Elliot Knob is the highest point in Augusta County, and one of the highest peaks in Virginia. Just west of Staunton and secluded in Buffalo Gap, this hike features two waterfalls, several great views to the west and east, and a grass covered summit. If you're lucky, this hidden treasure can be all yours for a day.
At 0.4 miles pass a small logging road on your right, the first of four. In 0.6 miles from the parking area the trail makes a turn to the left before entering the first of three small clearings at 0.8 miles.
After turning left on the yellow blazed trail continue 0.8 miles, crossing two small spurs, and passing through a utility clear cut before arriving at an access road. Turn right uphill on the yellow blazed dirt access road for the steepest part of the hike before arriving at a spring and small pond in 1.0 miles.
Continue along the road as it passes a small stand of spruce, winds back to the right, then to the left, passes the yellow blazed North Mountain Trail and transmission station, then enters another stand of spruce and flatter area.
At this point the dirt road you have been following turns to the right towards the transmission station. Turn left onto the trail that climbs on the west side of the mountain and up to the grass covered summit in another 0.1 miles. The lookout tower was built in 1958 and hasn't been used since the early sixties. If you are doing this hike as a backpack there are two sheltered campsites under a stand of spruce at the summit.
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Reviews For The Elliot Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
Did this hike as described in the guide. Beautiful hike and the falls were really nice with plenty of water in winter. A couple of spots near the top of the Falls Hollow have washed out and you have to pick your way through a section of the stream, but it wasn't too hard. I thought the switchback trail would be hard but it was relatively easy and a very nice trail. Then, we got to the access road and it kicked my butt. I routinely hike Humpback Rock without stopping to catch my breath, but this is significantly tougher. Expect a real workout and I can only imagine how hot this must be in summer. That said, getting to the top was all worth it. A really nice view and great open area that appears to be used (but not abused) for camping. Coming down, expect the access road to be a knee crusher, with loose gravel and grades steeper than 15% making it be hard on your knees. I'll do it again, but I won't do it in summer.
Date of Hike: Thursday, January 19, 2017
After reading the "less than stellar" reviews of hiking to Elliott Knob from VA42, we decided to approach the summit from the south on North Mountain trail which can be accessed via Hite Hollow Road. The trailhead was at coordinates 38.132985, -79.362688 (roughly). The trail appears on the "MyTrails" map if downloaded to ones GPS unit. But it is easy to stay on the trail without a GPS.
Our group of 7 hikers really enjoyed the hike. It was a 4.2 mi hike to the summit ascending approx 1,300 feet (8.5 mi RT - we are tired). The ascent was consistent but not overwhelming. The trail was in good shape although it was single file for a bit due to overgrowth.
Very interesting rock formations along the way.
The tower is located on a bald at the top of the mountain. Nice places to sit and have lunch and the view from the tower was excellent in all directions.
Being the highest point in Augusta Co. (and the 3rd highest peak in Virginia), this is a must-do hike.
Go the way we went - you won't be dissapointed.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Hiked up from rt 42 then and finished at VA 688 with a scout troop. Going up the first 2/3s was nice. Once we got to the service road it became an aerobic workout. The road goes basically straight up for a mile +. It would not be a fun climb in July or August. The view from the tower is great. We took the north mountain trail over to rt 688 (see Chimney Hollow/Elliot Knob hike). That is a good trail with lots of solitude. If I was to do this again I would have done it in reverse.
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 03, 2016
Hiked to Elliott's knob along the Falls trail to the fire road to the summit. Maybe the dry weather left little water to flow over the falls. The larger fall did not have any water going over it today. The hike from where the Falls trail joins the fire road to the summit was very difficult.
I made the hike to the summit 9 years ago and the area at the pond was clear of under brush as was the summit. Today both were overgrown. I am sorry to see they have not been maintained.
On the descent, we did not take the Falls trail back but continue straight down the fire road to Route 42 and walked the 1/4 mile to the Falls entrance. Lot shorter.
Date of Hike: Thursday, August 11, 2016
If you are a meteor shower or sunset chaser, or if you want to be alone for a couple of days, this is a great place. Otherwise, I'd say this hike isn't worth it. It's frankly kind of ugly (minus the very top), and the gravel road makes it really hot. However, if you still want to go, this is what I learned:
Google maps will take you to an entrance that is not the same one described on this site. (I learned on back drive back eastward that it takes you maybe a quarter mile past it.) It takes you to a gate that says "Foot Travel Welcome - Closed to All Public Motor Vehicle Use" and there's a "School Bus Stop Ahead" sign right where you pull in. I happened to run into an employee of the area who confirmed that this was an okay place to park, even though the footage of dirt didn't really seem like it was fit for cars.
The hike itself was pretty brutal. Granted, I went on a hot, humid day with a large pack at 3:30 in the afternoon. The gravel rock bounces heat back up at you for the entire hike and there are no switchbacks and little sun coverage. There is, however, a good variety of butterflies, mosses, fungi, and shade on the the offshoots which provide great refuge from the path's otherwise mundaneness. I did not come across any waterfalls, but I did see the pond. The pond has a nice little stream running adjacent to it, which was great for filling up on water the next day. It is maybe 15/20 minutes from the top of the mountain.
There is lots of space to pitch a tent at the top, either on the summit itself or right beforehand where the gravel road ends. People have set up fire pits and have kept it pretty clean. Sunsets and meteors here are spectacular.
Overall, I enjoyed myself, but perhaps that's because the meteor shower was so good. The only reason I'd go up again is to watch another one.