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Hiker Comments for the Jones Run/Doyles River Hike - 1 to 54 of 54   
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By: Erin E. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 25, 2018
My dog and I did this loop in the clockwise direction and had a blast! We had to park at the Dundo picnic area because the Park Service had blocked off all the other parking spots due to crowding on a really nice August day. But it was nice to have access to the bathrooms before/after the hike. We took the full loop, following the AT out to the Doyles River trailhead, and then we we came back up at Jones Run Parking, we walked another half mile on the AT back to Dundo. It was shady and cool, even in August, and my dog was able to drink and play at all the river crossings. It took us about 5 hours with several stops to play in the water, have a snack, etc. Didn't see any wildlife on the trail itself, but driving back down Skyline in the evening, I saw several deer, a hawk, a raccoon, and 2 bears. On the trail itself I saw bear and bobcat scat. Great Saturday hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 25, 2018
The loop that is recommended here is a very nice one. It builds up nice and easy with the elevations near the waterfalls, and return by the fire road makes it easy towards the end of the hike. It is fully shaded, and the waterfalls and streams along the way make it perfect for a summer day. There are plenty of swimming holes and even streams to cross along the hike. Many amazing spots right at the foot of the waterfalls to have lunch or rest.

It was well visited but not too crowded. I felt that it just enough traffic to make me comfortable as I don't like hikes which are 1 on solitude.

The highlight of the hike was a bear sighting towards the end of the trail on the fire road. It was about a 100 feet or less from the end of the trail where saw some ruffling in the trees. A bear had slid down the branches, and was just sitting at the foot of the tree as if it had lost it's grip and had fallen. We were terrified the fire road is a narrow path and this happened right by the path with the bear being hardly 5 feet away. We slowly walked by, talking to each other in loud voices and once we crossed it far enough, the walk turned brisk and then into a dash, which we probably shouldn't have done. The bear must have stayed put and dashed off into the woods because a father and son who came right after us did not see it. Definitely made it a memorable one! Highly recommend this hike!

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 17, 2018
Nice trail on a very hot and muggy August day! The benefit of being close to the waterfalls is having a little bit of nature's air conditioning with the rushing water blowing out cool air. Plenty of places for my dog to drink and play in the water, too. I much prefer the loop as described, with the gradual uphill on the fire road to complete the trip, especially when it is really hot out. The fire road was wide and easy to pick up speed on, and the grass was not that high. We didn't get any ticks, but don't forget the bug spray as the gnats and mosquitoes were awful. Solitude on a Friday was great - only a few people at the main falls and passed four on the trail. Hike was long enough to give you a nice workout.

By: Meg Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 3, 2018
One of my favorite hikes. I’ve hiked this loop both ways and I think I prefer clockwise so as not to end on the fire road. The pools along Jones Run also seem better to hang out at, so those might be good to have more towards the end of the hike. Just hiked this after some heavy rains and the waterfalls were roaring and beautiful to see. Great hike to take your pups on as there are plenty of streams and creek crossings they can drink at.

By: BrewMoon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 24, 2017
Nice hike. Did it per the directions & also did the extra leg up to the Doyle's River trailhead. Waterfalls were nice and the whole hike wasn't too strenuous. No shortage of people on a Sunday with lots of kids & dogs. This isn't the hike for views though. Saw a couple 4-6 ft black snakes just trying to get some sun. Miles 5 & 6 were the toughest but finished the whole loop right at 3 hrs. Smaller waterfalls but a more pleasant hike than the White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run circuit I did the week before. Lots of shade and water so a good hot weather hike.

By: Bret Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 21, 2017
I started at the Doyles River parking area and hiked the loop clockwise. The hike along Doyles River and Jones Run was one of the better trails. Despite the late summer low water flow the falls were still enjoyable, and I am planning a return hike in the spring. I only encountered 2 other hikers and 1 bear that was more interested in the stream than me. The solitude of the south district was a welcome change.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Outstanding hike. . .falls were all going quite well, and it seemed like there was always one more up the trail. A moderate number of other hikers, although a group had set up at the second-to-last falls with a portable speaker, so we skipped that one. Nothing too steep, and what look like some old (original?) growth trees in spots. Did as marked (up the fire road, which was mostly clear).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 30, 2017
Loved this hike! The rains from last weekend/early this week really had the falls running. We didn't regret bringing Tevas to use in crossing the creek in one place. (Nimble folks had no problems rock hopping.). Lots of small wildflowers around as well.

