Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run

 

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Description: This is a 14.2 mile Strenuous Circuit. Many in the literature describe this hike in a counter-clockwise direction, descending along the creek and then up the mountain. I feel one gets the fullest effect of walking along a moving body of water when doing so up-stream. Not only is it more optically esthetic but it is safer.You don't have to turn your head so much to view the stream as you try to negotiate a rocky trail. For these reasons I describe this hike clockwise.

The initial climb to the ridge is steep but short. You then descend down the AT to Neighbor Mt., climb up to its peak and then descend along some really nice switchbacks to the valley. You now have the rest of your day to slowly meander up the stream, crossing it some 14 times along the way. There is a short climb at the end to get out of the valley.

In early spring the Jeremy's Run Trail is lined with pockets of Spring Beauties. I've not seen them myself but have been told there are large displays of Pink Lady's Slippers there around Mothers Day.

The hike starts at the back of the Elkwallow Picnic Area NOT at the Elkwallow Wayside as indicated by the Google Maps.

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Trail Notes: From the picnic area walk down the white-blazed spur trail to the junction of the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. Turn left and at about 0.26 miles come to the junction with blue-blazed Jeremy's Run Trail. Bear left staying on the AT, climbing to the top of the ridge.

Once you've gained the ridge your walk will be mostly flat for a while. At about 1.9 miles after the last trail junction reach the junction with blue-blazed Thornton River Trail.

Continue straight, descending to a saddle in the ridge. At 1.4 miles after passing the Thornton River Trail arrive at a white-blazed spur trail leading to the left and a Byrd's Nest shelter area. Continue straight. Shortly the AT will bear left at a signpost and the beginning of yellow-blazed Neighbor Mt. Trail. Continue straight on the Neighbor Mt. Trail.

Neighbor Mt. Trail (total length of about 4.9 miles) climbs up and over 3 knobs, offering views to your left and right, before descending along a series of switchbacks to blue-blazed Jeremy's Run Trail. As you descend you will get nice views of Knob Mt., the Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Mt. and Three Sisters, a series of descending peaks on the western edge of Neighbor Mt.

Turn right onto Jeremy's Run Trail and begin a relaxing 5-mile walk up the creek valley. As noted in the description, there are 14 crossings along the way. Some are easy and only a few occasionally difficult. The severity depends on the time of the year and the amount of recent precipitation.

There are no more trail junctions until after you climb out of the valley. Soon after that you will pass the intersection of blue-blazed Knob Mt. Trail on your left. Continue straight. Shortly after that come to the junction with the AT. This time turn left and then right onto the spur trail to get back to the Elkwallow Picnic area.

Critique this outing

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Name: Hard Core, Wooly Bully, Cognac Jack                                        Hike: Neighbor Mountain-Jeremy Run

Date(s): 08/31 to 09/01/13                                                                    Rating: 4

 

Critique: We did this as an overnight backpack during the Labor Day weekend. Accessing SNP at the Thornton Gap entry station, we filed the obligatory back country camping permit, and then proceeded to the Elkwallow Picnic Area to start the trip. Following the Jeremy's Run cutoff trail, and then left onto the AT, we headed south for several miles, at times close enough to Skyline Drive to hear the traffic. The AT gently climbs and descends along this stretch. Proceeding along the Neighbor Mt. trail, it was a constant climb to the high point, with not much in the way of overlooks. We did see an 18" timber rattlesnake, which was spotted by the "sweep" hiker. She has sharp eyes! The descent down to Jeremy's Run offered nice views of the Massanuttens, but less shade as a fairly large section had recently burned. Turning uphill to follow the run, we passed the waterfall site (which had been taken by a young couple) and proceeded to a grassy camp site on the left side of the trail. Within a few minutes after stopping, a passing hiker (also headed up the run) reported seeing bears a "few minutes back". We must have just missed them. With rumbles of thunder from the south, we hurriedly made camp and set up the bear bag hang, and then waited out the shower. The storm provided little relief from the hot and humid day. At sundown the owls started up, first in the distance but then with a large owl stopping directly above the campsite. These guys are loud! Continuing the next morning we crossed Jeremy's Run about 20 times, fortunately the low water made for rock hops. Highlights included seeing a large caterpillar that could swim like a seahorse, brook trout, an interesting conversation with a thru-hiker, and an almost-dead raccoon. Back to the car at 11am, we cleaned up (running water at the picnic area!), enjoyed blackberry milkshakes at the Elkwallow Concession, and then headed back home. This makes for a great overnight trip, just the right length at 15 miles, gentle grades and smooth trails, and within reasonable driving distance. The map and trail notes are spot-on.

