Day six at Shenandoah National Park was a family hike day which included my in-laws. Our itinerary included Dark Hallow Falls, a picnic lunch at Big Meadows and summit of Hawksbill Mountain. My mother-in-law was very excited for the waterfall, it was one of her must dos for the trip.
Dark Hallow Falls is a short hike, about 1.25 miles round trip. It is an very popular, family-friendly trail. Unlike a mountain hike, you begin by going down into the canyon with all of the elevation gain happening on the return. This hike is considered moderate mostly due to the elevation on the return trip, ~440 feet.
The waterfall is an impressive 60 feet tall waterfall. There is a viewing platform at the top of the falls and a picturesque vantage from the base of the falls. It is a touristy area with many people taking pictures at the base and climbing up to get their best Instagram shots. You will encounter young kids, families and several people with inadequate shoes.
If you are a bit adventurous, take some time to scramble downstream of the falls. There you will find a narrow crevasse where the water rushes though along with some really nice spots for pictures.
After lunch last Big Meadows Picnic Area, which comprised of leftovers and finger foods, we ventured to Hawksbill Mountain. Hawksbill Mountain is the tallest peak in the park and offers several approaches. My in-laws opted to approach from the Upper Hawksbill trail which follows the AT and is considered an easy hike. My wife, kids and I chose the Lower Hawksbill trail which is much steeper and rockier. We set out to meet each other at the top.
We arrived at the summit within about 10 minutes of each other. The summit has a stone viewing platform with nearly a 360 degree view of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains. The walls of the viewing platform has large metal compass sunk into the rock. The compasses display engravings showing the various mountain peaks in each direction.
Hawksbill even offered good cell service where my oldest could FaceTime with his girlfriend.
- Day 1 Introduction
- Day 2 Lay of the Land
- Day 3 Luray Caverns
- Day 4 Tubing
- Day 5 Old Rag
- Day 6 Dark Hallows and Hawksbill Mtn
- Day 7 Whiteoak Canyon
Dark Hallow Falls Maps, Routes and GPS Information
Route Statistics: 1.26 miles, 493′ elevation
Caltopo Map: https://caltopo.com/m/PQGV
Hawksbill Mountain Maps, Routes and GPS Information
Route Statistics: Upper 2.1 miles, 529′ elevation; Lower 1.63 miles, 703′ elevation
Caltopo Map: https://caltopo.com/m/D4T0