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Austin/Furnace Mountains - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
13.3 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
7.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
3,045 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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There are three parking locations along Skyline Drive, with parking also available at the end of Browns Gap Rd/VA663. 38.24032, -78.71052. The 'Get Directions' above will take you to the northern most parking on Skyline Drive at Browns Gap.

The Austin and Furnace Mountains loop is one of the most strenuous day hikes in the Shenandoah National Park. Not only is the hike long, at over 13 miles, but the steep descent down the Austin Mountain ridge, and long climb up the exposed Furnace Mountain trail, make the 3000+ vertical feet of gain seem even that much harder.

From the Browns Gap parking area pass the closed gate, and start down the yellow blazed Madison Run Fire Road (FR). In 0.8 miles look for the yellow blazed Big Run Spur Trail where the FR makes a right bend. Turn right and follow the Big Run Spur Trail uphill for 0.3 miles to the ridge, and intersection of the blue blazed Rockytop Trail.

Turn left on the Rockytop Trail for 0.4 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Austin Mountain Trail. Stay left on the Austin Mountain Trail as it follows the ridge, then gradually begins to descend. Pass several vistas of the Furnace Mountain summit, before passing through four rock slide areas. In three miles from the Rockytop Trail, the Austin Mountain Trail will make a sharp left turn, and descend the mountain very steeply for the remaining 0.3 miles to the valley, and ending at the Madison Run FR.

Turn right on the yellow blazed Madison Run FR for 0.8 miles. 200 yards before reaching the closed gate, and SNP boundary, turn left onto the Furnace Mountain Trail. Immediately cross Madison Run, then start the ascent of Furnace Mountain. This section of the trail is very exposed, so make sure to have a good hat. In 1.8 miles arrive at a small saddle where the Furnace Mountain Summit Trail turns left. Follow the Furnace Mountain Summit Trail for 0.5 miles, passing a nice camping spot at the summit, before descending for 50 yards to the overlook.

Return the 0.5 miles to the Furnace Mountain Trail, and turn left uphill. In 2.1 miles the Furnace Mountain Trail ends at the intersection of the blue blazed Trayfoot Mountain Trail. Stay left, on the Trayfoot Mountain Trail as it descends, then climbs to the intersection of the AT/Blackrock Connector Trail in 0.6 miles. Stay left towards the Blackrock Summit, and in 0.2 miles pass through the lower section if the Blackrock area, before arriving at the intersection of the white blazed Appalachian Trail AT and Blackrock Summit.

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Turn left on the white blazed AT. In 0.3 miles pass the Blackrock parking area, before crossing Skyline Drive on the AT in another 0.6 miles. After crossing Skyline Drive, pass the Jones Run parking area in 0.2 miles, and stay on the AT for the remaining 1.2 miles back to the Browns Gap parking area.
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Hiker Reviews For The Austin/Furnace Mountains Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Austin/Furnace Mountains hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 09, 2016

other than that, I should mention I did this hike in reverse, and shortened. As I started from the Jones Run parking lot and took a left upto skyline to intercept the AT once found, I continued to stay left and uphill for the majority of the way. As I explored the overlook first, then secondly Blackrock Summit. Gorgeous, insane views from Blackrock, but this isn't the Blackrock review area :\ so thats why furnace gets a 4, because the overlook was great, but nothing spectacular, and for leading me upon the beauty Blackrock.

By: Mac Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Note: this excellent hike is currently closed, as are several hikes to the north, because of the Rocky Mount fire, which has (to date) burned almost 10,000 acres. Furnace, Austin and Trayfoot Mountains are not burning now (yet?), but they're closed for safety and containment purposes. Check the SNP website to see when the routes reopen.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 15, 2016
Did this as overnight from Brown's Gap parking lot, camped on Furnace Mountain. Gorgeous weather both days. The slog up Furnace Mountain was as advertised, I was ready to drop everything and camp by the time I got to the summit. Took it nice and easy, so about 4 hours the first day, then 3.5 the next. Pay attention to the elevation profile, the hike from Furnace Mountain to the Trayfoot Mountain intersection is nearly all uphill and no walk in the park. Saw only one other group on Friday, then a couple folks came up to the Furnace Mountain overlook, but I was the only one camping there. A few more people on Saturday, but not a whole lot. Definitely the right time of year for this hike, not enough bugs to really bother you.

By: John Thomas Fisher Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 17, 2016
I've done this one 3 or 4 times now. One of my favorite hikes I've done. Crawl up to the rocks when you get to the top there, be quiet, think about life, or just don't think at all for an hour. It's a gorgeous view year-round.

By: John Thomas Fisher Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 17, 2016
I've done this one 3 or 4 times now. One of my favorite hikes I've done. Crawl up to the rocks when you get to the top there, be quiet, think about life, or just don't think at all for an hour. It's a gorgeous view year-round.

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