We took the longer route, and it was fine, but the AT marker post said it was 2.2 miles back to Brown's run, not the 1.5 in the write up, and it felt like that.

If you use trekking poles, this is one to remember them.

By: SteveE Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 10, 2016
This trail has become my new favorite trail in the SNP or BRP. Without the obstruction of leaves, we had tremendous views of the multiple waterfalls. While it was super cold at the parking lot, once we got out of the wind on the trail, it was quite tolerable - we dressed well though even shedding a layer. The slight rock scrambles were a lot of fun and the climb out of the bottom was not bad at all - especially compared to most waterfall hikes around.

By: Mike H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2016
This was a very pleasant hike the waterfalls pale in comparison to those along the White Oak Canyon / Cedar Run circuit and aren't as grand as the Overall Run / Beecher Ridge waterfall, but they are still quite beautiful. And unlike those other hikes, the waterfalls along the Jones Run / Doyles River circuit are very accessible. You can get right up next to the base of the falls, and in some locations, climb up alongside them (with caution, of course). I'm not sure that the pools qualify as swimming holes, even if I had done the hike in the heat of summer. The hike itself was not difficult, and I only passed two groups of hikers along the way (I followed the path outlined by HikingUpward, but the other groups were moving in the other direction).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Highly recommended!!

I did this as a trail run with my dog. Started about 4:30 and finished around 6... stopping to take pictures and let my dog get a drink. Down from Jones Run parking lot, the trail was rocky but very beautiful with several stream crossings and cascading falls. Up Hill on Doyle's was a very smooth trail ( a few steps, urghh) with nice stop at bottom of falls for pictures and drink also. The Appalachian trail between parking lots is mostly flat and smooth and was nice easy, way to finish. It wasn't very crowded, the streams and water were flowing (had a ton a rain the week before) and not as challenging as others lead you to believe (a family with children in backpacks were cruising up hill).

I was running, but can imagine a slower hike picnic at bottom with my 6 year old and swimming in some of the nice swimming holes. Lots of wildlife including a very nice bucks and a hula-hooper at the bottom.

By: Colleen DH Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 15, 2015
Very pretty hike, but was just beyond my skill level. Waterfalls were beautiful, saw a baby bear running through the woos, never saw the mother bear. The leaves slowed me up, could not see jagged rocks.

By: RIVERWALKER Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2015
I have hiked (literally) 100's of trails and this is one of my favorites...all I can say to complainers is BE PREPARED. Wear the correct shoes, take a large water bag and snacks. This trail is NOT 7.5 miles unless you do the circuit. I have begun on Skyline Drive and from the bottom at Brown's Gap...I MUCH prefer Brown's Gap. The bear here are VERY used to people so very little threat, but remember THEY ARE WILD AND WILL BITE!!! I have been up there in every season and NEVER had to forge the stream, so not sure what happened....FOLLOW THE MARKERS. I have taken many friends on this trail and by being prepared we had an AWESOME trip.

By: Seamus Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 6, 2015
Really nice hike. Water is quite low as it's the end of summer, but I imagine late winter/spring this has some great waterfall viewing.

The only thing I'd make note of is at the very beginning when crossing the street from the Brown's Gap parking area it can be a bit confusing as the grass is a bit overgrown. Directly across the street from the parking lot's north side is the FIRE Road (This is what you end on if you follow the hike instructions). About 100 feet to the south on that same side of the road is the AT trail (where you start if you follow the instructions). The AT post is covered by some tall grass, so it's not clear it's there without walking down the road.

All in all, a really nice hike!

