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
Click for larger image
Interactive Hike Map BelowPrintable
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Hike route in Drag the map with your mouse using the icon Zoom with the controls on the left
Click the icons in the map below for location shots
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Strickler Knob hike:
Reviews For The Strickler Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
So, um, I just wanted to leave this note as a big shout out to the guys who helped push my truck out of the ditch leading to the trailhead -- a week after Snowzilla, the road approaching the trailhead was completely impassible (several inches of snow and ice sitting on the roads) for anything but a 4x4 vehicle.
Looking forward to doing this hike in a few weeks, when the snow melts a little more.
Date of Hike: Saturday, January 16, 2016
In one word... Wow!!! Take the difficulty rating of "5" seriously! This hike is definitely challenging but it's also incredible! We loved the terrain and the views... Lots of uphill and downhill sections and very rocky so make sure you're wearing the proper footwear.
If you start at the Massanutten trailhead, keep in mind that the last few miles is uphill and I think that's a pretty brutal ending to a 9.1 mile (in and out) hike!
We parked at the Massanutten trailhead and got about 0.3 miles from the intersection of the Strickler Knob trail (the pink trail). Unfortunately we started too late and needed to head back. We didn't attempt to do the Massanutten trail all the way back to our car, definitely not what you want to do at night! Instead, we hiked the Scothorn trail back to the road. We felt more confident walking the road back to our car. Heads-up... The distance between the Scothorn trailhead and the Massanutten trailhead is about 3 miles. A huge thank you to Ranger Chris Williams who happened to be driving by on the road... He gave us a ride back to our car.
This is a great challenging hike and I cant' wait to get back out there and actually finish it!
Date of Hike: Tuesday, January 12, 2016
This hike was no joke. One of the most strenuous hikes I've ever done. It was quite cold but still beautiful at the top. I never saw another hiker the entire day. The last steep part is brutal, but it was a great hike overall.
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 03, 2016
Great hike. The good - challenging, lots of elevation change. The bad - nothing really. While 4.5 mile hike in isn't a circuit, there are lots of little camp sites and plenty of beautiful views. You can also turn it into a circuit and just make the hike out up Crisman Hollow Rd. if you'd prefer avoiding some steep out-hiking. The ugly - coming from the Massanutten Trail Head will require a pretty rigorous hike out right at the end. The first half mile is just getting to a ridge-line, but the second half mile is pretty straight down into the ravine (i.e. just remember you're gonna have to hike back out of that at the end of a day).
Such beautiful views once you get up on the second ridge. The trail is pretty clearly marked throughout (orange at first, followed by pink off to the right once you get up onto the second ridge). There is a purple trail about one mile into the Striker's Trail (not sure where that heads), but appears to be going east down the opposite side of the ridge-line.
This is a wonderful hike. A great challenge, with a fantastic finish. Plenty of places to camp in/camp out if you want to break it up over two days.
FYI - read the beta on this site about when/where/how to start. Spent a solid hour searching around the nature trail before heading further north on Crisman Hollow Rd. to find the parking spot for the actual start of the hike.
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Two Quick Logistical Notes: First, the trail head is, as listed on here, on Crimson Hollow Rd. I came from I 81 North, and I found the trailhead is not at the intersection of Crimson Hollow Rd and VA211 E, even though there are red blazes at this intersection. You must turn on Crimson Hollow Rd, and go estimated 2 or 3 miles on this winding, narrow road. You go past a small parking lot on your right with a family interpretive trail. Next you will come to a small brown sign on the right, Massanutten Trail, with parking on the left. Orange blazes clearly visible. This is your trailhead.
As for the summit, the directions here say vaguely you'll know when you get there. My first time up here, I had no clue. The pink blazes actually continue past the summit, for some odd reason. I would say that after about 0.6 miles on the pink blaze trail, look for a rock formation in the shape of a bird's beak jutting out over the trail. This is the summit. I am wondering if technical rock climbing skill is needed for the last part at the end of the hike for the 360 view. I am an average hiker, it was fairly windy at the summit, and I felt like it was too tricky. It would require a hand and foot climb to the top of this narrow rock summit, maybe it was 12 feet tall. But I am not a fan of heights, so if you can do this go for it! I had a great 270 view on terra firma, though not a 360 view. Still it was an amazing view, and well worth it, particularly nice in the fall.
Overall the hike was more difficult than I thought it would be, mostly due to the two steep ascents and descents. I parked as hiking upward suggests so it was a good length hike. I did not shorten it by parking at Scothorn gap trailhead, but that is an interesting option next time to eliminate some of the pointless ups and downs.
I only saw three other hiking parties on a warm November day. The trail blazes were excellent on orange and good on pink. At times on the pink trail it was a little tricky staying on trail, but not bad. As others have said, finding the pink trail initially can be challenging, I missed it at first. The hike took me five hours including a short break at the summit. Only sign of wildlife was bear scat and one deer. Thankfully all the timber rattlers were well out of sight now that it is getting colder! I hope to come back, it was a great hike!