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Buck Hollow / Mary's Rock - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,600 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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The trailhead parking area is 0.6 miles from SNP boundary. 38.65788, -78.28085

The Buck Hollow/Mary's Rock loop in the SNP can be broken into two hikes; or done as one large loop. The Buck Hollow/Buck Ridge main portion of the hike offers much more solitude than the section from Skyline Drive up to Mary's Rock. However, both offer great scenery.

From the parking area on US211 head up the Buck Hollow Trail crossing Buck Hollow stream and in 0.2 miles come to the intersection of the Buck Ridge Trail. Stay right remaining on the blue blazed Buck Hollow Trail.

The Buck Hollow Trail climbs the valley crossing the stream several times before becoming steeper and arriving at Skyline Drive and the Hazel Mountain parking area. At this point you can either continue up to Mary's Rock or shorten the hike by 3.0 miles and turn left on the yellow blazed Hazel Mountain Trail.

To continue up to Mary's Rock cross Skyline Drive, walk 50 yards left uphill and turn right onto the Meadow Spring Trail. Head uphill on the Meadow Spring Trail for 0.6 miles passing ruins of an old homestead about halfway before meeting the intersection of the white blazed Appalachian Trail and ridge line.

Turn right on the AT following it for 0.8 miles before arriving at the junction of the Mary's Rock Lookout Trail. Turn left uphill on the Mary's Rock Lookout Trail for 0.1 miles and come to the Mary's Rock vista.

To return, retrace your steps back along the AT and down the Meadow Spring Trail to the Hazel Mountain parking area on Skyline Drive. To continue stay right through the closed gate onto the yellow blazed Hazel Mountain Trail and in 0.5 miles come to the intersection of the Buck Ridge Trail.

Go straight on the blue blazed Buck Ridge Trail as it continues downward on Buck Ridge. The last 0.5 miles of the Buck Ridge Trail is very steep on loose rock so watch your footing. Arrive back at the intersection of the Buck Hollow Trail you ascended earlier 2.5 miles from where you left the Hazel Mountain Trail.

Turn right on the Buck Ridge Trail and arrive back at US211 and the parking area in 0.2 miles.

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Hiker Reviews For The Buck Hollow Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Buck Hollow hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Kyle Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 08, 2017
There are 610 steps in place at the end of the Buck Ridge Trail, where it meets back up with Hazel Mountain Trail, if anyone is wondering :P

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2017
A really pretty day-hike in Shenandoah National Park, with lots of varied terrain and killer views at the top of Mary’s Rock. Popular (read: crowds) at the top, but combining the Buck Hollow loop along with it makes up for the lack of solitude at Mary’s Rock itself. Read more about our hike and see lots of photos here:

By: RCH Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 07, 2016
Leaves have not started to change but it was enjoyable. Did not pass a sole up or down the trails until I crossed over skyline drive to Mary's Rock. Although I did come upon a bear 2/3 up the right path but I soon I made my presents known the bear took off. Took the opposite path down which was an easy hike until what appeared to to be a 1/4 mile of man made steps down which took there toll on my knees and feet. Lots of waters in the streams. Great hike!!

By: Kilandra Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 31, 2016
I have hiked this trail many times, but I wanted to let folks know to be careful especially in the first part of this trail near the rushing creek. Last Sunday, I and my pup "snuck up" on a sleeping bear that was barely a foot off the trail while ascending beside the creek no more than 30 minutes from the parking lot at the bottom of the hollow. The bear appeared young or maybe female, no more than 85-100lbs, and we seemed to have woken the bear up. Its hard to hear with the rushing creek so if you go through here, take a friend and chat it up! Fortunately the bear was not aggressive (just curious and probably caught off guard) as she went immediately into a tree to check us out. I stood my ground and yelled at her and she quickly ran off. But it was a terribly scary situation to have her within 10 feet of us in an instant. So note to any solo hikers, sing or do something to make some noise through this area!

By: Shawn R. Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 11, 2016
This was a decent hike with a great view, but it was fairly difficult. I don't mind a difficult hike, but I felt there was little reward. The view at the top of Mary's Rock was impressive, but it was the only thing to look at during the entire 9 mile hike. We finished the hike in just over 4.5 hours and followed the suggested route. This may not be the best route considering how many loose rocks are on the suggested way back down Buck Ridge. We did not see a single person on the trail east of Skyline Drive. The only life we saw on that section of trail was a groundhog, a few frogs, and some ticks. Plenty of bear scat around though! There were about 10 people on Mary's Rock even on a Monday, so we ate lunch at on the the rock outcroppings south of the Rock. I would recommend this hike only to those who don't mind a little extra work for a solid view. The stream was fairly unimpressive and did not allow for any real swimming opportunities (regardless of how cold the water was). Overall, I would say the ratings are fine, except maybe a 2 for streams and I didn't see any good campsites so I believe a 2 for camping is a bit generous. On the other hand, the trail was easy to follow and at no point did we feel we did not know where we were.

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