Shenandoah National Park - Big Run Portal / Brown Mountain Loop - October 2001
Six of us with the Wilmington Trail Club did this as a 2 day, ~13 mile trip on a nice weekend in October. The weekend we went is historically the height of the fall colors. But due to a lack of rain we missed the peak by at least a week, possibly two. We parked our cars at the Brown Mountain overlook at mile marker 77. We went down the Brown Mountain trail to link up with the Big Run Portal trail. Then we went south along the Big Run Portal trail and wound up making camp at an unmarked but established campsite on the left side of the trail about 1/2 mile past the intersection of the Paterson Ridge trail. For reference it was right after a stream crossing. It being late in the year, it got dark about 6PM. Of course nobody was tired that early so we sat around a citranella fire until 8PM. The next day we back tracked to the Paterson Ridge trail which heads back up to Skyline drive. This trail is the standard long uphill grind common in Shenandoah. After a short rest we followed the Appalachian trail back to our cars. There is one good vista on the AT in this section.
I'm too lazy to pull the pictures out and scan them in. I have included a scan of the trail map.
Big Run Portal / Brown Mountain Trail Map
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