Access the trailhead at the north end of the Dark Hollow Falls
parking area. It crosses a stream and then goes downhill along its left bank. This is Hogcamp Branch, which drains Big Meadows
Swamp and becomes the principal tributary of Rose River.
The trail descends easily for 0.6 mile to the head of the falls. You must stay on the trail here. There's no view from the top of the falls, and the rocks there are slippery and dangerous. The trail swings away from the stream and goes uphill for a few feet before swinging right and descending to the base of the falls. On the trail between the top and bottom of the falls, you'll pass a tremendous rock that looms on your left, just where the trail swings sharply to the right. Except in dry summer months, water constantly trickles and drips down the face of this rock, promoting the growth of mosses, ferns, and liverworts. On cold winter days there's an enchanting display of stalactites and stalagmites of ice.
There's a fine view of the falls from the bottom. The water drops 70 feet, in a series of cascades, over the crumbling greenstone of an ancient lava flow.
Below the falls, the trail descends another 145 feet in about 300 yards to the Rose River Fire Road
, passing a number of small cascades, and then intersecting with a small waterfall that some call the lower Dark Hollow Falls
You can return by the way you came, or cross the Rose River Fire Road
and access the Rose River Loop Trail
to explore further.
Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this trail description. If you’re interested in learning more details about great hikes, weather, camping / lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive Guide to Shenandoah National Park
Black Bears and Whitetail Deer are often seen along the Dark Hollow Trail.