Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail

I recently hiked the Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail and it’s a beautiful hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park. This 7.5-mile trail takes you through forests, alongside streams, and past cascading waterfalls.

Waterfall Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail

Trail Overview

This trail is rated as moderate in difficulty with a few steep sections that have you scrambling a bit, but what you will see along the way will make this hike well worth the effort.

One of the main attractions of the Doyles River Loop is the series of three cascading waterfalls known as Doyles River Falls. As you hike along the trail and you will come up on an overlook where you can see the falls in all their glory. The water cascades down in a series of drops, each one more beautiful than the last. You can even swim in the pools at the base of the falls if you’re feeling adventurous.

Waterfall Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail

Trailhead and Access

The trailhead is located off Skyline Drive, at milepost 81.1. The parking lot can fill up quickly during peak season, so it’s best to arrive early. And I got there just in time with only two spots left to park.

Another highlight of the trail is Jones Run Falls. This waterfall is a single drop of over 40 feet and is equally as impressive as Doyles River Falls. You can feel the mist from the waterfall on your face as you stand at the base and take in your surroundings.

Hiking Tips and Recommendations

Before embarking on any hike, it’s important to be aware of safety considerations. Weather can change quickly in the mountains, so be sure to check the forecast before heading out. And be mindful that there are some steep drop-offs and possibly slippery rocks.

I have an extra set of shoes, socks, and pants in my car because you will be crossing the water a few times and you are not crossing them without getting your feed wet. You could carry them with you as well if you don’t mind the extra weight. It’s also a good idea to have some hiking poles.

Trail Experience

The Doyles River Loop offers different experiences depending on the time of year and spring was in full swing when I did this hike. The entire Doyles River Loop took me about 4 hours with little breaks. I definitely recommend taking a snack break or just soaking your feet a bit in the refreshing water.

While I didn’t see any wildlife, the park is home to black bears, deer, and various bird species. You might even see a salamander or two if you’re lucky.

The Doyles River Loop via Appalachian Trail is a great experience that offers stunning views, breathtaking waterfalls, and a true wilderness experience.

I am looking forward to doing this one again in the future! Have you done this hike? How as your experience?

German by birth, living, hiking, and camping in the US. Addicted to Coffee. Enjoys going to concerts. Also, Artist + Author. I love to encourage you to explore beyond your backyard. 

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