By: Alan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 9, 2015
Very accurate hike description.  My wife and I (fit, 50s) did the long version in under 5 hours with a few short stops.  The best collection of waterfalls in the park, although right now you'll have to imagine torrents of water crashing onto rocks, as there isn't much water.  Numerous "soaking holes" (not big enough for swimming) and great scenery.  The Jones Run section is much rockier than the Doyles River trail, which is mostly wide and smooth I don't much like hiking downhill so I wish we had done it clockwise with DR first.  Still, I did the hike in running shoes carrying a daypack and only a few times wished I had light hikers.  Also true about the lack of solitude, several families with kids, but still not too bad for a sunny summer weekend and there are plenty of places to stop alone.

By: SNP regular Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 9, 2015
I have to throw the BS flag on Upward and Onward ...the GPS says it was 7.5 miles and you did it in 2 hours?  NO WAY!  think about...thats an average speed of 3 mph....I highly doubt it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 15, 2015
The waterfalls were unbelievable!!! My wife and I went on this hike to celebrate my birthday. Great weather and wonderful hike. My GPS mapped this hike at right around 7.5 miles though. The hike took us right around 2.5 hours with stopping at a couple falls to snap some pictures. Awesome way to start Spring!!

By: Ken D Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, March 12, 2015
With the snow melt and recent rain the falls were spectacular! And with more rain this weekend they'll stay that way for a few more days at least. The spot where the trail crosses Jones Run after the falls is a little sketchy and may require wading. I opted to go downstream a little further and crossed on a log that led to a couple of boulders that were easy to hop. The trails are in good shape, a little muddy in places and a couple of blowdowns that block the trail but nothing difficult to navigate around or through.

By: Suzy Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, January 2, 2015
We picked this hike hoping the ice sculptures would be amazing. We were not disappointed! Started at Brown's Gap and came down Jones Run. The waterfall at Jones Run was spectacular with icicles and sheets of ice sealing the north canyon wall. The two other falls at Doyles River were also beautiful, but the Jones waterfall definitely won the day. The hike out was challenging and we saw two does near the Upper Doyle waterfall. We chose to take the fire road back to the parking lot.

By: Suzanne M. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 8, 2014
We had perfect 50 degree weather for our hike. The stream crossings were super easy and the falls were beautiful. While, it was a past peak for leaf viewing, there was still come color to see on the trees. The climb up on the second half was steep for a bit, but really didn't last long. I really enjoyed this hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 22, 2014
It was a pretty nice hike but I'm more for the views so I found it quite lame. The first waterfall was barely going when I went and others were small as well, I didn't find it steep enough for me but I walked on the road as the last part of the hike since it was getting dark and I didn't want to be in the woods. I saw a bear cub and many dear including a buck. Weather was nice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 27, 2014
Did the Jones Run/Doyles River hike in the direction as noted on this site on Friday, 6/27/14. Saw about 10 other hikers all day. The first mile plus of the hike is a boring grassy access road, watch out for ticks! The next mile plus down along the falls and water is breathtaking, truly beautiful. There are multiple spots to take in the falls and even take a dip if you like, which some young ladies where doing.

When I attempted this hike I was not yet in good shape, and had not eaten much the day before or that morning. The thing a novice hiker needs to understand by looking at the topographic map is that when a hike ventures down into a valley/gap instead of up a mountain, you do not have the easy option of simply quiting when things get too tough. Once you are at the bottom you have no option but to hike back up. I found the climb up along Doyles River to be relentless, brutal, and absolutely unforgiving. Again, I was ill-prepared for this hike, but my opinion is that it is more than a 3 rating. Probably more like a 3.5 or even a 4. The 2 mile climb back up from the bottom took me nearly 3 hours, having to stop every few hundred feet to rest.

To make matters worse, just as I approached the final ascent back up towards the AT along the Parkway, I ran into a gigantic black bear. This was likely the same bear I saw scampering along the Parkway near the parking area before I started the hike. The bear was clearly NOT intimidated by humans, as idiots had probably been feeding it or leaving trash around. This 200 plus pound monster did not run away like most black bears do, it simply stood there and starred at me. Then it started slowly following me as I nearly killed myself trekking up the final switch-backs. Eventually it lost interest and disappeared just before I had a heart-attack and messed my drawers. I knew better than to run, but I did not know that you are actually supposed to talk and make noise when encountering the naturally timid black bear. I now carry a whistle with me when I hike, along with a very sharp knife.

