The Jeremys Run Loop is a great opportunity for a 20+ mile training run in the mountains while seeking a break from the rocks of the Massanuttens or the tougher climbs elsewhere in Shenandoah National Park.
The run opens with a fairly rocky mile out on the Jeremys Run Trail, followed by the lengthy run up the Neighbor Mountain Trail to the Appalachian Trail (AT). Take the AT north to Jeremys Run Trail (mile 9)1, then up to the Elkwallow Wayside (mile 10) for aid from the store or snack bar in season (out of season there is a water spigot and vending machine next to the rest rooms).
The second half of the run takes you along the rolling Elkwallow Trail to the Mathews Arm campground (mile 12). At the campground, stick to the left side of the road and roll down on an old road to the Knob Mountain Trail (look for a sign on the left). Another long but even easier climb to the summit of Knob Mountain, then one of the best downhill runs anywhere to the Jeremys Run Trail and the return to the finish.
There are excellent swimming holes along the Jeremys Run Trail, fantastic for cooling off and cleaning up after a hot summertime run. Running repeats from Jeremys Run, first up Neighbor and then Knob, is a historical Western States training regimen, as it is reminiscent of the infamous three canyon sections of that 100 miler.
A note about parking
The trailhead is located on the east side of Vaughn Summit Road (Route 611) just north of the bridge over Jeremys Run. Parking is along Vaughn Summit Road, but please ensure all four tires are off the road.
From the Jeremys Run Trail there are several options to cut the run short by using the Knob Mountain Cutoff Trail or by returning on the Jeremys Run Trail itself (with its multitude of stream crossings over the last few miles). ↩