Buck Hollow/Buck Ridge Loop w/Mary's Rock


Description: Whether You do the main 6 mile loop or add the 3 mile out and back to Mary's Rock this is a pretty strenuous hike. It features a 2000 foot gain in elevation for the short version and almost 2400 feet for the long version. All of this gain is accomplished over the first half of the hike. The climb is made somewhat more bearable by the use of switchbacks but it is still quite a workout. The main route is only slightly used but even on a clear day in winter traffic lights should be installed for the side trip to Mary's Rock. Even with the heavy foot traffic the views may be worth it. More views can be had, especially in winter when the leaves are off, on the trek along Buck Ridge. Two notes of caution: During periods of high water the ford of Thornton River and the first crossing of Buck Run may be challenging. Secondly, the last 0.5 miles of the Buck Ridge Tr is quite steep and covered with loss, small rocks.


Google Custom Directions

Trailhead is on the south side of U.S. 211 at a gravel pull through parking area.




Trail notes: From the parking area proceed down the blue blazed Buck Hollow Trail. Cross the Thornton River and then Buck Run. At about 0.24 miles pass the Buck Ridge Tr (Your return route) on the left. Continue on the Buck Hollow Tr. You will cross the run several times. For the first 1.5 miles you will be able to view the stream with its many mini-falls and chute. You will then climb steeply, via switchbacks, leaving the stream for a bit until you near the top of the Hollow where you will cross it for a final time at its headwaters. You will climb a bt more before the trail finally flattens out.

At 2.7 miles from the Buck Ridge Trail junction come to the junction of yellow blazed Hazel Mountain Fire Road. To complete the 6 mile version of this trek turn left and pick up the directions after the side trip to Mary's Rock. To visit Mary's Rock turn right and walk out to Skyline Drive. Turn left up the drive for a few yards and then turn right onto blue blazed Meadow Spring Trail.

Climb through a series of switchbacks, passing the ruins of an old PATC cabin destroyed by fire in the 90's, and in 0.61 miles from the Drive reach the junction of the white blazed Appalachian Tr.

Turn right onto the AT. In another 0.61 miles come to a blue blazed spur trail for Mary's Rock.

Turn left onto the spur trail and in 0.11 miles reach Mary's Rock (elevation 3514 at the very top).

After taking in the view return to Skyline Drive and proceed down the yellow blazed Hazel Mountain Forest Road, passing the Buck Hollow Trail that you came up on on the left.

In 0.4 miles come to the junction of the blue blazed Buck Ridge Tr. Turn left onto this trail. You will either be walking flat or downhill for the rest of the hike. Pass 1000s of dead trees, probably oak killed by a Gypsy Moth infestation. There will be views east of Hazel Mountain and other un-named peaks. To the west, as the trail makes a hard left to follow a series of switchbacks you'll get a pretty good view of Mary's Rock that you visited at the mid-point of the hike. Near the end of Buck Ridge Tr the path descends steeply along a rocky path. Take care! It's very easy to loose your footing here.

In 2.52 miles from the last trail junction arrive at the junction with the Buck Hollow Trail. Turn right and retrace your earlier steps back to your car.


Printable/Downloadable Map

 View 3-D Map

 Zipped National Geographic. TOPO! GPS and Universal GPX Files

GPS Text File for Non-TOPO! Users

Downloadable/Printable Directions and Trail Notes

 Critique this outing



Name: Susan Neill                                                                                                      Hike: Buck Hollow-Buck Ridge Loop
Date: 6/13/09                                                                                                            Rating: 3.5

Critique: This is an interesting trail, but doesn't have as much variety that I like, so I'm giving it a rating of 3.5. The descent into Buck Hollow is a bit steep (though nothing like what's to come). The site is humid/moist and there are lots of beautiful old tulip poplar and some white oak, among many other hardwoods. The place had a tropical feel to it. The day was not hot but very muggy and buggy, which obviously added to the atmosphere. As I walked, I wished the trail got closer to the run, which is close enough for pictures but a ways off until about mile 2.8, where the trail crosses a wide section of the stream. Human traffic along the descent was a bit heavy for my liking.
The ascent up Buck Ridge: I'm really a novice hiker (I don't even have a walking stick yet) and this was the most strenous trail I've been on. There are terraced steps for about a third, which help. Eventually, though, the steps end and the trail's surface becomes very rockier and the slope steeper. I'm probably exaggerating but it felt like a 60 degree angle. The sloap does become more gradual but the trail goes up and down until the end. The ridge is pretty (but no full views) and the trail winds in and out of boulder fields among a lot of mt. laurel. In a less rocky section, a bear crossed the trail behind me. The trail eventually narrows a lot. Lots of berry shrubs along here; bear food when they ripen.


Name: Michael Eckert                                                                                                Hike: Buck Hollow-Buck Ridge-Marys Rock-+
Date: 8/14/06                                                                                                             Rating: 5+

Critique: Decided to do a long hike today.  As advertised the hike was tremendous.  Heard one bear as he dropped from a tree and lumbered through the forest just before reaching Skyline Drive.  Then headed across the drive and made the trip to Mary's Rock.  The views are spectacular and the breeze was wonderful. Had a 30 min lunch break and while eating a Peregrine Falcon landed on a dead tree branch about 20 feet away.  I guess he wanted lunch too.  Tried to grab my camera, but he took off for other places.

After lunch headed back down and decided to try and go for the Hazel River Falls/Cave.  Just another 5 miles round trip I thought.  Not too bad getting to the spur trail for the cave/falls.  then very, very, very steep down to the falls (as advertised).  The rewards were great.  Excellent photo area and the cave can be walked into standing up.  After relaxing and drinking plenty of water I made the trip back up the spur trail.  You need lots of gas in the tank as mentioned by Mr. Hyker.  My pulse at the top was 168.  Took another break and headed back up the trail.

Went back down the Buck Ridge trail.  Met with another bear or deer in the woods and let them pass until I heard nothing.  The trail is very overgrown with plants over the trail and at shoulder height.  The switchbacks and last decent to the base was very difficult due to a tremendous amount of loose rocks.  Had to go down sideways at times to keep from sliding.

Round trip was about 14 miles and I will feel it tomorrow


VA Hikes MD Hikes WV Hikes PA Hikes Contact Us Home