“An old fire road steeped in history providing a gradual but long route to the west park boundary.”
— Larry W. Brown
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Madison Run was named for a wealthy settler who, in about 1750, built an estate called Madison Hall near its mouth.
Around the same time, Benjamin Brown and his son, also Benjamin Brown, started to purchase land around the western part of Albemarle County. This included more than 6,000 acres on both sides of what is now Doyles River. With these properties, the Browns became one of the most important families in that part of the county.
In 1805, Brightberry Brown (a son/grandson of Benjamin Brown) and William Jarman built a turnpike road across the Blue Ridge (hence Browns Gap). For a number of years, this road was one of the major routes between the Shenandoah Valley and Richmond to bring produce and goods back and forth.
The turnpike has now become a park fire road. This section, Madison Run Road, heads down the west side, off Skyline Drive at Browns Gap. The route descends around five miles to the park boundary, where the road becomes SR 663. This lower end of the Madison Run hollow is worth exploring for visitors who have the time and fitness level for this longer distance.
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