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Rose River Trail to Story of the Forest Trail Loop

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Shenandoah National Park

Rose River Trail to Story of the Forest Trail Loop is a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Stanley, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and running and is best used from March until October.

Length 6.4 mi Elevation gain 1,522 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Walking

Running

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Rocky

No dogs

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (59)
Photos (1599)
Recordings (48)
Completed (273)
Dilpreet Singh
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Nature tripsGreat!MuddyRockyScramble
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Carmen Young
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Hiking

Dark Hallow Falls and the Lower Falls were really spectacular especially with the recent rain. The second half of trail (if you go counterclockwise) isn’t anything special and a little confusing to follow as it takes you through the campgrounds and out of the woods.

View Carmen's Recording
Siri Zwemke
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Hiking

So this was one of the most crowded trails we have been on over the last few years. It is prime camping season, we are in the middle of COVID, it was midweek. The first 2/3 were lovely and fairly peaceful; the last 1/3 was so crowded we put on our masks at times. It's one of the prettier hikes I think although the last 1/3 is very manscaped due to the popularity. It starts out downhill and pretty much right at the halfway mark becomes uphill, so it's a workout. There are multiple swimming holes/soaking holes so don't be discouraged if the first ten are taken. You do want to watch your sign markers and/or have a map since there are multiple crossings, however it's well marked.

Fiona Rutka
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Hiking

This is a great trail - very beautiful and perfect if you’re staying at Big Meadow area. The area around dark hallow falls gets very busy, but crowds thin out as you approach Rose River Falls. Lots of swimming spots along the way.

Kevin Bucher
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Hiking

We did the full loop, 6.4 miles. From the parking lot, headed down Story of the Forest, then went left. The first mile or so was slightly downhill, and we thought we set ourselves up for disappointment when we realized the trail went through the campgrounds. But after that, it was great. The falls ended up being the end of the trip - great to see but it was a little crowded. Barely saw anyone else for the first 5 miles.

Niki Zenzen
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Hiking

This was a 9 mile hike as others have reviewed so be prepared for the extra miles. Dark Hollows Falls was crazy busy on a Sunday so if you can do this loop on a weekday do it! Lewis falls was where we started and that’s beautiful! When the trail came to the fire road we had to hike it to the road and on the road go back toward big meadows pull in to get back on the trail at dark hollows. We simply did not find another way to do the loop although it showed us off the trail we were heading in the general direction to jump back on up the road so we made it work. Definitely a moderate trail. Very rocky and it had rained so slippery but that’s expected. Lewis and Dark Hollows falls we’re amazing and Rose Falls were just ok but any hike along waterfalls is ok with me. All in all a nice hike.

View Niki's Recording
Shannon Reilly
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HikingMuddy
Josh Lawrence
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HikingMuddyRocky
View Josh's Recording
Carolyn Buck
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Hiking

Hiked Sunday morning. Cold morning with some snow. Trail was in good conditions, i didn't notice any ice. Had to park near visitors center since campground and picnic area were still closed.

Bea Kiddo
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Hiking

Good stuff a bit icy but not bad.

Autumn Moore
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HikingMuddy
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Danielle Eickhoff
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Hiking

Beautiful moderate hike with many waterfalls and creeks. This trail does have some climbs, so it will get your heart rate up. Great for dogs, but young kids should be in a carrier. Not stroller friendly. Come prepared with hiking boots and trekking poles to help with the slick fallen leaves and rocky parts of the trail. I witnessed some tourists hiking down the trail to the falls in flat casual shoes, with no water, and no other means of support. This is not recommended.

Elisha Comfort
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HikingRockyScramble
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Meghan Foeckler
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HikingBugsRocky

Haven’t hiked in almost 2 months and this trail kicked my butt. Couldn’t do the stairs coming back so I cut through the campground and found a paved trail that took me back to the visitors center. Plenty of waterfalls and rivers/streams. Saw some wild turkeys, chipmunks, butterfly, and deer. No cell service but thank GOD for this app. I wouldn’t have been able to do the hike without it. If I was in better shape I would probably come back and do this again.

View Meghan's Recording
Melissa Jonas
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HikingMuddyRocky

Beautiful trail but extremely busy. If you attempt an out-and-back to see the falls, you are faced with the equivalent of a 50 floor return climb according to Fitbit. This proved very challenging for many hikers. And to the one family I saw bringing a stroller, not a feasible idea.

Nick Shari
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Hiking

This was a great time. We modified it a bit and started from the visitor center and actually passed the campground and stayed on the AT until the split for Lewis Falls. Those falls were a little less climatic then the others, but a high view. The Lewis falls trail requires some scrambling and we saw some folks that were in deeper then their skills. This falls trails are rated moderate, but closer to hard. All in all a nice workout with great things to see. I recommend counterclockwise from the Big Meadows waypoint and return. You can cut the AT back to big meadows and skip the Lewis Falls trail and it will help you avoid cutting through the campground. We will do this again. About 6hr and 10 miles with our frolicking.

John Mahaffie
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Hiking

We followed this exactly on a chilly morning in March. The trail is great, A nice long downward segment, following the river, with it's complex of falls. Then a steady uphill climb through the trees, following, part of the way, another creek. Then (back across Skyline drive), a terrific patch of the Appalachian Trail. About four-fifths of the way along, you pass through (or around) a big campground. There are a zillion ways you could go through it, but the best way will likely depend on the time of year. In March, it's empty.

Becky Ferrel
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Hiking

My husband and I did this hike on July 1 and the beginning is fantastic. This starts as the Dark Hollows Falls Trail at mile 50.7 and follows a river for the first half of the hike with tons of falls and photo ops. After you steer away from the river, it just becomes a hike for distance. If you continue on the Appalachian Trail and don’t cut back to the camp grounds where the map shows, there is a great view a couple hundred yards away. At the end, you walk through a camp ground, which is a bit odd.

Micah Cogen
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Hiking
Rachael Dininger
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First to Review

Very nice hike! It was a good level of difficulty for three fairly in shape hiking novices. The flowing water and views were pretty! The only downside was that the trail at the end was not clearly marked.

Carrie Tesson
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Hiking
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Kiara Rivasplata
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Hiking
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Genevieve Brock
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Hiking
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