Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run
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
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.
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.
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.
Hike: Neighbor Mountain
Hike: Jeremy's Run
Hike: Neighbor Mt. - Jeremy's Run
Hike: Neighbor Mt - Jeremys Run
Hike: Neighbor Mt - Jeremy's Run
Hike: Neighbor Mountain-Jeremy's Run
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!
Hike: Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run
Name: Mike Stinefelt
Neighbor Mountain/Jeremy's Run
Neighbor Mt/Jeremy's Run
Name: Greg and Sarah Hike: Neighbor Mt / Jeremy's Run