Dark Hollow Falls Trail is a 1.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Stanley, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from April until October.

Length1.4 miElevation gain564 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildlifeRockyFeeNo dogs
Description
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Getting There

Shenandoah National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. Dark Hollow Falls is one of the closest scenic falls to the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. This is a fairly easy walk down, but the trek back up on the way out may be slightly challenging. This is a very popular hike at mile 50.7 of Skyline Drive that starts at the Dark Hollow Falls parking area. There are some sitting rocks along the trail if you need to rest especially on your way back up. In the spring the blossoms of Mountain Laurel adorn the path with bright pink blossoms. The trail follows the Hogcamp Branch stream as it leaves the Big Meadows spring and eventually drops over the falls. The trail is cool and shaded by a canopy of trees that offers welcome relief in the summer. As you are hiking down listen to the sounds of the water and also to the sounds of nature. One of the birds that may serenade your hike is the Blue Headed Vireo. This neotropical migrant that breeds at high elevations in the park has a very sweet melodious voice that seems to say "Look-Up, In-the-Trees". If you happen to see a dragonfly it may be one of the uncommon species that requires pristine, shaded mountain streams. When you spot one of these you know you are in a special place. Near the bottom of the trail you will come to a viewing platform where you can see the top of the falls. If you continue another tenth of a mile down the trail you will reach the base of the falls for a much more impressive view. Legend says that Thomas Jefferson was quite fond of these falls and spent time quietly contemplating the wonders of nature at the foot of Dark Hollow falls.

This can be challenging for some, so come prepared. Wear sturdy shoes, carry plenty of water and perhaps a snack, and dress for the weather. Summertime storms can cause dramatic temperature changes.

Skyline Drive travels the entire length of Shenandoah National Park. Mile markers are placed along the right-hand side of the road heading south. They are numbered from north to south beginning at the northern terminus in Front Royal, Virginia. Facilities, trails and park features use the mile markers as points of reference. Park at Dark Hollows Falls parking area at mile 50.7. Trailhead is located in the north end of the lot.

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Reviews (1,459)
Photos (1,580)
Activities (1,074)
Completed (4,067)
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Mike Wolf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 18, 2021
Hiking

Trail is nice with a good waterfall. However it was super crowded. Some group set up tripods at the top of the falls. Ruined the view for the rest of us and frustrated a lot of people.

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Maranda Adams
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Hiking

Definitely moderate. Steep in the beginning and then inclined on the way back up. Bring water and some shoes to get dirty. The views were beautiful though. Worth the heavy breathing.

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Sean Snow, King Of The North
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Hiking

We explored Dark Hollow Falls on a Thursday in April. This hike was a delight. The decent is steep right from the start. It takes a bit of time before you’re hiking alongside the creek and falls, but once you are it goes on for hundreds of feet. The falls are beautifully tucked into the forest and there are plenty of places to get close and observe the different levels of cascading waters. The re-ascent to the parking lot is steep, but it’ll be over before you know it. Overall, highly recommend for a mild adventure. Worth noting - we did this a day after some heavy rain so the falls may not be as impressive after a dry stretch.

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Thomas Faulkner
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HikingFloodedMuddy

My family and I hiked this trail after a pretty steady rain and the falls were beautiful! We had fun playing hopscotch between the slick/muddy and gravelly patches as we trekked up and down the trail, and other than a few soaked toes, we came out unscathed. The way down to the falls is relatively steep so it's best to pace yourself for the hike back up so that you don't leave a lung behind.

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Cathy Batten
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Hiking

The trail was muddy and steep with slick rocks. The falls were gorgeous! Heavy flowing falls due to recent rain. Make sure you are physically fit enough to make it back up!

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Debra Hobert
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HikingGreat!

I hiked this trail a week ago. The trail and the falls are very enjoyable. It's all downhill on the way to the falls and a nice workout going back up to the trailhead. My only complaint was the huge number of people on the trail and at the falls. If you want a nice, solitary peaceful hike you may want to pick another trail! With that said, it is popular for a good reason!

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Brianna Lansing
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HikingGreat!
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yami flint
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Hiking

very accessible with plenty of places to stop, rest, and even drink from the refreshingly cold river (with a filter). Beautiful waterfall, just be prepared for the change in elevation. Completed with a 10 and 13 year old with no problems

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Madeline Freeman
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HikingGreat!

The trail was very crowded but it was still beautiful! Not hard at all maybe a little tiring on the way up!

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Shirly Shohat
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HikingGreat!IcyMuddy

beautiful! our kids (6, 4 years and 18 months in a carrier ) had a great time! we will come back again when it's warmer

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Jenn C
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Hiking

A bit muddy in parts but a lovely hike and beautiful view.

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Mary Clarke
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Hiking

A bit icy at spots but so beautiful

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Jared Askins
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Hiking

Great hike down and great exercise back up

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Andrew Kelly
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Hiking

Awesome trail because of the water, more of a path

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Matthew Labella
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Hiking

Easy trail. Good for a quick hike. Coming back up was slightly tough but still fun.

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Brian Rasey
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Hiking

After completing The Old Rag Loop, we needed a shorter hike to finish off the day and this fit the profile. After rain the previous day, the trail was still in fine shape and it’s a nice little trek down to the falls, although it was EXTREMELY busy. The falls are just as described and worth the trip. Good to see so many families and kids out on the trail.

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G. Craig Murray
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Hiking

Crowded

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George D
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Hiking
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Darren Pfeil
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Hiking

Easier quick trail. Nice stream along the way which lead to a neat waterfall.

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Jamie Spears-Rood
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Hiking
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Scott Southee
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HikingGreat!

Great moderate-hard hike. Wear appropriate footwear and enjoy the amazing sights and sounds of Dark Hollow Falls!

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Christina Green
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Nature tripsFeeMuddyRocky

Beautiful, but crowded! Beware of the elevation change and if you have bad knees! Slippery after it rains- but worth the hike down to see the falls!

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Kate Olsen
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Hiking
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Lizzy Schechner
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Hiking
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Kati Cooke
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Hiking

I had a good time hiking, but I realized how spoiled I am to live in the PNW. Everything on this hike was brown or gray, no green. The waterfall wasn’t very impressive and the hike itself was very easy, despite someone warning me how difficult it was. Not a bad hike if you don’t know what you’re missing! But doesn’t even compare to the waterfalls in Oregon and Washington...

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