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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Hiker Reviews For The Signal Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Signal Knob hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Steve F. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 28, 2015
Great views for modest effort. Be sure to continue past the transmitter, following the orange blazes to the nice overlook. Nice time I will hike back to the white-blazed Meneka Peak Trail and take that to the blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail, rather than go down the gravel road and then hike back up to Meneka Peak.

By: Mike G Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 07, 2015
The final section of the hike (past Mile 9.3, returning to the parking lot) on the orange-blazed Massanutten Trail is in the process of being rebuilt/diverted. The existing trail goes straight down a short, fairly steep slope that has experienced significant erosion. A new trail with multiple switchbacks is in the process of being cleared, so for the moment there are two trails criss-crossing each other on the way back to the parking lot. Presumably at some point the old trail will be blocked off and the new switchback trail will take over.

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 06, 2015
My wife and I hiked this several times before but always turned back at the TV tower. This time we did the whole loop from orange to blue trails crossing over a small creek. Part of the trail was pretty wet as the previous week was pretty wet. This is one of our favorite hikes for the difficulty and elevation gain and close proximity to Montgomery County, MD. Someday we will overnight camp this one, lots of wonderful campsites. We were really crushing it getting to the overlook in two hours after stopping for lunch and another break. Could have done it in under 5 hours but I have 8 year old boots and this was their last voyage. The sole collapsed too many times on my left boot and evenutally this pressure bruised my foot pretty badly so I hobbled the last 1.5 miles. Because of this foot pain my hike became excruciatingly painful. Without this bruise I feel like we would have broke 5 hours. Very fun hike, still feeling it today! Going to try Strickler Knob next week with brand new Keen boots!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Two parts to the hike. First part follows the Orange hash marks. Gradual ascent but not very challenging. Second part follows the blue hash mark. Much better and somewhat steep in areas. As mentioned in other reviews, difficult rocky trail nearly throughout. Views at lookouts were limited because of foliage. Several good campsites. Arrived at 7:00 am and didn't see anyone for the first two hours. Saw a total of five hikers. Also saw a couple mountain bikers. Finished in 4 hrs. Overall, it was a good hike but probably wouldn't do it again due to the rocky trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 18, 2015
Started the hike at 8:00 am and did not see a single soul. This was nice for solitude but not great when you are breaking all of the cobwebs with your face! This time of day the hike was mostly shaded. My GPS clocked it at 10.26. I found the points to be mostly accurate but the pink trail was at mile 8.0 vs the 7.1 listed on the guide. Not sure if this was my GPS error or if the trail has just changed over the years. It was not an exceptionally hard trail overall but the long stretches of boulders made it technically more challenging than some other trails. Lots of flowers and wildlife to be seen today!

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