Cedar Run, White Oak, Old Rag, Weakley Hollow and Nicholson Hollow Trail is a 18.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
18.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,770 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

trail running

forest

river

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

hiking
2 months ago

My buddy, Elena, and I did this loop as a 3 day, 2 night trip. You won’t have reliable cell service, maybe one or two bars intermittently throughout the hike. The bugs were not bad the entire time. We had bug spray on hand, but didn’t use it.

Day 1: We obtained a backcountry permit from the Old Rag fee station while at the same time purchasing an $80 annual pass that gets you into any national park in the country. We drove over to the parking lot at the base of the White Oak-Cedar Run trail, off of Weakley Hollow Rd, geared up and got movin’! We anticipated about 5 hours of hiking that day, in order to make time to set up camp before dark and more importantly, get that bear bag hung!

Sometimes ignorance is bliss and boy, were we blissful! Cedar Run trail gains about 2,800 ft. in 3 miles…

Cedar Run turns into Big Meadows Fire Road (NE bound), which turns into Big Meadows trail to White Oak Canyon which is where we camped the first night, just on the other side of the Robinson River after the footbridge. We were ready to pop a squat anywhere due to spaghetti legs and it was time for Happy Hour. We found our first bear bag hanging to be more or less easy using Hefty Garbage bags (double bagged) and about 50 ft of rope. And may we recommend Backpackers’ Pantry Cuban Coconut Rice and Black Beans! That food did NOT disappoint. Totally enough for two and salty as all get out. Perfect after drinking water, water, water on the trail. Rapidian River unoaked chardonnay (purchased at Syria Mercantile) made the trek up Cedar Run too. Gin, lime, water and Bob Dylan and The Band’s Before the Flood Live album flushed out the rest of the camp atmosphere.

Day 2: We went up Big Meadows trail to Old Rag Fire Road to Corbin Mountain trail. You will see a Skyland Eatery sign at some point. This part of the trail has some incline (especially right at the get go), but it is more moderate compared to Day 1. Although we did not see it, other hikers reported seeing a “ratt’ler” in the middle of the trail, ready to duke ‘em out! We also saw fresh bear scat in the trail, but never lied eyes on the actual bear. Wear pants on this part of the trail as this is where the poison ivy starts to appear. We got through the day with a few Clif Bars and Gu packets and water (purified with Potable Aqua tablets). Temps in the 70’s to 80’s and we drank about 1.5 L of water on the trail.

Camp on the 2nd night came about after a 1.5-2 hrs. descent down Corbin Mountain Trail, right off of the Hughes River. It was a magical spot. You could tell that multiple backcountry camping groups could be accommodated in the space, but Elena and I were the only ones there plus hundreds of butterflies! That night was Whiskey Night (Hillrock Bourbon) accompanied by ELO on the speaker box. We had Backpackers’ Pantry Chana Masala. A little bit of a let down. Even after the boiling water and steeping period, them chickpeas were crunchy! The flavoring not as on point as you’d have hoped, but the Cuban cuisine from the night before was tough to beat. Night 2 hanging the bear bag was also a success and our learning curve was guided by improving finesse (and our nacent, but improving understanding of physics). We were bushed from the day’s hike and went to bed at 7:45pm. Proudly. Elena highly endorses bringing a lightweight hammock on the journey. There were palatable spots to hang the hammock and she found one right by the river. Good for an evening wind down and also first thing in the morning. Meditation City!

Day 3: We woke up with unfounded-in-reality hopes of a casual and lenient of day hiking back to the trusty red Volvo. Oh boy! Mother Nature had something else in store. Nature’s Path Instant Hot Oatmeal was our breakfast. The variety pack is the way to go-something for everybody. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar in that bowl of goodness and your love of the great outdoors only warms in your belly. But back to the hiking at hand. Our beautiful send off was courtesy of the multiple species of butterflies! Nicholson Hallow was a low elevation (approximately 1,000 ft.), parallel to the river and the gnats were intense! Worst bug flybys of the trip! Pretty intense for about an hour and a half. Multiple stream crossings, but easily forded.

Weakley Hollow Hell! That trail is one sneaky B. You look at the map. You think, “I’m not gonna tangle with Old Rag on Day 3, with a 50 lbs. pack and do that scramble. I’ll take Weakley Hollow Trail. It looks like a big southbound Teddy Bear on the map. No problem!” You’ll get to the sign that talks about Old Rag with the gatepost to your right if you’re facing the sign. It gives you the option of going to the (Old Rag) Ridge Trail or to Weakley Hollow. You’ll encounter a footbridge shortly after starting on Weakley Hollow and then you go up! Up! Up! Up! Like the movie, but no balloons. Just you and your sorry a**. One foot in front of

hiking
Monday, April 24, 2017