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.
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
Interactive Hike Map BelowPrintable
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Hike route in Drag the map with your mouse using the icon Zoom with the controls on the left Mouse-over the icons in the map below for location shots
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Buzzard Rock hike:
Reviews For The Buzzard Rock Hike (5 Most Recent)
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!
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.
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.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I have been looking forward to this hike since doing Signal Knob last fall and looking across the valley to Buzzard Rock...however I was severly dissapointed. The trail is easily marked(at least the blue/orange blazes)...although we did have trouble finding the correct start, "top left" of parking lot, actually means next to the outhouses. You start off passing the furnace and then it is straight up for almost 3 miles. Would not have minded this if there was a rewarding view at the top, but we found none. Followed the ridge trail and white blazes, but never did locate 'buzzard rock'. There were little to no views(I realize it's the summer and there is foliage, but if this hike is rated a 5 on views, I would expect SOMETHING). Because the turn around point is not marked, we overshot this by atleast a mile and only after using the internet on our phones to look up the Buzzard Rock North hike, we decided to turn around. Still did not find this amazing Buzzard Rock on the way back! Also, the bugs were HORRIBLE, I have been on two previous hikes this year and nothing as bad as this. My advice...do the signal knob hike that is on the opposite mountain...still a long hike with strenuous uphills, but amazing views throughout.
Date of Hike: Monday, January 17, 2011
17 Scouts and 5 Adults tackled Buzzard Rock hike and enjoyed themselves immensely on a chilly day. Positives: 1) Finding the orange/blue trail was easier than described - it's clearly blazed (since the previous posts?) on the left just after crossing the bridge. 2) Scouts laden with 35 # packs hiked it in 5 hours even, including half hour lunch break and a number of trail pauses, as well as one injury stop. 3) Good workout for adults needing a little encouragement to get ready for Philmont this summer, and 4) Great views! Negatives: 1) topo profile implies that Buzzard Rock as the turnaround point is a downhill hike of about a mile from the peak, even though the text says it's at the end of a two mile upward hike from the 4-way intersection, 2) a Scout fell and hurt his knee on the uphill run from the 4-way intersection to the peak, in one of the rockier parts of the hike, and 3) that downhill run on the yellow blazed trail at the end of the hike drops 1000 feet in less than a mile, and the trail wasn't cleared, so we slipped and slid on leaves, which had me very worried for our injured Scout. Because we went well past Buzzard Rock (roughly 3/4 mile and down 350-450 feed), it's hard to say anything for certain about the distance and elevation gain figures, but one hiker had on his GPS distance tracker and it indicated that we covered about 7.1 miles altogether. That implies that doing the hike exactly as described would be well short of the 8.0 mile figure. Bottom line, we think we reached Buzzard Rock and took a photo of the boys, but a little more clarity on where it is (GPS coord?) would be real helpful.