Dobie Mountain is a 3.8-mile loop hike that follows the Appalachian Trail and Jack Albright Loop, guiding hikers to Glass Hollow Overlook and plane crash remains.
Yes, plane crash remains. This Blue Ridge Parkway hike near Nellysford, Virginia is popular among those who want to see plane wreckage steps off the hiking trail.
Not a lot is known about this plane crash. One blog cites a 2012 article from Nelson County Life magazine that claims the wreckage is a Beechcraft Bonanza.
The article features Henri Weems of Nellysford who researched the site and learned that this small private plane likely crashed into the mountain in 1963.
Speculation abounds that more than a few plane crashes occurred in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the mid-20th century due to less advanced air navigation aids.
Interestingly, remains of a military plane are said to be located on neighboring Humpback Mountain. This single-engine plane was lost in 1964.
Known by locals as “The Lost Plane Crash,” the remains were discovered (or re-discovered) in 2012 by the Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club.
A short, unmarked spur trail leads to the plane crash remains. Beyond plane wreckage, the sweeping views from the Glass Hollow Overlook are first-rate.
|Elevation Gain||685 feet|
|Terrain||Mostly dirt trails|
|Driving Directions||Click Here|
Park in the Humpback Gap Overlook parking area at milepost 5.8. Arrive early since – as I noted above – this hike shares a lot with the Humpback Rocks hike.
The trailhead is located at the north end of the parking area. Actually, since it’s a loop hike, there are two trailheads for the Jack Albright Loop.
A friend and I took the right-most trailhead for a counter-clockwise hike. However, there’s no real benefit to going in a particular direction.
For the counter-clockwise hike, start with a mild descent along a forested trail until the 0.25-mile mark when you turn left onto the Appalachian Trail.
Continue a gradual descent until the 1.0-mile mark when you reach a trail sign and a short spur trail on the right for the Glass Hollow Overlook.
The spur trail is 0.2-mile one-way and completely worth the short hike for the overwhelmingly beautiful panoramas of the Rockfish Valley.
From here, re-trace your steps to the Appalachian Trail, then turn right to continue on. At the 1.8-mile mark, the Appalachian Trail veers off down the hill to the right.
However, you want to stick to the left to stay on the blue-blazed Jack Albright Loop. Stay alert, the plane wreckage is coming up soon.
At the 2.5-mile mark, there is a short, unmarked, barely visible spur trail on the left that leads up 50 feet or so to the plane crash remains.
Plane Crash Remains
There are two small areas of wreckage. The remains of the small plane are very crumpled and it’s difficult to tell what is what. Still, it was very interesting.
Once you check out the crash site, continue on the Jack Albright Loop. From here, it’s a quiet walk in the woods until you reach the parking area and close the loop.
We started this hike early, around 8:15 am on a Friday, but still we saw just one hiker on the entire route.
It’s easy to tack this Central Virginia day hike, including the plane crash remains and the Glass Hollow Overlook, onto a hike to Humpback Rocks.
For this longer hike, start clockwise from the left-most trailhead. At the 3.3-mile mark, stay left for the Appalachian Trail.
In another 3.0 miles, you will reach Humpback Rocks.
Exit Humpback Rocks by way of the Humpback Rocks Trail – rather than the Appalachian Trail – and you will arrive in the parking area in 1.0-mile.
This hike clocks in at 7.6-miles. Alternatively, it’s a 2.0-mile out-and-back hike to Humpback Rocks (or a 4.3-mile loop hike) from the parking area.
This hike took us 2.5 hours, though it does include a 1.0-mile out-and-back back-track to the plane remains when we missed the spur trail. Oops.
If you’ve got a second hike in you, consider Dripping Rock South (milepost 10), which wows with booming mountain views.
With regard to the plane wreckage, be sure to adhere to Leave No Trace principles. Specifically, “leave it as you find it.”