Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Shenandoah National Park, Day Four, Part One: South River Falls

This is Day Three of a travel series to Shenandoah National Park.  If you'd like to start at the beginning, go HERE.  Day Two is HERE, and Day Three is HERE

Day Four in Shenandoah National Park was our last day in the park so we had two ambitious hikes planned.  I decided to divide Day Four into two separate posts because the hikes were very long and there were a lot more photographs.

Our last day in the park was our best day in the park.  We didn't plan on "saving the very best for last", it just happened that way. The weather was a gorgeous 70+ degrees.  The snowstorm days earlier had become a distant memory, and the two hikes we took were are favorites of the week.

But before I share about our hiking adventure, I must talk about this quaint diner we went to for breakfast first.  It was a hoot!  My husband and I love discovering places like this when we travel.  C & S Diner is located in Elkton, Virginia.  Most of the week we were grabbing breakfast at a Burger King or McDonalds and my husband was ready for a sit down real breakfast meal, so he asked me to see if I could find a local diner.  I googled it and found C & S Diner and saw it had great reviews so off we went!

The place was adorable!  The waitress, pictured walking behind us, was so friendly, energetic, and quite the entertainment.  All the customers were local except for us, so we got a real flavor of the area.  We chuckled that they had a Trump sign on the wall and were not worried in the slightest of repercussions of that.  Then to top it off, a customer walks in, and starts talking to another customer about how he "can't retire because ever since Obama Care was  enacted he can no longer afford health insurance".  Ah, yes, we can relate to these people.

We thought their idea of putting the menu pages under the glass table top was genius.

The food was absolutely delicious and so ridiculously inexpensive we wondered how they could even make a profit.  I ordered the "Top Hash Brown" which was incredible!  It was "sausage, peppers, onions, tomatoes, scrambled egg with cheese, and topped with sausage gravy" for $7.50.  I highly recommend ordering this dish if you go to this diner.  And the coffee was the best!  So much better than a Starbucks coffee.  I have no idea what they do to it to make it taste so good.

And the most incredible part of this diner story is that all the food is cooked by this young lady pictured below.  Would you believe she is 86 years old?  What an inspiration.

And here is our waitress.  What a joy she was!  We really enjoyed meeting and talking with her.  On every vacation we take, my husband and I always pick the most interesting person of our trip...she was the winner for this one!

If you're ever in the Shenandoah Valley area, be sure to stop by this diner.  You will love it!  They are only open for breakfast and lunch and closed on Sundays (of course 😀).

Now on to our hike:  the South River Falls Trail.

Like most of the trails in the park, you have  options to take.  

1) A 3.3 mile moderate circuit hike which has an elevation gain of 910 feet and takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete.

2)  A 2.6 mile round trip hike rated as moderate with an elevation gain of 850 feet and takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete.

We chose to do the first hike because it takes you to the base of the waterfall, which has the best views, and not just an observation deck from the top of the falls.

Of all the trails in Shenandoah National Park, South River Falls was my absolute favorite.  Perhaps it could have been because it was a beautiful day.  Perhaps it was because it was our last day.  Or perhaps it was because we hiked it in the wee hours of the morning and had the trail pretty much to ourselves.  Whatever the reason, I loved every second of it.

If bird-watching is your thing (like it is mine) you will love the first part of this trail...especially if you hike it early in the morning like we did.  The birds were singing like you wouldn't believe.  We even spotted one I didn't even recognize.  I kept stopping on the trail and looking up to identify the birds.

After hiking so many monstrous trails the previous days, this trail seemed like a walk in the park.  Although in the reviews, a lot of people complained of the return hike being steep.  I did not find it to be nearly as bad as other hikes I had been on in this park.  "Moderate" is definitely the right description for this trail.

The best word I could come up with to describe this trail would be "Fairyland".  I just felt the whole time I was hiking that I was in some magical forest that was filled with moss covered rocks.  At any moment I expected a little fairy or creature to come out.  It was so enchanting.

Once you get out of the heavy wooded area where all the birds are, and you have descended down to the South River you are blessed to be walking next to running water for the rest of the hike.

South River is a beautiful water way filled with pretty moss covered rocks.

And if the birds weren't enough of a blessing on this trail, there were hundreds of gorgeous Trilliums in bloom too!

I saw both white and pink Trilliums.

The early morning sunshine seemed to make the trail even more beautiful.

You also get a nice view of the mountains while hiking this trail!

My favorite part of the trail was AFTER you reach the observation deck at the top of the falls.  Don't stop there, but continue on and descend down the trail because the best is yet to come!  Here you will enter an even more magical fairyland as you walk to the bottom of the falls.

South River Falls is an 83 foot waterfall that has a initial center drop, then splits into two separate falls.

South River Falls trailhead is great for wildflower and bird enthusiasts,  and I highly recommend it!

Now, here are some short videos so you can "experience" the hike a little bit for yourselves.

South River Falls

South River Falls Trail

South River

Have A Great Day! Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


  1. I hope one day to travel to all of the national parks. I love seeing waterfalls. Your photos are beautiful!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

    1. Oh, I would love to see every National Park too...especially the ones in Alaska.

  2. What a beautiful trail and the waterfall is gorgeous! Love the sound of waterfalls!! Glad you found a wonderful restaurant too! The food looks delicious!

  3. Amy,
    What great pictures and that breakfast does look amazing!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit!

  4. A good diner makes such a difference when you are away from home. Gorgeous trail and the trilliums are so pretty. I always like to see a waterfall from the base of it. This one is amazing. Beautiful photos, I specially love the ones of the trees. Thanks so much for sharing, Amy!


  5. We are about to move to Virginia for the third time. Hopefully, we will finally go see all this!

    1. Oh, I envy you! It's such a beautiful state filled with wonderful people.

  6. That sounds like a wonderful hike!!


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