Should Have Sent a Poet
I've experienced some cool things while hiking: a bear sliding down a tree right onto the AT in front of me, pulling a steelhead out of the Sky River, honking elk herd alarm clock in the Olympics, Summerland, lava and tubes on the Big Island, and yes - for all its detractors - I would even add the 360 haystack view from Mt. Si to the list.
The Rose River in Shenandoah National Park is right up there.
The Rose headwaters are around 3200 feet near Skyline Drive, it tumbles over boulders the size of a house, then car, then couch, then shoebox before lazily making its way into the farmlands below.
The river is alive with the ringing, thunking, plooping, gurgling sound of a thousand waterfalls.
The river is alive with trout which dart among the rocks in the pools formed between the cascades.
From the parking lot hike up the fire road for about a mile until you cross a metal bridge.
Drop down and to the right after this bridge, then hang a left and begin working your way upriver.
What is the rock-hopping river equivalent of a bushwhack? There is no trail to follow, make your way directly along the river.
Either bank works for detours around large pools, deadfall, or ginormous rocks - the right side is cliffy, the left bushy.
After making your way over or around some big rocks and tall falls, Hogcamp Branch merges with Rose River on the left.
Follow Hogcamp to the Rose River Fire Road and go back downhill to complete a loop - or turn around and head back - but watch your step - those solid footholds going uphill seem to disappear on the return.
This hike is two miles and 2000 feet uphill from the bridge, or 6 miles R/T. It took me 5 hours for an up and back, some of this time was due to difficulty - but mostly, I didn't want to leave.
Two hours to the trailhead from DC. Take 66 west, 211 South, left on 522, right on 231, right on 670 and follow until the end of the road.
Or, park at the Fishers Gap Overlook near MP49 on Skyline Drive and hike down Rose River Fire Road, then back up the river (10 mile loop).
Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah National Park