Here are some photos I took during a recent Shenandoah waterfall hike I took over Memorial Day Weekend. I love hiking in Shenandoah, but it challenges me every time! This particular loop was supposed to be 7.8 miles. However, according to my tracking on AllTrails we actually did 11 miles. There were several steep sections that made us work hard for our views.
Starting The Trail:
The trail started at the Big Meadows campground. It hugged close to the campsites and was bordered by ferns and wild flowers. We saw a deer, which seemed completely unbothered by our presence. We took the Appalachian Trail past the Fisher’s Gap Overlook and then picked up the Rose River Loop Trail.
Once on the Rose River Loop Trail, we went downhill until we reached the first fall. Rose River Falls is not the largest waterfall I have ever seen, but it is very picturesque. The pool at the bottom of the falls seems so peaceful. The trail follows along the water and has several smaller water features.
After leaving Rose River Falls, the trail became a long uphill hike for some time. Eventually we got to the bottom of Dark Hollow Falls. This waterfall was an impressive height. We knew we had even more uphill climbing to go, so we stopped here for a long break. The climb up from the bottom here was also steep, so we took another break at the Dark Hollow Falls Parking Lot.
Dark Hollow Falls was the most crowded section of the hike. It was not terrible as we were there on a weekday, but I imagine it can get bad on the weekends so plan accordingly.
The Rest Of The Hike:
The rest of the hike did not have as many views and it was quite challenging. The trail does eventually pass by the Byrd Visitor’s Center and the Big Meadows Wayside. We did not stop at either of these places, but if one was looking for a rest stop, this would be the spot!
We did some downhill hiking after we went back into the woods. This eventually lead to Lewis Spring Falls. This was the smallest of the three falls. The branch off for Lewis Spring also provided a great view of the surrounding mountains.
After Lewis Spring Falls, it was a brutal uphill until we were basically back at the car. This section had less views, making it the least enjoyable part of the trail.
Overall, I would rate this trail as a 5/5. It had great views and it was one hell of a challenge. AllTrails was not very accurate when it came to milage, but the trail was easy to follow. It is probably not the most suitable hike for less experienced outdoors people, but the falls can be accessed in easier ways than what we did. Bring plenty of water, snack and your camera for a good time! Also be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to finish as those uphill can be slow going after a while.