanutten Mountain to the west, in a nice winter - but warm 50 F, 10 C - atmosphere packed with white, brown, green and blue colors. The waterfall was shaped with stalactites and stalagmites slowly melting down. With 93 feet height, it’s an impressive drop of water and the tallest waterfall in Shenandoah!

Deer Encounter

On our way back down, it was interesting to see the brown layer of leaves (deposit during the fall) underneath the snow that protected the soil to be burned by the snow. The snow trail also allows to see all footprints. We were instigated by the several animal footprints and suddenly we came across two deers. We stayed for a couple of minutes staring each other until we decided to continue while they stayed on the trail with a deep gaze on us - we know who owes that place. Big dark round noses to scent the white, powder and soft snow.

We had to hurry up because winter days are short and we were running out of light. However, we could appreciate the orange sunset light reflecting on picturesque clouds while walking in the woods.

On our way back home we enjoyed an amazing orange-pink sunset and had dinner in a family restaurant in Front Royal.

What we did last weekend? Had fun in nature!

This trip is featured on the book 20 Weekend Trips Close to Washington DC.