Mary’s Rock in Shenandoah National Park is a popular hike that rewards you with a great view of the park and Page Valley. At 3,514 feet, Mary’s Rock is the eighth highest mountain in Shenandoah National Park. From the summit you can also look down on the Thornton Gap Entrance Station to the park.
We decided to include the Buck Hollow Trail to add some distance to the hike. If you’re only interested in getting to the top of Mary’s Rock, you can park at the Meadow Spring Parking Area and start the trail there. It’s a 9 mile roundtrip hike to get from the Buck Hollow trailhead to the summit of Mary’s Rock and back. If you start at the parking area the hike is only 3 miles roundtrip.
Start the hike from a roadside parking area along U.S. Route 211, also known as Lee Highway. This is the trailhead for the Buck Hollow Trail. The trail begins by crossing the Buck Hollow stream and then parallels it as you head up the mountain. The trail will soon come to a split where the Buck Ridge trail intersects. We decided to stay to the right here and continue on the Buck Hollow trail because we took the Buck Ridge trail on the way down.
You’ll reach Skyline Drive and the Meadow Spring parking area in approximately three miles. Cross the road here and walk a couple hundred feet to the left (uphill). You should see a trailmarker for Meadow Spring trail. Hop on that trail and it will take you 0.6 miles up the mountain where you’ll reach the ridgeline and Meadow Spring intersects with the Appalachian Trail. You should pass some ruins of an old stone home along the way.
Take a right once you hit the Appalachian Trail. You should start seeing some views of the valley below as you hike across the ridgeline. You’ll come to an intersection with the Mary’s Rock lookout trail after about 0.8 miles. Take a left here and it’s only .1 miles until you reach Mary’s Rock and the summit. You should definitely pack a lunch because Mary’s Rock is a great place to eat while you enjoy the view of Page Valley below.
When you’re ready to head down, follow the same route back to the Meadow Spring parking area. You can either head back down the Buck Hollow trail, or you can take a right and head down the Hazel Mountain Trail. We took the Hazel Mountain trail so we could make it a full loop. Either way is about 3 miles.
You’ll reach an intersection with Buck Ridge trail after half a mile. Get on the Buck Ridge Trail and continue down the mountain for 2.5 miles until you reach the original fork you passed on the way up. There’s a section of over 600 stair-like steps that sharply descend the mountainside on this section. It’s a leg workout making it down these stairs so I can only imagine how it would feel going up. The Buck Ridge/Hollow is significantly less crowded than the Mary’s Rock section of the hike, so it was nice to have this part of the trail to ourselves.
Overall, this is a nice mid-distance hike to do on a free weekend. Two other great hikes in this area are Old Rag Mountain and Jeremy’s Run. You can check out the official Shenandoah National Park page for Mary’s Rock HERE.