52 Hike Challenge- Fagan Hike 9

Hike 9- Dark Hallow Falls Shenandoah National Park Virginia

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4/5/18 Dark Hallow Falls

1.4 miles / 584 foot elevation gain / 1 hour on trail / out & back / no dogs

I was determined to do a waterfall hike in Shenandoah National Park. The one I wanted to do would lead us to 6 waterfalls and was about 6 miles long. My boys outright refused to hike 6 miles so we compromised and did the 1.4 mile hike at Dark Hallow Falls. I originally wasn't planning on doing this hike because dogs are not allowed to use this trail. I asked the park ranger why dogs weren't allowed on this trail. She told me because it is one of the most popular hikes and some people are afraid of dogs and they like to have some trails dog free. She went on to tell me that some other trails didn't allow dogs because of the wildlife. She also said they don't allow dogs on hikes with rock scrambles. She laughed and said they do a lot of carry outs on those hikes for people and dogs. Thankfully my dogs were exhausted from their earlier hike that day and didn't mind sitting this one out.

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We parked at Dark Hallow Falls parking lot at mile 50.7. This hike starts out downhill and at 0.6 mile there is an overlook of the 70-foot Dark Hallow Falls. We continued another 0.7 miles to the base of the falls. It is a beautiful waterfall! This was by far the most crowded hike we did. We saw people of all ages on this hike from infants in carriers to seniors. We saw a hiker stop at the base of the falls to wash his feet and set up a camp stove and was cooking his mac & cheese.

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At this point we turned around and headed back to the parking lot. The hike was very pleasant and I enjoyed all the small falls along the side of the trail. We definitely needed our trekking poles on this hike for some muddy spots. I actually tripped, rolled my right ankle and crashed my left knee into a rock. My family laughed at me and for that I took over a trekking pole!

This trail is good for all levels of hikers because there are so many places to stop and take a break. We saw an older man on the way down and he told us he was enjoyed a resting rock. He was sitting on a large boulder watching the water babbling along and hikers passing. I told him I would probably be in the same spot when we were heading back up the trail.  My youngest couldn't wait to find the rock on our way back up to rest on!

This was the last hike we did in Shenandoah National Park. I look forward to coming back here when my boys are a little bit older and can handle some longer hikes. There are over 500 miles of hiking trails here! We only got a small taste of what the park had to offer. Thank you Shenandoah for the wonderful memories. We'll be back!!!