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)
Loved all the fall leaves and that there was really no one on the trail. Ran into three people the entire loop. Mary's rock was slightly more crowded and the view was lovely! You could see for miles! Loved that Buck Hallow had small streams running next to the trail and the crossing were not bad at all. Some steep sections climbing up and descending the trail. The parking lot was small, but found it no problem as soon as we entered SNP. Overall was a great hike!
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 31, 2015
Fantastic hike for the fall. Brisk but not too cold. Leaves turning many shades of red/orange/brown. Recommend starting early. Arrived at 7:30 am and didn't see anyone for the first hour. Lots of wildlife include three deer that were less than 10 feet from me...oh, and one black bear! Sunrise and views from Mary's rock were incredible. Parking lot on 211 was full when I finished at 11:30 am. Overall, great hike. Would definitely do it again.
Date of Hike: Sunday, August 09, 2015
Arrived at parking lot at 8:15am, only two other cars there so no problem parking. Decided to go up the Buck Ridge trail first, and saw a bear in a tree right off the bat! Buck Ridge was nice, very peaceful and we didn't see anyone until just about at Skyline Drive. After that, the foot traffic was busier but not bad, even Mary's Rock wasn't that crowded, maybe ten people at any given time. Spent almost an hour up there, eating and exploring. Cool views to the South, too, if you bushwhack a bit. Quiet again on the way down Buck Hollow, only passed a few people. My dog did stir up a nest of yellow jackets in a tree stump though, so be careful of that. Overall, a good hike that would be cool to do in winter when Skyline is closed and you might have Mary's Rock mostly to yourself. Took us about 5.5 hours, even with the long break on top...If you didn't have to cross Skyline, this hike would easily be five stars.
Date of Hike: Sunday, July 26, 2015
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!