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Brown Mountain Trail

Difficult
 5.0 (4)

A sometimes steep and rocky trail leading to some of the best views in the park.


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Map Key

5.0

Miles

8.1

KM

75%

Runnable

2,840' 866 m

High

1,284' 391 m

Low

559' 171 m

Up

2,115' 645 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

This trail starts from the break in the wall at the Brown Mountain Overlook. It starts descending fairly steeply following the ridge line to the north and west. As the trail begins to level out, look for the blue-blazed Rocky Mountain Run Trail that heads off to the left of the trail.

From this point, the trail begins to ascend, gradually at first and then fairly strenuously, switchbacking up the ridge to the saddle close to the high points. Look for some brief but rewarding views of the Blue Ridge through breaks in the trees along this top stretch. The higher the trail gets, the more dispersed the trees and vegetation become, making for better views along the saddle.

Continuing further, the trail gradually dips between the two summits of Rocky Mountain and then levels out. As you begin to ascend again, look to the ridge crest on the left. When views of the sky begin to peak between the base of the trees, you've reached the best view of this trail. Stroll over to the ridge crest at the top of a talus slope. Here, you can see back to the Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive where the trail began.

The trail continues along the edge of the ridge, almost entirely downward, with some fairly steep sections to be careful of. A few tight, downward switchbacks will mark the final half mile left before the trail ends at the Big Run Portal Trail.

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Larry W. Brown

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 4 votes

#521

Overall
  5.0 from 4 votes
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Trail Rankings

#11

in Virginia

#521

Overall
80 Views Last Month
2,550 Since Apr 28, 2016
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Photos

Mushrooms along the Brown Mountain Trail.
Apr 28, 2016 near Elkton, VA
Big Run Portal is worth the effort.
Jun 13, 2020 near Grottoes, VA
Big Run. with permission from rootboy
Apr 28, 2016 near Massanu…, VA
Big Run drainage from Big Run Valley Overlook. with permission from rootboy
Apr 28, 2016 near Grottoes, VA
Looking toward the talus cliffs on Rockytop Mountain. with permission from rootboy
Apr 28, 2016 near Massanu…, VA
Looking out from the Brown Mountain Trail.
Apr 28, 2016 near Grottoes, VA

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