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Duncan Knob Hollow - Luray, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
13.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
6.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,560 ft
George Washington National Forest
Apple Blossom Inn
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Park on the opposite side of the road from the Massanutten. Trail sign next to the trailhead. If the two parking spots next to the trailhead are occupied, park at the Camp Roosevelt picnic area just down the road. 38.72821, -78.51698

The Duncan Knob Hollow hike is essentially the same circuit as the Duncan Knob Hike, except starting from the other side of Middle Mountain. This hike is also longer, with several excellent multi-tent camping sites, and is accessible in the winter and late spring months when FDR674/VA211 is closed.

Start south on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail as it winds along the valley on the east side of Little Passage Creek. Cross a small wooded footbridge placed over one of the side streams, and come to the first of three crossing points on Little Passage Creek in 0.7 miles.

After crossing Little Passage Creek, pass the second campsite on the opposite bank (the first campsite is 100 yards from the trailhead). Continue up the valley on the orange blazed trail and pass a small seasonal spring in another 1.0 miles. In 1.1 miles from the spring is the best multi-tent campsite on the circuit, right on the banks of Little Passage Creek. This campsite has a large fire pit with several stone seats.

After passing the campsite cross Little Passage Creek, then back again, and continue 0.3 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Gap Creek Trail. On the left/east bank of Little passage Creek is another multi-tent campsite with a large fire pit and stone seats.

From the orange blazed Massanutten Trail, turn right uphill on the blue blazed Gap Creek Trail for the steepest section of the route. In 0.8 miles arrive at the ridge of Middle Mountain, and third multi-tent campsite.

Turn right on the white blazed trail that leads up to Duncan Knob. In 0.1 miles there is a multi-tent campsite on the right of the trail, and single tent campsite on the left. In another 100 yards from these campsites enter the rock slide portion of the white blazed trail. The blazes can be hard to locate during the rock scramble to the summit. At the top of the rock slide, stay right to the Duncan Knob vista.

After returning to the saddle, and blue blazed Gap Creek Trail, turn right downhill on the west side if the mountain, and in 0.3 miles reach the intersection of the yellow blazed Scothorn Gap Trail. Turn left on the yellow blazed trail and in 0.6 miles pass through a small clearing. In 1.0 mile from the clearing reach at the four way intersection of the Massanutten Trail. The Massanutten Trail comes in from the left and continues straight, and the Scothorn Gap Trail turns right.

Turn left uphill on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail and arrive the ridge line in 0.7 miles. At the ridge there is a nice vista point 100 yards off the trail to the left/north. Continue downhill 0.4 miles on the east side of Middle Mountain as the orange blazed trail steeply descends to the valley, then makes a turn back to the left/north where the descent is less steep.

From the left turn, continue on the trail for 1.8 miles back to the intersection of the Gap Creek Trail. From this point continue straight on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail, retracing your steps across Little passage Creek three times, and arriving back at the trailhead and VA675 in 3.1 miles.

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Hiker Reviews For The Duncan Knob Hollow Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 21, 2016
This was a great day-hike, and I can see how it would make a very good overnight trip as well. I started at Route 675 near Camp Roosevelt & kept on the Massanutten Trail past the intersection with the Gap Creek Trail. At the top of the ridge, I would recommend taking the side trip to Strickler Knob, which is green blazed trail that ends in a short rock scramble and one of the best views in the area. It added about an hour to my hike, but I did some socializing once I got out to the knob. The Scothorn Gap trail is very nice, although it looks like it could get quite soupy at certain times of the year. The climb up on the Gap Creek Trail is much less strenuous from the west side than from the east side, one reason why I would suggest doing this loop clockwise (rather than counter-clockwise, as suggested in the description). The scramble up to Duncan Knob is a bit of a free for all, with a few white blazes giving way to cairns. I didn't have any close calls, but the nature of the rocks made me the slightest bit nervous, since I was by myself and light was fading. However, I made it up and down no problem. Overall, the hike took me a little over 6.5 hours and included the side trip to Strickler Knob and a few substantial breaks. I hope to go back some time and try out one of the many campsites.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2016
I would give this hike a 2 out of 5 rating in terms of difficulty. 95% of this hike is pretty easy and along plain easy terrain, with the other 5% comprising of the "steepest" 0.8 miles (it is not steep at all) and the rock scramble. A few tips/FYI: 1) I was confused where to start the hike, and it wasn't really clear from the HU instructions, but luckily I was on the correct trail. Start the trail along the said parking coordinates. If parking is full, you may park in the trail/horse parking ground, located about 100 yards on the left (through the white gate). This is the same parking for kennedy peak. 2) Avoid doing this hike during and even a few days after it rains. Space it out by at least 4-5 days. Your shoes WILL get wet especially when you cross the third creek. Even along the entire length of the trail, several areas are muddy and difficult to spot especially with the fallen leaves covering the trail path. 3) Pay attention to the white blazed trail to the duncan knob as soon as you get to the multi-tent camp site. I missed it and kept going down, following the blue blazed trail markers in hopes of finding the white blaze (any second now) and ended up at the intersection of the yellow blazed trail, only to realize I had missed it and had to go all the way back. Luckily the distance is only about 0.2 miles max (on-way) but I still wasted time. 4) It is mentioned that the trail blaze is hard to spot during the rock scramble which is true. Going up isn't much of a problem since you can easily see where the vista peak is. However coming down was tough- especially since it was extremely windy and chilly today. Wind was a huge issue for me since I am 5'6" and weigh 110 lbs so easily knocked out by strong gusts. My fingers were totally numb as I was trying to find my way back.. Make sure you stick to the left coming down as that's where the trail is. I completed my hike in 6.5 hours (including a cumulative 15 minutes break, and the 10 minutes lost due to my error in missing the trail). But my gps logged only 11.2 miles instead of 13 miles. I saw quite a few other hikers and a couple of camping groups. The view from the Duncan Knob is amazing! Leaves have started to change color and you can see the different shades across all the mountains from the top. I would've spent more time at the top had it not been so chilly and windy. Overall a good hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 05, 2016
Hiked with my girlfriend. We took the trail to Stricklers Knob and doubled back omitting Duncans Knob. My girlfriend and I run about 20 miles a week and this hike really wore us down towards the end. Be wary of the excessive amount of gnats and flys which tainted our experience. I want to come back in Fall or Spring before the bugs are everywhere. It's best to hike this in pants because many areas of the trail are overgrown with thorn bushes. We really enjoyed this hike just bring plenty of water.

By: Renee Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 26, 2016
Camped overnight and stayed at the campsite across the orange/blue intersection (across the creek). We've never seen so many ticks!! It's fairly common for us to pick up one or two but we each had several and have picked about 20 off of our dog. Due to recent rains, it's a bit muddy. I hiked in my chacos part of the time and then switched back into boots. Ticks and mud aside, the hike up to Duncan's Knob was steep but short, great work out. The rock scramble was a little tough for our 4 year lab, made him a little nervous but the top was totally worth it. Great hiking and camping - we didn't do the whole loop, came back down blue the way we came after Duncan's Knob. Ran into about a 4 foot rattler on the trail on our way back.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 05, 2015
Great hike and incredible view from the top. I just wanted to drop a note on here for owners of large dogs that the final scramble to the top might be a bit much for the pooch depending on size and weight. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog and had to lift her most of the way up the final scramble and coming back down was also challenging.

For a lighter more agile breed like a lab or such it would likely be fine.

Just FYI.

Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred for hauling milk carts around dairy farms in the swiss alps but aren't great at actual rock climbing.

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