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Jawbone Overlook - New Market Gap, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
2.5 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
2.0 hours with 1/2 hour for breaks
805 ft
George Washington National Forest
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Trailhead parking for the Jawbone Gap Trail. Do not block the gate. 38.70895, -78.55963
Crisman Hollow Road/274 is closed February 1 to April 1.

Jawbone Overlook starting from from Crisman Hollow Rd is a short hike with a big payoff, and sees very little traffic compared to other close by hikes. On a clear day the view easterly from Jawbone Overlook is spectacular. Kennedy Peak is visible to the northwest, with Duncan Knob on the southern tip of Catback Mountain to the east. Don't be surprised if you have this beautiful overlook all to yourself. Jawbone Overlook is just north of New Market Gap in the Massanutten Range, and close to the Duncan Knob and Strickler Knob hikes.

If you feel like bagging another spectacular overlook while you're in the area, as well as adding a fun rock scramble, the Gap Creek trailhead that climbs up to Duncan Knob starts only 75 yards further south on Crisman Hollow Rd.

  • Mile 0.6 - Make the first switchback, and now continue more steeply.
  • Mile 0.76 - Make a switchback to the left, then in 75 yards the blue blazed Jawbone Gap Trail makes another sharp switchback to the right and leaves the forestry road. The trail is now a narrow hiking trail and will switchback two more times then climb to the ridge and intersection of the orange blazed Massanutten and white blazed Jawbone Overlook trails.
  • Mile 1.0 - At the ridge the orange blazed Massanutten trail turns left as well as continuing straight. Turn right on the white blazed Jawbone Overlook Trail north along the ridge. The trail passes over a rocky area, then continues more steeply towards Jawbone Overlook.
  • Mile 1.25 - Arrive at the overlook. To return re-trace your route.
  • Mike 2.5 - Arrive back at the parking area on Crisman Hollow Rd.
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Early April
Jawbone Overlook
Jawbone Overlook Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Mountain lover Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 10, 2019
Overall a good hike. First time hiking in quite a while, was looking for a shorter hike to ease back into things. I would rate the difficulty of this one higher than a 2, steep grade to the top. The trail was easy to follow but the leaf cover made it a little tricky and slick in spots. It was nice to have the trail all to ourselves. I am a Fort Valley native and have hiked all the surrounding hikes, Woodstock Tower, Kennedy's Peak, Buzzard's Knob, Signal Knob, etc. This was a new one for me, I would do it again. It was a beautiful day and we saw not another person, that was nice.

By: Twinkle Toes Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 1, 2019
A friend and I took our horses out this weekend and *kinda accidentally* discovered this gem. We were initially doing the Turkey Pen ride (Start at the same point but at a quarter mile, keep right rather than following the blue blaze left. It eventually connects back to Crisman Hollow making a nice loop!). Another rider had mentioned the beautiful view at the top of Jawbone Gap so we decided to give it a try. Itís definitely steeper than expected as a few others have noted but itís a gorgeous trail! The trees and other greenery look very different from other parts of the forest, almost tropical! We tied our horses where the trail meets the Massanutten and did the last 1/4 mile on foot as there are some large boulders right before you get to the overlook. It was overcast today but the view was still rewarding! Definitely a nice trail! Horse friends, make sure your horses are conditioned and sure footed, and be prepared to tie them for a bit when you see the boulders!

By: VaMtnLion Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 6, 2019
Enjoyable hike, although seemed steeper than the difficulty rating indicated. Didn't have the issue of losing the trail as it was winter and was easy to see the way with adequate blazing. Impressive wildlife pond, spring and, of course, a great view at the top. Only issue was it wasn't clear how to navigate the rock scramble on the white-blazed spur trail. One simply has to climb until the white blazes are visible again. Great view and even with the awesome weather I didn't run into any other hikers - a couple of other cars parked at Gap Creek trailhead must have been for hikes on that trail. Didn't see any wildlife either, except for one frightened pheasant which startled me about half-way up the mountain.

By: Medic-G Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
As stated in the description, it is a short, easy hike with a good payoff.

The trail is easy to locate off of forest service road 274.† There is a sign along the roadway (gravel, but well maintained) noting the Gap Creek Trail.† There is enough space for one vehicle along the gated trail/road to the overlook.† There is additional parking along FS 274 very close to the trail head.† I think the trail ratings are good.† I would possibly give one more for solitude as we didn't see anyone on our hike.† Ok, it was in the middle of the week after school started.† I would say camping may be a 3.5 depending on what you are looking for.† Prior to making the left turn off of the gravel road on to the old road @ 0.26, there is a large field on the right which is a wildlife management field.† It is mowed and this would make a good place to camp.†

Pay attention at mile 0.76 when the trail leaves the old road.† This turn can be easy to miss.† If you start going downhill and you do not see any blue blazes, turn back as you have missed this turn.† Someone had placed a small "teepee" of sticks in the middle of the trail as I assume others have missed this turn in the past.

As noted on the elevation map, the hike is all uphill to the overlook so, your return trip is all downhill.†

Again, it is an easy, short hike with a good view.† Just make sure you make it all the way to the top as the white overlook trail markings were a little faded at the rock scramble.† It was easy to follow.† Just make sure you look around and find the white, trail blazes so you know which way go.† Also, the overlook isn't a big area however, good for two people and a dog to sit and enjoy the view and a snack for lunch.


P.S.† If you are hiking with your dog, they will need assistance at the rock scramble.† Make sure you have them in something (harness instead of a collar) you can help them out with navigating the scramble.

By: Medic-G Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
A PS to my review. If you do this hike in the summer months, be prepared for it being overgrown in spots. The old forestry road had some old overgrowth where if I was hiking it in the summer I would almost want a machete to take care of some of the overgrowth.

By: Robert Godlove Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 29, 2017
A break in the rain, so we picked this hike, to get a new one in, Directions are good Secluded, Small overlook, but nice view, Overall this is a good hike and secluded...prepare to see wildlife!

By: Zendog74 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 27, 2017
Quick, short, but steep hike. The trail gets pretty pleasant once you make the right-hand turn and head up the ridge line. It is steep though. My wife and I hiked it and we are in shape and it still had us stopping to catch our breath once or twice.

The view up top is nice, but I would not rate it as a 5 star view. If you compare it to other similar 5 star views in the area, like Strickler Knob, or other ones down further south, like Mountain, it definitely comes up short. I'd probably rank it about a 3.

Great hike to do though if you find yourself near New Market with not much time or if you are already in the area doing Strickler or Duncan Knob and have some extra time and motivation.

By: Darby Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Nice out & back for the jawbone overlook. A little buggy, but the pond was very clear and filled with aquatic life. The overlook is a bit small and rocky, so you may not want to take a large party up there, but its a great view nonetheless. Above all, a great place for some peace & quiet I didn't see a single other soul during my time there.

By: Dan Ratcliffe Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 15, 2017
What a good way to enjoy tax day. This was a nice leisure hike, with plenty of solitude (only saw one other family). The pond was very clear and the overlook gave me a lovely view east as the sun was coming up (goes great with coffee). While you're in the area, go explore Camp Roosevelt, this was the very first CCC camp.

    View all 9 archived reviews for the Jawbone Overlook hike
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