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Sugar Hollow Loop

Intermediate
 3.9 (14) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A loop that starts at Sugar Hollow and climbs up to the Appalachian Trail on Skyline Drive.


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Map Key

18.5

Miles

29.7

KM

91%

Runnable

3,124' 952 m

High

1,057' 322 m

Low

2,709' 826 m

Up

2,727' 831 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Swimming

Overview

River crossings, swimming holes and plenty of climbing make this a great summer-time run.

Description

From the Sugar Hollow parking lot, continue on the road past the red gate, up the steep hill. A few tenths of a mile later, the road dead-ends at a singletrack trail. Continue on the (now) singletrack North Fork Moorman's River Trail. Notice the cement post on the right side of the trail near the information board. These posts serve as trail markers in Shenandoah National Park. Trails and distances are engraved on the metal band.

There are a number of river crossings on this trail. You may or may not get your feet wet depending on the time of year and recent rainfall. Although, I'm not sure if I've ever made it past every crossing with dry feet. Your first chance for a swim is at the second crossing you come to. Snake Hole is to the left of the crossing, which is usually a rock-hop.

At about mile 1.9, the North Fork Moorman's River Trail turns to the right, crossing Big Branch. Look for a cement post to point you in the right direction. If you miss the turn and continue up the trail, it will take you to a viewpoint of Big Branch Falls. The few times I went up there, the falls were just a trickle, but I've heard they're more exciting in the spring, so maybe I should give them another chance. If you decide to check out the falls, you'll just need to backtrack to cross the stream and continue on North Fork Moorman's River Trail.

Eventually, the trail will widen, and you'll cross the river again. Around mile four, be on the lookout for a couple of old buses to the right of the trail. A little while after you see the buses, you'll come to the last river crossing on this section. As soon as you cross, turn left and begin climbing. The trail appears to go in both directions here; just make sure you turn left. There is a cement post that will point you in the right direction.

Once you reach Skyline Drive, make a sharp left to turn south on the Appalachian Trail. Continue climbing for several miles. The AT crosses Skyline Drive at one point, continues for about four miles on the west side (passing Riprap and Wildcat trails) before crossing back over to the side you started on. Now you're heading for the Turk Gap parking lot. Enjoy the gentle grades and smooth trail on this section!

Once you reach Turk Gap parking lot, do not cross Skyline Drive to continue on the AT. Instead, cross the parking lot and get on the yellow-blazed Turk Branch Trail. It parallels Skyline Drive for a short distance before descending. Eventually, Turk Branch Trail intersects with South Fork Moormans River Road. The trail goes in both directions. Turn left onto South Fork Moormans River Road. You'll soon see Blue Hole (another popular swimming hole) down a steep bank to your left. If you want to go for a swim (which I highly recommend!), take the second little side trail you come to down to the swimming hole; it's not quite as steep as the first. Otherwise, just continue on South Fork Moormans River Road. If it's a hot summer day, you'll likely pass a steady stream of people heading from the parking area up to Blue Hole. From the swimming hole, you've got about a mile and a half and two more river crossings to go.

Flora & Fauna

When I do this loop early in the morning, I often see bears.

Contacts

Shared By:

JoAnne Smart

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 14 votes

#1

in Crozet

#635

Overall
  3.9 from 14 votes
5 Star
21%
4 Star
64%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
7%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Crozet

#23

in Virginia

#635

Overall
1,130 Views Last Month
41,823 Since Jun 23, 2017
Intermediate

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7%
64%
7%
21%
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Photos

Stairs to Big Branch Falls - be warned, these peter out and there's some muddy slip-and-fall risk after this!
Nov 14, 2020 near Crimora, VA
A river crossing on South Fork Moormans River Road (particularly high water!)
Jun 24, 2017 near Crimora, VA
North Fork Moorman's River Trail, saw this guy having a snack, he wouldn't share
Aug 18, 2018 near Crimora, VA
North Fork Moorman's River Trail, family of cairn's
Aug 18, 2018 near Crimora, VA
North Fork Moorman's River Trail one of a few walls covered by greenery.
Aug 18, 2018 near Crimora, VA
North Fork Moorman's River Trail going up stream
Aug 18, 2018 near Crimora, VA

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Jun 28, 2020
Erick Kuhlmann