Driving access is very easy off the Blue Ridge Parkway and parking is plentiful, however you have to pay the $15 week pass to get north on the Parkway. I believe you can get a more economical season/yearly pass if you like.

If not for the Parkway cost, my own stupidity, and my black bear close-encounter, I would probably give Jones Run/Doyles River a 4. I'd still recommend this hike to anyone who enjoys scenic water falls. I may try it again later this summer. Ben

By: B. Feathers Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 24, 2014
This was a great hike on a partly cloudy, 75-degree day, but it would clearly also be great in much hotter weather.  In addition to the waterfalls, we counted at least 15 possible swimming spots spaced throughout the hike that would be perfect for a quick dunk before getting back on the trail.  The trail itself is almost completely shaded, and runs mostly along the water, so it wouldn't be oppressive, even on a much hotter day.  Four people with very different hiking styes and amounts of hiking experience found this hike enjoyable - it has a lot of up and down, but with good intervals to rest your calves, knees, and thighs.  There were a few instances of water running across the trail, but no real problems with mud, and all the stream crossings were easily accomplished on exposed rocks.  We took the fire road back and didn't have any problems with ticks, but it's easy to see why they will be a risk later in the season, when the grasses have grown up more. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 23, 2014
I did this hike with my sister and brother-in-law on a perfect 75 degree day. We started at Browns Gap parking down to Doyles Falls and ran into a small bear a couple miles in. He seemed a bit young to be on his own bit no sign of momma. The falls on this hike are non-stop, cool and refreshing. We ran into 40-50 folks on the entire trek including a few thru hikers. We decided to take the long route instead of the fire road. The significant climb at the end before you get back to the AT is a nice ending.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 18, 2014
A beautiful hike on a near perfect day. We hiked the loop from Browns Gap parking lot down the Jones River Side and up Doyles to the fire road and out. (My gps tracked this as 7.8 miles, I've seen several different mileages listed.) On the AT section before Jones Run Trail, we saw the first opening buds of Rhododendron. We also saw scattering of Wild Geraniums in that section. Due to recent rains, many spots on the trail were very muddy. It was common to have a flowing stream running in the trail bed. Of course, this made the falls SPECTACULAR! Unfortunately, it also turned the crossing of Jones Run into a knee deep wade. While there is a log slightly downstream of the crossing, I did not see a viable exit strategy on the opposite bank. With no other folks nearby, I decided it would be unlikely anyone would be too offended by the sight of an old pudgy guy in his boxers with his boots around his neck. I was able to re-frame the 50 degree water as refreshing, but in reality it was freakin' COLD.

By: Chantilly Hokie Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 29, 2014
This was a very enjoyable hike that provided beautiful views of so many waterfalls. Doing this hike in the summer wouldn’t provide the views of the waterfalls that we saw on today. Very few people were on the trail, some Boy Scouts and National Park Rangers. It was very foggy and the rocks due to the drizzle and rain were slippery. I found the hike to be fairly easy without much of a difficult time on the ascent. Again due to the time of year and recent snow storm the week before it was very muddy in some places. And the next day Skyline Drive was yet again closed due to snow and ice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Great hike and so many waterfalls along both Jones Run and Doyles River. Trail was wet in a few stretches, but to be expected after recent snows melted. Several stream crossings, which could be tricky for novice hikers if the water was higher. The hike is similar to White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run loop except you hike down from Skyline Drive, shorter distance and less elevation gain. My hiking partner and I decided that this is closer to a level 4 difficulty hike based on rough rocky trail going up Doyles River section and the multiple stream crossings.

