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 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.
Date of Hike: Friday, May 23, 2014
I hiked this trail from the Scothorn Gap parking area based on the other reviews that suggested this could shorten the hike. I arrived at 11AM on the Friday before Memorial Day and there was only one car in the parking lot. I didn't run into anyone on the trail during the entire hike. There is a very small stream that you cross as you leave the parking area to get on the trail. For the first ~2 miles it is mostly a fire road. When I hiked it the wild flowers were just starting to come out. The real fun begins when you get to the Strickler Knob trail. While the instructions say that this part of the trail is not blazed, it appears as though fresh pink blazes have been repainted within the last year and the trail was easy to follow. The last section before the summit is the most fun and challenging. It was reminiscent of Old Rag, though the rocky stretch is much, much shorter than Old Rag. The view at the end is beautiful.
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Review of the hike starting from Scotshorn gap parking: For those trying to shorten the trail, you should know that Starting the hike at Scotshorn gap parking shortens the length by more than 2 miles - so the estimate in the description is inaccurate. The roundtrip hike from Scotshorn gap is actually 5.4 miles. It is very easy to follow - from the parking lot, the orange blazed Scotshorn gap trail starts climbing. Most of this is a fire road. There is a point where the trail goes along the left of a grassy meadow and would be easy to lose, but an orange arrow on a tree will point you in the right direction. 1.3 miles from the parking area it runs into the Massanutten/Massanutten Connector trail. Staying straight at this 4-way intersection puts you onto the orange blazed Massanutten trail and you run into the Strickler Knob trail in another 0.6 miles. The Strickler Knob trail is about 0.8 miles. So the total one-way distance is 2.7 miles, or 5.4 roundtrip. Elevation gain is about 1030 ft. It is considerably easier doing the hike from the Scotshorn gap parking area than from the Massanutten parking area. We have hiked it both ways and enjoy both.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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.