Morning: Hiking approx. 5 miles, with elevation change of 800 feet; mostly rated by NPS as Moderate, with a portion rated Strenuous. "Choose Your Pace" after the Falls; same distance for each group at a different pace. Afternoon: Walking about 2 mile roundtrip; easy terrain.
In the Spottswood Dining Room, we'll order plated breakfasts from a select menu with a variety of choices, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.
Setting out early from the lodge led by our hike leaders, we’ll begin with an easy mile to Skyline Drive and cross to descend a stretch, sometimes quite steep, to Dark Hollow Falls. This 70-foot waterfall is the most visited in the Park. At the falls, we’ll split into two groups. You may choose to hike at a faster pace or continue on the other hike at a regular pace for the completion of today’s route. Each group will hike the same distance. From the falls, we’ll descend a little farther down the hollow until we reach the Rose River Fire Road before climbing (more gradually than we came down) on the Fire Road back to Skyline Drive. Once we cross the road, we’ll pick up the Appalachian Trail back to the lodge.
In the Spottswood Dining Room, we'll order plated meals from a select menu with lemonade, blackberry lemonade, ice tea, coffee, water included.
Next, we’ll walk to the Byrd Visitor Center for a field trip. The windows of the Center overlook the meadows that gave this place its name. There is an onsite museum exhibition on the history of the park, a theater that shows films on demand and a counter where rangers provide maps and answer questions. We’ll learn how Shenandoah National Park was authorized in 1926 and dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1936. Land was acquired through "eminent domain" and, as we'll learn, the history of the park's creation includes stories of families and communities that were "displaced." Displays show the people who pioneered and lived in that area, as well as examples of the ecology, natural history, and folklore of the Shenandoah. There is also a section covering the period 1935-48 when there were segregated facilities, a surprising fact about the National Park Service.
Dining room plated meal.
Gathering in the lodge meeting room, we’ll enjoy an illustrated talk on a topic related to the park or to the outdoors. Afterwards, each night there is live music in the New Market Taproom on the lower level of the main lodge.