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)
Been meaning to hike this for some time, but always waited for a weekday to do it as I'm not a fan of crowded trails. I got to the parking area at around 12:30pm and there were a few other cars. On weekends, it will be packed so come early. Decided to do this clockwise instead, and it was very steep shortly after turning on to the Buck Ridge trail, though there are now steps put it so the ascent/descent is not difficult as described above. I'm an avid hiker and on this part I had to take a few breaks! The uphill does not stop until you reach the top of Mary's Rock. I ran into only a couple of hikers coming out until I got to the yellow trail, then there were several groups and individuals. The view is BEAUTIFUL at Mary's Rock and worth all the effort, I promise. Here I met a fellow local from Hawaii - never would've expected that here!! - so we hiked back out together heading the other way, ending at the large Thornton Gap parking area. From there I got a short ride back to the trail at the Meadow Springs parking area (mahalos, T!) and hiked back out to my car along the Buck Hollow trail. Great hike overall any time of year.
Date of Hike: Sunday, December 06, 2015
Really enjoyed this hike. Starts on a nice forest trail next to the river, and then climbs...don't get much of a break until you get to the parking lot, so I agree with the difficulty. Like many other people, parking lot was fairly full (its very small though) but not many people to be found! My only complaint was that the blazing on the buck ridge trail was not great, and that I personally liked the buck hollow trail better (would be curious to try this as an in and out hike next time.)
Date of Hike: Thursday, November 05, 2015
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.