Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Big Run, Doyles River, and Frazier Loop [CLOSED]

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(13)
Shenandoah National Park

Big Run, Doyles River, and Frazier Loop is a 16.8 mile loop trail located near Elkton, Virginia that features a great forest setting. The trail is rated as moderate and is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 16.8 miles Elevation Gain: 4,051 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

closed

Many trailheads in this park are closed due to COVID-19. Please check the park website for up to date info on which trails are accessible.

17 days ago

We had a hard time finding a spot to camp and ended up camping along Big Run trail. We started by going south on Patterson trail so we hit Doyle's River first. Beautiful waterfalls!

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
7 months ago

We did this as a backcountry backpacking as recommended by SNP. The decent down to the camping site via Doyle’s River was quite the decent at a fast past, we had 45lb packs on and haven’t been backpacking for awhile it was a good work out. We started around 3pm and got to our campsite right at the bottom there were 3 other backpacking groups not too close but across the stream. Good place to fill water with filters of course. It was a little damp and buggy the trail down. Going back up Big Run was a lot more harder than expected and rocky, wish i would have had my trekking poles but forgot them. Both trails had good waterfalls and spots to stop off for a minute we did encounter quite a bit of traffic especially on Big Run coming up. All and all good spot for backpackers and good spot for camping!

hiking
over grown
7 months ago

Did this in 2 days following the NPS Recommended Backcountry Trip of the same name. We combined days 1 and 2 making our Day 1 about 11 miles. We aren’t super fit, but it was doable. We started at the Wayside in the morning on Saturday. You can park there overnight and there’s a backcountry self-registration station at the back of the parking lot. Patterson Ridge Trail was overgrown but still easy enough to follow. I suggest wearing long pants! If you want to make this a 3 day hike, Big Run Portal Trail is apparently a good spot. We didn’t see a single person until we got to the AT! The downhill on Jones River wasn’t fun: the rocks are pretty loose, so be careful, especially with a pack. We camped at the intersection of Jones Run and Doyle’s River. When you get to the Doyle’s River trailhead, there is an unmarked path to the right. Follow that and you will come to a stream in front of you that connects to one on your right. That spot didn’t seem bad to camp but we found an even better one! Cross the stream on your right and there’s a perfect campsite a few yards up and to your right. It’s perfectly cleared and rectangular. You’ll know it when you see it. There’s a good bear bag tree right at the site, but besides that, not many good spots. We found a tree on the other side of one of the streams. Day 2 was a breeze! We saw a bear about a mile into our day at Doyle’s River, so start early and you might see one! Ended at the Wayside where we got some hot food before heading home. Additional Tip: We camped Friday at Loft Mountain Campground to make our early start much more manageable. I definitely recommend doing this if you don’t live that close!

hiking
blowdown
10 months ago

backpacking
10 months ago

We did this loop starting at Skyline Dr north of the Loft Mnt store on Patterson Ridge Trail. The first day, we didn't see a single person :) The trail had not seen any maintenance yet this year and there was a lot of downed trees. We camped in a small clearing on the Big Loop Trail at about 4 mi. Day two we climbed and crossed the road. Once we got to the AT we saw a lot more folks. It was a nice hike and we camped past the falls. Day three we had a very short day back to the car. I would recommend this as a day hike or a 2 day loop.

backpacking
Wed Nov 14 2018

planned on this being a 3 day/2 night trip. it got so unexpectedly cold we ended up doing 2 day/1 night but it was an amazing hike. started at Doyle's River parking and hiked north around loft mountain before crossing skyline and getting into patterson because the loop will bring you right back to the Doyle's parking lot. easy going first day down to big run portal crossing the river 3 times with camping along the river. second day started easy enough just getting up onto the ridge on the way to Jones run. Jones run was busy because it was so scenic with the trail skirting the waterfalls. the second half of the second day was all up hill. serious up hill. I felt like we were rock climbing getting up out of the basin and then a steep, constant incline all the way back up to the parking lot. probably about 4-5 miles up hill at the very end. overall very beautiful hike but be prepared to get a workout

Mon Oct 08 2018

We did this as a 3 day/2 night backpack. The SNP website has it listed as one of their “backcountry camping” trips. We started on Patterson, which was quite the 3 mi descent, then had a pleasant, flat walk along Big Run Portal. While walking alongside the river a black bear crossed the river and passed right in between my husband and me. There were a few river crossings, and one we had to slosh through (not enough rocks to step on). We camped along Big Run Portal, and that first day/night we never saw another person. The next morning we proceeded along the route and started coming across people right away, all of whom had hiked in from the other direction. We accidentally turned left onto Big Run Loop Trail North (instead of turning R onto Big Run Loop Trail South) and after a steep 3 mile climb we unexpectedly found ourselves at Big Run Overlook. We were tired and decided that instead of hiking south along the AT to pick up where we were supposed to be, we would just cross over Skyline and go down Doyles River Trail and set up camp earlier than planned. There were a lot of people on this trail, which was a stark contrast from the day before. We hiked down about 3 miles, past the beautiful waterfalls, and found a great place to camp and soak my sore, tired feet. We actually met some other backpackers who suggested where to camp, and I think he might be the previous reviewer (Jordan Cox) because I see from the photos that we camped at the same spot! The next morning we started back in the reverse direction, going uphill, which was back on track for the intended route. It was also a lot easier on the toes but harder on my sore legs. The last few miles along the AT and Frazier Discovery Trail just seemed to go on forever and we were so happy to get back to Loft Mtn Wayside and have a bean burger before getting in the car to head home. All in all, it was a great weekend. Lots of challenge, beautiful scenery, and terrific camping. I know I couldn’t do it in a day, but would highly recommend it for the 3 day backpacking/back country camping.

backpacking
Mon Oct 08 2018

Beautiful hike. Lots of water(falls), plenty of wildlife, amazing scenery. Last 6 miles is a bit tough. Definitely start with Patterson, though.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

backpacking
Thu Oct 18 2018

Sun Apr 15 2018