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This is not “out & back” ; it is a loop. The paper map from the park is kinda vague. Was not clear where to park or begin. My advice: Park at the first “trailhead parking” lot on the left a little ways past the beach parking. You’ll see a little amphitheater. The trails begin across the street from this lot. Hike straight towards the campground past 2 yurts. The bathroom in the campgrounds is exceptionally clean! I did not see any trail markers in the campground. Right beside the first campsite you’ll see a paved road blocked by a park gate. This is where the orange trail starts. I hiked counterclockwise. Great little trail. Pretty rocks & ferns. Nice bench with a view. There are 5 creek crossings on the second half of the trail. No bridges, but easy to hop. When the orange trail markers end, you’ll momentarily follow the blue trail, then it changes to yellow, then white and shortly brings you back past the yurts to the parking lot where you started. Only saw one human the whole day :)

$10 entrance fee but you can walk right up to the overlooks from the parking lot. It was a bit too crowded for my liking but beautiful views. The trail was pretty easy. Really cool experience if you have never been here before!

Easy to moderate hike. It can be slippery if it is shortly after raining/raining. The first part of the hike is going downhill and the second half is all uphill. After getting to the overlook of the falls (pretty but far away), I suggest taking the fire road hike down to the base of the falls - watch your step going to the base of the falls as it can be quite slippery. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead and bathrooms. You do have to pay the entrance fee if you enter through the Swift Run Entrance.

4 days ago

The trail is full of very sharp rocks. It seems not supposed to be too hard but very tired because of rocks.
Buzzard Rock was great, has nice view and plenty of space to take a break to enjoy view.
But after Buzzard Rock there was not much to enjoy. The forest is somehow very damp. There were so many mushrooms but also so many BUGS were following whole trail. Some thorns and all other kinds of vegetation were across the trail, that scratch pants, arms and face. They hold on my poles, annoying on the trail.
Moss has formed on almost every rocks with spiders which made us to hesitate to sit on.
Plus, there was no real view from Buzzard Rock to summit. So we ended up back and out at 3 miles(total 6 miles).

It's nice trail overall but if I try it again, I will try to buzzard rock and enjoy sunset and come down.

Nice dog friendly trails

Hiked this on labor day and got stuck in a down pour for about 20 minutes right at the base of the falls. Beautiful and well worth the wait for the rain to stop.

hiking
14 days ago

Not bad for my first hike in Virginia. The trail is easy to find. Locals jog in the morning or take the dogs to play into the water. If you like going into the “woods” for a while and forget about the city without going too far away, this is a good one. Simple, easy to walk it. If you follow the Google maps line, you can easily find the entrance to the trail and follow it.

Great little hike. Plan the extra time to go to the base of the falls. The falls have a single drop and then an intermediate pool about half way down where it splits into two. Probably my favorite waterfall in the park based on the access and beauty. The view from the observation deck with foliage on the trees is limited. The falls were running pretty heavy for this time of year due to the substantial storms we have had recently. Well maintained trail. The grind out along the roads is slow and steady.

Great trail. We took our two dogs with us and they loved every second. It’s mostly shady and the views are awesome. Our dogs did great on the trails and had no issues.

Great hike! We Did it with a 5 and a 6 yr Old as well. We went All the way to the base of the falls which was nice because the view was the best down there. I will say if I did it again with the children I would probably turn around at the concrete overlook rather than continue on. The kids were spent when we Got back to the fire Rd. They took turns riding My Shoulders all the way to the top. The fire road is a steep grade straight up the mountain whereas the original trial down is switchbacks. I Would Imagine that they're equally as challenging to get back up. Just a preference thing. Bring plenty of water and a snack to eat at the bottom as it turned into a 5 hour affair.....without young kids probably a 3 hour trip

Great views maintain trails marked areas a lot of historical points

Great trail for a 4h-something hike. Went clockwise from the parking lot up. Quite steep in the beginning and the end but beautiful scenery all around, and great views from Mary’s rock. Some small river crossings but nothing too tricky. Wish I had had hiking poles for the way down though. Plenty of chance to fill up your water from the creek.

My favorite waterfall in the park. Not worth just going down to first view only. View is obstructed. Might be ok after the leaves are gone.

loved the serenity at 7 AM and the views from the river trail. explored all trails a little. by 9AM it gets very busy and yet it's still peaceful. The 10 dollar entrance fee is a bit high but i am glad i visited.

A easy trail for walking

camping
28 days ago

Amazing trail with an even greater view, it has a small camping spot at the bottom of the mountain that is a good place a for multiple tents, at the top of the mountain you can find several places to set up hammocks and wake up with a picture perfect morning. 10/10

This was an AMAZING hike. The views were well worth the work. Remember, you go down then up. It was quite wet. Wear good footwear.

1 month ago

Offers a little bit of everything - modest climb, well maintained trails, water crossings, and a scenic view. Didn't find it to been too challenging, but was pleased to see very little trail traffic.

This humbled me! Totally worth it though. Rose River Falls was the hardest in my opinion. Definitely take advantage of the oppurtunity to rest at the bottom of Dark Hollow.

I loved this loop, there was the perfect mix of rock scrambles and easy trail hikes that I never got tired. Beautiful things to see and for going on a Sunday afternoon it really wasn't too crowded. Great hike!

it is more of a walk. when sunny, it is very crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this trail while rehabbing my knee after injuring it on a trampoline and I did well with two hiking sticks to aid me. The views were pretty awesome and I saw a blue heroin fly upstream when he was spooked by the fire and rescue boats that were doing rescue drills. There were only a few rock scrambles along the way which weren't that difficult to navigate. I started early, beating the steady flow of tourists that came later, even on a Monday.... loved having the trail and lookouts mostly to myself. I did meet a few nice people along the way. The history of the falls and the canals was pretty interesting.

Well worth the extra hike to the bottom of the falls

A really great hike. We went after a rain storm, and the waterfall was flowing heavy. We were fortunate to have the place to ourselves for a good half hour, it’s very serene as you’re sort of in your own cove beneath the falls. Would definitely do this hike again.

hiking
1 month ago

not an easy trail as it is listed. no signs, only painted colors on trees. not for kids by any means, no clear views of any water, muddy, overgrown. don't waste your time.

Nice hike. Cool streams along most of it. Beautiful waterfall at the end.

Change in elevation might be low, but not as easy as I would have thought. Not bad, a good moderate trial with wonderful views. Just surprised how much garbage people leave throughout the park :(

Love the rock scrambles. Easy enough for novice hikers that are relatively active, as well as our small dog. Started on the river trail which had the most of the scrambles, then to the ridge trail, then swamp. I think we were on the Difficult Run Trail as well at some point.

Nice, mostly easy path (can take more challenging inclines if desired). The trails could be marked a little more clearly.

Great family hike. Waterfalls and rocky river views

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