This is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the southern section of the Shenandoah National Park. There are several falls along Jones Run, plus two large falls on Doyles River. Each has several swimming holes as well. But if you plan to swim, remember that's cold mountain water, even in late summer!
From the Browns Gap parking area cross Skyline Drive and follow the white blazed Appalachian Trail (AT) south along the ridge for 1.4 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Jones Run Trail, and Jones Run Trail parking area.
Turn left downhill on the blue blazed Jones Run trail as it makes a switchback, then crossing the top of Jones Run before reaching the top of the first set of falls in 1.6 miles. Continue on the trail for another 0.1 miles where the trail makes another steep switchback and arrives at the base of the main falls. Continue following the trail downstream for 0.5 miles crossing Jones Run, then continuing on the left side of the run for 0.1 miles to the post marking the Doyles River Trail.
Turn left uphill on the blue blazed Doyles River Trail passing several small pools and falls before crossing a footbridge over a feeder stream. Shortly after crossing the footbridge reach the lower, and largest set of falls, then in another 0.2 miles the upper set of falls. From here the trail becomes less steep before arriving at the intersection of the Browns Gap Fire Road.
Turn left crossing Doyles River on the yellow blazed fire road for the remaining 1.7 miles back to Browns Gap.
Note: Instead of turning left on the fire road off the Doyles River Trail, you can continue on the Doyles River Trail another 0.9 miles to the AT, then turn left/south on the AT for 1.5 miles to return to Brown's Gap making it a 8.5 mile circuit. This is a good option in the summer months when the ticks can be bad in the fire roads long grasses.
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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Jones Run/Doyles River hike:
Reviews For The Jones Run/Doyles River Hike (5 Most Recent)
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and lovely hike. On a Friday in October, there were minimal bugs, and we only saw one family the trail was otherwise quiet. As others have mentioned, there are bears here (no bad experiences to note), and the trail is downhill (but not excessively rocky or rough) most of the way to the falls. It's almost like an amphitheater or cathedral when you get to the falls -serene, beautiful. The rocks make a nice seat for a picnic. This time of year, there wasn't much water, but *be careful* as the rocks by the falls are extremely slick and you can fall before you know it if you aren't paying attention. Both of us fell hard on the rocks for just that reason (and we've hiked enough to know better). Naturally, on the way up, it is all uphill - expect to break a sweat.
On a personal note, my boyfriend proposed to me here on this day, which made this the best hike ever in my book. If you hike this trail, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 09, 2012
We did this hike as described and opted for the shorter, fire road, return. The total time was approximately 4.5 hours. The beginning was a bit steep but then leveled off for a large section. The climb for the Jones River falls was pretty steep and seemed to be never ending, but the views made it worthwile. Just before the last draw prior to the fire road, we were fortunate enough to see a black bear cross the trail following the draw. It stopped, looked at us about 50 yards down the trail and turned back and continued on down the draw. No time for pics but a memory I will never forget!
Date of Hike: Friday, May 18, 2012
Today was my first hike on this loop. I completed the entire loop and skipped the fire road, instead opting to continue the extra .9 miles uphill to the AT, then hike south, making the 8.5 mile circuit. I am a slightly over weight female in her late 30's :)
I entered the trail at 1100 and exited at 1530. That is a 4.5 hour hike, as predicted. I spent about 20 minutes eating lunch at the base of some falls, and ample time snapping pictures of all the water!
I entered at Brown's Gap and took the short AT jaunt to the Jones Run trail. The trail was downhill FOREVER, with lots of falls. It was so downhill, in fact, my feet were getting sore and I couldn't WAIT to go uphill. That being said, the falls were fabulous and plentiful. I immediately regretted not bringing my teenage daughter, who would have jumped into any one of those swimming holes in about 2/10ths of a second!!
The bottom of the decent was a required crossing of the stream. It was about knee deep and, with a little caution, I was able to cross without a pole and without slipping.
Then it was uphill...all the way! I didn't mind though, the falls on the Doyles River trail were just as beautiful and large! I chose NOT to take the fire road and instead continue the .9 miles to the AT. That .9 miles was ALL uphill and by that time I was tired, so I would walk to a point, then rest for 10 breaths, then continue.
The AT trek back to the parking lot is a BREEZE after that uphill hike. You will even hike through a scenic viewpoint for cars off of Skyline Drive. That was a nice place to stop and eat my orange and enjoy the views.
I didn't see any bear...and only one black snake, thankfully.
I loved this hike and I will gladly do it again...I do recommend Jones Run to Doyles River direction. The Jones Run decent was VERY steep and I would hate to think of walking that trail upwards.
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 29, 2012
I've hiked the entire area numerous times -- all the trails along the falls and the entire fire road from Skyline Drive to the bottom ( where I was born and raised ). It is a beautiful and peaceful hike. The best time to hike along the falls is spring and early summer when the streams/ falls will have the most water. Usually you won't see alot of other people which is a plus. Go further down the fireroad past the bridge or if you are the rare person like myself who comes from the bottom up, you will almost never see anybody else ! Just yourself and nature. The odds of seeing bears are indeed fairly high along any of those trails. I am alittle biased but it is a really nice area to hike !!!
Date of Hike: Friday, December 23, 2011
there was a good amount of water in the rivers. Only saw one other group. We started at 11:30 and finished at 3:45. I forgot that they shut the gates to the drive at 5 pm