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Rose River Loop Trail

 3 votes

2.2 Miles 3.5 Kilometers


584' 178 m


-635' -194 m


2,904' 885 m


2,280' 695 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (12°)



Most of this trail is in one of Shenandoah's federally designated wilderness areas.

Larry W. Brown


Features: River/Creek — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Family Friendly: This short trail leads past the Rose River Falls, where families can either press on, or turn around.
Dogs: Leashed


A two+ -mile trail through federally designated wilderness areas with streams, cascades, and 2 waterfalls (the upper & lower Rose River falls). When water levels are sufficient, the pure wilderness scenery and abundant flowing streams along this trail is spectacular in any season.

The beginning of this trail is at the intersection of a foot trail and horse trail combined (see Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail). The horse trail turns off to the left, while the loop trail continues straight ahead on the blue-blazed trail.

A hundred yards beyond, the Rose River comes down on the left and parallels the trail. As you go, the stream is rarely out of sight, and it has an endless variety of cascades and pools. After another quarter of a mile you're at the upper Rose River falls, which consist of several separate cascades. Just below the upper falls, off the trail, you can opt to walk down steeper terrain into a rock gorge, where the lower Rose River falls will come into view from your left.

Continuing along the trail after leaving the waterfalls, you'll descend to flatter terrain. The trail will now parallel another stream, to your left, named Hogcamp Branch, which drains Big Meadows Swamp, and flows through Dark Hollow, then becomes the principal tributary of Rose River.

Further along the trail you'll approach the filled-in shaft of an old copper mine, to its left is a weathered concrete block; it supported an air compressor that supplied the pneumatic drills. Less than a tenth of a mile beyond the copper mine, cross the foot bridge over Hogcamp Branch and turn right. The trail ascends through lower Dark Hollow and reaches the Rose River fire road after 0.9 mile of climbing.

When you reach the fire road, turn right and cross the bridge, where to your left is a long, narrow waterfall which descends from Dark Hollow Falls. Thirty yards beyond the bridge, the blue-blazed Dark Hollow Falls Trail goes uphill on the left. If you make a side trip to the base of these falls you'll add 0.3 mile and 145 feet of climbing to your trip.

Continue uphill on the fire road back to Fishers Gap Overlook, about 1.1 miles from the bridge.

Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this trail description. If you’re interested in learning more details about great hikes, weather, camping / lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive Guide to Shenandoah National Park.

Flora & Fauna

Black Bears can be seen during on this trail from Spring through Fall.


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May 26, 2017
Ashley Mellenthin
Sep 14, 2016
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