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Hiker Reviews for the Catlett Mountain Hike - 1 to 25 of 25   
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By: Bob Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 5, 2018
We did this as a two day backpacking hike. Overall a very nice hike. Great scenery and lots of stream crossings. The steep uphill in the directions is very steep - especially carrying a full pack. We camped at the campsite in the hollow. It was not large but fit our needs and it was nice having a water source close by (we treated the water we sourced). After climbing up the short hill the second day we had to navigate around large trees that were across the trail about half a dozen times along the rigeline, but once we got to the hot short trail it was a fairly steady decent back to the parking lot. Only saw two or three other hikers along the entire route.

By: Rachel Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 5, 2017
Beautiful, secluded, well-marked, variety of terrain (so many stream crossings). So much fun! Such a lovely change from some of the more crowded hikes in Shenandoah. Would love to do this hike again in the spring.

By: Judy Bardsley Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I hiked this mid-week in June as an overnight backpacking trip on the loop, direction as indicated. There were a number of people enjoying Nicholson Hollow Trail and the creek, but only saw one other hiker after turning onto Hannah Run Trail. Also, I had two bear sightings off Hannah Run, one on each side of the gully. I very much enjoyed the solitude and the sounds and glimpses of the creeks along most of the hike. The ascents were more difficult than I had anticipated, but fresh log steps on Hannah Run's second uphill were helpful. The descent on Hot Mountain / Short Mountain Trail was more challenging with the loose rocks underfoot. The map, written directions and trail markers were accurate and easy to follow.

By: rob perrett Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 21, 2015
did this on a saturday in late march.  parked at old rag off 600 - parking lot was full but only saw one small group in 12 miles.  these directions worked very well.  great walk in the woods with some up and down - not too challenging. very pretty. worth the effort. happy trails!

By: Tessa Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 5, 2014
The parking lot at Old Rag was already very busy at 9 am. Not too surprising on a nice sunday at the beginning of leave season. But, everybody must have gone up to Old rag because i only ever saw three people the entire hike. It is probably two weeks away from peak leaves, and there really aren't any views to speak of, but it is a very pleasant hike all the same. Aside from the descent into and ascent out of the gully, it is fairly easy too. Took about 4 hrs including the walk to the trail head.

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Boy I sure did this one the hard way...Wanted to start from the Pinnacles Overlook but it was under I decided to try to find the entrance down below...The Broad Hollow Trail looked inviting but I went a little farther up 680 to the Pine Hill Gap Trailhead...there is a spot near an old mobile home but it had a mailbox in front so I decided to drive up a driveway...the owner stopped me and explained that the spot was a turnaround so please do not park there...Right next to it was enough space in the grass just off the road for two vehicles...

Why did I decide to start here instead of the Old Rag parking lot? a little adventure I guess?

A steep two-mile ascent to the Hazel Mountain Trail...then around Catlett Mountain...down to Nicholson Hollow via the steep Hannah Run Trail...

The Nicholson Hollow Trail is a gem...was only on it for a quarter of a mile...but I have hiked to Corbin Cabin in the summer before...and this is a beautiful stroll in the heat of the summer...

The second steep ascent was up the Hot-Short Mountain Trail...brutal after the previous ascent/descent...

Then finally back down the Pine Hill Gap Trail and another tough descent...

I am giving this hike Five Stars because I love the SNP and all of its trails...

But I must say...the cobwebs are everywhere this time of year...saw a bear down Hannah Run...

Two tough ascents and descents...11.5 miles...3,500 feet of elevation gain... Perhaps the guys are it their way...unless you REALLY want a workout...

Five Stars for Difficulty if you do it the way I did it... whew...

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 8, 2014
Hiked this on a nice cool day in August. If you want to feel like you are out in the wild, this is the trail for you! Miles upon miles of woods! Fives hours of spider webs in my face, I guess this trail wouldn't be for everyone. I thought we were going to see bears, but no luck this time! I'm going to hike this trail in all four seasons. This would be a good hike for someone who is transitioning to more strenuous hikes. Some elevation with a decent about of miles (10 plus).

