Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail

MODERATE 124 reviews
#16 of 148 trails in

Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail is a 7.6 mile moderately 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 birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,791 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

hiking
17 days ago

This was a great hike if we had't gotten lost; not that it wasn't well marked, but be sure to read all reviews and everyone's notes before doing these hikes. We started at the wrong point - at the Overlook - and hooked up with the trail without a problem, but at about the 8 mile mark (yes we'd already gone off the trail at one point) we mistakenly took the fire trail and ended up 2 miles out of our way. However, if you stay on the trail, this is an excellent one as it is nice and clear, the falls are some of the prettiest in that you get SO close, and it was just overall a very pleasant hike. It is definitely a long downhill followed by a long uphill but they are gradual enough to not burn too badly. You do have to cross the river a few times and it was wet; I would allow about 6 hours for the hike.

hiking
20 days ago

This took longer to get to from the DC area than some of the other hikes, but it was a nice first venture into the southern section of Shenandoah for us. Like others have commented, this is a 8+ mile hike; we never strayed far from the path and clocked in at 8.33 miles in 4.5 hours. While this trail is rated as moderate, this seems to be on the harder end of moderate. The descent to the falls and the ascent are relatively steep and are pretty rocky, with some areas of loose and wet rocks.

You have to cross the river multiple times, but the water was low when we went and not too difficult. There are areas of the path that are relatively narrow and have a steep drop off. That said, the 3 main waterfalls were well worth the trek and you can get pretty close to them. The first half of the hike was very scenic if you start along Doyle’s river trail, but once you get on the Appalachian trail, it’s just a hike to get back to your car with one scenic overlook near the end.

hiking
23 days ago

One of the best trails I have been to. If you start at Doyles river trailhead, you run down the hill, walk along the Doyles river and walk up the hill along the Jones river and see multiple little falls along the way. Then get back the loop on the Appalachian trail with different kind of views with a skyline dr overlook. Its a beautiful hike. We had awesome time. Plan for around 6 hrs of hiking on this trail. Highly recommended.

27 days ago

A beautiful hike with wonderful water features. Trail is well marked and difficult in only a few relatively short sections. Well shaded the entire length.

1 month ago

REI picks this trail as one of ‘thee’ best hikes in SNP, and I agree! Experienced torrential down pour for most of the hike, even without that I would recommend a hiking waterproof sandal that is durable with great traction... lots of wet rocks and with parts of the river overflowing you cross ‘rapid’ like waters. Wanted to challenge myself so went down Jones Run and up Doyles River... it is a steep incline!! Trail clearly warns of black bears. Don’t forget your bear bell... I didn’t see any but I hope it’s cause they heard me coming!

1 month ago

Great hike. not sure I agree with distance. think it is closer to 8.5. this has to be one of my favorite hikes ever. they say there are only three waterfalls but you follow the river for more then half the hike and see countless small waterfalls. took family of 6 with kids 10 to 17 and they had no issues. we are in shape and need to old the youngest hands in a couple of spots. we choose to take shoes off on couple of river crossings as rocks looked more difficult. would definitely recommend.

1 month ago

Amazing Trail! Great views of waterfalls and pretty nature!

hiking
2 months ago

This might be my new favorite water trail in SNP! Even though the way down Doyles River was tough, the river and falls totally made up for it. There’s plenty of stops along the way to sit and enjoy the water. I always enjoy walking on the AT, but it is 3.4 miles in the woods. You do pass through a Skyline Dr overlook which has some really nice views of the river valley! This trail was pretty popular as I passed by a lot of people near the falls, but there were significantly less doing the whole loop.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is an amazing trail. It offers multiple types of views that are amazing. You have waterfalls, rock formations, overviews and lots of streams and wildlife. I totally recommend this trail for anyone. It can be slightly steep at times and slippery on the rocks but is totally doable. I will probably be doing this one again.

2 months ago

Great views!!

2 months ago

Amazing views!

2 months ago

Thanks

3 months ago

Had to turn around to let mama bear and cubs feel safe but it was a great trail otherwise.

3 months ago

Fun hike with two waterfalls. We ran into a mama bear with cubs which was a little startling but made that hike that much more memorable and fun.

