Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail [CLOSED]

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Shenandoah National Park

Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail is a 8.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Grottoes, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,824 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

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. 2 Water Falls if hiking out and back 3 if you do the loop with Jones Run Trail and the Applachian Trail. The upper falls is 63' and the lower is 28'. Jones Falls is 42' and its parking area is at mile post 84. Its a long downhill followed by a long uphill walk. Short distance to Loft Mountain Wayside for Food afterwards. Trail is well marked with concrete pillars telling you directions.

Lovely hike with beautiful, roaring waterfalls. Has everything you’d want. Roaring falls, steep ascent for a good work, with beautiful vistas as a reward. Moderately trafficked.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail It was heavily wooded in some areas. The water falls were beautiful it was 10 miles and took us about from 10-2

hiking
7 months ago

We did this loop on a sunny, cool day. We ended up doing 10 miles since we went on Brown's Gap Turnpike towards the end of the loop instead of continuing on the AT. The first ~1/2 of the trail covers a descent into in a valley with rushing streams and waterfalls. Quiet beautiful, although be careful that some stream crossings may leave you with wet feet! The second 1/2 involves an ascent, and a hike somewhat parallel to Skyline Drive. This part is less visually appealing, but is less crowded, so allows for a more contemplative hike. Be careful to cross Skyline Drive at Brown's Gap Rd in order to continue on the AT. We failed to do this, and ended up on Brown's Gap Turnpike. This is a pretty fireroad trail that led us back to Doyle's River Trail - thus 'allowing' us to have one more uphill hike prior to returning to the parking lot. Took us about 5 hours, with multiple stops to look at waterfalls and a short lunch.

hiking
7 months ago

I thought this was a great hike. The falls were nice, not rushing but it was flowing. After the falls and stream, there isn't much to look at other than rock formations and a few inclines. Finished the hike in about 4 hours and that's with stopping to check out the falls and a snack. Next time I do this, I will include the Big Run Loop.

hiking
7 months ago

the falls....

hiking
8 months ago

Did this over Labor Day Weekend and only saw maybe a dozen people, which was great considering the next day we did Dark Hollow which was packed.! If you would rather have gradual uphill closer to the end, I’d start down Jones Run. The falls are a bit dry but it’s still beautiful. It took up 3.5 hours. It’s a good workout.

hiking
8 months ago

A fantastic loop for technical trail running... doesn't get much better. We spotted a pair of copperheads courting

This trail would make a great day-hike within the park. So many of the trails within Shenandoah are thru trails, or out-and-backs, that this loop is ideal for a moderately long hike along small streams with minor waterfalls (in the summer). However, there are few places with grandiose overlooks on the trail. The trail wasn’t too busy for the weekend after Labor Day.

hiking
bugs
over grown
9 months ago

Good moderate trail with nice waterfalls. The final bit (if you go the recommended way) is relaxing but not super action/view packed. We did see a family of bears, but later in the day the traffic seemed to keep bears away.

hiking
9 months ago

Not much on peak views...there really are none. That said, there are lots of very cool waterfall stops. I did the whole loop in 4 hours. I would definitely hike this trail again.

hiking
9 months ago

Very nice trail, enough to make you feel a little challenged without being too hard. Some sections fairly steep, but still walkable. We completed the loop in about 4 1/2 hours, including a lunch break, but that was moving at a good pace. Much of the way along steam, which was nice. Saw a bear in the steam, but was not threatening. Waterfalls were nice, quite picturesque.

hiking
9 months ago

My husband and I hiked this loop in mid-August. The weather was great. We are in our late 30s, good shape, and it took us 4 hours to do the whole loop (from the Doyles parking lot). I would classify this as “heavy moderate,” simply because of the length. There were some significant uphill portions, but nothing extreme. The first couple miles are downhill, waterfalls are amazing, lots of walking along a stream (though no serious chance of getting wet when crossing). The last three miles are mostly flat. For frame of reference, my Fitbit registered 194 flights for the hike. Great hike and not too busy. I’d highly recommend!!

hiking
9 months ago

I started from the Jones Run trailhead. Took me three hours.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice trail with light traffic. Mostly isolated after 5th mile. GPS showed 9 miles in total.. and best was seeing two bears at the end of the trail loop!!! :)

Beautiful and varied scenery, hard hills, great wildflowers, lovely waterfalls!

hiking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

Nice trail. Loved the loop. We came down from Doyle’s River falls parking lot early. We were alone and got to play on the upper and lower falls for pics! By the time we made it up Jones Run, the trail coming down was busy. We went up to the AT and back north to the parking area. About 9 miles with play. Great hike, nice elevation gain for a good workout.

hiking
11 months ago

I hiked this trail a couple years ago in a downpour! It seemed like a cool trail so I went back to check it out again, this time during a dryer period. Well, obviously the waterfalls were not nearly as impressive due to the lack of rain. The first two miles are an easy downhill decent followed by two miles straight back up out of the canyon followed by about 4 miles of relatively flat terrain on the AT. Saw two black bear cubs along the way which definitely boosted morale!

hiking
muddy
rocky
11 months ago

Great trail, we clocked 8.1 miles. The falls were beautiful, the dogs enjoyed it. Almost all shaded trails. Certainly more crowded in the afternoon on Memorial Day Saturday. The dogs got a few ticks on the trail, so bring your best repellent.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
Mon May 20 2019

Bad news: lots of bugs, especially on the initial descent. A constant swarm. It was early morning and they seemed better by afternoon, but bring lots of spray. Good news: the waterfalls are terrific, esp Jones. And there are a mom bear and two cubs who are just hanging out about half a mile. Surprised one of the little ones, it scrambled down a tree and ran to mom. But was pleasantly surprised to see them again on the way back.

hiking
Sat May 18 2019

Hiked this fine trail on 5/18.Foliage was lush and green, and the waterfalls were rushing impressively. Trail was a little muddy, but passable in all cases. Saw snakes, turtles, deer...even a black bear cub near the top of Jones Falls! Thankfully, didn't see mama. We parked at and began our trek at the Jones Run trailhead, and cut across on the Brown's Gap fire road to shave off a little distance and keep some energy in reserve for the nearby Blackrock Summit Trail. Still enjoyed amazing views of both waterfalls.

hiking
blowdown
muddy
rocky
Sun Mar 03 2019

Lots of trees down due to recent storms and govt shutdown. Camped at the bottom of the rivers. Precarious descent with all the rain and ice. Climb back up to the AT at the south end was challenging. The scenery made it all worthwhile.

hiking
Mon Nov 05 2018

This is a beautiful hike. Most of the trail is along streams and the waterfalls are awesome! If you do the whole loop I wouldn’t recommend small children. Also, wear hiking boots or waterproof boots. The whole loop is an all day hike.

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