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Nicholson Hollow Trail - SNP, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
8.0 mls
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Elev. Gain:

4.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,240 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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e.g. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Park at the 200 car parking area on SR600/Nethers Rd.
NOTE: The upper parking area at the trailhead is now closed to all public parking.
38.57036, -78.28705

The Nicholson Hollow Hike in the Shenandoah National Park is a quick day. As you ascend the well maintained Nicholson Hollow Trail you will follow the Hughes River for the entire hike ending with a great lunch spot at Corbin Cabin. The only portion of the hike that might be a difficult is fording the Hughes River and Brokenback Run at the beginning of the hike.


Start by walking 0.5 miles to the end of SR600 at a concrete post where SR600 ends and The Nicholson Hollow Trail goes to the right. Go right on Nicholson Hollow Trail in about 75 yards you need to cross both the Hughes River and Brokenback Run. 1.2 miles further Corbin Mountain Trail that comes in on the left. Continue straight on Nicholson Hollow Trail and in another 0.5 miles pass the Hot/Short Mountain Trail that enters from the right.

Cross Hannah Run continuing on the Nicholson Hollow trail and pass the Hannah Run Trail entering from the right. At this point the grade of the hike gets a steeper, continue for another 1.1 miles where you reach your destination, Corbin Cabin.

To return, retrace your route.

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Hiker Reviews For The Nicholson Hollow Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Nicholson Hollow hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: jen Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 06, 2014
This is a fantastic hike!  I added some side trails to it to get to about 12 miles total.  There are numerous swimming holes along the way.  About 1 mile before you get to Corbin Cabin there is a campsite on the right and a beautiful swimming hole that is fed by numerous little waterfalls.  I hiked on the way up and then ran back down -- trying to train my legs to run when tired.  The water levels were about medium depth and each of the crossings was doable without getting wet, if you so choose.  Will definitely do this again!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 18, 2014
I chose to do this hike as a circuit. After walking the .5 miles from the Old Rag parking lot along Nethers Rd to the trail head, I followed Nicholson Hollow Trail for 3.4 miles to Corbin Cabin. Recent heavy rains made crossing the Hughes River difficult as the water was churning and moving swiftly. In spots, the water was above the knee - I believe there were four crossings on the way up to the cabin. Just past the cabin, I made a left onto Indian Run Trail - this is the most strenuous part of the hike as you will be hiking upward for most of the 1.6 miles before making a left onto Corbin Mountain Trail. Follow CMT for 3.8 miles to where it intersects with NHT again. Continue following NHT for another 1.3 miles to complete the circuit.

This is an outstanding hike if you enjoy the sound of rushing water, river/stream crossings and quite possibly, complete solitude, particularly on the IRT/CMT part of the circuit. I chose to jog CMT - it's not a difficult climb down - and surprised a black bear with two cubs.

As a circuit, this hike is moderately difficult, (2/3) mainly due to length of approx. 10.3 miles. While it will vary depending on the time of year, it rates a 4+ for streams, 5+ for solitude. I will definitely revisit Nicholson's Hollow in the fall.

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 08, 2014
The only parking is in the Old Rag lot (US Park fee of $15), walk farther up the road .5 mile to the well-marked trail head on the right.  Beautiful rivers/streams and a well-maintained trail (you get your $15 worth).  Unfortunately, the volume of water was a bit high and this (along with the light snow on the rocks) made the last crossing of Hughes River a bit dicey.  My group decided to not attempt it.  We ate lunch at the crossing and watched others try.  Some made it, some got wet to their knees--pretty unpleasant with temps in the low 30s.  That made it a very easy 6 miler for us.  Will likely come back to do the full hike, though, because it is a great hike.

By: Half Dome Hottie Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 07, 2013
Loved everything about this hike. Everything but the $15 parking fee. Anyway, great hike. Only saw 4 other people. A great hike to try if Old Rag is too crowded. The hills were easy and walking next to the creek the entire time was wonderful. Fun time exploring Corbins Cabin at the top of the hike.

By: Rich Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 16, 2012
We did this as a last leg of a Corbin Mountain Trail-Indian Run Trail-Nicholson Hollow Trail circuit hike. It's makes for a strenuous 10 mile hike, but there are numerous changes of scenery/fauna, both trails track streams with countless pools, and it is more intersting that going up and back the same trail. Even better, during the 7 hour hike we only saw 3 people. This was a marked contrast to the hoards that are climbing neighboring Old Rag (and starting from the same parking lot).

The trails are all well-blazed, and marked by NPS signage (concrete posts) and each trail intersection no worries about getting lost (especially if you bring along a map from the NPS booth at the parking lot). Another advantage is that the trails are all open to dogs -- unlike Old Rag. Besides the two main streams, there are several springs on the higher portions of the trails for dogs to drink from. Can't recommend this one highly enough.

    View all 10 reviews for the Nicholson Hollow hike
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