By: Cath B Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, February 24, 2014
I did the hike in the reverse direction (no reason, just did!). It's a great route taking in the gorgeous falls as well as some really peaceful woodland. I saw a couple of white tailed deer from the trail having already seen a fair few on Skyline Drive on the way in. It was especially quiet today due to the time of year and I passed only one couple on the route, coming the other way. They warned me about the ice on the Jones Run trail and boy they were right! Because the snow has been walked on and has since thawed slightly and refrozen, much of it is like an ice rink which is especially tricky on the narrower and steeper parts. I was glad I had chosen to go clockwise around the route as it meant that I was climbing up rather than having to make a "controlled descent", which I think would have been a lot more dangerous! Another point to note is that the Jones Run itself was quite difficult to cross (at the Doyle's River end) because the water was high. Fortunately I suffered nothing worse than wet feet and hurt pride! Quite a challenging hike at this time of year but well worth it for the views and the solitude.

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 28, 2013
We hiked this as described and took the Doyles River trail to the intersection with the AT for the extended hike. Weather was fantastic, but the trails were a bit muddy in places, and there were a couple of spots on the Jones Run trail near the waterfalls that were pure, thick ice. Plenty of room on the sides to avoid so no big deal. The falls were all running well and the cliff walls near the bottom of the main Jones Run falls were covered in ice...very impressive scenery. We ran into fellow hikers throughout the day so it looks like a lot of people were taking advantage of a great day for a Winter hike.

By: MarshMudMan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 2, 2013
To paraphrase my hiking partner, I can't tell you how wonderful today was. In previous weeks, we've hiked White Oak and Cedar Run Canyons and up Robertson Mountain. Compared to those hikes, the Jones Run/Doyles River hike wasn't nearly as challenging nor were the falls as large. But, that doesn't mean that you should skip this hike. The streams have a certain charm of their own and there is plenty to appreciate about the region. Lots of little subtle things to enjoy along the trail - neat plants, animals, geology. We got an early start so the entire hike down Jones Run and to the lower falls on Doyles River was pretty quiet, with very few fellow hikers. Traffic picked up as we continued up Doyles River, but it was never obnoxiously crowded. After taking the AT back to our car, we added a short detour up to Blackrock Summit, where the views were fantastic. We spend an hour or more up there lounging in the sun, at least until the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped. A quick stroll back to the car and our wonderful day in the mountains was over.

By: monte lewis Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 14, 2013
very little water in the streams and lots of people at the falls

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Great hike! It definatly was a HIKE! We followed the directions above and it felt uphill about 85% of the time I would say. The first almost half of the trail is not as steap as the last half however we passed some people coming down that side and due to the footing I would have rather been going up than down on that part.

The 2 big falls were very nice however there was some kind of college class going on this day and they were not very cognizant of others that may want to view the falls or snap photos. Considering you are dedicating 4+ hours to this you want your pics! The hike did have many travelers however most were kind enough to take photos so our whole group was included.

We made it in just at 4hrs, even with our lunch break and a few other needed stops along the way. I would recommend this hike to others, but I would rate this more at a 5 than a 3! Beware!

By: ClaireAnn Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 19, 2012
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!

By: MCH Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 9, 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!

By: Rating: 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.

By: Rating: 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 !!!

By: monte Rating: 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

By: Stephanie and Jonathan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 27, 2011
Gorgeous day for a hike! Arrived around 10:30AM and started down the AT to the fire road first. With all of the leaves gone, the views along the fire road were pretty nice. The falls were also very nice, with enough water flowing to make them beautiful. On our way to the third set of falls we saw a momma bear with two cubs. We kept our distance of course, but it was amazing to see them! The hike was also not too busy today, we only saw a few groups of people the entire trip. Overall it was a great day!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 9, 2011
We hiked Jones Run/Doyles Rive on 10/9 that was a Sunday on a long weekend off because of Christopher Columbus day. We arrived at the parking area that was starting to fill up at 1130 A.M. and had to part of side of street in grass. Good hike but way to many people the falls were good but not great. We also did have to pay $15.00 for parking on the SNP but got two great hikes out of it so not to bad.

