Some of the best vistas in the mid-Atlantic. The new Strickler Knob trail is a challenging rock hopping/scramble that has beautiful views of New Market Gap, the Luray Valley, and a 360 degree picture perfect panorama from the Strickler Knob summit. A nice hike with a great little rock scramble on the ridge.
The Strickler Knob hike is now one of our favorites. The rock scramble on the last 0.2 miles of the Strickler Knob trail is just as much fun as Old Rag and Duncan Knob, requiring several 12ft climbs over and between the cracks of the boulders. You can also shorten the hike by two miles and park at the Scothorn Gap trailhead on Crisman Hollow Rd/VA211.
Note: The Strickler Knob trail is not a maintained or official trail, and is considered a bushwack. This hike is not suitable for young children or dogs.
From the Massanutten trailhead on Crimson Hollow Rd/VA211 start east towards Waterfall Mountain on the orange blazed Massanutten trail, immediately passing a campsite on the left. In 0.2 miles there is a vista of the Luray Valley. Continue for 0.3 miles at which point the trail turns steeply downhill. Make several switchbacks, then the trail becomes less steep before reaching the intersection of the white blazed Massanutten Connector trail in 0.6 miles from the ridge.
Turn left on the orange blazed Massanutten trail as it begins to climb alongside Big Run, passing a campsite in 0.1 miles. Cross the run where the trail becomes steeper, then re-cross the run, make one large switchback, then level out and arrive at the intersection of the yellow blazed Scothorn Gap trail 2.0 miles from the last intersection.
Now the fun starts. Firstly, thank you to the trail builders! This used to be a formidable bushwhack. The Strickler Knob trail was marked with both pink and red blazes on the rocks, but they have been removed. The trail will also appear to end in a couple of places, but keep heading along the ridge, and you'll pick the trail back up. You'll know when you get to Strickler Knob :)
The main summit is accessed through a rock crack on the left. Continue for another 30ft to the southern summit overlook. Climbing to the main summit provides a 360 degree view of the Luray Valley and New Market Gap.
Photo courtesy of @Chucklong13
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Reviews For The Strickler Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
This is a really cool hike. As a past (and successful) through-hiker of the AT, I would recommend the hike as a good prep. hike for those who want a feel for hiking in New England or the Adirondacks without making the long trip. The view is spectacular, but the view rating of 6 needs to be revised. When I saw this hike ranked above McAfee's Knob, Sharp Top, and Mt. Rogers (Wilburn Ridge), I was expecting a truly exceptional viewpoint. What I found was a viewpoint that would probably just barely make my top 10 for Virginia. One other note -- the trails in this area are boggy / muddy right now.
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 08, 2014
Hiked up to Strickler Knob today from the Rt 211 trailhead (this is slightly longer than the hike from the Massanutten Trailhead, despite the write-up). The round-trip was somewhere between 11 and 11.5 miles, with about 1700ft elevation gain, not including ups and downs, of which there are a few. The trail was snow-covered which necessitated extra caution in the rock scramble, but it was well worth it for the spectacular views and solitude unlike anything you'll find on Old Rag. I encountered only two other people on the way up. As others have mentioned, the rock scramble is not as long as Old Rag's, but the views are much, MUCH better. For my tastes, the 211 route is preferable to the route listed here, as there's no big ascent on the return trip when your legs are tired.
Another update to the narrative is that the trail to the summit is now very clearly blazed with pinkish purple paint on the rocks in addition to some markers on trees. You should have no trouble following the trail.
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 08, 2014
We took a somewhat strange route (approx 10.8 miles): Crisman Hollow Road --> Massanutten Trail --> Strickler Knob Trail to summit(had pretty fresh pink blazes at the time of our hike) --> back on Strickler Knob Trail to intersection --> Scothorn Gap Trail --> Crisman Hollow Road.
It was a great long hike, and I'm looking forward to giving it another shot when there's less snow. Much of Crisman Hollow Road was closed, so we weren't able to drive to the trailhead and had to park in the Massanutten Storybook Trail lot instead (a paved trail that dead-ends at a nice overlook). We also got a late start and didn't want to navigate the slush-covered, steep, and thus somewhat tricky Massanutten Trail at dusk/in the dark, so we made this into a loop, heading back to Crisman Hollow Road via the Scothorn Gap Trail.
If you don't want to do the steep climbs and descents of the Massanutten Trail again, this is a fine route. But I would have much preferred to return via the Massanutten Trail if conditions had allowed--the road is boring.
And if you're hiking after a recent snow or heavy rain, I'd strongly suggest wearing waterproof boots and using hiking poles at least. I had poles but my hiking companions did not, and I left them in the dust on some of the slicker uphills (OK, fine, they beat me on the rock scramble, but the poles had nothing to do with that).
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 12, 2014
am not in my best shape but I love hiking and trying to do it as often as I can. I did good research on Strickler Knob before going there. I drove from Richmond and I have to say that this was one of the most pleasant driving experiences. The views are amazing on the way to the hike. I usually do not go alone but all of my regular hiking buddies were either sick or busy. The Chrisman Hollow road was a bit wet and you have to be careful driving on it since it takes you around the ridge with cliffs on your right side. I parked at the Massanutten trail head and started the hike around 12.00 at noon. Right after the start of the hike you come to a first amazing vista overlooking the Shenandoah valley. That is where I realized that I have lost my map. In few minutes I have met another hiker Michael who found my map and we decided to do the hike together. Besides meeting Michael, I have seen 3 or 4 other hikers on the trail. The first descent down the ridge is very steep and I have realized how really steep it is, when I had to climb it again on my way back. Make sure you rest awhile before you climb it, because if you are tired and not in the best shape then it will be very hard to do. The hike to the Knob is very nice and moderate. The rock hopping on top of the ridge is not the same as on the Old Rag. Old Rag has much more of actual rock hopping but you can still have some fun climbing on top of the rocks at the Knob, since it seems more extreme. Overall amazing hike even for the winter time. I will do it again in the Spring.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 09, 2013
We had great weather last Saturday for a reattempt of this hike - we'd last tried it in January 2011 on a day with temperatures in the teens. What's not to like on this one - the rock scramble is challenging, and the views are incredible! As the trail description says, once you get to the intersection that leads off to the south for the summit, scrutinize the surroundings carefully to find your blazes - but if you lose them, stay on the ridge and you'll get there! I hope to do this one again sometime.
Here's a write-up I did on my blog: http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2013/11/strickler-knob-moderate-gwnf-day-hike.html