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)
Hiked from Scothorn gap. . .had no trouble finding the trail out the knob - marked with a large rock cairn and a red marker on a nearby tree. Also seem to be (fairly) fresh pink blazes marking the trail all the way to the end. Other than the 30-MPH wind gusts and some ice on the rocks, a fantastic hike. Lives up the billing, particularly on the views (and not just from the summit). Note that I'd still not put this in the same category as Old Rag - you're not on the same large stretches of pure rock. . .this is more of the typical scramble over large slabs, etc. -- but lots of it, including several small but fun climbs. Two sites with fire rings, but only one where you could pitch a tent or two (or, at least where I could do so. . .your mileage may vary).
Date of Hike: Sunday, December 07, 2014
A great hike with great views. Started at the 211 parking lot for an additional 2 miles, give or take. A secluded gem.
Date of Hike: Thursday, October 23, 2014
It was a very long hike, took me about 7.5 hours to complete it, but still hadn't of found the infamous spot of strickler knob. I had the map and directions printed out in addition.
I followed the Massenutten trail all the way to the 4 way intersection where you are a quarter-mile from Jawbone Overlook and took that left. Went on for a while till i hit an open established trail that led to the road.
The whole time I was looking for the pink blazed tree/rocks and could not find them. I was very saddened to take that long of a hike and not reap the rewards, the pink blaze should be repainted so that way people can clearly see! I understand its a bushwhack, but for the just the beginning of the trail it would be nice.
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 16, 2014
This hike met my expectations: that it would be easier than Old Rag and nearly as scenic. The weather was perfectly in the low-70s with a nice breeze. It also helped that most of the trail is under the cover of the forrest's shade. I parked at the second spot that comes on Crimson Hollow Rd, which it seemed to me is where the map on this site begins (there were people parked at the first spot too, maybe 0.5-1 mile earlier). A Massanutten trailhead sign is clearly visible from the road along with an orange blaze. I walked at a comfortable pace that included no running and reached Strickler Knob in about 2.75 hours. The initial descent into the valley was VERY steep and required caution. The rest of the hike was relatively comfortable. An inukshuk marked the beginning of the pink/red blazed trail towards Strickler Knob.
It was a little tricky finding the blazes along the ridgetop at times but certainly not difficult. Most of them are on rocks so keep an eye out. The brief rock scramble towards the end was nowhere near as difficult or fun as Old Rag but still required caution and some climbing. Finally at the destination, the 360 view was magnificent and I would rate it just a notch below Old Rag and McAfee Knob. A large swath of the Luray Valley is visible on one side and on the other side are mountains. I had lunch there and relaxed for about 30 minutes. On the way back, I wanted to avoid the steep ascent back to parking (sure, call me lazy) and so I took the Scothorn Gap trail to the road and walked back to my car in about 2 hours and 10 minutes. Interestingly, a couple that was close behind me took the original trail back and made it just 15 minutes after (though they ran some easier portions).
45 mins from Parking to Massanutten connector trail intersection
- 1 hour to Scothorn Gap intersection via Mansutten trail
- 1 hour to Strickler Knob
- 50 mins back to Scothorn Gap intersection
- 3o mins to Crimson Hollow Rd via Scothorn Gap trail
- 50 mins back to Parking via the road
- Total hiking time: 4 hours and 55 mins.
Additional Notes: I came across multiple bear droppings along the trail so please keep an eye out for bears. I also came across a flock of wild turkeys, which was pretty neat! I hiked alone on a Saturday beginning before noon, had plenty of solitary time as compared to Old Rag, and teamed up with a nice couple before embarking on the pink blazed trail. The trail and summit were nowhere near as busy as Old Rag. Overall, I mostly agree with the ratings. The experience wasn't as "epic" as Old Rag, as it mostly involved walking through the woods until the very end, but I don't think anything can top Old Rag in the Shenandoah area. However, the view at Strickler Knob was well worth it and I'd highly recommend this trail!
Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I started at the Massanutten trailhead to add the two extra miles. The steep downhill at 0.3 miles from the start, remember, your climbing back up that sucker at the end of the day. It's a leg burner!
The trail went through some rough, rocky country that I really enjoyed, especially down in the Big Run Creek area. But here's something anyone else new to this hike should know. Hiking up to the knob, at the very top of the mountain ridge where the pink trail markers first begin that lead out to Strickler Knob, that area can be a little confusing. That trail does not start off as a tight, recognizable beaten path off through the woods but more of an open area in the woods and pink markers on rocks that can be missed. Like I did. As you hike uphill from the intersection of Scothorn Gap trail, your on a 0.6 mile bulldozed fireroad. The old burnt area is to your left and untouched forests on your right. Once at the very top where this fireroad starts down the other side of the mountain, stop and look hard into the woods on your right. There's a tree with a 5" pink disk nailed about 8' up the trunk that's standing back in the woods in the area where the pink trail markings begin. Once you locate the pink trail markers on the rocks, getting lost seems almost impossible. The newly painted pink blazes are great and led right out to the point. At the end of my day, the last two miles back up the mountain from the Massanutten Connector trail intersection to the Massanutten trailhead is almost all steep uphill and that kicked my butt. One last advice, ticks! I pulled 20 or more off my legs through out the day. Overall I really enjoyed myself on this hike.