Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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.

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.

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.

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
4 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.

hiking
6 months ago

This was a terrific hike. If you start in Shenandoah Valley and go clockwise, you climb the tough hills first. While you're climbing, there are some long level spots where you can look down on both the Valley and Skyline Drive. After you complete the tough summits, you arrive at Blackrock Summit, where you have a magnificent view of Trayfoot Mountain, the mountain you just climbed. The remaining portion is smooth--a section of the AT and a gradual descent on a fire road.

The previous commenters are right--after the AT hits Skyline Drive, stay to your right on Skyline Drive along the stone wall, then go straight through the small parking lot, and you'll see the right fire road to take home.

Dog friendly.

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.

I went clockwise on this loop and loved it. I will definitely do it again. When the trail comes to the Skyline Drive But sure to keep walking to the parking lot (and counterclockwise to the end of the stone wall) otherwise it is very hard to know where the trail is if you are following the AllTrails map. It is not accurate in that section . Otherwise it was a great hike!

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

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.

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.

It was long trail but good.

Great fall hike for the wife and I. Nice beams of sunlight peaking through this morning. Came down the mountain a lot quicker than expected.

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