By: Brian Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 27, 2011
Hiked with a group from the Central Virginia Trailblazers last Saturday, barely missing Hurricane Irene.  We followed the route described here, starting at Browns Gap.  Most of the waterfalls were reduced to a trickle, but it was still a pleasant  hike.  Part of the trail along the ridge was fogged in, which made for a neat effect.  A friend and I got multiple bee stings on the AT near the Doyles River Overlook - we must have stepped in a hive.  The rain started when we returned to the trailhead and intensified on our drive back to Richmond.  Looking forward to returning in the spring to see some REAL waterfalls!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 5, 2011
This hike is AMAZING! The section of the AT is so peaceful and gorgeous, and provide some really pretty views of the mountains. We did this early in June, and walked through a section of beautiful blooming mountain laurels on both sides.  The falls, streams, and pools were unbeliveable.  Just when you thought you'd seen the best part, you'd walk a little further and see even greater sights.  The pool at the very bottom of Jones Run had a really nice depth and water was crystal clear...great for a midday dip...but brrrrrr!  it was cold!!  The section of the hike on the way back and up past the Doyles River and falls was steep and sometimes rocky, so we were definatly winded, but so worth it. It wasn't bad because the river was right there, so if we got too hot we just splashed ourselves down and continued on our way.  We took the fire road because we'd had a late start and were running out of daylight.  This section of the trail was super-easy, but also my least favorite. Being a road there wasn't much to see and not as much shade, although you could see some limited but very pretty mountain views through the certain parts of the trees.  All in all, this trail was gorgeous, exhilerating, and so much fun!

By: Eileen Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 9, 2011
A crystal clear day in the low seventies along with rapidly rushing waterfalls made this a great hike. The Jones Run trail had some tough, rocky downhill sections but the waterfalls were wonderful and flowing in early May. Stream crossings involved some log and stone hopping but were doable without getting our shoes too wet. We walked the fire road on the way back and saw a small black bear ahead of us, but it quickly returned to the forest when it heard our footsteps and voices. If it's hot out don't do the fire road-- it's not shady or cool near the water like the rest of the trail. Overall, the great waterfall views made this hike totally worth it.

By: scudder Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 17, 2011
  It's National Park Week so admission is free in SNP  all week- thanks rangers! There was a flood watch in the area yesterday  and it dumped close to two inches, so there was water everywhere. Many places on the trail were muddy or  running as small creeks. Jones Run and Doyle River were spectacular- rushing rapidly  and making LOUD music.
  The spring wildflower show is beginning! Dutchman's britches in abundance.  A few bunches of yellow lilies at the base of Jones falls.Many other flowers- sorry i haven't had a chance to track down their identities.Still a couple weeks early for the columbines, but I can testify they are there.
   Water crossings were way more sporting than usual- some  log walking or rock hopping  or daredevil wading may be required.There are a few noteworthy poplars along the trail a few hundred yards below Jones falls . All the  falls were at peak flow-today's hike was  a big WOW! 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 17, 2011
During our hike yesterday in the wind and rain, we skipped the Jones Run/Doyles River portion after encountering the raging Madison Run earlier during the hike. When I awoke to the beautiful sun and blue skies this morning, I decided that I had to return and experience Jones Run and Doyles River in all their glory. It was even more amazing than I expected. This was my first hike of these trails and I had no idea what I was in for. The waterfalls were spectacular. I didn't realize there were so many so each that I encountered was such a delight. An somehow each seemed more majestic than the one before. After seeing all that Jones Run had to offer, I thought that Doyles River would be somewhat anticlimatic. Was I ever wrong. It was just a spectacular, perhaps even more so. The last crossing of Jones Run was also a lot of fun. The water was cold and the current was strong but with a two branches to provide stability, it was a relatively easy crossing. If you can get some time off this coming week, you should get out there and hike these trails. You will definitely be happy that you did so.

By: Nick and Kat Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 20, 2010
Wonderful day hiking this - gotta love mid-November climate in Virginia.  Upper 50's, sunny and due to recent rains the falls on both Jones and Doyle were flowing at an impressive pace.

With all the leaves off the trees the woods took on a desolate and erie feel, but it also opened up the abiity to see broader vistas than might be possible in spring/summer.  Be aware that there were some sections where the leaves on the ground were so think you had to rely on tree markings to see the trail and in some spots the leaves on the rocks were quite slick/slippery.