 

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Name: Terry                                                                                                             Hike: Neighbor Mountain
Date: Summer of 1985                                                                                           Rating: 5

Critique: I hiked the Neighbor Mountain - Jeremy's Run Trail nearly every weekend in the summer of 1985, the year I quit smoking. The Shenandoah Park guidebook had the trail described counterclockwise, so that is the way I did it. One time I vowed to walk the whole hike without sitting down to take a break and I managed to do it. The trick was to take baby steps while ascending Neighbor Mountain; otherwise I would have never made it. I recall I took two half-gallon plastic canteens of water cris-crossed on my chest under my arms, with a small backpack. By the end of the hike I had nearly finished the gallon of water. There are some rocks called the gendarmes on Neighbor mountain, notorious at the time for rattlesnakes. An exhilarating feeling when done and a fantastic aerobic workout, highly recommended.

 

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Name: Tim                                                                                                                 Hike: Jeremy's Run
Date: 12-13 June 2010                                                                                           Rating: 4

Critique: Terrific hike. Took a Boy Scout Troop of 9 scouts and 4 adults on an overnight hike. First day did 10 miles in about 6 hours, the second day about 5 miles in 3 hours. It is a challenging hike, but worth it. We took one 5th grader that struggled with a backpack...the older Scouts were fine. Directions were fine, creek crossings easily done going from rock to rock. Agree with the counter clockwise hike for an overnight...allow the longest hike on the first day.

 

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Name: Jeff                                                                                                                 Hike: Neighbor Mt. - Jeremy's Run
Date: 11/ 15-16/2008                                                                                            Rating: 4

Critique: We took a Boy Scout patrol of 13 and 14 year olds on an overnight trip. We hiked it clockwise, ie. from Elkwallow Picnic area south on the Appalachian trail to Neighbor Mt. Trail, etc. First day was a total of 9 miles in about 7 hours with a half hour for lunch. We camped at the waterfalls about .4 miles up Jeremy's Run. Nice level site but very rocky. There had been two days of rain before we started and heavy rain while we hiked on Saturday, but we were able to negotiate the stream crossing on Sunday. However, between the uphill grade and the stream crossings, it took us 6 hours, including an hour for lunch, to hike the 5 miles up Jeremy's Run. Since the leaves were off the trees, we had wonderful views of panoramas and of the Run and cascades. Great hike, but be prepared for the 14 stream crossings.

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Name: Larry                                                                                                              Hike: Neighbor Mt - Jeremys Run
Date: 9/21/08                                                                                                          Rating: 4

Critique: Varied inclines, declines and flat. Neighbor Mtn., Trail, a bit overgrown, and some branches. Streams easily crossed today. Few hikers. Time 4 3/4 hrs. with short breaks. Directions generally good, except that you turn right onto Neighbor Mtn. Trail from AT.

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Name: Carol Branscome                                                                                         Hike: Neighbor Mt - Jeremy's Run
Date: 7/18/08                                                                                                          Rating: 4.5

Critique: On a beautiful summer Friday, did the longer loop clockwise as a day hike. Saw only 4 other hikers all on the AT section and a bear on Neighbor Mt. Loved the Neighbor Mt. ridge part of this hike and plan to do it as an out and back during fall foliage. Definitely rated as one of our top hikes in Shenandoah.

 

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Name: Tony                                                                                                               Hike: Neighbor Mountain-Jeremy's Run
Date: 3/15/2008                                                                                                     Rating: 4

 

Critique: Beautiful hike! I agree with Midatlantichikes.com that doing the hike clockwise, and upstream on Jeremy's Run, is more scenic and probably safer. There are also many nice pools along the run, with a great campsite at the top of a set of falls 0.6 miles upstream from the Neighbor Mountain Trail intersection. Make sure to put this hike on your list!

