Shenandoah National Park: Upper White Oak Canyon Trail & Appalachian Trail Loop Part 1

Since we are running out of new trails to go to in Shenandoah National Park, this week we plotted a course that is not recorded in any books/ on any websites. We did a 10-mile loop starting at Skyland Resort’s parking lot, crossing Skyline Drive to the White Oak Falls trailhead parking lot, going down the Upper White Oak Canyon Trail (passing across Limberlost Trail), turning onto the Whiteoak Fire Road, then the Big Meadows Horse Trail, and finally crossing Skyline Drive again at the Lower Hawksbill parking lot to hike along the Appalachian Trail (AT).

At first, we wanted to start along the AT, but we could not find the the entrance to go south from Skyland. We decided to go the other way around and discover where the entrance is on our way back.

White Oak Canyon

White Oak Canyon Trail has several of the best waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park, but the best ones can be found in the lower portion of the trail, so we only saw a few small ones.

We encountered these wildflowers along Upper White Oak Canyon Trail:

Common St. John's Wort

Common St. John’s Wort

Common St. John’s Wort, or Hypericum perforatum, is a member of the St. John’s Wort family (Hypericaceae) and blooms June to September. Introduced to the U.S. from Europe, this wildflower now grows throughout North America. It can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes, including as an antidepressant. It favors fields and roadsides.

I found this flower in several places along the Upper White Oak Canyon Trail.

White Wood Aster

White Wood Aster

White Wood Aster, or Aster divaricatus, is a member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) and blooms July to October. Native to eastern North America, it grows in dry open woods.

These are a fairly common in late summer-fall wildflower in Shenandoah National Park.

Scarlet Beebalm

Scarlet Beebalm

Scarlet Beebalm, Crimson Beebalm, Scarlet Bergamot, Oswego Tea, or Monarda didyma,  is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae) blooms June to October. Native to North America, it grows mostly in the Northeast. The name Oswego tea refers to the Oswego native Americans living in upstate New York who taught early settlers how to make a herbal tea from the plants leaves.

Tiny brown mushrooms

There were many different kinds of mushrooms growing in the forest. These tiny little ones were so cute, I had to take a macro photo of them. They were growing all along a fallen tree.

Continue to Part 2

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