The Signal Knob hike in the George Washington National Forest has spectacular views of Strausburg VA. in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as Buzzard Rock in Fort Valley to the east.
Signal Knob, at 2,106ft, gets its name as both Confederate and Union troops used it as a lookout during the Civil War. The Confederate Signal Corps controlled the outlook from 1862 until August 14, 1864, when Union troops defeated the 61st Georgia Volunteer Infantry and took control of the peak.
Mile 0.0 - Start the hike from the right side of the Signal
Knob parking area. The trail is blazed orange which designates it as part of the Massanutten Trail. Start uphill
on the orange blazed trail then shortly pass an old
stone house on your left, cross a small stream, then follow the trail around the
eastern section of the mountain.
Mile 1.5 - Arrive at the Buzzard
Rock Overlook. The trail will take a hairpin turn back to the south and becomes significantly more rocky. In 0.9 miles from the Buzzard rock overlook the trail turns back to the north passing another nice vista of Fort Valley. Continue to follow the orange blazed trail as it becomes less steep, then passes several nice camp spots just before arriving at the intersection of the Meneka Peak Trail.
Mile 3.4 - Pass the Meneka Peak Trail on the left, continuing on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail as it winds around the ridge to your
right and passes a transmission tower in another 0.8 miles.
Mile 4.3 - Arrive at the Signal Knob lookout area. The lookout has some nice views north of the Shenandoah Valley and Strausburg VA. The Massanutten Trail continues as a orange blazed gravel road now descending the mountain to the intersection of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail the crosses the road.
Mile 5.5 - Turn left on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail crossing Little Passage
Creek, then ascend Green Mountain/Meneka Peak where you arrive at
the ridge line, and white blazed Meneka Peak Trail.
Mile 6.3 - Cross over the ridge and proceed downhill remaining on
the blue blazed trail as it winds back and forth through the
Bear Wallow area.
Mile 7.1 - Pass the pink blazed Sidewinder Trail
on your right.
Mile 8.2 - Pass a white blazed connector trail for Elizabeth Furnace. Continue straight on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail as it winds around
the mountain then arrives at a flatter area close to the valley,
and an intersection where the blue blazed trail turns right downhill towards Fort Valley Rd./VA678
Mile 9.3 - Continue straight on the orange blazed Massanutten
Trail (this section was formerly the the Tuscarora Spur Trail
and was reblazed in 2002) as it
descends slightly, then parallels Fort Valley Rd./VA678.
Mile 9.9 - Arrive back
on the left side of the Signal Knob parking area.
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Reviews For The Signal Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
It was a great trail for our groups as named "WDC Hiking Club. It was so beautiful day and fresh air.
Date of Hike: Saturday, January 04, 2014
I took a different tack on this hike, I do the Signal Knob/Bear Wallow route many times each year. This time I started up past Buzzard Rock to the Meneka Peak trail split. I went left up and over Meneka Peak (my favorite spot on the mountain) turning back on the Tuscarora Trail toward Signal Knob. Up the Service Road, out to Signal Knob for a look, then back on the yellow/orange line home via Buzzard Rock. I never enjoy the Bear Wallow portion of the suggested route, so I thought this might be better. The rocky trail beats you up a bit, but it's not as boring as the Bear Wallow trek.
Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 01, 2014
Appropriate New Year's Day hike I think...First Massanutten outpost...Iconic historical place...
Challenging because of the rocky trails and the distance.
Signal Knob itself would not be a 5 for views...the entire hike is a 5 for views.
Especially in leaveless wintertime.
Ran into a few people but plenty of solitude.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I hiked the loop counter-clockwise. I wasn't in top shape so it was very tough. The first half of the hike was challenging but comfortable. I camped by the reservoir, which was apparently a very popular camping spot. I had a tiny campsite by the water. Very pretty, and I highly recommend checking it out. The next morning, I hiked up the F/S road to the peak. The peak was gorgeous. The views on this hike really are amazing. The rest of the hike was b r u t a l. I swear there was no point where I wasn't either going up hill, rock hopping, or both. By the end of the hike I could barely walk!
Overall, great hike. Super challenging but very rewarding. It was very crowded, but keep in mind that this is a trail that is easily accessible from the metro area and this was a beautiful Saturday in mid fall. Doesn't get much sweeter than that!
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 16, 2013
No way is this a four in difficulty. This was our first time on this hike. We are experienced and in pretty good shape, ages 47 and 58. We went counter-clockwise (going up the orange-blazed trail). It was a very gradual ascent. The only challenge was dry slippery leaves and tricky footing on the rocks - and there are LOTS of rocks. Coming back down on the blue-blazed trail was much less rocky and it is a gradual descent on switchbacks. Actually kind of boring. It is pretty enough, even at this time of year, and there are some good views from the ridges, but overall, I'd say it was maybe a three and then only because of the tricky footing and the distance.