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.
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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Reviews For The Buck Hollow Hike (5 Most Recent)
Fantastic rockin' view at Mary's Rock. Did the hike as described and saw people only after crossing Skyline Drive on the way to Mary's rock. Buck Hollow Trail is beautiful with little streams it starts out with a gradual incline but quickly becomes steep. As we made our way back via Buck Ridge Trail, we thought we got lost as this trail is very flat for most of the beginning section... ...we were expecting it to start descending to get to the Buck Hollow parking lot. And then voila, the trail just drops dramatically as you descend actual stairs that just seem to plummet!!!
If driving on 211 West, the parking lot is on the left just after the HeathStone school.
Date of Hike: Sunday, July 12, 2015
This was a good hike overall. I started out around 9:30 and was back to my car by 1:30, and I probably spent 30 minutes by Mary's Rock. The parking area (which does not require entry into the park) was half-full when I got there but I didn't see a soul anywhere along Buck Hollow/Buck Ridge. I'm thinking it might be a popular starting point for back-country camping. I did the entire hike as written out here. The Buck Hollow trail was easy to follow as you gained elevation and for the first half of it you are constantly by small streams (with some falls) if you like to hear running water while you hike. Coupled with the empty trail and I found this very peaceful. Once you cross Skyline and start the hike up to Mary's Rock, however, the trail was considerably more crowded I saw probably 40 people total (though one was a group of 20!). There is a parking lot on Skyline by the intersection and outlet of Buck Hollow and Hazel Mountain trails that was full. The view from Mary's Rock was great but it did get crowded, I only stayed so long as I talked with some thru-hikers. The loop back on Hazel Mountain/Buck Ridge was a nicely forested path that got steep fast by the end. Possibilities to swim right by the parking area, if you are interested!
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 30, 2015
Did the hike as described. The first leg up to Skyline was tough in places...not much to see but probably better in the fall. Got lucky on Mary's Rock with clouds covering Thornton's Gap...spectacular and unexpected view. Buck Ridge was a nice walk. Very steep in places, and the last downhill was hundreds of log steps on a very steep grade. Very impressive and kudos to the trail crews who put that together. Flowers were blooming everywhere on the Buck Ridge Trail.
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 07, 2015
Two friends and I decided to hike up to Mary's Rock. Originally we were going to do the whole trail but last minute we decided to start on Skyline Drive. I'm so happy that we did because we were not prepared to hike on snow/ice- which the trail is covered in. I was alright in my hiking boots but there were definitely some sections that I was slipping on. The view was amazing even in the winter but the wind was cutting. To read more and to see some pictures visit my review here: http://www.appalachianlove.com/2015/02/hiking-marys-rock.html
A K the Hiker
Date of Hike: Friday, July 18, 2014
What a nice hike! Thoroughly enjoyed this hike, with a friend and my dog. We only went up and down Buck Hollow Trail, and did not go up to Skyline Drive. I still thought it was worth the hour-and-a-half drive it took to get there. The stream was beautiful and cool, and my pup and I played in it like little kids.Thank goodness we ran into just one other group, and they were ahead of us on the way down by just a few yards, as it was they who spotted quite a surprise: a mama bear and her two cubs! It was very cool, and we stayed back and let her have her space with her babies. She soon came down from the tree all three of them had climbed pretty quickly upon hearing us humans turn the corner right up on them. I backed off quickly due to having the dog. No worries, and we gave her plenty of time to get her family away from us before we carried on. It was a wonderful sight! :))). This occurred at the beginning of the lower third of Buck Hollow Trail, heading down towards Rt. 211.