Shenandoah National Park is famous for many things.
There is iconic, absolutely spectacular Skyline Drive. 40% of the park’s surface is designated wilderness; it is home to the densest black bear population in the United States. And there are various spectacular waterfalls.
One of the most popular waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park is Dark Hollow Falls. This series of beautiful cascades is accessed down a short trail located at mile marker 50.7 on the Skyline Drive—nearly all trailheads in the park lie off the Skyline Drive, which is the only road through the park. The Dark Hollow Falls trail is no longer than 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometers), but it’s fairly steep and occasionally slippery.
Like many trails in Shenandoah National Park, this one runs downhill first, leaving the hardest part, the ascent, for the way back. It runs downhill for 0.7 miles toward the base of Dark Hollow Falls, a 70-foot series of cascades. Although not the tallest waterfall in the park, this is without question one of the most picturesque. The trail actually does continue to the lower section of the falls, but that’s less impressive than these upper falls. I would recommend sticking around at the upper falls, taking some time for photos—it’s rather spectacular. Here’s a quick tip if, like me, you take tons of photos wherever you go. When I travel, it helps to have a Cloud based Windows Desktop that can be accessed on mobile devices too.
The way up, also 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometers) of course, takes in 440 feet (134 meters) of elevation change, which makes it a pleasant challenge. It’s not even close to being difficult, though, but definitely steep enough to raise one’s heart rate a bit.
On the way up, we met a guy who said that there were a few black bears heading up the hill just across the stream. Unfortunately, they escaped us. We didn’t see any bears that day—our very first day in Shenandoah National Park, ever—but we would see some just one day later on another hike (and in another blog post)…
Dark Hollow Falls Trail Photos
Dark Hollow Falls Trail Details
Length: 1.4 miles (2.25 kilometers) out-and-back.
Hike duration: 45 minutes.
Outing duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Trailhead location: Mile marker 50.7 on Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, near Big Meadows.
Note: Dogs and other pets aren’t allowed on this trail.
Trail map: Shenandoah National Park Service