4 months ago

Beautiful falls. Went when the water was very high, and the rain was still coming while we hiked. Started at Jones Run Trailhead, which seems like it would be the easier route.

8 months ago

Really fun hike, we did hike #2, which is a nearly 8 mile loop. Beware, this should be ranked as "hard", if you start down the AT then come back up river trail, youre in for about 3.5 miles of steep-moderate constant uphill. not complaining, was a heck of a workout, 200 floors per our fitbits. waterfalls were beautiful, half frozen.

8 months ago

Enjoyed this hike with my daughter- would highly recommend. Be prepared for the trip back up from the falls.

hiking
9 months ago

I'm from the panhandle of Texas and am used to hiking on fairly flat ground. The rocky, steep portions of this trail almost did me in! Hiked in the reverse direction from that recommended. BIG mistake. The steep incline the last two miles was difficult to say the least. However, I'll be back and hike this beautiful trail again when I'm in better shape.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail! We started at the Jones Run parking lot (mile marker 84) and hiked down Jones Run to the Doyles River trail and took that up to the fire road for a shortcut to the AT and back to the parking area due to time constraints.

11 months ago

Park at mm 81- Do falls loop first and the leg with the scenic overlook last... Your legs will thank you!

hiking
11 months ago

It was a good hike. I hiked the trail by following the suggested direction, i..e., hiking down to Doyles River trail, back to Jones Run trail, then the AT and back to the Doyles River trailhead. The waterfalls were dry. I saw a baby bear was up on a tree looking down on people. I did not see any tree leaves turned red, instead they were yellow and brown.

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike down to Doyle's falls and back up again. The trail was well marked and maintained.

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

A fun hike. I hiked the trail in reverse from the suggested direction hiking south on the AT to Jones Run trail and then down to Doyles River trail and back to the car. The waterfalls were beautiful. The hike back up Doyles River trail is intense at times. I did run into a bear about 50 yards south of Doyles River overlook, but that is not that uncommon in SNP.

hiking
Monday, June 26, 2017

Really beautiful, fairly easy to walk through, and the falls are plentiful. Try to avoid the fire road - the grass is very tall and there were definitely ticks in there (although there was a black bear chilling on the side, which could be neat or terrifying depending on who you are). You can take the AT back up eventually without getting on there. I'll totally try this again!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Our first hike in USA. Probably just about the right balance between scenic and demanding. Very impressed with helpfulness of ranger on gate. You guys need Ordnance Survey maps though.

hiking
Sunday, May 21, 2017

Awesome trail today!

hiking
Thursday, May 18, 2017

We hiked the loop but started at the Doyle camping ground due to parking at jones being full. This was we started on the AT and ended the same naturally. There was heavy rains this week so the streams were not passable without getting a little wet. With that said, it was not to the knees and the current wasn't an issue. Even with wet feet the last mile or so I'd do it again anytime!

backpacking
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Typical spring mountain weather: Snow, sleet, rain, hail, lightning, all in the same day. Beautiful views, several waterfalls, and plenty of water sources. The trail is well marked and clear. There are plenty of legal spots to camp, although we saw a few people camping in terrible places.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Loved hiking this trail. It was quite a bit more strenuous due to the snow, but it made it even more beautiful!

hiking
Monday, January 30, 2017

Hiked this weekend. 1st time. Awesome with beautiful waterfalls, vistas and solitude. Start out with southern route on the Doyles river trail to the falls, all down hill. When you reach the Doyles falls cabin, stay on the blue blazes to right to continue down the mountain. Shortly after the lower falls, get ready to work! Uphill past the Jones falls; stay to the left of these falls and continue the climb to the Jones parking lot. Pick up AT headed North. From there, very easy, mostly level hike not far from skyline drive. Cross skyline a couple times (fortunately cement pillars are well marked as to where to go from there). The last 1/2 mile or so of the loop, involves a climb. Overall, loved it and will do again. But whoever says this is 7.7 must have cut across the switchbacks. I gt 9.2 on my app. Took lots of pics, and was in no rush. 4:27min.

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