As mentioned in my previous post, I recently went on a trip to Shenandoah National Park for hiking and some fall color. On the Sunday of my trip, I planned hikes to go see some waterfalls. There are trails around the Big Meadows area that lead to waterfalls, so I planned to start here. My first hike was a loop starting in the parking lot for the Dark Hollow Trail, down to where it meets the Rose River Loop Trail, then back up to the Skyland Big Meadows Trail and back to the parking lot. This loop looked to be about 5.0 miles with a descent of about 1200 feet and then a climb of about 1280 feet back up before going back down to the parking lot, so basically climbing down and back up the Empire State Building. See the path highlighted in yellow below
I didn’t know what to expect of the waterfalls. I knew there had been a lot of rain recently, so I hoped for beautiful flowing cascades of water amid glorious fall foliage. In reality there is a long series of falls that follow the trail. They are pretty and there is a lot of fall color to be seen. Below is a long exposure of a falls along the upper portion of the trail with lots of leaves and moss. I was perched on some rocks in the stream and kept my feet dry.
A bit farther down is probably the tallest waterfall. It was quite crowded with people and I had to wait around while people climbed all over the rocks before I got to shoot a photo. Leaves and moss are all along the rocks of this falls, which gives it a cluttered look.
And for reasons that I can’t quite explain, I spent a lot of time taking, processing, and editing this focus-stacked image below. Something about the dark background and the bright leafy foreground. At the time I really wanted the mossy stone that was right up next to the lens to be in focus and the waterfall in the background to be in focus. This involved setting the camera to automatically take about 12 images and shifting the focus each time. Then it involved loading all of these images as layers in Photoshop, aligning and blending them, then sending them back to Lightroom for editing. I’m not sure it was worth the trouble, but I went through the trouble so here is the image.
After joining with the Rose River Loop Trail, the people began to thin out and I had a bit more solitude. There were never any hopes of seeing wildlife with such noisy groups of people and I hoped that once I got to a more quiet part of the trail, I might see something. I mostly just saw chipmunks and squirrels, though. I did come across this fallen tree across the top of a small waterfall and thought it looked nice, so I photographed it.
On the way back up, I didn’t really stop for any photos. It was mostly just climbing up the hillside through the forest with chipmunks playing in the leaves to the side of the trail. I made it back up to the highway, across and up the hill and back down to the parking lot without issue.
Later in the afternoon, from the lodge I hiked down and back to another waterfall. This involved the Blackrock Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Lewis Spring Falls Trail to loop back to the lodge area (highlighted in purple on the map at the top). I guess this was a little over 2.5 miles total and about 1000 feet down and then back up. Lewis falls was mostly obscured and hard to view. There was a nice overlook but it had gotten quite cloudy and hazy so, I don’t think my photos turned out to be all that good.
These two hikes were a nice workout for the day and felt that good kind of tired you feel after a day well spent. I enjoyed my evening and planned on heading back out in the morning for a sunrise somewhere. Thanks for reading.