Corbin Cabin-Nicholson Hollow Loop

  • Highlights: Cabins, river, Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park
  • Distance: 4.2 mile out and back
  • Elevation change: 1,050 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Skyline Drive mile 37.9
  • Website: Shenandoah National Park
  • Beer Pairings: Brothers Craft Brewing—Great Outdoors Virginia pale ale & Elementary porter

The Hike:

This hike offers a glimpse into life in this region before Shenandoah became a National Park. From the parking area, cross Skyline Drive and follow the Corbin Cabin Cutoff trail. This section of the trail was not built by park personnel. It dates from the 1800s when settlers living in this area traveled this path. The trail heads steadily downhill into the valley below. 

At .9 miles, the remains of the John Nicholson cabin are slowly being overgrown by the forest. Wildflowers dot the forest floor and we saw two deer nearby. The trail continues its steep descent. In the valley floor, on the right is the cabin of Albert Nicholson. The Hughes River flows between the old cabin and the George Corbin Cabin. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club made much needed repairs to the cabin and rents the cabin to overnight guests. 

Make your way across the river on some rocks that serve as a rustic bridge. The Corbin Cabin is pretty rustic but it’s a dramatic change from the Nicholson cabin across the river. If no one is renting the cabin, this is a great site for lunch. The cabin and nearby privy are locked when renters are not using the cabin. At this point you have two options: Retrace your steps back up the Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail for a 2.8 out and back hike. Or for a longer hike, find the cement trail post below the Corbin Cabin and follow the Nicholson Hollow Trail to the right.

This section of the trail is rocky and steep as you climb up out of the hollow back to Skyline Drive. Mountain Laurel line sections of the trail. When you reach Skyline Drive, turn left and walk on the side of the road for about 100 yards. Turn right at he blue blaze rail that leads across the road. Follow the blue blazes to the intersection with the Appalachian Trail. Turn right and follow the AT to the parking area and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Brothers Craft Brewing in Harrisonburg has been making great beer in the Valley since 2012. Pete really likes Elementary porter; it’s rich and malty with notes of coffee, caramel, and chocolate. It is one of their seasonal beers and is a perfect complement to a cool season hike. The Great Outdoors pale ale is 4.8% alcohol making it a great session beer. Without the hoppiness of an IPA, this beer is crisp and refreshing.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.