Rose River Fire Road

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia 22835

Elevation Gain2,317ft
Trailhead Elevation1,162ft
Elevation Min/Max1160/3059ft
Elevation Start/End1162/1162ft

Rose River Fire Road

Rose River Fire Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Madison County, Virginia. It is within Shenandoah National Park. It is 6.1 miles long and begins at 1,162 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 12.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,317 feet. The Dark Hollow Church (historical) (elevation 2,864 feet) place of worship can be seen along the trail. There is also a grave yard along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Rose River Loop Trail.

Rose River Fire Road Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Waterfalls in Virginia (Falcon Guides)
Andy Thompson
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"The Rose River hike offers two falls, but they're so close together, one entry makes more sense. Reaching the lower drop requires a seriously dangerous scramble! Rose River is more or less your standard Shenandoah woodland hike-rocky, not brutally steep, but not easy-until you reach the falls. The upper falls is smaller but also the perfect place for a picnic and to take pictures. What seems to be a little forest stream burbling over rocks can turn into a stunner of a waterfall."
Hiking through History Virginia (Falcon Guides)
Johnny Molloy
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"This circuit hike traces an old transmountain turnpike linking Shenandoah Valley on the west side of the Blue Ridge with Gordonsville on the east side. It first passes the Cave Cemetery, where residents who lived in this area, known as Dark Hollow, are interred. Take a side trip to Dark Hollow Falls, then descend gorgeous Hogcamp Branch to an old copper mine, with relics still visible. The hike then climbs past scenic Rose River Falls, offering more natural beauty."
Hiking Shenandoah National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bert & Jane Gildart
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"The trail provides access to a number of pools and cascades, including Rose River Falls. Rose River Falls is a delightful series of large cascades that drop gently over a distance of several hundred yards. After each rush, the creek seems to regroup at a quiet pool, then hurry forward once again. You can follow the trail down to the falls and retrace your steps, but it is much more rewarding to make this a loop hike, dropping down to the falls, then continuing out and back along the Hogcamp Branch, eventually returning to the Fishers Gap Overlook parking lot via the wide and heavily used Rose River Fire Road."
AMC's Best Day Hikes in The Shenandoah Valley (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Jennifer Adach and Michael R. Martin
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"With two waterfalls and an easy loop around Big Meadows, this hike makes for a good outing. Lest you think it is too easy, the climb out of Dark Hollow will make sure you get a good workout—surrounded by great views, of course. The Rose River and Dark Hollow loop is a mild one, giving plenty of options for pausing to enjoy the views as you walk. The trail starts from the amphitheater area. Look for a path just to the left of it, and follow it to the intersection with the Appalachian Trail (AT)."

Rose River Fire Road Trip Reports

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The trailhead to Dark Hollow Falls is located at mile 50.7 of Skyline Drive inside Shenandoah National Park near Big Meadows. The most visited waterfall in Shenandoah National Park, Dark Hollow Falls is also the closest to the road. The fairly short, though sometimes steep, hike is pretty easy going out but a bit of a workout on the way back. The hike is .7 miles out for a round trip of 1.4 miles. The waters of Dark Hollow Falls cascade down some 70 feet over four major sets of cascades. At this time of the year we only passed one other group of hikers and had the falls to ourselves.
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A relatively easy trail with great views of falls. Well worth the walk, with some interesting scenery on the way, especially some of the rock formations. You'll huff and puff a little on the way back up, but the views you've just had will sustain you. The biggest downside to this hike is that because it's such an easy, short walk with to such beautiful falls, the trail is crowded. You won't find any peace and quiet here.

Rose River Fire Road Photos

Trail Information

Shenandoah National Park
Nearby City
Shenandoah National Park
Skill Level
Shenandoah National Park (, 540-999-3500, 800-732-0911 [for emergencies]
Local Contacts
PATC, Map 10, Appalachian Trail and other trails in Shenandoah National Park, Central District, 2008
Local Maps

Trail Log