By: Kings Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 24, 2010
It was a good hike with my wife and dog. However I would advise to take this one in the Spring or early summer. There is literally a trickle of water down each of the falls. There is no water flow in the creek beds. The only reason I said this hike could have been better is because of my expectations of the water. Oh, and there is a bear cub hanging around Jones Trail so keep you eye out and your dogs on their leashes!

By: Andrew, Liz and Indy Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This was a good hike for us and our dog.  Our only disappointment - it has been dry in this part of Virginia, so the waterfalls weren't quite as spectacular as we hoped they'd be.  We followed the website's note and skipped the fire trail on the way back and continued on Doyle's Run trail and then headed south on the AT until we got back to Browns Gap parking lot.  The hike took 6 hours which included an hour for breaks and lunch.

By: SeanFromAfton Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 11, 2010
Nice hike. My wife and I took our two dogs. We picked it because there is water along Doyles River and Jones Run. We started the loop by taking the AT north. Nice variation of scenery nice falls and pools. No big views. It took us 165 minutes (~23 minute miles). We're mid 30s, a bit out of shape, but normally fit.

By: Keith Robertson Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 18, 2010
My wife, a friend of ours, and I recently did this hike. We went during National Park Week (meaning free admission,) but despite that we still had the trail almost entirely to ourselves- I think we saw maybe 3 or 4 other hikers in 4 hours.

This is probably the best trail that I've taken in Shenandoah so far. The views and terrain are nicely varied (ridgeline at the top, and nicely sheltered streams at the bottom.) The fact that the ridgelines were still winterlike in appearance, with very few leaves, and the area in the valley was lush and green, added to this effect.

Aside from the named falls on the trail, there are many smaller cascades and ripples, so for the majority of the time one spends near the rivers, there is whitewater in view or within earshot. The main fall on Jones Run is a good place to stop- it's very scenic, and there are a number of large flat boulders right near the falls that you can rest on.

Aside from the scenery, the other highlight of our particular hike was sighting the first black bear that any of us had seen in the wild. It was a mid-sized bear, about the size of a very large dog. I heard it first when it moved (twig crack,) and then spotted it about 100ft away in some underbrush. I had enough time to point and say "there's a bear," before it looked up at me for a few moments, and then ran off into the brush.

As some others have said, the hike back up is quite steep in places, and when we were there, muddy. There were sections that I almost, but not quite, needed to use my hands where the trail got very rocky. I did fine, but my wife's knee got pretty battered from all of the up/down.

By: Caroline Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 2, 2009
I went with a few friends and hiked this route starting at the fire road and going the opposite way. Luckily, it started out raining so we didn't have any heat issues despite the fact that it is early August!

Needless to say, the uphill portion towards the end of the hike was tiring, but not too bad, and the waterfalls are definitely worth it. The one great thing about going the opposite way is you end with the Appalachian Trail, and it is mostly flat instead of the uphill Fire Road.

The trail was also very secluded, and always well-marked. Overall it was a great hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 18, 2009
Did this hike with a friend and our teenage sons. As alluded to in other comments, go the direction indicated in the overview. The reverse route leaves you with a very tough climb out. The solitude and tranquility of the Jones Run waterfalls contrasts sharply with the more crowded and "touristy" falls on the Doyles River trail. We took the fire road back. Only found 1 tick in the after-hike tick check, although we did do a double coat of DEET before starting down the fire road due to the warnings here. I didn't find the fire road particularly steep, athough you will know you are going uphill! Overall a great day hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 2, 2009

