It's probably the first waterfall that most visitors to Shenandoah National Park. At just 0.7 mi from the trailhead (though with a moderately steep return hike) and located across from Big Meadows, where a lodge and the park's largest and busiest campground is, the waterfall, which is listed as 70' but actually drops in several cascades totaling more than that, is hardly a sylvan secret. And no other waterfall in the park is closer to a trailhead.
Nevertheless, it holds a special place for me as the first waterfall I hiked to, and though park regulars sometimes malign it due to its popularity, it is a beautiful location. A hike to it at sunrise or in winter still yields solitude, and one can pair it with Rose River Trail and the Appalachian Trail for a loop hike of about 5 miles that visits Rose River Falls, Dark Hollow Falls, and the overlook at Fishers Gap.
To hike just to Dark Hollow Falls, enter the park at Thornton Gap (U.S. 211) or Swift Run Gap (U.S. 33) and drive south or north, respectively, to about Milepost 52. Look for the large, signed parking area on the east side of Skyline Drive.
For a few years back in the late 90's, the waterfall was marred and obstructed by deadfall, but either nature or volunteers have cleared it since, and it is again as pretty as it ever has been.
Note: Late summer and early fall are typically the worst times to go, for the stream is fed by a "swamp" at Big Meadows, not a major, steady water source, and the flow can be almost a trickle at those times of year.
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