“A scenic but challenging trail with views, wildflowers, and beautiful fall colors.
— Larry W. Brown
Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The trail starts from Skyline Drive at the Big Run Overlook and descends by switchbacks. After two-thirds of a mile, it switches back sharply to the left and swings around a branch of Eppert Hollow. In the winter with the leaves off the trees, there are views across the hollow to Patterson Ridge, about a mile away, with parts of Rocky Mountain and Brown Mountain visible beyond it. The trail reaches a ridge crest at 1.2 miles, descends along the crest, and then levels off. (In spring, look for dwarf Iris here.) After a final switchback to the left, the trail crosses a stream. There are some very large trees here, and the forest is open and spacious.
Continuing on the trail, you'll come to a fork where you'll want to take a left to stay on the Big Run Loop Trail. The trail branching to the right heads down to Big Run. After about 1.3 miles, you'll reach a trail crossing on the ridge crest. (The trail ahead descends 0.3 mile to the Madison Run fire road. The Rockytop Trail
, to the right, goes to the lower end of Big Run.) Turn left, and the trail continues to climb the crest of the Blue Ridge before a short descent to its end point at the AT.
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
Flora & Fauna
Keep an eye open for a variety of wildflowers including dwarf iris. The Big Run Valley is home to plenty of wildlife as well including many small lizards that you can spot if you keep your eyes open.