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)
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!
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Added the Strickler Knob section to Duncan Knob Hollow. I'll say that the blazes were very clearly marked and someone has obviously gone back through to maintain the trail recently. I was also very surprised with the number of people on the trail and camping. There are 2-3 spaces for camping on the pink/red Strickler Knob section.
The scrambling was very fun and the views are fantastic at the end. I've been wanting to do this trail for a long time and I'm glad that I was finally able to. It certainly doesn't disappoint.
Date of Hike: Friday, November 06, 2015
I'm going to start off by agreeing with most other reviewers that this is a pretty tough hike, even for those of us who are in good shape. Once you reach Stickler Knob, all the pain is definitely, definitely worth it. But for most of the hike, you aren't really seeing views, more so just enjoying being in seclusion in the woods. Going on an unusually warm November day, we fought some unexpected challenges. Most of the leaves had recently fallen off the trees and as this is a pretty private hike that isn't frequently trekked upon, the trail was covered with them. This made those downhill stretches fun to say the least. My fiancee and I agreed that by bracing ourselves for losing footing, our legs were tight and tense. Trekking poles would have made this a lot easier, so I am going to go ahead and say that they are a MUST for this hike (leaves or not, they would have really helped with the steepness). I wouldn't really suggest going this time of year unless you enjoy slipping down steep, rocky hills. In previous reviews, it seems that many found this trail poorly marked. I think that it had recently been blazed when we went, because we had no trouble finding our way at all. We did bring some helpful previous reviews along with us as well as the above description by hiking upward and referenced them occasionally to double check our progress, which I would suggest. Just follow the red/orange blazes and turn right at the pink blazes once you get to the rocky part at the top. The pink is BRIGHT pink right now. You really can't miss it. There are also red circular and square plastic shapes nailed to the tree along the pink trail that you can't miss. I have been on trails that are blazed much, much worse. As others have said, it is really fun up on the Knob for those of us who like to climb over big boulders and see beautiful views. To compare it to Old Rag, you may get views for longer on Old Rag, but the seclusion on Stricker Knob is really, really nice (we only saw one other couple coming down as we were going up). We felt lucky to be able to see such beautiful views and have the knob to ourselves. Like another reviewer said, if you wish to shorten the hike and still do the scrambling, parking a few miles further down the road at the Scothorn Gap trailhead and hiking in on the Massanutten Trail is an easier option. Due to a late start and loss of daylight, we parked at the Massanutten trailhead, hiked up to the Knob, and hiked back on the Massanutten trail to the Scothorn Gap trailhead and a little over 2 miles on Crisman Hollow Rd. back to our car. We didn't think hiking back the original way we came in the dark with slick leaves covering the trail was the best option. Anyway, good luck! You'll really enjoy it. Side note: We tried this trail in February of last year and decided not to do it because the gate on Crisman Hollow Rd. was closed. I called ahead this time (via the phone number listed above) and asked if it would be closed, and they said it really only closes in February due to weather. It does not close daily at dark.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 24, 2015
My new favorite, or at least a top three! The only part I didn't love was that initial, steep downhill part- very slippery with the fallen leaves. Oh, and people were flying down Crismon Hollow Road! But, the peaceful stream, fall colors, and stunning views made it all worth it. Go out early- it gets crowded this time of year. If you get out early enough, you will likely have the summit/knob to yourself.
Date of Hike: Sunday, October 11, 2015
Hiked this with my girlfriend just a few days ago, on October 11th, 2015.
The Strickler Knob summit and trail were spectacular. Following the trail builder's pink blazes from rock to rock was an exciting little adventure. The rock scramble towards the end was enjoyable. However, we would not compare the scramble to the Old Rag hike, as many other reviewers here have done. This scramble is much less strenuous and significantly shorter. Still very fun and great views, though! Note: Look for the Pink plastic about 12 feet up a tree when you reach the top of the Massanutten trail (after turning at the intersection to stay on Massanutten). If you start descending steeply downhill and having switchbacks, you have missed the pink and gone too far.
Aside from the pink blazed Strickler Knob trail, this hike seemed difficult for no particular reason. You quickly and painfully descend 800 feet into a valley in about half a mile, for the sole purpose of climbing back up over the course of 2 miles. In my experience, there was nothing particularly exciting about this valley, and its only purpose was to make the hike harder. We decided not to return this direction, taking the Scothorn Gap Trail and the Road to return to the upper parking lot.
That said, there was one section along the Massanutten on the upslope where you trek up a stream bed. In the Spring, I can imagine the melt making this part messy. In the Summer, I can imagine this section to be bug ridden. In the Fall, however, when the bugs have gone away and the stream has stopped flowing (for the most part), this section is unique and beautiful.
If you want to enjoy the rock scramble and spectacular views of Strickler Knob without the needless pain, park just a few miles down the road at the Scothorn Gap Trail parking lot (Yellow blazed). This is the same parking lot you would use for the Duncan Knob hike. Follow the fire road through a peaceful and open section of the woods, which includes a seemingly out of place field, and you will eventually find yourself at the very same Scothorn/Massanutten intersection. Stay straight heading uphill onto the Massanutten, and you will reach the Pink plastic start of the Strickler Knob trail in 0.6 miles. The Pink will be on your right, behind what appears to be a stone bench of sorts.
Note: The Strickler Knob Trail is located just off of the set path for the Duncan Knob and Duncan Knob Hollow hikes. Consider taking one of these hikes and adding the 1.4 mi (0.7 out, 0.7 back) of Strickler to your hike for a full day excursion. The views and scramble are worth it.