Veach Gap - Massanutten MT
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Signal Knob - Front Royal, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.9 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,680 ft with two different ascents
George Washington National Forest
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e.g.. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Signal Knob parking area on 678/Fort Valley Rd. 38.93503, -78.31956

The Signal Knob hike in the George Washington National Forest has spectacular views of Strausburg VA. in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as Buzzard Rock in Fort Valley to the east. Signal Knob, at 2,106ft, gets its name as both Confederate and Union troops used it as a lookout during the Civil War. The Confederate Signal Corps controlled the outlook from 1862 until August 14, 1864, when Union troops defeated the 61st Georgia Volunteer Infantry and took control of the peak.

  • Mile 0.0 - Start the hike from the right side of the Signal Knob parking area. The trail is blazed orange which designates it as part of the Massanutten Trail. Start uphill on the orange blazed trail then shortly pass an old stone house on your left, cross a small stream, then follow the trail around the eastern section of the mountain.
  • Mile 1.5 - Arrive at the Buzzard Rock Overlook. The trail will take a hairpin turn back to the south and becomes significantly more rocky. In 0.9 miles from the Buzzard rock overlook the trail turns back to the north passing another nice vista of Fort Valley. Continue to follow the orange blazed trail as it becomes less steep, then passes several nice camp spots just before arriving at the intersection of the Meneka Peak Trail.
  • Mile 3.4 - Pass the Meneka Peak Trail on the left, continuing on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail as it winds around the ridge to your right and passes a transmission tower in another 0.8 miles.
  • Mile 4.3 - Arrive at the Signal Knob lookout area. The lookout has some nice views north of the Shenandoah Valley and Strausburg VA. The Massanutten Trail continues as a orange blazed gravel road now descending the mountain to the intersection of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail the crosses the road.
  • Mile 5.5 - Turn left on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail crossing Little Passage Creek, then ascend Green Mountain/Meneka Peak where you arrive at the ridge line, and white blazed Meneka Peak Trail.
  • Mile 6.3 - Cross over the ridge and proceed downhill remaining on the blue blazed trail as it winds back and forth through the Bear Wallow area.
  • Mile 7.1 - Pass the pink blazed Sidewinder Trail on your right.
  • Mile 8.2 - Pass a white blazed connector trail for Elizabeth Furnace. Continue straight on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail as it winds around the mountain then arrives at a flatter area close to the valley, and an intersection where the blue blazed trail turns right downhill towards Fort Valley Rd./VA678
  • Mile 9.3 - Continue straight on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail (this section was formerly the the Tuscarora Spur Trail and was reblazed in 2002) as it descends slightly, then parallels Fort Valley Rd./VA678.
  • Mile 9.9 - Arrive back on the left side of the Signal Knob parking area.
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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Signal Knob hike:

Hiker Reviews For The Signal Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: GGinDC Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 08, 2015
Started about 7am. Very quiet, I only saw about 8 other people the whole hike. The way up was good, a lot of fallen leaves making some of the rocks more slippery then they normally would be. Good views and saw a few deer. On the way down from the knob, the road was a little wet, but nothing too bad. The last up and down was fine, but leaves made staying on the trail a little difficult. I had a good time on this hike, but would probably stay away in the future because my ankles didn't do too well with so many small rocks. Luckily I had my trekking poles, but another guy fell and twisted his ankle on a rock. Overall nice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 13, 2015
I actually really liked this hike, there was something about the trails that was very peaceful and enjoyable (although I would definitely recommend backtracking along the Massanutten trail to Meneka Peak and hiking along that's much more scenic).  We hardly saw anyone the whole day, and the weather was perfect, nice and cool.  Being from the Northeast, I actually liked the rocky trail.  It makes it interesting (when I hike, this trail is what I expect to encounter!).  The viewpoint at Signal Knob was cool, but a bit disappointing that you could hear the traffic below.

Overall, I would do this one again, but only when the leaves are down so I could get some better views up on Meneka Peak.

By: John D Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 06, 2015
Waste of a hike. It was nearly all rocks, and the views were completely forgettable. Also, my GPS had nearly 11 miles, not 9.9.

By: jd Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 29, 2015
Did an overnight with 4 children age 5-12. Was good hike overall not alot of scenery to look at. Would probably be a better fall hike. Very rocky. . All streams were dried up so no place to refill water. Overlooks were grown up so the views were a bit limited. Second ascent was steep but rewarding when we got to the top. Really had to push ourselves.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 08, 2015
Such many rocks. Wow.

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