|View from atop Robertson Mountain|
8.6 miles loop, 2500 feet elevation gain
Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous, due to elevation gain
Robertson Mountain is well-known as one of the steepest hikes in Shenandoah National Park; this hike pairs that ascent and its wide Blue Ridge views with the quiet, rarely-visited Corbin Hollow. This is an enjoyable and rewarding hike for anyone who is already fairly familiar with the park and is a good hike to do in the winter when Skyline Drive closes due to snow and ice. This is a slightly more difficult, but much preferred alternative to the Robertson Mountain hike that starts from Berry Hollow and loops down on the Old Rag Fire Road.
A friend from Charlottesville and I met up at the trailhead to do this hike on a somewhat cold December day when there was still 4 inches of snow atop the Blue Ridge. We started from the Weakley Hollow trailhead, off of VA Route 231; the directions to get to the trailhead are the same as those for Old Rag. If you don't have an annual pass, entrance is $8 per person.
The beginning of the hike is rather non-eventful; we followed the road from the large Old Rag parking area up to the old trailhead, and from there we continued to follow the Weakley Hollow Fire Road on a gentle uphill, crossing a stream by a set of bridges. We ran into snow as soon as we got off the road, and had snow on the trail for the rest of the day, making uphills a little more laborious than usual. We could occasionally see the summit of Old Rag to the left through the trees, but views were mainly non-existent. About 2.1 miles from the trailhead, we crossed a steel bridge over Brokenback Run and came to the junction with the Robertson Mountain Trail on the right side of the fire road.
We took the Robertson Mountain trail, which followed Brokenback Run briefly before sharply turning and beginning a long ascent up Robertson Mountain. This section of trail ascended 1700 feet in just 1.5 miles to reach the summit of Robertson Mountain, making it one of the steepest trails in Shenandoah. On this particular day, the loose traction of the snow on the trail made the ascent a bit more difficult than usual.
After we pushed uphill for most of an hour, the trail finally flattened out; we followed the summit ridge briefly before finding the spur to the left of the main trail that led to the summit lookout. We lunched on the outcrops on the peak and admired the view south into Berry Hollow. The view from the summit spans from the Southwest Mountains near Charlottesville to the dense cluster of granite ridges on Fork and Doubletop Mountains to the broad slopes of Hawksbill and Stony Man.
|Robertson View towards Fork Mountain and Hawksbill|
|Descending into Corbin Hollow|
|The snowy Corbin Hollow Trail|
|Pre-park remnants in Corbin Hollow|
|Waterfall on Brokenback Run|