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Madison Run Fire Road, Shenandoah National Park


Elevation: 1364 ft.

The Madison Fire Road connects Grottoes with the Skyline Drive. The road which is closed to public vehicles as it is a fire road for emergency purposes, makes for an enjoyable hike and runs 10.1 miles out and back to the main street. This road, like many sites along this loop, is at its best in spring and early summer when numerous breeding birds return from their winter haunts in the tropics. In spring, search for black-and-white, hooded, and worm-eating warblers, American redstart, Louisiana waterthrush, scarlet tanager, and rose-breasted grosbeak especially as the trail nears the ridge top. Other species that can be encountered along the way include red-bellied, downy, hairy and pileated woodpeckers, eastern wood-pewee, red-eyed vireo and eastern towhee. Ruffed grouse are always a possibility to see walking across the road. Butterfly species noted in this area include spicebush, tiger swallowtail, and red-spotted purple. The road also is a veritable act magnet for reptiles. Fence lizards commonly scurry through the adjacent leaf litter and eastern garter and black rat snakes are likely to be found casually sunning themselves on the warm road. Timber rattlesnakes may also be encountered in this trail, so be careful where you step!


Location: Between Browns Gap Rd and Skyline Dr, Grottoes, VA 24441

This trail can be accessed at either of its two ends. Head east from central Grottoes on Browns Gap Rd/SR 663 to access an entrance also searchable as “Furnace Mtn. – Austin trail” on Google Maps. Additionally, there is an entrance point/parking area off Skyline Dr at (38.240581, -78.710719) searchable as “Browns Gap Parking” on Google Maps.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: Jim Shaberl, 540-999-3500
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset; admission free

Birds Recently Seen at Madison Run Fire Road, Shenandoah National Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Eastern Whip-poor-will
  • Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • American Crow
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse

Seasonal Bird Observations


  • Camping
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Hiking Trails
  • Parking