 

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 Name: Jeff                                                                                                                Hike: Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run
Date: 09/2006                                                                                                          Rating: 4

Critique: Good, long hike. Great overnight trip along the run. Going again tomorrow morning (10/13/07). Decent views on the mountain, great views along the stream. Overall 4 out of 5.

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Name: Amy                                                                                                               Hike: Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run
Date: 09/15/07
                                                                                                       Rating: 5

Critique: My daughter and I (and dog) hiked the Neighbor Mountain trail as an out-n-back walk, from the Skyline Drive down to Jeremy's Run, and back.  Beautiful breezy weather; great views of Page Valley and Massanutten off to the west.  Not much water in Jeremy's Run, but still a very pleasant rest stop before beginning the walk back up to the top of Neighbor Mtn. Along the way, we saw one person, two deer, two turkeys, and one tiny little snake - - only about 3 inches long.  Also plenty of purple asters in bloom.  Great walk!

 

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Name: Mike Stinefelt                                                                                               Hike: Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run
Date: 4/21/07-4/22/07                                                                                        Rating: 5

Critique: We did this hike as an overnighter on what turned out to be the best weekend of the year.

We left from northern Virginia at about 10am and we arrived at the trail at noon.  We set out onto the trail with hopes of a great weekend hike and we were not disappointed.  Our first day totaled just over 8 miles of mostly flat hiking along the AT and a nice long downhill stretch to to Jeremy's Run where we would set up camp.  There were about 4 other groups that had set up camp and we found a great site about 1/2 mile up the stream.

The second day did not disappoint either.  We were able to do all the stream crossings easily by hoping from rock to rock or simply by using fallen trees.  We got back to our cars at noon and enjoyed a nice slow drive back down Skyline drive.

I would highly recommend this hike for a short overnighter or a long day hike.  I know that I will be back.

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Name: Matt Sullivan                                                                                             Hike: Neighbor Mt/Jeremy's Run
Date: 6/20/06                                                                                                       Rating: 5

Critique: Great hike.
We started at the Elkwallow area.  From there we hiked the AT to the Neighbor Mt Trail and down to Jeremys Run Trail.  We camped by a great waterfall (about 10ft high in 3 falls) about a mile up from the bottom.  It was a wonderful campsite, big enough for a large group. Next morning we had a leisurely breakfast.  Keegan (9 y.o.) threw his hook in the water.  He didn't catch anything, although we did see some nice trout in other sections of the run.
The hike out was about 5 miles from our campsite back to Elkwallow.

I have to say, the first day hiking was more than our 9yo wanted. It was about 10 mi of serious hiking. He was exhausted and complaining by the time we saw the water.  But after 5 minutes swimming in the first hole we found he was ready for more.

Great weather, no bugs (that's why I like to go in June).  Recommended.

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Name: Greg and Sarah                                                                                            Hike: Neighbor Mt / Jeremy's Run

Date: 3/31/07                                                                                                          Rating: 5

Critique: As we drove through the Park we were amazed at the amount of damaged caused by the fall ice storm. We had read on the website about trail blockages due to the downed trees so we didn't know what to expect. As we started our hike, it was apparent that someone had been through and maintained the Appalachian Trail. All the debris had been cut and cleared leaving a nice, clear path. The Neighbor Mt. Trail was a little less maintained and around the summit area (both ascent and descent) there were trees down on the trail. Every blockage was easily traveled around, under or over and we never lost site of the trail. Jeremy's Run Trail was in great shape with only a few areas where trees were down. The stream crossings were excellent with lots of stones available so we didn't get wet. We had planned to stay the night at the campsite mentioned in the previous critique but with the threat of thunderstorms and a Good Luck from a fellow hiker, we decided to hoof it out of there !  Needless to say we hiked the whole loop carrying our 30 pound packs and I don't think it ever rained. It was a great hike and we would have to agree with walking upstream. Thanks again for the great website!

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