If you’re looking for waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park you can’t go wrong by visiting Dark Hollow Falls. The trail and falls are stunning as fall turns the leaves orange. Located about 2 and 1/2 hours from Washington D.C. Dark Hollow Falls is a great day trip.
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Getting to Dark Hollow Falls
Dark Hollow Falls is located in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Once you’re in Shenandoah National Park and driving on Skyline drive it’s extremely easy to get to Dark Hollow Falls. There is a fee to enter the National Park but of course you can enter with credit card/cash or the NPS annual pass.
Right off Skyline drive you’ll find the Dark Hollow Falls trailhead and parking lot. On our visit the parking lot was a bit full so we drove up Skyline drive to the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center to park (there is a short trail called Story of the Forest trail that will take you to the Dark Hollow Falls trailhead).
Hiking to Dark Hollow Falls
The trail features a 0.7 mile hike that leads to Dark Hollow Fall which has 70 feet of water flowing over rocks. AllTrails lists the hike as moderate which I would agree with since it is very hilly. You’ll hike downhill to the falls then have to hike back uphill to leave the falls. It is only 1.4 miles in total so it’ll only take about 2 hours.
Additionally as you hike back up depending on the weather the path can be a bit muddy but I had no issues navigating the mud when visiting.
Once you get to the bottom it can be a bit crowded but there are a few cutaways where you can head down to the stream and stand on rocks to get a photo of the falls.
Photography Advice for Dark Hollow Falls
If you’re a photographer looking to photograph the falls here are some more tips when visiting.
- Bring a tripod (and an ND filter) to get long exposure photos of the falls and streams.
- If you have a polarized filter it’ll help cut down reflections on the water.
- Be careful when setting up on rocks to shoot; much of the ground is uneven so it can be easy to fall.
- I recommend bringing a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens. The streams before the falls are great to shoot on wide angle lenses but once you get to the falls there are plenty of vantage points for a telephoto.
Of course you can also take photos on your phone as well and get great results. If you’re shooting live photos on an iPhone you simulate a long exposure effect when editing them in photos.
Photos of Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park
Here are some more photos from Dark Hollow Falls and the trail to the falls.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dark Hollow Falls
What is Dark Hollow Falls?
Dark Hollow Falls is a waterfall located in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
How do I get to Dark Hollow Falls?
You can access Dark Hollow Falls via the Dark Hollow Falls Trail, which is located near mile marker 50 on Skyline Drive. The trail is approximately 1.4 miles long and is considered a moderate hike.
Is the trail to Dark Hollow Falls difficult?
The Dark Hollow Falls Trail is considered a moderate hike, with a total elevation gain of approximately 440 feet. While it may be challenging for some, it’s generally accessible for most people.
Are there any safety concerns when visiting Dark Hollow Falls?
As with any outdoor activity, there are some safety concerns to keep in mind when visiting Dark Hollow Falls. Visitors should stay on designated trails, wear appropriate footwear, and be cautious around slippery rocks near the waterfall. Swimming in the waterfall is strictly prohibited and can be dangerous.
What is the best time of year to visit Dark Hollow Falls?
The best time of year to visit Dark Hollow Falls is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the foliage is at its most colorful. However, the waterfall is accessible year-round and can be enjoyed in any season.
Can I bring my dog to Dark Hollow Falls?
No, pets are now allowed on the trail to Dark Hollow Falls. You can do the Rose River Loop trail instead which is pet friendly.
Is there a fee to visit Dark Hollow Falls?
There is no fee to visit Dark Hollow Falls, but visitors must pay the entrance fee to Shenandoah National Park. The fee is $30 per vehicle and is valid for seven days. You can read the latest pricing information on Shenandoah’s website.
Can I swim in Dark Hollow Falls?
No, swimming in Dark Hollow Falls is strictly prohibited due to safety concerns.
Are there any other attractions near Dark Hollow Falls?
Yes, there are many other attractions near Dark Hollow Falls, including other hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and historic sites. You can also explore nearby towns such as Luray or Front Royal.
I hope you enjoyed my photos from Dark Hollow Falls! If you have any questions about the area let me know in the comments below.
If you’re in Washington DC also read my list of DC Instagram spots.