Friday, October 3, 2014

Shenandoah's Pocosin Hollow Trail

As a side note, I have been doing a lot of volunteering over the past 18 months for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club's Maps Committee and GPS Rangers to help increase the accuracy of their already superb maps.  As a result, I've done a ton of hiking (Over 500 trail miles during the past 12 months), but don't blog about the vast percentage of these miles.  This is because either (1) I am hiking a trail that I don't think is worth reporting on, or (2) I am hiking a trail that has already been reported on a million times - do you really need my voice added to the chorus telling you about Shenandoah hotspots like Old Rag or Mary's Rock?  I didn't think so.

As a result of my volunteering, I occasionally come across a trail I would otherwise have little desire to check out, and it surprises me by being absolutely delightful!  The Pocosin Hollow Trail in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park is one of these.  I used flextime to get away from on the first day of Autumn to check it out.
It is about a 9.4 mile hike to the SNP eastern boundary on the Pocosin Hollow Trail.
The trail is accessed from the Skyline Drive via the Pocosin Fire Road, which is a little south of the Lewis Mountain Campground in SNP.  There is parking just off of this fire road, but the turnoff, around MP 59.5, comes up quick and is easy to miss.  The road is blocked to regular traffic (though not official park vehicles) about 100 yard off of the Drive and after space for vehicles to park.

Take the road downhill about 1.2 miles, past the Pocosin Cabin and the turnoff for the Pocosin Trail, to come to the Pocosin Hollow Trail on the left.  The road and trail each drop at a consistent 8 percent grade until the first crossing of Pocosin Creek, at about 2.7 miles into the hike.  After that, the trail climbs briefly to an old road on the north side of the Creek, before descending to cross three more times.
The lower portions of the trail parallel Pocosin Creek.
I thought the creek crossings were exceptionally pretty and worth the trip.  And you are far away from the Skyline Drive with no overlooks, so chances for solitude are great.  Over the entire Pocosin Hollow Trail, out and back, my dog and I saw only a grouse and a black bear.

Not sure this sign has much utility any more.  Twenty years ago next summer!  I remember this flood well.
Belated thanks again to the volunteers who cleared these trails after this devastation.

The trail continues outside the park boundaries, but I did not follow it.

Hike data:
PATC Difficulty Factor: 200.6 (out and back)
Total Distance: 8.5 miles 
Total Time: 4 hours, 07 minutes, including stops.

Low Point: 1342 ft. (at the Shenandoah National Park eastern boundary)
Highest Point: 3200 ft. (at the start and end of the hike)
Elevation Difference: 1858 ft.

Like what you see?  Check out my other blog postings:  LINK.


  1. I live near this trail and hike it quite often. I start at the trailhead accessed via Middle River Road. It is .6 of mile from parking to trailhead. You will see A LOT of "Do Not Enter" signs along this section...You will have to go through (around) two gates with "Private Property" signs...THIS IS the right way so do not be discouraged and miss out on this great hike! Multiple Swimming holes, plush foliage, really large and old trees and the beautiful sound of the stream!

    1. Michael, are you saying you can access this trail from the bottom by going up to the end of Middle River Road along the Conway River?


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