M is for Mountains
Named for the distinctive elevation profile, this run is a compact way to pack in a lot of vert. And there are several options to cut the run short if you bit off more than you can chew.
- 25.6 miles
- Running time
- 6–9 hours
- Total ascent/descent
- 7,050 feet
- GPX file
- What to wear
Leave the new Old Rag Parking on the new Ridge Trail and climb for 0.6 miles until the intersection with the Ridge Access Trail. Take a right and descend 0.4 miles to the Weakley Hollow Fire Road. Bear left and climb for 1.25 miles to the intersection with the Corbin Hollow Trail (you will eventually return on this trail). Keep going a short distance to the Robertson Mountain Trail. Take a right and begin the ascent of Robertson Mountain, climbing 1,800 feet in 1.7 miles. Reach the summit at mile 4.01, then enjoy a gradual 0.7 mile descent down to the Old Rag Fire Road. Take a right on this gravel road and ascend 0.6 miles to the Corbin Mountain Trail. (You will pass the similarly named Corbin Hollow Trail along the way — do not take it — you will be on it in a fews miles.)
Take a right onto the Corbin Mountain Trail (mile 5.25) and go nearly 0.6 miles to the Indian Run Trail. Take a left and follow Indian Run for 1.6 miles to Corbin Cabin (mile 7.4). Here, take a right on the Nicholson Hollow Trail and descend 2.2 miles to the Hannah Run Trail.2
Take a left onto the Hannah Run Trail and climb 1,400 feet in 2.4 miles. At mile 12, intersect two trails in short succession; stay right at both. At the first intersection the Hannah Run Trail veers off to the left; take the Catlett Mountain Trail to the right. Shortly thereafter, the Catlett Spur Trail goes off to the left; stay right on the Catlett Mountain Trail.
At mile 13.2, “T” into the Hazel Mountain Trail. Take a right and follow for 0.5 miles to the Hot-Short Mountain Trail. Take another right onto Hot-Short and descend 2.1 miles back into Nicholson Hollow, reaching the Nicholson Hollow Trail at mile 15.8. Take a left on the Nicholson Hollow Trail for for 0.45 miles to the intersection with the Corbin Mountain Trail.3
Take a right onto the Corbin Mountain Trail, cross the Hughes River, and begin the long climb up Corbin Mountain. At mile 20, reach the Indian Run Trail (you were here earlier). Take a left to stay on the Corbin Mountain Trail and in 0.6 miles reach the Old Rag Fire Road.
At the fire road, take a left and descend 0.6 miles to the Corbin Hollow Trail. Take a left onto Corbin Hollow and descend 2.1 miles down Corbin Hollow to the Weakley Hollow Fire Road. Here, take a left and descend on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road for 1.25 miles to the Ridge Access Trail, take a right and climb for 0.4 miles, and then take a left on the Ridge Trail for 0.6 miles back to the Old Rag Parking.
Skip Hannah Run and Hot-Short Mountain Trails
Skipping the 6.2-mile side-loop on the Hannah Run and Hot-Short Mountain Trails makes this a 19.6-mile run with 5,400 feet of ascent.
Skip the Corbin Mountain Trail
Taking the Nicholson Hollow Trail back to the Old Rag Parking makes this a 17.6-mile loop with 4,750 feet of ascent
Skipping Hannah Run and Hot-Short Mountain Trails and the Corbin Mountain Trail
The shortest loop is 11.6 miles with 3,100 feet of ascent.
Be sure to take in the views from the top, as you are eye-level with Old Rag just a couple of miles to the southeast. ↩
Here is your first option to cut the run short. The route, as shown, leaves the Nicholson Hollow Trail for a 6.2-mile side-loop on the Hannah Run and Hot-Short Mountain Trails. If you’ve had enough, stay on the Nicholson Hollow Trail for 0.2 miles, where the Hot-Short Mountain Trail comes in from the left. This will save 6 miles and 1,650 feet of ascent. ↩
This is your second chance to throw in the towel. The most direct way back to the car is to stay on the Nicholson Hollow Trail for a gradual 1.4-mile descent down Nicholson Hollow to Weakley Hollow and the Old Rag Parking. This will save 8 miles and 2,300 feet of ascent. ↩
Last updated September 17, 2020
What you do is up to you, but you shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date. Review a map beforehand and carry it with you. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. Do not count on having cell phone service while on the run. The VHTRC is not responsible for your welfare on any of these runs. If you go on one of these runs and get lost, run out of water, get injured, mauled by a bear, or die, or if anything else goes wrong, it's your fault; not ours. You assume all risks here and the VHTRC assumes none at all. Legal issues aside, some of these runs are more remote than others and the VHTRC is not suggesting that you do any of these runs, unless you are prepared to accept full responsibility for yourself.