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)
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.
Date of Hike: Thursday, July 17, 2014
Did this hike Clockwise...Buck Ridge first...nice views...
Marys Rock is actually one Rock...the one above the AT...before the cutoff trail...you'll see it ascending if you do Marys Rock on the AT from Meadow Spring...but you have to do a little work to get there...nobody does it...there is a trail below the scramble...use it...you can get there...just do it...
Met a hiking buddy at the Meadow Spring Trailhead...at the first switchback just across Skyline Drive...a Bear...after a minute or so he/she proceeded up the trail and I politely let him/her get a five minute head start...never saw the bear again...BUT...ran across a thru hiker who saw another bear on the AT just below Marys Rock...
Buck Hollow on the way back was nice...typical walk in the woods...with a stream...
Glad to get the RIdge first...tough at the beginning but a nice ascent...
Date of Hike: Saturday, July 05, 2014
Did this hike on a beautiful and unusually cooler July day. Got to the parking lot around 11 am and their were a couple of spots still open even on a holiday weekend. The hike was as expected. The hike up to Skyline Drive is consistently heading up hill and we met very few people on this portion of the trail. Once at Skyline Drive, you have to cross the road to get to the other part of the trail. Be careful though, you have to cross the road with a blind spot on your left. The hike to the vista was great, and was one of the better views I have seen in Shenandoah. The hike back was interesting. The trail you take back to your vehicle was pretty grown up by Shenandoah standards. You can tell it does not get alot of foot traffic. As others have said, the final .5 of the trail is very steep. Overall, a great trail.
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2014
I definitely enjoyed this hike. Spring flowers and leaves are making their way up from the hollow, and it's still early enough that you can see a big difference from lower to higher elevation. Great hike through the hollow on the way up, the stream was full and roaring.
It was a bit shocking to go from a trail with very few other people on it to the Mary's Rock trail which had a steady stream of people in both directions. The final overlook was pretty crowded... I can't say I enjoy getting to the end of a hike and hearing loud discussions of peoples' coworkers' marital problems. Oh well.
The trail back down the ridge is great, very well maintained with a few surprise breaks in the trees to see some nearby hills. The last descent is, as previous reviews noted, pretty steep. The stairs are nice but there are a lot of them.
Overall, excellent hike except for the disparate levels of solitude on different sections.