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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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e.g. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
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: 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 02, 2013
For future hiker reference, the trail from the parking lot is on the Northeast side, and it follows the Pig Iron interpretative trail to Elizabeth Furnace itself.

Decent hike, although I was possibly of unsound mind to do it in the middle of the winter -- I saw campers along the way though!

By: Tessa Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Directions to Buzzard Rock seems to need updating.  There is a sign to "Buzzard Rock - 2" on the left right after you cross the bridge from the parking area.  It is not hard to find.  At the 4-way intersection, 2 miles up, it seems the quick descent is WHITE blazed, NOT yellow.  Yellow takes you down the other side of the mountain toward Hwy 619 which is not where you want to go if you want to get back to the parking area where you started.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 04, 2011
As others have noted, this hike is a great workout. I completed it in 3 hours 45 minutes on a typical hot and humid summer day. The first 2.3 miles to the 4-way intersection are a steady uphill climb. From there, turn left towards Buzzard Rock and ascend for another mile to the top of the ridge. Once you've reached the top of the ridge, you would think that the remainder of the hike would take you along the ridgeline. Instead, the trail descends rather rapidly for about 700-800 vertical feet over the course of the next mile as you arrive at Buzzard Rock. Buzzard Rock is a unique rock formation and well worth the effort, but the views of the valley below are just so-so. The first mile of the return hike from Buzzard Rock is rather strenuous as you climb the 700-800 vertical feet to the top of the ridge. From there it's all downhill. All in all a pretty good hike, but I still prefer Signal Knob to this one.

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