Landscapes,  National Parks,  Travel

Photographing Rose River Falls in Shenandoah National Park

Rose River Falls is a picturesque waterfall in Shenandoah National Park.  After a rain, Rose River Falls can have 3 or 4 parallel flows.  We arrived at Shenandoah National Park shortly after several days of rain, so we were treated to this beautiful triple flow at Rose River Falls.

Rose River Falls - Shenandoah National Park

Rose River Falls – Shenandoah National Park

To get to the Rose River Falls trailhead, park at the Fishers Gap Overlook at mile marker 49.4 on the Skyline Parkway.  The journey to Rose River Falls is a moderately difficult 2.6 mile round trip hike.  The hike in to the falls is down hill and much easier than the return trip.  The return trip is mainly uphill so take your time climbing out from the falls.

To reach Rose River Falls, cross the Skyline Parkway and head down the fire road.  A short distance down the fire road you’ll see a concrete post.  Take a left at the post and follow the yellow marked horse trail for about .5 of a mile where you’ll reach another concrete post.  At this crossroad continue straight on the blue marked trail and don’t follow the horse trail that turns to the left.  You’ll reach another post.  At this point the falls will be .3 miles to the right.  The trail gets narrower and rocky at this point.

Rose River Falls, Shanandoah National Park

Rose River Falls – Taken 1/2 Way Down to the Base of the Falls

The path will pass right by the top of the falls.  I find that the best photos require a careful climb down a rocky bank.  Once at the base of the falls, wide angle and ultra wide angle lenses are good choices.  I used a Micro Four Thirds Olympus 12-40mm and the Ultra Wide Angle Olympus 9-18mm lenses.  Micro Four Thirds Lenses have a 2X crop factor compared to full frame lenses.  For example, the full frame equivalent for the Olympus 12-40mm would be the full frame 24-70mm lens.

I also used neutral density filters to slow down the shutter speed to give the water a silky effect.

Overall, I found the moderately difficult Rose River Trail worth the hike.  The beauty of the falls and the ability to photograph the falls from the base was worth the effort. 

I hike this trail right at sunrise before the crowds hit the trail.  When I was hiking back to the trailhead about 9am, people were just starting to hike down the trail.  

Written by Martin Belan

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