   This is one of my favorite hikes in the southern section of SNP. The scenery is beautiful and the multiple falls and cascades through this gorge area are well worth the relatively short hike to see them. There are also some wonderful examples of old growth trees, particularly tulip poplars on the Jones Run trail that have reached a magnificent size. I too would recommend parking at Brown's Gap and taking the AT south to Jones Run trailhead as it allows a nice gentle mile and a half of hiking to warm up before the descent into the gorge area. It is quite true that if you follow the old Brown's Gap turnpike back to the parking area that there is little shade in spots so it can get hot in warm weather. However, if you are a history enthusiast like me, you may like to take it and imagine what it was like back in 1862 when General Jackson marched his weary troops down to Mechums Station through here. On that note, if you follow the Brown's Gap turnpike across to the west side of the Skyline Drive, just past the chain barrier, to the left in the woods you can see what remains of some trenches that were built during that time. They are just deep tree filled depressions now but can be relatively easy to spot. Another thing to remember in hiking this trail is that it is most impressive in the spring when the water is high, and if it is a windy day on the ridge line, a hike on the east side of the ridge through this gorge area is relatively protected from the winds at the top.

   If you do this circuit and still feel like hiking, you can follow the AT south just a couple miles or so to Blackrock Summit which gives you a spectacular view of the Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten and the Allegheny mountains to the west. A great place for rock scrambling and a nearly 360 degree view from the very top.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 11, 2008

A bit of history...the Confederate grave along Brown's Gap fire road.

For many years Browns Gap was one of the principal routes for taking farm produce from the Shenandoah Valley to Richmond.

Browns Gap and the turnpike were used briefly during the Civil War. On May 2, 1862, at the beginning of his Valley Campaign, Stonewall Jackson marched his entire army through Browns Gap. From June 9 to June 12, after the Battle of Port Republic at the end of the Valley Campaign, Jackson's army camped in and near Browns Gap. On September 25, 1864, General Jubal Early and his army, after their defeat at Winchester, fortified themselves here and fought off Sheridan's attacks for two days while awaiting reinforcements. Today Browns Gap Turnpike is a SNP fire road.

A lone grave marker along Browns Gap fire road notes William H. Howard, Company F, 44th VA. INF, C.S.A. While looking at the gravestone, one wonders why this soldier would be buried alone beside the road. What was the cause of his death, war wounds or possibly infection?

One of the two Fluvanna infantry companies which enlisted in the spring of 1861, the "Fluvanna Hornets", had formed at Kent's Store on May 20 under Captain Thomas K. Wiesinger.

The Fluvanna Hornets would be the name of Company F. Of the 88 men who enlisted in Company F, 28 would die before the war ended.

The roster shows that there were three Howard brothers in company F: Private *
Howard, Napoleon B. Private
Howard, William W. Private *

Howard, John T.

*= died during war.

According to the White House of the Confederacy and the Library of Virginia records, both William and John suffered from Typhoid fever while in camp. Typhoid is a bacterial dysentery, Salmonella thyphosa, which from poor sanitary conditions can lead to dehydration and death. It is unclear why William is buried along the Browns Gap fire trail. Records shown that he enlisted June 12, by August he was sick at camp, and died at Camp Allegheny on Oct 1, 1861. Possibly he was being transported home to Fluvanna and was buried along the way. The middle initial "H" is likely an error from poor records, as a sloppy "W" may look like a sloppy "H". The grave headstone does not have a date, but lists only Company F, 44th Infantry, CSA.

His brother John died 1 Aug 1861 at Monterey, but his other brother Napoleon survived and was promoted to Sergeant, only to be later taken as a prisoner of war at Gettysburg.

By: Katherine J Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 12, 2008

I haven't been on this trail this year but would like to share my experience from last year.

We did this hike in reverse, and if you look at the topo map you can see that leaves you with a nice steep climb out, a mistake in itself. The suggested route here is better.    

We also opted for the fire road instead of walking the extra mile or so to the AT- another mistake IMO.

There is no tree canopy on that fire road, and we baked in the sun. It was HOT and it was STEEP, two things that I could have lived without at hour 4- too much like work. Also adding to the fun was the fact that this is a well trod horse trail, and it was stinking to high heaven in the July sun.

In hindsight I would say, don't take the fire road. Stay on the trail. it's a little longer, but it's a nicer hike.

I would also say the entire circuit might  not be appropriate for dogs or small kids. Parts of it are steep, and there is one section with a big rock scree that is hard on little feet and paws.

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