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)
Best time of the year to do this hike for sure! Totally underestimated by the reviewers. I did this trail in reverse. Loved the the climb...... the ridge hiking was beautiful....beautiful forests...well maintained trail...summit was awesome.....stream crossings! What more can you ask from a hike?
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 02, 2013
I really liked the first 5-7 miles of this hike. We had some nice, challenging uphills, and the vista at the summit was truly phenomenal. With that said, the last .5-1 mile of this hike was a bit scary. Because of bad timing, my husband and I ended up hiking the treacherous, steep descent after the sun set. It was covered with leaves, loose rocks, and wood stairs, which all made returning to the parking area particularly difficult. Thankfully there were no twisted ankles, but I think we would have fared much worse without our hiking poles. So, although this was mostly a fun, beautiful hike, especially in the fall, I would make sure to leave ample time to complete the loop before the sun goes down, and for pete's sake, BRING YOUR HIKING POLES FOR THE LAST DESCENT.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Meant to hike the whole Buck Hollow to Mary's Rock trail. Ended up lost based off of the GPS coordinates. Look for the Rainbow Market barn-like structure on the left hand side if coming from the DC area. Trailhead is a half-mile tops on the left.
Even if you start from Skyline drive it is definitely a pleasant hike. We had colder than average temps for October and layered up. Shed a few layers on the way up. Awesome outcropping of rocks at the overlook and super picturesque at the overlook. Bring a lunch and there are some geo-caches up in the outcropping if you are into that.
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 01, 2013
Did this with my two two teenagers. It was hot and muggy and that first couple of miles was almost like a rain forest. Everything was humid and damp and there was no breeze. The hike is comfortable. It's a steady climb to Skyline Dr. About 1/2 way up we met a young couple coming down. In stopping to chat for a second I realized they were lost. They thought they were on a short pleasant stroll from Skyline Dr and instead were 1.5 miles into a strenuous hike on the wrong trail. I pulled out a topo map, showed them where they were, and reviewed their options. They chose to continue down and come back up Buck Ridge trail.
Mary's Rock was crowded, as you would expect on a holiday weekend.
The hike back down Buck's Ridge was uneventful. We passed the couple from the other side near the top. The first two miles are fairly flat, then it gets steep. That 1/2 mile of stairs is a killer though. My knees and ankles were in full revolt at the bottom. As we exited the stairs there was thunder booming and the sky was getting dark. We were in the car barely 60 seconds when the rain started.
Date of Hike: Monday, August 12, 2013
A nice, challenging hike with a good amount of elevation and no crowds before you hit the AT. This one is a bit hard on your knees, so a hiking staff or poles might be a good idea. There was a few reliable water sources before you hit the fork, which was nice to cool off in afterwards.
One thing that definitely stands out is how well-maintained this trail is. The attention to detail and craftsmanship stands out and makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Thanks to the trail crew for such great work and HU for providing such great resources as always.