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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Reviews For The Signal Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
Great hike, 3rd time we've done it, each time with out dog.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 29, 2014
A pretty nice hike. Not overly difficult compared to other hikes I've been on, but it does feel very long. The trek up to signal knob has some great views, and the top of the mountain was still covered in over half a foot of snow, which made the forest beautiful! Once you get to signal knob, the view is awesome. The trek coming back around from signal knob is pretty boring though. It drags on forever and there really isn't much to see the whole way back, but the views on the first half make up for it.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 22, 2014
I've hiked all over Virginia, and this trail remains one of my favorites. I led a group from Central Virginia Trailblazers last Saturday. The bear trees allowed for great views but tricky hiking, as many of the rocks were hidden under the fallen leaves. No bear sightings and only a few hikers on the trail the entire day.
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2014
I did this as a training hike with a goal of 4 hours, but it took 4.5. The parking lot was full, but only saw 3-4 people all day, and a couple of bikers. It's a good day hike. I'm not a fan of the rocky terrain up to Signal Knob, so be sure to have good ankle support. After you come down the fire road and turn left onto Bear Wallow Trail (about m5.5), it turns up hill for about a mile, which was tough. After getting to the peak, and turned down hill it was a nice steady decent. The map is good, but my GPS clocked this at more like 10.5.
Date of Hike: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Took us 5 hours to complete this hike, plus about 20 minutes of stop at Signal Knob overlook. The hike was pretty intense and the ground only gets flat at about the last 2 or 3 miles. This flat surface is very much helpful as by that time we were so exhausted and just wanted to get to the parking lot and rest. Overall this is a difficult trail, total distance according to my gps is 10.17 miles from parking and back.
Tips: hiking shoes with good ankle support is a must as the trail is rocky. Wear long legging/pants, as the trail is covered with bush at several points. My long pants got scratches here and there. Our car is the only car parked but this is Thursday, not sure how the situation is on weekend. PS: we did not encounter any bear. But lots of bugs.