Explore the most popular forest trails near Grottoes with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

Awesome trail! Very scenic!

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.

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.

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.

unbelievable views. great trail

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!

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.

Pleasant hike! Steady incline but not treacherous! Woodsy & pleasant along the way with okay views! Traveling w 2 others (ages 24 athletic but not experienced hiker & 9 year old, fairly experienced hiker) and both traversed it fine! We had to turn around about 2/3 in due to impending storm!
*PARKING NOTE! Stop and park about 1/4 mile short of gps destination! Park on the right side where the road widens or a chained area on the left that says private property! If you continue straight one the one lane - it stops at a chain across the road & you have to back up to the widened area!

Amazing Trail! Great views of waterfalls and pretty nature!

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.

Nice hike through the woods - single file almost the whole way, a couple of nice views.

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.

There is no river or creek. It’s a nice hike up a mountain and then down the other side.

We parked at the Horsehead Rd. trailhead (we were the only car there on a beautiful Thursday morning) and began our hike, heading clockwise around the loop. Thanks to well-placed rocks, we easily crossed two raging streams. The climb up Trayfoot isn't steep, but it is long. Eventually we reached the summit, but foliage obscured all views. After a steep descent, we found the Blackrock spurr trail. Ten minutes later we were on Blacktop, where we encountered our first people of the day. After enjoying the spectacular views and a nice lunch, we used a paper map, GPS, and trail markers to find our way across Skyline Drive and the Payne Run trailhead. The walk down Payne Run is easy but a bit wet in spots. We crossed several streams during the last mile, and returned to our vehicle. This hike isn't strenuous, but it is long. Decent navigation skills are essential. Our GPS recorded this hike as being 10.5 miles. Our hiking time was 5 hours.

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

Great hike and lots of swimming options, especially for us since we chose a weekend of torrential downpours. This made fording the rivers a bit of an adventure. Started at Turk Gap and, on the recommendation of a buddy, hit the trail counter clockwise. It was mostly down hill or level for the first 12 miles or so. We started climbing right when we were looking for a spot to camp for the night. Unfortunately, the northern portion of the loop is bordered by private property on either side (as noted by signs and barbed wire) and lacks much level terrain. We ended up hitting the AT and heading north another .8 miles up and then down to black rock spring where there was a shelter and ample camp sites. May have been due to the several days of rain, but the camp site was pretty packed w/ thru hikers. Finished the second day heading back south down the AT, where we experienced some moderate climbs intermixed with gradual climbs. Only regret is that we didn’t go on a warmer day when the mandatory swimming (ie river fords) would have been recreational, vice a challenge to surmount. Hike would be much more scenic during spring or fall. Clicked 21.4 miles over the two days. Over all a great hike!

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.

Great hike, if it is the rainy season be warned there is a stream you will have to cross

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.

camping
4 months ago

Great day hike. Fun river crossing. Not too heavy on the elevation change.

I started from Grottoes and hiked up to Skyline. This was such a lovely trail along a ridgeline! At this time of year (when leaves haven’t fully come in), you can see views on both sides. Trayfoot Summit doesn’t stand out especially, but the trail was great, and Black Rock Summit is beautiful. The first several miles were 90% of the elevation gain. To leave from Grottoes, AllTrails will lead you to the end of a neighborhood cul de sac, and the fire road leaving from it has no obvious marking. If you continue down the road, you should see a sign for the trail within a few tenths of a mile. I made the mistake of not downloading the trail map and thinking I could follow instructions in the comments for the trail. When I arrived at the parking lot for Black Rock Summit, I saw no stone wall, and when I turned right on Skyline Drive, I meandered for a half mile without finding a fire road. I ended up doubling back on my previous path, which was still a nice hike, but I missed the loop. I saw a large adult black bear, chipmunks, salamanders, squirrels, and song birds.

Hiked it this weekend. Great river fordes!

Didn’t expect the Moormans river section to be partially two-tracked, but it was still a beautiful trail with plenty to see!

hiking
5 months ago

Loved this hike. Super easy straight shot on Port Republic from Harrisonburg. I went to the top of Furnace and then headed back. Took an hour to get to the top, and a little less to get down. Dog love it.

Lovely. After winds there are a lot of leaves on the trail. A few good look out spots. Rocky but runable. Creeks with fun Rock crossings. Well maintained.

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