Features: River/Creek — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Family Friendly: Moderately strenuous trail recommended for families that navigate steep terrain often.
Take the Doyles River Trail downhill from the parking area. Cross the Appalachian Trail (AT) and descend rather steeply for 0.3 mile to an unprotected spring that flows from a pipe in a stone wall on the left. Do not use the water without effective treatment. Just beyond the spring, the trail forks. The left fork climbs rather steeply for 400 feet to the locked Doyles River Cabin. Keep right, and continue about 0.6 mile to the Browns Gap Road
Cross the road and continue on the Doyles River Trail, which crosses the Doyles River after 250 yards. Go
another 300 yards. Here, as the trail begins to turn right, the top of the falls is about 25 feet to your left; but you can't see the falls from the top. Follow the trail to the right, away from the falls. It swings left in a wide 180-degree curve to a low point with a marker post. The falls are in sight to your left, in a natural amphitheater, surrounded by giant trees. It's a beautiful sight to see.
Continue downhill on the trail, through a narrow gorge with the stream downhill on your left. The sides of the gorge rise steeply, and you pass some of the biggest trees in the park. The top of the lower falls is 0.3 mile from the concrete marker near the upper falls. A short side trail on the left goes to the top of the falls.
Follow the trail to the right, away from the falls. Continue fifty yards more and the trail takes a sharp switchback to the left on a slippery slanting rock. Then back through poison ivy and down to the base of the falls, mostly hidden by trees. Fifty yards farther, at a concrete marker, a very rough and rocky side trail on the left goes back to the base of the falls.
About 0.2 mile farther down the gorge cross a small stream, on a footbridge, with a cascade just to the right of the trail. From there it's 0.4 mile to a marker post at the low point of your hike. Here you can opt to get on the Jones Run Trail
, which swings right and starts uphill beside Jones Run. Where the trail crosses the stream, note the big sycamore 60 feet to your left. It shows how far down you've come; in Shenandoah, sycamores grow only at lower altitudes.
Thanks to Larry W. Brown, for sharing this trail description. If you’re interested in learning more details about great hikes, weather, camping / lodging, wildlife, and scenic drives, check out the comprehensive Guide to Shenandoah National Park