By: Zookeeper Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 3, 2014
A beautiful hike.  This is another great secluded hike that leaves from the overcrowded Old Rag parking lot.  My wife and I hiked this during peak hours and we encountered two other hikers in 5 hours.  There is one challenging section around mile 4, a handful of spots with a little poison ivy and not a lot of overlooks in the Summer due to tree cover.  Other than that, this is a perfect hike.  We saw a bear and lots of bear tracks. The beginning and end of the route are along a great stream with lots of oportunities to get wet. I plan to come back and run this route.  If Old Rag looks crowded, give this trail a whirl.  You wont regret it.    

By: MrshMudMan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 13, 2013
This is a good hike. Nothing fantastic, but it is definitely worth doing. Nice streams down in the lower section of the valley, lots of ruins of old homesteads (chimneys, fences, etc.), and some good views out toward Old Rag. I don't think those views would be as nice (or as plentiful) once the trees have leafed out, but there were many times when I could see Old Rag and a thick blanket of fog/clouds that covered the lower half of the mountain. And, the solitude on this loop is hard to beat. On a day when the Old Rag parking lot was over 50% full, I only saw two other people on the Catlett Mountain loop. Despite reports of snow/ice on portions of Old Rag, I can report that there were only a few minuscule patches of snow on this loop. In addition to doing the loop as described here, I took the Hannah Run trail all the way to Skyline Drive (Pinnacles Overlook) and then retraced my steps back to the junction of the Hannah Run and Catlett Mt. trails. This added an extra 1.3 miles and ~700 ft of elevation change (each way), bringing my total distance for the day to ~13 miles. Including a stop for a lunch, this hike took me just over 5 hours.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, December 31, 2012
Nice hike, though obviously not as spectacular as the trail every other car in the parking lot came for - Old Rag. I took the loop in the opposite direction as indicated here. Coming down the Hannah Run Trail in December proved treacherous due to ice, and I was glad to have my Yaktrax with me. I did not see another hiker as soon as I left the road from the parking lot. With the extra 15 minutes it took to add traction, this hike took me 4 hours, 45 minutes.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2011
I am giving this hike a 4 star rating only because of the timing we hiked this being Oct 22 and the leaves were perfect in color. I think any other time of the year it would be a 2 star rating. We arrived at the Old Rag parking lot at 1030 and it was full of the raggers and had to pay $10 to park on private property. We also pulled about 20 deer ticks off of us. On the plus side we only ran into about 3 people on the entire hike not counting of over populated raggers :)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 9, 2011 We didn't have the beautiful colors you show in your pictures, however, it was a fabulous fall hike.  The description is beyond accurate when it describes not 1 but 2 STEEP climbs on the Hannah Run Trail . If you can live through that, you will be rewarded with no more STEEP climbs.  And when you hit Nicholson Hollow Trail again slip over to the creek.  Take off your hiking shoes and enjoy a dip.

By: Andy Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I hiked Catlett Mountain after a three-year break, and it continues to impress.  If you love wildlife but can pass on some of the more spectacular vistas the other hikes in Shenandoah NP offer, this is the hike for you.  I didn't meet a single (human) soul the whole day. The trails are very well maintained but because so few hikers use them, be patient with the spider webs...they get pretty annoying after a while.  Also, have a tolerance for bears...there's a HIGH probability you'll run into one, especially once you enter the Hannah Run and Catlett Mountain trails, which are clearly the least hiked portions of this entire circuit.  I ran into black bear cubs both times I hiked this loop, in 2008 and today.  Fortunately, today, mom either wasn't around or wasn't too concerned that I came within 6 feet of her cub.  Some nice swim holes in the Hughes river are a huge plus for a hot summer day as well.

By: The Tick Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 26, 2010
I decided I wanted to do I hike this past weekend that I had yet to do. That did not leave many options in this area but I remembered Catlett Mt. Every time I am in the area, I inevitably hike Old Rag. Today Catlett Mountain did not dissapoint. Although it was bitterly cold and the trail was covered with snow and at least 2 inches of cover at the top. Going up the trail is a little tough to walk as a good portion is covered by deep drifts of leaves which were then iced over. Even though it is next to Old Rag, the forest feels very different. The Catlett Mt. forest is in poor health and there are many dead trees as well as alot of downed trees although the trail is well maintained. There are several places on the hike where there is evidence of past settlers and it looked like a tough life trying to farm on a rock pile. I am glad I did this little used hike and would do again in the summer where the water crossing could be more appreciated.

