Rose River Falls Loop with Kids

Yesterday we ignored all the usual Saturday to-dos, and snuck back down to Shenandoah for another all day hike. We chose the Rose River Falls Trail because it promised lots of waterfalls for a relatively short 4 mile distance. And let me quote from another description “[The RRFT] is a great trail for those who don’t wish to hike too far nor hike over difficult terrain.”

I will tell you now, that description was not written by a person carrying a 30-40 lb child up the steepest sections of trail. But it was a good length and absolutely beautiful. The shorter distance gave us a lot of time to wander, explore, and play in the falls and pools that line the trail. This is one of the prettiest trails in all of the Shenandoah Park.

One of the best things about being outdoors is letting the kids destroy things. Everywhere else you have to say no to being destructive. On the trail the kids wanted to break open a rotting log. It’s nice to be able to say, sure, go for it, rip that thing up.

The best thing we did on the hike was go clockwise around the loop, taking a sharp left immediately off the fire road. The first sections took us down hill through pretty woods. We passed a lot of very sweaty and winded folks heading up.

After about a mile we came to the little river broken into a series of pools and cascades.


The kids enjoyed taking breaks to throw rocks and explore the pools.

For Miri no stone was too big to throw.

We passed Rose River Falls. It was spectacular. You should see it. Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to take a money shot. There was a group of  twenty-thirty somethings letting their dogs go wild. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs. But these folks had their dogs muzzled. If the dogs had staid muzzled there might have been a picture, but they unmuzzled the dogs and let them off their leashes to take pictures of them in the falls. Kids and dogs that need to be muzzled is not a good mix, so we had to move on.

At the half way point the kids were tiring but still pretty happy.

Here’s Miri’s favorite way to hike.

The trail looped around and we started to climb uphill. At about the same time, the trail came along side a long series of beautiful falls. This section of the trail was probably the most beautiful section of hiking I’ve done in the park. The scenery was so enchanting, it eased the up-hill climb. I felt like any of the beautiful falls would have been the main event on another trail, and there were literally dozens, one right after the other. It was like walking through waterfall calendar land.

Here’s how M really feels about taking pictures.

R smiled and told me this was the last picture I was allowed to take of him.

I agreed. So here’s unpeopled waterfall calendar land.

Here’s a shot of the “nor over difficult terrain” of the trail which I was carrying M up. I might be a wimp, but I found this part a tad difficult.

More waterfalls.

We made it to Dark Hollow Falls, which can be accessed by a 1 mile fire road so wide and smooth, people were pushing strollers down it. Consequently, there were a ton of folks around taking pictures. Aaron snapped this picture of me.

Here’s what Dark Hollow Falls looks like without me in the way.

I snuck this picture of R crossing the bridge. That kid has an eye for sticks.

The fire road was so smooth and easy, it made a great finish. We were even able to induce M off A’s shoulders. As soon as she got down, she ran the mile up to the road.

She was so fast she left the rest of us behind. Of course the rest of us actually walked the past 3.5 miles.

Here’s another beautiful thing about hiking. The kids normally wake up between 6:30 and 7 every morning. Here’s M at 8:30 today.

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