This week for hiking, we decided to take Pine Hill Gap and Broad Hollow Trail loop. We only have limited numbers trails from our bucket list. This trail is approximately 4 hour.
Even though day hike, we have a limitation of 12 hours. Because we have a diabetic cat that needs an insulin twice in a day. We try to go back home at least 1 hour early for next insulin. In this situation, we have to pick up a trail what is 6-7 hour walking, and location is 2 hour from our house one way travel.
If you can stay more long hour outside, you can visit south district of Shenandoah National Park.
Regarding Pine Hill Gap Trail, I could find a very few information about this. I could get the information is only; there is very small parking space, it’s 1-2 cars capacity. and there is very unpopular trail. We don’t have enough bucket list as above. I choose the other trail for a backup, then we left our home, we can arrive Pine Hill Gap Trail around 10AM.
The start point is 30 min north from Old Rag Trail. That’s why most people visit Old Rag Trail instead of this trail. Anyway, we were looking for the small parking but we couldn’t find easily.
A white SUV parked at small space of the load side, I saw a ranger just got out the car. I though there is not the parking and I continued to drive. A couple minutes after, we found an abandoned bus at the load side, and small parking spot over there. But there is sing of “No park, Park load side”. We followed the sign and parked load side. There is a small space the other car can park next us. Someone live on the load head, we couldn’t park on the load.
We knew this trail is really unpopular after we stared soon. There are lot of grown grasses on the path and a lot of spider webs. We had to take the web with each step.
I picked two branched. I swung and went to forward. My wife walked behind me, still she also needed own branch. We were walking a path that we don’t know clearly the path is trail or was a water stream before.
We’re continuing walking up hill in such a bush trail. There is a lot of webs on such a narrow path. And I saw many burned tree every where, it’s like a mountain fire a couple years before. That’s way there are lot of bushes around here.
We totally forgot what Pine Hill Gap Trail has a junction connect to Hot Mountain summit. I don’t why we passed through the junction. Perhaps there is a scenic view point on the summit.
Finally, we passed through the bush area and entered Hazel Mountain Trail. This area is the highest are on this loop. However the scenic view was like below.
And we met a human on this tail unexpectedly. The human was a ranger who we saw at the bottom. They are visiting on weekend and check the trail condition. She carried a hand saw and personal radio? on her backpack.
Finally, we arrived to Broad Hollow Trail.
We guessed what we can finish this trail within 4 hour, we felt walk more. So we planned to Hazel River Trail and find the side path to summit. However, we knew there is no such a side path after walking 10 min. We compared a topo map and our location, we can’t expect such a side path from map. We gave up to find the side path.
We went back and stared the down hill of Broad Hollow Trail. This trail is filled with bush, and a lot of rocks on the path. When we waking such a trail, we met human again. They are a couple of a guy who wear off t-shirt and a woman who had a trekking polls. I’ve never seen a guy who wear off t-shirts in Japan. But in US, it’s quit common. Maybe that is US culture.
We continued to walk and we meet human again. I thought this trail is unpopular. They are two guys and small dog (no leash, I think we have to use a leash for dog in a backcountry). They made own trail loop, but they asked us where are we now? I showed my map and told our location. Umm, you didn’t bring your map for your original trail loop?
We were looking for a lunch place, we could only find a lay down tree. We had a lunch which is our standard of PB&J sandwich. When we finished our lunch, we met human again. I don’t think this tail is unpopular. It seems that a guy is a supervisor of this trail and visiting often there. I’m not sure what is the supervisor of trail, if I were him, I don’t want be a supervisor of this trail that has a lot of bushes and spider webs.
We walked down a half of the trail. We saw an abandoned cabin. My map points out the cabin on left side, but it’s on right side actually. How long has the cabin been there?
We saw a creek around the cabin. It will be a river from lower place like below picture. But opposite side is a farm of private property.
When we arrived the entrance of Broad Hollow Trail, we saw a SUV car. And two more cars were on the road side. But I don’t think there are parking place, just a road side. We were heading to our parking place where is the entrance of Pine Hill Gap Trail.
After this hiking, I researched about Hot Mountain Summit but I couldn’t find any picture and information. But I’m not sure I want came this trail again.