By: PP & Friends Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 27, 2009
Had a great day for a hike, 6 of us started out early and finished right after lunch.  Stream crossings were fun.  The solitude on this hike is right on.. saw 2 people one fishing the Hughes and one backpaker on the trail.  But we were not alone by any means, we did not see any bear but saw approx. 25 piles of scat.  The directions on the site were great and easy to follow. 

By: Linda and Ming Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 25, 2009

Less traveled.  the best time came here is fall.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 9, 2008
My friend and I spend a tremendous amount of time exploring and uncovering the history of the area when we hike. From books to historical USGS maps, a lot of info can be found, but a large amount was also lost when the SNP was created. We had explored parts of both Hannah Run and Hot Short Mtn. trails previously, but this time we did the entire loop, but going up Hot Short Mnt., then down Hannah Run trails. It was a beautiful day, with plenty of color left in the mountains. We explored approx. 14 home sites, and found a recently deceased bear cub. Prior to the 24,000 acre fire in late 2000, several of these home sites still had the log houses, although in various stages of decay. All that exists today are stone foundations and/or chimneys plus various historical artifacts that may be scattered around. Any that we found we photographed, then covered them back up to prevent their disappearence by those who would prefer to have an illegal souviner. The hike up Hot Short Trail seemed as if it would not end once we got to the long, straight uphill portion, but it did. The steep decent on Hannah Run Trail, before crossing Hannah Run, was treacherous. There appeared to have been a lot of work done on that section in the recent past, and it was mostly loose dirt full of small rock marbles. Maybe going Hannah Run Trail would have been easier, but I don't know. Overall, a fantastic hike, with great scenery, and a lot of history.

By: Jim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 8, 2008
I took a group of 9 scouts and adults on this hike.  The weather was perfect.  The trail directions provided were easy to follow.  We had multiple opportunities to pump water.  The steep portion was conquered by using the "caterpillar" technique and we were all glad it was downhill from there, quite literally.  Although they enjoyed the hike, the complaint from the scouts was their was no return for their exertion - pretty but not spectacular scenery, no waterfalls, and no mountain top vistas.  This hike is also known as Hazel Country hike by the PATC.

By: Trisha Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 19, 2008
The hike was very pretty through the fall leaves, and the steep section of the trail was quite a workout.  But we were unable to find the turn-off to the Hot-Short Mountain trail after going past the area for the turn-off four times, so we had to turn around and retrace our steps to get back to the car.  It turned out to be a very exhausting and, at times, frustrating day.  Just wanted to give the alert to others that it's very difficult to find the trail marker we ultimately did not succeed in finding it.

By: Andy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 4, 2008
One of my favorite hikes, but certainly not one of my wife's...she's scared of bears.   Yep, we ran across and saw two half-grown black bear cubs about 10 yards off to the right of our trail when we reached the plateau on top of Catlett mountain.  They were totally minding their own business high up in a tree but I think we startled them.  As soon as we passed by they jumped off of the tree and scurried off.  That's the wonderful thing about these less-traveled hikes...more true wildlife!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2008
This was a good hike and the description is right on. As others mentioned, the Old Rag parking area was jam-packed, but once we split off for Nicholson Hollow we saw only a few other hikers. There were lots of scenic river views and the terrain offered enough variation and challenge to keep things interesting. The biggest shortcoming of this hike is a complete lack of overlooks or breaks in the trees: after putting in a lot of effort along the hike it's a bit of a disappointment not to find any grand overlooking vistas. However, as  the description offers, there is still lots to see and long stretches of solitude.

The scramble up to the plateau after crossing Hanna Run was extremely steep and could be very difficult if wet. A good hiking stick or trekking poles are advisable for this short stretch. Just past the steep climb, there were numerous apple trees, blackberries, and grape vines that have run wild since farming days in the early 1900's. The abundance of ripe mid-summer fruits and relative lack of human traffic make this ideal bear habitat, and there were countless piles of berry-laden bear crap. It was, however, with a little surprise that we — a noisy group of four — encountered a small black bear soon after joining the Catlett Mountain Trail. The bear quickly trotted off into the woods, and we gave him a little time to move on before continuing a bit more slowly and banging a pot through the deeply-wooded areas to avoid any other surprises.

