Dark Hollow via Appalachian Trail and Story of the Forest Trail

HARD 70 reviews
#15 of 138 trails in

Dark Hollow via Appalachian Trail and Story of the Forest Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

6.0 miles
1479 feet



nature trips






wild flowers

no dogs

moderate hike, two waterfalls, tons of wildlife Circuit passes Rose River falls and the site of an old copper mine. Erosion has all but obliterated all traces of this mine. The circuit continues on past Dark Hollow Falls and offers view points from the Appalachain Trail as it circles the Big Meadows picnic and camping areas.

7 months ago

This is a wonderfully scenic trail but you will earn it. A difficult trail for all but the most fit hikers. You will earn your rest on this one. My wife and i were on the trail at 9am on a Saturday and surprised to find we still had it all to ourselves. Traffic did increase by noon but still wasn't heavy.

I would like to propose a name change to Alltrail for this trail as its current designation is inadequate and misleading. I'm calling it the Rose River Trail-Dark Hollow Falls Loop.

8 months ago

This was an amazing trail. The waterfalls were beautiful and the trails were pretty well marked.

9 months ago

The second half of the trail is a solid workout. Both the falls are nice, but crowded. I would do again on a weekday.

9 months ago

i visited this trail for my birthday, and even wore my dress whites.

the bugs that landed on my uniform had no respect.

10 months ago

Nice to be able to hike right from our campsite! Very crowded on the stretch from the road to Dark Hollow falls, but few hikers in the rest of the hike.

11 months ago

This is a beautiful hike. Not difficult at all. Lots of wild life!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

did it years ago I lived up on the mountain as a cook for the summer The Falls were amazing Big Meadows is beautiful only downfall to many people but what do you expect on skyline

Monday, October 10, 2016

Challenging and beautiful! Only downside was the million other people on the route, but the farther you go on the trail, the fewer people there are.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Gorgeous but crowded. Save this one for a weekday if possible.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Good hike. I'd say it's moderate with the exception of dark hollow falls ascent. If you take the fire road then ascend the falls the backtrack and do rose creek the loop is a little harder.

Monday, July 25, 2016

2 beautiful waterfalls. Go all the way to the top. Would recommend the Rose River to Dark Hollow combination. plenty of places to wade/swim.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Really nice trails. Saw several Bear along the way and hiking along the water for most of the hike is a really nice added bonus, especially when you can get cooked off at any moment. This loop is about a 5hr trip if you stop and take pictures and just enjoy the entirety of it. Highly recommended for this area.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Hiked this trail last week. Took the Skyline and park at the Byrd Visitor Center. Just follow the Dark Hollow Falls trail to the falls, continued on to the Rose River Loop. It was beautiful hike.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This trail features a fascinating water fall and we even took a detour to a second water fall that was just as beautiful. The only reason I gave it a 4 is because the trail is heavily trafficked. Other than that, it is a great hike for views and physical activity.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Went on this hike today! It was beautiful!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Solid train!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I've hiked this several times! It's relatively easy, and I love how close you are able to get to the falls!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

We did this a couple years ago. Not sure why I forgot to review it???? Nice trail, but rough coming back up.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Nice trail alongside a stream. Moderate decline going to the falls and moderate incline coming back up. Pretty popular in peak times, but in winter it's not too busy. The waterfall is beautiful and has many great angles for photographers. Good beginner/amateur hiker trail. I would hike it again!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Really beautiful waterfall to photograph!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The place was beautiful. Both waterfalls were amazing. You are far enough away from civilization/people but there was just enough other hikers there to help if something happened. I am going to make Shenandoah a must hike area from now on.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It was okay. Good challenging hike down and back up from the falls. Just very crowded when we reached the falls and it wasn't really enjoyable to try and take pictures with a bunch of kids climbing all over the rocks and to the top parts of the fall so we didn't stay long. Might try to go back when it's not a hot summer day too.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fairly easy trail from sky line drive. We took 7 kids ranging in ages from 2 to 13. Two year old was carried half way on the way back up and the 2 ten year Olds didn't enjoy it as much but over all worth the little hike we did today

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We took the kids with us (12, 10, 6, 2) and did the shorter (albeit a bit rougher) version from the Skyline Dr parking area.

The decent was great (always is) and compared to the Lewis Falls trail we tried the day before, was very easy to navigate for everyone (though the 2yo got a free ride :)

The falls were great and we had fun playing in the water at the upper pools....which was quite cool in September!

We then continued down to the lower area where it intersects with the Fire Road and cooked lunch (some Mountain House) on the little MSR stove we brought with us while looking at the bottom of the falls.

Was a great time, and though the ascent was a little arduous with a 2yo on my shoulders everyone made it out ok and we continued to hike elsewhere over the course of the day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Great hike. I have done it twice both times with my dog and we loved it, the second time was with some inexperenced hikers that turned back after the first set of falls. Each time was during the summer and we continued to rose river loop. Very close to big meadows.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

This is a nice loop that combines Dark Hollow Falls and the Rose River Falls, so the name should actually be "Dark Hollow/Rose River Loop" to distinguish it from the much shorter in-and-back Dark Hollow Falls hike. It should be noted that many folks have been calling this an "easy" hike, which for less experienced hikers or folks with kids, it is not. Easy compared to Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run, but not easy when compared to 1-3 mile hikes on flat terrain. So just be prepared. A shorter variation on the loop is what I call the "Dark Rose Horse" loop, which takes you down the Dark Hollow Falls trail to its intersection with the Rose River Fire Road, which you then take back up almost to Skyline Drive, and then turns left onto the Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail, which will take you back to the Big Meadows Visitor Center or the DHF trailhead, depending on whether you go left or right at the final junction. All of these trails are great, but they do get very crowded on summer weekends (except the horse trail, where I seldom encounter any other people). The Rose River area is especially popular with large backpacking groups and first time backpackers since there are several large sites just beyond the no-camping boundary.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

This was a cool trail, but I went during the "polar vortex" so it was cold.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Very great hike . Easy and the falls are beautiful, especially after heavy rain. Definitely worth the trip at least once.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Easy route, very wet when we went. The decent worked the quads a bit. Lots of great places along the creek to hang out and check out the trout. simple hike for all ages

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