A trip into the woods to walk past waterfalls is great for a family outing. Cool your feet and take some photos in this pretty area.
Dark Hollow Falls in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park requires some exertion in the upward direction but it is easy to find and not a demanding trek, although it does have stairs. Wear sensible shoes, not flip-flops, to maximize the enjoyment of your outing.
The round trip on Dark Hollow Trail is 1.4 miles (2.2 kilometers) on well-maintained broad paths. Find the trailhead at the parking lot alongside a stream, Hogcamp Branch, that becomes a major source of the falls farther downstream.
The trail provides beautiful views of the falls near the bottom, with flat areas for superb photo opportunities. The elevation at the top of the falls is 3,429 feet (1,045 meters), with water cascading 70 feet (21 meters) over several tiers of rocky ledges. Resist the temptation to go near the water, as the wet rocks are frequently slippery.
After the water goes over these impressive falls, known as the upper Dark Hollow Falls, it continues to a gentler lower falls. Natural pools at the second falls make wading in the water safer. Once the water leaves this area it flows into Rose River. Turn around at this point to trek back up to the trailhead or continue on the Rose River Loop Trail where another falls is located.
Look for wildlife including whitetail deer and abundant bird species. Black bears are also found in the vicinity, most frequently seen in late summer or early fall. Many varieties of butterflies accompany hikers along the paths during warm weather.
If the upward trek seems too daunting for the return, an alternate path is along Fisher’s Gap Fire Road near the lookout of the same name. This provides a less rigorous ascent and is smooth enough for pushing a stroller.
Arrive early at the falls because it gets quite busy later in the day, particularly during warmer months and the colorful fall season. Low rainfall levels may limit the grandeur of the falls.
Find Dark Hollow Falls near the center of Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive. The falls are open year round. Pets are not allowed on this trail.