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)
We did only the Mary's rock part of this hike yesterday. Temps were great, low clouds kept things cool but sticky. We parked at Meadow Springs lot at the top of the Buck Hollow trail convergence. The hike up from the parking lot is a moderate one, mostly wooded, not too many striking features but a nice walk in the woods. Reaching the summit was cool as you come out from behind the rocks at the top and to your left you are met with the tremendous Shenandoah Valley view. I like that as it's kind of like coming out from behind the curtain, you don't really get a sneak peak until you step out. This hike was fine for people in average shape and for younger children.
Date of Hike: Thursday, November 22, 2012
Hiked this as described on Hiking Upward with my Golden Retriever on Thanksgiving Day. Surprisingly, there were several other hikers on the trails. This hike was definitely a challenge. By the time we got up to Skyline, I didn't think I would do the Mary's Rock trail, but we rested and were good for time, so we headed up to the overlook - great view and worth the relatively short incline. We rested again at Skyline before heading back down Buck Ridge. The end of this trail is murder - it is ridiculously steep, even with the "steps." It was very hard on my knees. I don't think it would be any easier going up. Next time I would just go back down Buck Hollow. My dog loved this trail - he especially enjoyed wading in the streams at the beginning/end of the loop. He was asleep in the back seat of the car before we even pulled out of the parking lot.
Date of Hike: Sunday, November 11, 2012
I chose this hike primarily for the location. Buck Hollow is an excellent hike for several different reasons. First, being early November, most, if not all, of the leaves have fallen to the ground and the view at the summit is breathtaking. This particular day the weather peaked at roughly 70 degrees F. Secondly, the trail is very well manicured and marked. Third, it is diverse! There are streams, great views, solitude (it was a holiday weekend and we only saw a few hikers the entire time.) And lastly, it is challenging. By the time you reach the Summit you have experienced a great deal of exercise.
Tips: Once you get to the road at the top of Buck Hollow Hike (where the parking lot is located), you can cross the street and continue upward to the Summit. If time isn't permitting (as in this case because of the shorter days), you can see an excellent view where this trail connects to the AT if you take a slight left instead of continuing right to Mary's. The view is amazing! Also, we took our dog - This trail is definitely dog friendly!
We saw some bear scat. So, there are definitely some furry beasts roaming this trail. No sights of any actually bear though.
Enjoy! It's a great hike!!
Date of Hike: Friday, November 09, 2012
Mary's Rock is always one of my favorite hikes. When we left at 0830 this morning it was chilly, about 36 degrees. When we topped Mary's Rock it was 22 degrees but Sunny. We spent about 45 min on top enjoying the magnificent views. The trails are in great shape, all recent blowdowns have been cleared. It even looked like someone shoveled the snow off the trail. I definitely agree this is a 4 in difficulty, I wore my heart rate monitor and it said I burned 3900 calories. I do not know who maintains the Buck Ridge Trail, but THANK YOU!!!! The stairs downhill are awesome.
Date of Hike: Monday, October 22, 2012
It was a beautiful day and the foliage was marvelous, though a little past peak. Lunch at Mary's Rock included a very colorful panorama. We chose the counterclockwise route...the hike up on the Buck Hollow trail was fine, as well as much of the way down the Buck Ridge trail. Part way down the ridge trail, a hiker coming up told us he had seen a bear near the trail. We continued down, but with much more caution. No bear. The several hundred stair steps at the bottom were a surprise. The next time we will try going up these stairs early in hike, rather than going down them at the end of the hike.