“A fairly strenuous ridgeline trail out to Rockytop and beyond to the Big Run Portal Trail.”
— Larry W. Brown
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To access this trail, use the parking area at Browns Gap and head north on the white-blazed AT for around a half mile. Look for the Big Run Loop Trail
heading off to the left. Take this blue-blazed trail for two-thirds of a mile until the junction with and start of the Rockytop Trail.
Start on the trail as it heads gradually uphill and then dips downhill near the junction with the Austin Mountain Trail
. Continue right at the fork to stay on this trail as it bends northward keeping a fairly level and manageable grade.
Once the trail passes the Lewis Peak Trail
, it begins to descend along the ridge line toward the locally acknowledge Rockytop Peak. The trail skirts around the west side of the peak, switchbacking up toward the talus slopes above.
From the north side of the peak, the trail begins to descend along the ridge with a few switchbacks ending 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