Some of the best vistas in the mid-Atlantic. The Strickler Knob trail is a challenging rock hopping/scramble with 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)
Went here for a day hike in late March at around 60 Fahrenheit. We parked at the parking lot that leads to a much shorter "Storybook trail" that overlooks the nearby valley because the road to the opening of strickler knob is closed and gated. The strickler knob starts off the paved road with a sign that says "Massanutten trail" which leads further into the woods. First part starts with a very narrow path that has small bushes brushing against our ankles the entire time. This is followed by a steep descend down ridge which ends at a nearby streamside camp site. After this, the trail crosses the same stream twice as it heads back up to the top of a ridge. The trail will intersect the scothorn gap right before it heads up to the knob (there will be a sign at the intersection). About 3/4 of a mile onward, the orange trail will start to head down ridge do not head down valley, instead take the right path across some rocks and follow the pink/red blazes instead. This goes all the way to the tip of the knob through a long way of rocks scrambling. We were rewarded with 360 view of the entire valley, definitely one of the best views in the AT mountain ranges.
On the way back, since we did not want to hike back up the steep down-ridge near the start of the trail, we took the scothorn gap trail instead, which took us back to the crisman hollow road. We returned to our car by following the wide paved road all the way back to the starting parking lot.
This was our second hike in VA, with the previous one being Old Rag. I'd say by comparison Strickler Knob is slightly more difficult but also the views are more rewarding (can't beat 360 view). And don't worry about trail markers, the entire trail is well blazed and very obvious.
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 05, 2016
We attempted this hike last February (2015) and had to turn around 1/3 of the way due to making wrong turns and an impending snow storm.
We just revisited this hike and made it into a two day camping trip by combining it with Duncan Knob trail.† The trail was very well maintained with the exception of a few sections of the trail that were wet and muddy but relatively shallow that you could walk straight through. The downhill was relatively clear of leaves and dry and provided good traction. The section that leads to Strickler knob was especially fun and exciting. The trail was very well marked with Pink & Red markings (blazes and plastic markings on trees & pink blazes on rocks). When we finally got to the end there 3 vultures(?) sitting on top of the rocks resting and drinking water from the holes in the rocks. Climbing over the rocks is definitely not for the faint heart. The rocks still had some snow from the previous night but thankfully were not icy.† There is even a campsite if you fancy resting there for the night.
A great deal of gratitude to the gentleman who was working on the trails.
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 20, 2016
Beautiful hike. Coming up Big Run, you cross over the headwaters, and the water was bubbling out of the ground in several places. The last 0.3 mile to get to Stricklerís Knob has some rock scrambling, not hard but it'll slow you down if for no reason that just taking in the great views. The view at the end makes it all worth it. Coming back, near the end is a brutal half-mile 800-foot climb from Big Run back up to Crisman Hollow Road. The option to avoid the climb is to take Scothorn Gap Trail on the return trip. That will put your last 2 miles of hiking on Crisman Hollow Road.
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 31, 2016
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!