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Buzzard Rock- Front Royal, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
7.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,510 ft
George Washington National Forest
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Turn into Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area (past group camping sign) Parking is on your right over a small bridge. 38.92787, -78.32940

The Buzzard Rock hike is a shorter out and back hike in the Elizabeth Furnace section of the GWNF near Front Royal Virginia. There are several other great loop hikes that start from this same area: High Peak, Mudhole Gap, Signal Knob and Meneka Peak. The Shawl Gap Hike also uses this mountain but starts from the other side of the ridge.

Finding the trail head through the picnic area is a little tricky. From the main parking area take the path from the top left side straight for 100 yards (two other paths cross it) before you arrive at Elizabeth Furnace. Continue around the furnace staying on the blue/orange blazed Tuscarora/Massanutten Trail. Immediately after passing the furnace stay straight DO NOT take the unmarked trail that heads to the right uphill.

Follow the blue/orange blazed Tuscarora/Massanutten Trail and shortly cross a small wooden bridge before starting uphill. The trail will cross a non-maintained yellow blazed trail twice before arriving at the ridge line and four-way trail intersection 2.3 miles from your starting point.

At the ridge and intersection turn left on the white blazed Buzzard Rock Trail is turns uphill for 2.0 miles before reaching Buzzard Rock. The views here are obstructed by trees so for a better vista continue for another 100 yards along the trail where there is a spot that looks out towards Front Royal and the Shenandoah Valley.

To return retrace your steps back down the Buzzard Rock Trail to the four-way intersection. At this point you can either turn right going back down the Tuscarora/Massanutten Trail from where you came or continue straight through the intersection for 25 yards then turning downhill on the old yellow blazed trail.

If you should choose the yellow blazed trail it is considerably shorter as it heads almost straight downhill but therefore very steep as well. This trail is only blazed at the top and before crossing the Tuscarora/Massanutten Trail for the first time, so just stay straight, it will end back at the picnic area.

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Hiker Reviews For The Buzzard Rock Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Good workout climbing uphill on the blue/orange trail. Went up 10:30am after staying in the camp over night. Hardly a person on the trail. It's a great overlook and a steep, quick descent. It's a good go-to and nearby to DC. I'm pretty slow paced and it took 2 hours up and 1 hour down with 30 min lunch.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 24, 2015
Great experience for my first official "hike." Really enjoyed the lack of many people around and took advantage of the quietude! My hiking partner and I found it really challenging toward the top of Buzzard Rock, but that was a good challenge!

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 28, 2014
We really enjoyed this hike. There was about 6 inches of recent snow on the ground, which I loved--especially on the direct route down. This last part of the hike seems to no longer be a maintained trail, but it was still a blast to run down in the snow. Nice views and close to NoVa. I liked it better than most of the hikes along Fort Valley Road. We will definitely be back.

By: Mark Forrest Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 13, 2014
This is an awesome hike. The view is fantastic from Buzzard's Rock, as you peer almost straight down 800-900 feet. The wind blows strong and the trees are bent. There are several camping places further up the trail for those who want to make this an overnight trip. No water on the top of the mountain though. I highly recommend. I will be back with friends. I liked it that much.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 21, 2013
My husband, my sister and I really enjoyed this trail. There weren't a lot of people here, so our dogs could walk off leash, there was still lots of snow even though temperatures were in the 70 degree range, and there were some awesome views.

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