We camped soon after at the campsite by the creek, and had no difficulty finding good spots for two tents. It was bit challenging to find good cooking and food storage sites (especially after dark) that are sufficiently far (~100 yards) from the campsite, but in bear country it's an absolute necessity to do so. A solo hiker arrived and set up camp nearby soon after dark. We slept the night without incident and completed hiking the loop out in good time. We hiked about three hours the first day and two and a half the second, including rest breaks and a short lunch. I wouldn't hesitate to do this hike again, and wouldn't have any fear of encountering black bears, as they pose very little threat to humans when proper precautions are taken.

By: Ron & Michelle Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 22, 2008
Couldn't have asked for a better day! Low to mid 80's and not a cloud in the sky! I was a little annoyed by the fact that we had to walk on the street for the first half mile to the trail, but quickly got over it when I saw that there wasn't another person on the trail for the rest of the day!!! Seclusion was nice, but it had not rained in days so the streams were a bit dry. Overall, a very nice hike with a very steep climb in the middle (I lost my footing at one point and slipped a little). There is a nice camp area to stop for lunch just after the main ascent next to the stream.  My only complaint is that there were no overlooks or mountain views at all. Perhaps, if we redo this one in the fall or winter we will see the spectacular views that other trails have afforded us!!! A good trail, but don't expect the breath taking views that Rip-rap has to offer!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, May 1, 2008
Did this hike on a early Thursday afternoon. As I arrived at the Old Rag parking #1 I notice more than expected cars and people, but as this site said you leave them all behind on this hike. This hike had everything.  Streams, rivers, views, camping, waterfalls, solitude.  You get to cross rivers and stream (I never got wet).  Hannah Run was tough with the steep climb.  My only mishap was when I ran into a stray dog after I turned turned right on the blue blazed Hot-Short Mountain.  This cause me to go off the beaten’ trail for awhile (long story, e-mail if you want the whole story).  I loved hiking along the Hughes River.  As you walk along Hannah Run you can't help to think about what kind of history it holds.  To sum it up you get a little bit of everything on this hike.  It is a long hike.  It took me a little over 4.5 hours.  I highly recommend you print out the direction on this site and do the hike .

By: I&K Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 19, 2007

HIked this route on a very nice day for August, high in the low 80's.  It is a really good hike with a good degree of difficulity.  The walk up the river is always plesant and there we very few people on the trail which is always nice.  The walk get seroius when you begin the 2.5 mile climb up the HannahRun train.  It is a constant uphill but follows Hannah Run fow part of the way.  It is always humbling to past the remains of homes that are still visible and to imaging the life the residentents must have had.  Of course as other have pointed out the climb after you cross Hannah Run is a little extreme but it is short.  The 1.3 miles on Catlet Mountian train are nice an rolling.  The decent on Hot Short trail is a long downhill and ar points rugged. (Bad for the knees).

Overall it was a great day.

Thank you to the PACT volunteers that maintain the trails.  Great Job!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 5, 2005
Our 4-adult, 8-Venturing Scout (ages 13 to18) group did the entire loop, plus .5 mi each way from the lower Old Rag parking lot, in about 7 hours--took it pretty slow with lots of breaks. The Brokenback Run and Hughes River crossings were of no consequence--large boulders across both. Hannah Run crossing equally inconsequential, but more scenic. The climb along Hannah Run Trail starts off easy enough, but gets steeper the closer you get to the crossing. Climb is nothing, though, compared to the one you encounter after crossing Hannah Run. Steep, rocky, no switchbacks to speak of, and seemingly never-ending. The Catlett Mountain trail and Hazel Road (which looks more like a trail) are pleasant enough, but Hot-Short Mountain trail starts the long decent back to the Hughes River. Though not as steep as the Hannah Run Trail, there are no switchbacks and lots of ankle-twisting loose rocks. There is evidence of pre-depression era mountain settlements throughout, including a rock & mud chimney at the top of Hannah Run Trail. Along Hot-Short Trail, though, there are stonewalls, foundations, and a portion of the trail is lined with rock walls on either side. There is still evidence of the 2003 fire everywhere. Most scenic spots were (1) along the Hughes River, (2) the decent to Hannah Run, (3) and the steep left side of the Hot-Short Mountain Trail. It's an enjoyable, solitary hike, but challenging and very strenuous at points. Recommend reading Survey of Rural Mountain Settlement at

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