Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shenandoah National Park, VA - Corbin Cabin

Shenandoah National Park - National Park Service
Skyline Drive - National Park Service
I highly recommend listening to this interview from January 1966 with George Corbin, builder of the cabin, before doing the hike.  He provides some fascinating firsthand information about life in the mountains, building of the cabin, the family cemetery and being forced out when the park service took over the land.  When you play the audio, the transcript automatically forwards so you can read along.

GPS Coordinates 38.615904, -78.350614

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Parking long Skyline Drive.  The hike starts at the trail to the left of the handicapped parking sign.

Skyland Area Road and Trail Map - Shenandoah NPS
Shenandoah National Park Map 228 - National Geographic
Shenandoah National Park, VA - Corbin Cabin at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE:  4.6 miles

Sunrise right outside of the cabin.
Daughter of Stars Drive through Shenandoah River State Park.
Sunrise at Culler's Overlook looking to the right.
Sunrise at Culler's Overlook looking to the left.
Driving through Mary's Rock Tunnel on Skyline Drive southbound.
Early morning view to the east from one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive.

This hike was done on Halloween because Corbin Cabin and the woods around the cabin (complete with family cemetery) are supposedly haunted by George Corbin's second wife who died there in childbirth. 
Take the trail to the left of the handicapped parking sign which runs into the white-blazed Appalachian trail in just a few steps.  Turn left on the AT.
All dressed up for Halloween.
Leave the AT by turning left on the Crusher Ridge Trail which leads to...
... Skyline Drive.  Turn left on Skyline Drive and walk a short distance to the post on the right.
Cross Skyline Drive and take the Nicholson Hollow Trail.
A contemporary dwelling in Nicholson Hollow.
Descending on the Nicholson Hollow Trail.
A rock hop over Hughes River.  The water is probably very low at this time of year.
Hughes River
The Nicholson Hollow Trail continues parallel to the Hughes River below on the left.
Coming up on Corbin Cabin.
The trail comes around the far side of the cabin ...
... where you can get around to the front.  The Hughes River is behind the cabin.
To continue on, rock hop over Hughes River behind the cabin on the Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail.
Looking back at the back side of Corbin Cabin across Hughes River.
To the left off of Corbin Cabin Cutoff, Nicholson Cabin which has not been maintained.
The inside of Nicholson Cabin.  It's just one room of average size.
Nicholson Cabin sinking back into the earth.
In keeping with the Halloween theme, we took a break on Corbin Cabin Cutoff.  It was very pretty and peaceful with the gurgling water in Hughes River below and did not feel haunted at all.
In the interview with George Corbin, the cemetery is mentioned as having a nice fence and gate.  That would have been in 1966.  This is what is left of it now.
I found one field stone with an inscription - looks like it says "April 24, 1895" and under that "Tom Corbin(?)"
According to George Corbin, 25-30 people are buried here.
A tombstone?
View from the cemetery.
I had read that the graves were marked with field stones with the exception of George Corbin's second wife whose grave is marked with a concrete marker.  This broken piece of concrete has no inscription on either side so hard to tell if this is it or not and it might not even be in the right place any more.
Continuing on the ascent on Corbin Cabin Cutoff, some gorgeous foliage left even though peak foliage is over at this elevation.
Climbing up out of the hollow.
The Corbin Cabin Cutoff ends at Skyline Drive across from the parking area.

View from Skyline Drive
Route 211
Leaving Shenandoah National Park on Route 211.
Farms along Kimball Road with Shenandoah National Park on the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background .
A nice Halloween display on Kimball Road.
Route 340 heading towards Shenandoah River State Park.

[  0.00]  Take the unmarked trail to the left of the handicapped parking sign
[  0.05]  Turn left on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail
[  0.65]  Turn left on Crusher Ridge Trail at cement post
[  0.75]  Turn left on Skyline Drive
[  0.80]  Turn left, cross Skyline Drive and take the Nicholson Hollow Trail
[  2.55]  Rock hop over Hughes River
[  2.65]  Keep straight on Nicholson Hollow Trail when the Indian Run Trail goes right
[  2.85]  Corbin Cabin on the right; retrace
[  2.90]  Return to Hughes River from Corbin Cabin and rock hop over on the Corbin Cabin Cutoff
[  2.95]  Nicholson Cabin ruins on left; retrace
[  3.00]  Continue left on Corbin Cabin Cutoff
[  3.05]  Look for path on the left to cemetery; retrace
[  3.15]  Continue left on Corbin Cabin Cutoff
[  4.60]  Cross Skyline Drive back to parking


  1. Where, exactly, is the parking lot? I've searched 14 websites about this hike and none of them say--just "parking lot along Skyline Drive" ... where on Skyline Drive? GREAT website--LOVE perusing all your hikes! Excellent descriptions and incredibly helpful. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR WORK!

  2. LOL! Just after I left the comment--I noticed you have GPS coordinates at the top! SILLY ME! Sheesh. Thank you!

    1. :) Hope you enjoyed the hike! I haven't been able to get to VA in a while and I miss it!