I’ve just arrived home from Luray, Virginia and Shenandoah National Park. It’s taken some time to get back to reality and the swing of things. Some places you just don’t want to leave! I could’ve explored Shenandoah 100 times over! I wanted to capture as much as possible but I also wanted to hike as much as possible too. We didn’t get to the park and to the trailhead until around 12:30pm. That is a late start for me, but we stayed at the most amazing B&B and breakfast was NOT to be missed! So it was a little trade off. We decided to park at Dark Hollow Falls since that’s the waterfall I really wanted to see first. One of the most iconic places in all of Shenandoah and I would’ve been remiss not to go there first. The Dark Hollow Falls trail is only 1.4 miles but starts off completely downhill. Elevation change is about 400ft in this short section and the hike back up is hard once you’ve reached the bottom. At the bottom is where the trail converges with the Rose River Trial and Fisher’s Gap Fire Road, which can be taken to the Fisher’s Gap Overlook, more on that later.
Once we made our way down to the Falls, I’d say it was around 1pm. There were a lot of people and temperatures were in the high 60’s. The sun was out overhead, but luckily the falls was shaded. I was able to frame up the falls so that the people were out of the shot, so I was happy about this. The upper half of the falls is more photogenic then the lower half, but many people hang out at the upper half because of this. I was able to make all the photos I wanted before heading off on the hike. Speaking of the hike, we decided that we would hike down Dark Hollow and then Rose River Loop back to Dark Hollow and to the car. Well little did we realize that the second half of that hike, almost 2.5 miles was entirely uphill, it kicked my butt, carrying 25lbs of camera gear! The first half of Rose River was beautiful with many small cascades rushing over the huge rocks and pooling before rushing over another section again! Rose River Falls was impressive as well. It’s a 20’ foot drop waterfall and flow was impressive. We weren’t sure why it wasn’t a favorite of our innkeepers when we were talking about waterfalls earlier that morning. We were impressed. Impressed by tired! We had a small snack and continued up Rose River. We ran into a few others on the trail, all coming from the opposite direction of us and started to wonder if we had done the trail backwards! Sure enough a local stopped and asked if we had just come from the other way and said we were “Bad Ass!” for doing so. That was a nice pick me up! Finally we made it up to Fisher’s Gap and I decided to hang out to grab some photos from the overlook. Fisher’s Gap had an impressive view of the Massanutten Range. I was fascinated by the dips in the peaks. Speaking of Fisher’s Gap. It seems easier to park at Fisher’s Gap, take the fire road down to Dark Hollow and then up .7 to Dark Hollow Falls. Not only is it a bit shorter, but the return trip to your car isn’t as killer, if you’re only wanting to see Dark Hollow Falls.
I couldn’t have asked for a cooler day in Shenandoah! The views on Skyline Drive are incredible and on clear days you can see forever! We’ve already got another trip booked for April and I cannot wait to see Spring blossom in the park! It’s only a 4 hour drive from Pittsburgh, I intend to spend a lot of trips here. This visit also marks my second National Park and my first on the East Coast. These treasures are each amazing and I’m so glad one is accessible nearby