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)
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.
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.
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!
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.