Brown’s Gap Falls Loop

  • Highlights: Waterfalls, wildflowers, stream crossings, Appalachian Trail
  • Distance: 6.7 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 1,370 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: Brown’s Gap parking area, Skyline Drive mile 83, park entrance fee required
  • Website: Shenandoah National Park 
  • Beer Pairings: Loft Mountain Wayside—White Oak Witbier & Limberlost Lager

The Hike:

This hike take you to three waterfalls and passes beside Jones Run and Doyles River much of the time. There are several stream crossings and during the summer months the flow can be diminished during dry spells.

The trails were well marked although there are several trail junctions. This is a loop so you can go in either direction. We decided to go counterclockwise.

This hike begins at the Brown’s Gap parking area. This is a small parking area and it fills up quickly on weekends. If the lot is full, you can park at the Jones Run parking area at mile post 84 or the Dundo picnic area at milepost 83.5 both have easy access to the AT. 

From Brown’s Gap, cross Skyline Drive and turn right, walk about 100 yards to the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. After an initial steep incline, the AT levels out and the walk is easy. Wildflowers and mountain laurel line the trail.

Follow the AT heading south for 1.2 miles, passing the Dundo picnic area. At the Jones Run parking area, leave the AT and turn left to join the blue-blazed Jones Run Trail as it descends into the valley below. 

Cross over a stream that feeds into Jones Run. At 2.8 miles a cascade appears on the left. Jones Run Falls is a little further down, just past a huge bolder. The trail now becomes the blue-blazed Doyles River Trail and the terrain becomes rocky. The climb back up now begins. 

Jones Run and later Doyles River flow beside the trail. Numerous small cascades and stream crossings make this a pleasant hike. At 4.2 miles reach Lower Doyles River Falls. Lower Doyles is the highest falls on this hike at 63’. Reach Upper Doyles River Falls at 4.5 miles, the smallest falls on the hike.

Reach a trail junction at 4.8 miles. The shortest (but least scenic) route back to your vehicle at Brown’s Gap is to turn left and follow the yellow-blazed Brown’s Gap fire road steadily uphill for 1.8 miles. As a more scenic option, continue straight on the Doyle’s River trail uphill for .9 miles and then take the AT south (left) 2 miles to Brown’s Gap and your vehicle. 

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Loft Mountain Wayside is just a few miles north on Skyline Drive. They offer decent food and they have a fair selection of craft beer in cans. Outdoor seating is available and it’s a great place to relax and enjoy a cold beer after a hike.

Basic City Brewing in nearby Wayneboro brews a special selection of beers for Shenandoah National Park. These SNP beers are available at various locations throughout the park including Loft Mountain Wayside and the camp store. After hiking to three waterfalls, we we were thirsty and wanted something cold, crisp, and refreshing. Limberlost Lager and White Oak Witbier fit the bill perfectly. And the food was pretty good as well.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.