• Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    900 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall

The Rose River Loop is one of Shenandoah National Park’s most stunning backpacking trips for rivers and small waterfalls.  During the four mile hike, you’ll hike along the Rose River, the Hog Camp Branch, and then up  Rose River fire road. 

The trail can be found on Skyline Drive.  Though it is a little challenging to locate, you should park at  Fisher’s Gap Overlook (mile marker 49.4), and then walk over across the road and find the trail. You'll spot it by looking over the side of the road and then hiking down.  The Rose River Loop begins to the left of the fire road (you'll come up this fire road on the way back).  The trail starts at a cement pillar that is hard to miss. All in all, the hike itself is not super challenging, though the trail is very narrow on the 2 miles downhill. Once you reach the bottom of the trail, you'll see some excellent camping spots. We camped at the spot just before you cross the first bridge (see picture). The ground was flat and soft and was flanked by two streams, making it easy to access water. The hike out is a little harder, but coming up the fire road certainly helps. The elevation is only around 900ft, which is pretty good for any hike in Shenandoah, and the views of the streams are excellent! Easiest backpacking trip to do in Shenandoah by far! 

Pack List

  • Trail Map
  • Backpacking backpack
  • Good hiking boots/water shoes
  • Food
  • Tent (or Eno)
  • Water/water purifier 
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Matt Van Swol Storyteller

Matt Van Swol is a self-taught landscape photographer, writer, and nuclear scientist for the US Department of Energy. After personally struggling with depression for many years, he is passionate about showing others the beauty of world around them.

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