This area was dramatically changed in June 1995 when 11.5 inches of rain triggered multiple landslides. A great hike for swimming holes and when the water is flowing there are two waterfalls on the Big Branch spur trail. Don’t expect much solitude on this hike as it is popular due to the swimming holes. The Sugar Hollow Dam was used in a scene at the beginning of the movie “Evan Almighty”.
There are two parking areas, one just a little beyond the Sugar Hollow Reservoir on the left on a gravel road and one 0.5 miles up the gravel road (room for about 8 cars). This portion was pretty rutted and had some huge rocks in the road. A car/truck with good clearance should have no problem getting to the 2nd parking area. We began the hike at the first parking area, plenty of spaces. From the 1st parking area, continue walking 0.5 miles on the North Fork Moorman’s Road (gravel road) until you reach the second parking area, the yellow-blazed North Fork Moorman’s River trail is straight ahead.
0.4 miles from the 2nd parking area you will reach a huge swimming hole, impressive even with the lack of water flow in the river in August. For the next 1.4 miles until the Big Branch spur trail intersection you will cross the river about 3 more times.
HU Note: In the Spring with good water flow, some of these crossings might be a little tricky. Good shoes and hiking poles would be beneficial.
Keep your eyes open for other swimming holes and some of the damage from the 1995 flood. At the intersection bear left and you will reach the 1st falls in about 70 yards. The more impressive larger falls is about another 80 yards upstream. Of course “impressive” was relative on our trip due to the time of year and lack of water in August. We have seen photos of it in the Spring and it is impressive. The falls would also have decent size swimming holes.
To return to the parking area, turn right at the intersection and retrace your steps. We explored many of the other swimming holes on the return trip.
HU Note: If you need an additional workout you could continue on the N.F. Moorman’s River trail by taking a left at the intersection, reaching Skyline Drive at Black Rock Gap in 3.7 miles.
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Reviews For The Moorman's River Hike (5 Most Recent)
Been hiking this trail a lot. The north trail to the waterfall is much better than the hike to blue hole. Not too many people and many swimming holes. You can find more private areas if you go off the beaten path. As a day hike, it is my favorite and easiest to get to from Charlottesville.
Date of Hike: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Used to go there in 1969 and never knew there was a hike. What did Lou Reed say?Those were different times.
Anyway we went yesterday not knowing there even was a hike and unsure about walking in the stream. After a series of fortuitous events we plunged into the water and walked to the Falls with our dog.
It was great, the waterfall was spectacular.The water was high, easy to wade but sort of anomalous in that most of the time when I have seen the Mooremans it is a trickle not a stream, today I'd call it a creek.
Yeah lotsa nice people and it was Mothers day. You gotta get your feet wet to see the falls but definitely worth it.
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 13, 2013
great hike with husband and child! lots of water to cross...luckily we went upstream by the parking lot areas and found a large tree to walk across before circling back to find the old road. Other crossing was across rocks. fun adventure! Wonderful stop at "blue hole"(as my husband remembers it from when he was a child) for lunch. could of spent more time there but daylight was ending... thankful for a day in January with nice weather!
Date of Hike: Saturday, June 11, 2011
This was a nice easy hike. It's not steep, and the trail is well maintained (albeit rocky in spots). I would heed the advice about the road in, and parking area- It's dirt, rocky and rutted as described. I wouldn't drive my Toyota in there, although many did.
There are three river crossings in all so wear shoes that can get wet. The second crossing is the swimming area. The water was wonderful!! Clean and clear. The rest of the trail was about 2 miles long to the "intersection", then 2.5 miles back to the car.
Garth Rd/Barracks Rd was beautiful and made getting there half the fun. It was a nice outing all around and I would go again. If you're an experienced hiker looking for a challenging experience, this wouldn't be for you. Weekend warriors and families should enjoy it.
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Hiking Sugar Hollow in September means you miss out on the falls, the swimming holes, although still pretty appealing, are shrunken, and river crossings are actually just rocky stretches of path. The river bed was completely dry, and the larger of the two falls was no more than a trickle, while the smaller was non-existent. In the spring, SH would be lovely, and this is definitely a great place to go for an outdoor swim (even now - there were plenty of folks taking advantage of the warm weekend.) Not difficult, but not stroller friendly or anything. As a nice bonus, dogs, which were previously forbidden here, are now allowed. Pleasant short hike, don't miss it if you live in the area!