Fox Hollow Trail: An Easy Historic Loop Hike at Shenandoah National Park

The easy 1.2-mile Fox Hollow Trail is a loop hike in Shenandoah National Park’s North District. It’s also a hike that exposes an element of the park’s history.

As you hike, you’ll pass the Fox family cemetery, which has several headstones of those who once lived on the land that later became a national park. 

Dickey Ridge-Road Closed

I completed this hike in winter, a time when Skyline Drive can close often due to ice and snow. The scenic byway may close in its entirety or in sections. 

The day of my hike, just the first five miles of Skyline Drive were open. Thankfully, the trailhead for this hike was accessible. The hike was quiet and relaxing.

Trail Stats
Length1.2 miles
Trail TypeLoop
Elevation Gain217 feet
Duration1 hour
TerrainMostly rock & dirt trails
Fee$30 per vehicle (good for seven days)
Driving DirectionsClick Here

Dickey Ridge Visitor Center

Park in the large parking lot at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, in front of restrooms that are open in winter even when the visitor center is closed.

The hike begins directly across Skyline Drive from Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. You’ll see a large trail kiosk at the trailhead with a map for the Fox Hollow Trail.

Before or after this hike, make a stop for big views at the overlook behind the visitor center. In spring, this scenic overlook is popular with plein air painters.

Fox Hollow Trail

From the trail kiosk, you’ll see hiking trail go downhill to the left, as well as downhill to the right. It’s not entirely clear which way to go.

Honestly though, if you look closely at the Fox Hollow TRACK Trail sign, you are directed to stay to the left. Naturally, I opted to go to the right.

It’s a loop. It shouldn’t matter which way to go, but then I reached the first trail marker that read “Start Fox Hollow Trail Circuit This Way,” pointing to the left. Oof.

So I crossed over to enter the proper side of the loop, which begins on the blue-blazed Dickey Ridge Trail. Now I was on my way. Woo-hoo.

It’s a nice forested hike. Very relaxing. This hike is very, very popular in warm-weather months, but on this day, it was just me, my thoughts and the trail.

At the 0.3-mile mark, you’ll reach a concrete trail marker. Stay right for the Fox Hollow Trail. You’ll begin to see piles of stones on both sides of the trail.

The Fox family cleared stones and put them here to farm the land. Generations of the Fox family were on the land before the park was created in 1935.

You’ll reach the Fox family cemetery at the 0.5-mile mark. There are more than 100 family cemeteries across Shenandoah National Park, including this one.

In some cases, descendants of those buried maintain the cemeteries. Take a look at a few tombstones to consider what life was like in the park’s hollows and ridges.

Continue along the trail, then ascend a section of the path that may have served as a road used by the family to reach the closest town, Front Royal.

At the 0.7-mile mark, you’ll reach a water crossing. Continue on the blue-blazed trail. At the 1.1-mile mark, you’ll reach an open field where the hike began.

Stay left to ascend the hill to the trail kiosk. Your short nature hike is complete. A quick note before you go, pets are not allowed on this trail.

Hike Option

I completed the Fox Hollow Trail and Snead Farm Loop as separate hikes, but you could easily combine the two into one longer hike.

To do this, simply turn left at the trail marker at the 1.1-mile mark. So, instead of returning to the trail kiosk, you’ll walk south on the Dickey Ridge Trail.

Turn left onto Snead Farm Road (which becomes the Snead Farm Loop Trail) to reach Snead Farm. Turn right on the Dickey Ridge Trail to return to your car.

Wrap-Up Notes

From the visitor center parking area, this hike on the Fox Hollow Loop took me 30 minutes, including time spent looking at tombstones in the family cemetery.

Dickey Ridge-Visitor Center

In-season, stop in the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center for a short park orientation film, exhibits and a bookstore. You can also pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Booklet.

Kids ages 7-12 can complete activities in the booklet, then be sworn in as a Junior Ranger and earn a badge. You can also download the booklet before you arrive.

For more kid-friendly hikes at Shenandoah National Park, check out the hike to Compton Peak at milepost 10.4 or the Limberlost Trail at milepost 43.