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Rose River Loop

A moderate 4-mile hike with stunning waterfalls, an abandoned mine, and a historic cemetery.

Hiking Moderate

5.8 km
275 m
275 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
670 m
High Point
933 m
Rose River Loop Map

The Rose River Loop is a classic day hike near Big Meadows Campground with stunning waterfalls, an abandoned copper mine, and a historic cemetery. It can be hiked in either direction, and an optional detour leads to Dark Hollow Falls, just 0.25 miles off this mapped loop. Compared to the adjacent Dark Hollow Falls hike, this loop is dog-friendly.


The best place to start is at Fishers Gap, milepost 49.4 on Skyline Drive. You may find parking at the gap itself, or you could park at the overlook a few hundred feet away. You could also begin from your campsite in Big Meadows Campground, then follow the rugged Appalachian Trail to Fishers Gap. Hiked that direction, this hike would become significantly more difficult.

Though moderate, some may find the hike challenging, and the NPS notes that it could take some visitors upwards of 5 hours once you factor in plenty of stops. The abundant waterfalls and smaller cascades also offer plenty of opportunities for photographers to try their hand at long-exposure photography. Other sources speak of excellent trout fishing along the river as well.

Sources: https://virginiatrailguide.com/2009/05/16/rose-river-loop/ https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/hikedarkhollowfalls.htm



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area