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Dark Hollow via Appalachian Trail and Story of the Forest Trail

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Shenandoah National Park

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

Distance: 6.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,479 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

no dogs

Two waterfalls and tons of wildlife. This 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 Appalachian Trail as it circles the Big Meadows picnic and camping areas.

hiking
rocky
3 days ago

Great hiking adventure.... next time I'd like to do this in the fall and after a decent rain.

hiking
rocky
5 days ago

Great trail, once you reach the gulley it’s easy to loose track of the trail if you aren’t paying attention. It’s a lovely trail to do on a sunny day.

We walked counter clockwise from the dark gallows pull off. It started off by the river and had some really pretty waterfalls. The water is deep enough to swim in some sections but cold! There was some cool overlooks towards the end. The final mile was right by the big meadows campground. Overall pretty good hike but never felt too far from civilization. The waterfalls were my favorite part

Did the loop that started at the amphitheater, Went clock wise and later understood why counter clock wise is better, end of hike from the copper mine gets steeper as you go. Trail was in good condition, weather outstanding but was spring break so falls area was busy. Water was running but more water would have made the falls more interesting.

We started at the Deep Hollows trailhead going counterclockwise, which meant very steep downhill at the beginning, but an easier uphill climb for the second half of the hike! It was a solid 6 mile hike, and the Deep Hollows section was rocky and steep. Agree with others that this section is the reason the trail is classified as hard (and glad we did it as downhill!).

hiking
muddy
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Pretty easy hike. The falls were wonderful 3 days after a massive storm. I started at 7am and hardly saw a soul, just how I like it. Trail was in perfect condition, rugged and pretty natural. Best hike I did at the park

The trail has beautiful waterfalls and scenery throughout, it is difficult to follow and we added 0.5 miles getting turned around. But it ended up being closer to 7.5 miles not 6.0 as advertised. The up and down grades are very steep but gorgeous hiking along the creek the whole way. The falls were extremely busy at 10:30 when we got to them. We went to the falls first hoping to avoid a huge crowd.

hiking
8 months ago

You go down see a nice waterfall and then come up. Busy spot.

hiking
8 months ago

down hill to get to falls but a hard uphill walk back. will have you catching your breathe. falls are best in the spring but oct still looks great.

I would agree with many commenters and say that this trail is intermediate. I went clockwise, starting northbound on the Appalachian Trail. The trail then descends until to the falls. The first fall is smaller but has multiple areas for swimming. Dark Hollow Falls, is for viewing only. Once you reach Dark Hollow Falls is when the trail starts to get very populated. The only difficult ascent is from the bottom of the falls to the top, the rest is smooth sailing. This is an active bear area, but no bear sitings for me, but there was bear poop on the trail.

Fantastic hike - beautiful the whole way around. As others said watch the signs easy to get off track. The falls were spectacular and the footing was great. Only crowded near falls but otherwise saw people only occasionally. Not sure I would rate it hard - if so only for the steepness. Lots of falls throughout, definitely a must do hike!!!

hiking
9 months ago

Nice trail which I did in the clockwise direction so saved the steepest for last.

hiking
9 months ago

As others said, paying attention to signage is a must because you switch trails at least three times. Overall pleasant hike! The first half is constant a nearly constant descent, so be mindful if you experience knee issues. Loved the falls, not too crowded on a Sunday in September. An absolute MUST is to stop in the wayside afterwards for a well deserved blackberry milkshake

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

Jolie promenade sous les arbres. C'est très agréable de longer le ruisseau et les Cascades. A faire !

hiking
10 months ago

Fun hike! Lots of places to get in the water and cool down. It's mostly easy, but going back up Dark Hollow Falls is a little more strenuous.

hiking
10 months ago

Make sure you pay attention to the trail markings. There were a lot of different trails in the area and it’s easy to get on the wrong trail. Poured the entire way but I think it was worth it.

hiking
11 months ago

This is a great hike. I would rate the trail as moderate more then difficult, but it can be a challenge depending on trail conditions. We did the counterclockwise and really enjoyed these falls.

Tue Jun 11 2019

Great little loop with two lovely waterfalls. The trail became significantly more crowded around Dark Hollow Falls, as it's accessible from other trails. The loop gives a nice little workout. The first half descends along a beautiful river, and then ascends back to the ridge line.

hiking
Mon May 27 2019

A great way to experience Dark Hollow Falls without having to fight for a parking space. Went clockwise starting at Big Meadow Campground. This loop breaks out approximately as follows: first quarter follows AT and is easy going. Middle half follows Rose River Loop Trail and is steeply downhill with low traffic, then steeply uphill with increasing traffic. There are falls all along the middle half of this hike, but Dark Hollow Falls are towards the end and were bustling on Memorial Day 2019. The last quarter goes along the Story of the Forest Trail, which was both serene and beautiful.

hiking
Mon Apr 15 2019

Awesome falls day after a t-storm, trail underwater in places.

hiking
rocky
Fri Mar 15 2019

Beautiful falls!

Tue Feb 05 2019

Pretty good fishing good falls

Fri Aug 17 2018

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.

hiking
Sun Jul 29 2018

very good hiking. not as much traffic as dark hollow fall.

Wed Jul 04 2018

very beautiful hike down to the waterfall and along the creek.

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