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Hiker Comments for the Buzzard Rock Hike - 1 to 20 of 20   
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By: Va_Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 7, 2019
Confirmed that the trail to the left of the bathrooms is the correct path. Misleading signage at the other trailheads so glad I read these posts. We got to the first rock outcropping in 2 hrs. The climb up was narrow but void of other hikers and fairly easy hike. Moderate incline all the way up. The first overlook and rocks are unmarked and past a camping area and out to the west ridgeline about 50 yards. We turned around there and came back. 1.5hrs down and about 6 miles round trip. We almost always see sail planes in that area on the weekends. We saw 4 get carried up above us. Definitely want to come back in the fall and winter to check the views without the leaves.

By: Susan Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 19, 2018
I took three 8 year olds and we had a great time. Started the trail at 11 am and made the rocks at 1:45. Back at the car by 4. Currently, there is no water on sight, so make sure to bring plenty. Finding the trail was confusing, so follow the pig iron trail to get to the orange and blue blazes ( itís behind the bathrooms). We didnít see anyone else on the trail- only butterflies at the top.

By: Don Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 4, 2017
We had a great hike. It was hot and we took our time with lots of stops at the views. 6 hours and 40 minutes round-trip. It was definitely confusing at the bottom trying to find the trail head. The easiest thing to do is just pick up the orange-blue trail at the marked trailhead on the left immediately after the bridge leading into the parking lot. Also many hungry mosquitoes at the bottom today. The trail heading up the ridge is pretty easy. The ridge top trail is the tough part. Lots of up-and-down and rocky. The photos shown don't do justice the amazing views. Once you are along the ridge, there are fantastic views looking south down Fort Valley. The most interesting part of the hike is furthest along when you get close to the turnaround point at the overlook. That part has hundred-foot-high sheets of rock and give more great views. I'd like to come back in November.

By: HikingUpwardFan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 18, 2017
Good hike overall. Good views and decent difficulty. The furnace itself isn't much to look at as compared to Van Buren but there are a lot of educational plaques around that make up the difference if you are interested in the history and workings of the furnace.

One note to hikers using the written directions that are on page two of the .pdf map provided on the website. The directions are pretty good with the exception of how to get to the trail-head from the parking lot. The directions even indicate that it's a little tricky and then proceed to confuse the situation even further with vague and frankly, wrong directions.

Here is how to get to the furnace from the parking lot: First of all, it is a two section parking lot divided by a concrete bridge that spans Passage creek. For better access to the start of this hike, drive across Passage creek on the bridge into the second (and larger) section of the parking lot and park near the restrooms. About 20 feet away from the restrooms (to the left if you are facing it) is a sign marked "furnace trails". There are three or four trails that go off in different directions. Take the left-most path that keeps you closest to Passage creek and follow it less than a quarter mile until you reach the furnace. From the furnace you can start following the page two write-up accompanying the map and it is accurate from then on.

Enjoy !!

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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 2, 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 4, 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.

By: Jenn Rating: 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 the signal knob hike that is on the opposite mountain...still a long hike with strenuous uphills, but amazing views throughout.

By: Thom Rating: 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 9, 2008

This was my first time on this hike and it was great. The trail is well marked and the instructions to locate the trail head were VERY helpful. Lots of rocks, so good shoes are important.

By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 12, 2008
Back on the trail with a couple of friends again today. Turned out to be a great day around Elizabeth Furnace! This hike is a good work out, and offers some fabulous views, especially without the leaf cover. Passage Creek is flowing high with the recent rains. The trail remains well marked and is in excellent condition. No obstacles. Always a good idea to pack plenty of water for this hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 10, 2007
This is a great hike or ride if you are into mountain biking.† I usually bike this trail but I have hiked it too and it is nice either way due to the great overlooks on both sides of the ridge either into Fort Valley or towards Front Royal.† I like it for biking because it is challanging to navigate the rocks.† There are bolted routes on the rock faces towards Fort Valley (Buzzard Rocks) so if you are into sport climbing this an option.† It is also a neat place to take people repelling because the view really ads to the effect.† You can park down at the Buzzard parking lot by the Fish Hatchery or if you are on a bike I think it is a better ride to climb up Shawl Gap because the ridge falls towards the North I think.† If you are in the area biking and stop in Half Moon†Mountain Outfitters and say hi or get off the computer to go riding with you.† Peace, Matt McHale

By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 16, 2006
After a slight hiatus from hiking, I was finally able to get out to do the Buzzard Rock hike. Storms had cancelled a previous attmpt a week or so ago. I must say, with al due respect, that I thought the hike desription fell a little short here. Thanks to the previous report by TomBucta, however, I was more prepared. The climb after turning onto the white Buzzard Rock trail is somewhat brief with quite the drop frm the ridge for a ways. This is a very significant factor on the return trip. I know I had not been out in a while but I thought the trek warranted a 4 on the difficulty rating a times!†I would also have to agree that the trail markers are likely more correct with a length of 8 miles round trip! The rocky footing is also pretty brutal after a bit. The trip was wonderful and I was rewarded with not one, but two bear sightings. The first was about a half mile along the ridge on the Buzzard Rock trail. This beauty was a good 700lbs. It was bigger than any bear I've seen! We kind of stumbled upon each other, but I waved and shouted and he was gone. Thankfiully.††The second was a few hours later getting down closer to pasage creek on the way down the orange trail. This one was only 2 -3 hundred pounds, but I was able to get a pic of him before he took off. All in all, a wonderful hike and certtainly one of the best. As always, I do love this site, but thought this trail desription needs a little work.

By: Tom Buchta Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 13, 2006
The easiest starting point to find for this hike is just across the Passage Ck Bridge to the Picnic Area. Park in a small parking area on the left after you turn off 678 and before the bridge. Walk across the bridge and you will find find trail signs on the left pointing downstream to the Buzzard Rock Trails. This hike gains about 1000 feet in 2 to 2 1/2 miles to the Mansanutten Ridgeline. The lower half has a good tread through an open forest. Towards the top of the ridge it gets increasingly rocky, at points with the rocks arranged (naturally or not..) as steps. Still we got to the ridge with plenty of energy and started NE to Buzzard Rock. This part of the trail is pretty rocky and hard on the feet, but provides a stroll along the narrow ridge through fragrant pine and hardwood forest. It gains about 300 feet in elevation, mostly right after the trail junction, and then loses about 400 feet to end of the trail. As you get closer to Buzzard Rock (and yes, once on the ridge we were accompanied by vultures soaring directly overhead) the ridge gets increasingly narrow and very rocky. Near BR huge slabs of sandstones are stood on end forming a wall to the NE side of the trail (We passed some climbers there on the way down). Keep going until you cant go no more for a nice view. Going back you'll be surprised to learn how much uphill there is going back to the Mansanutten Trail junction! According to the Forest Service signs this is a about an 8 1/2 mile out and back trail, and my GPS had it at about 9 miles. We were packing heavy packs getting in shape for a trip in Idaho...and it took us about 2.5 hours each way (did not take the short cut trail).

By: geomommaj Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 2, 1913
We parked in the first parking area.† Walked to cross the automobile bridge and then took an immediate left on the trail with an orange blaze marking "Buzzard Rock hike".† The river is on your left.† At the ridge, when we got to the sign, we continued as directed on the white blazed trail.† We actually decided that we didn't want to go all the way to Buzzard Rock.† Fortunately, we met another hiker who alerted us to a great overlook on some rocks on the left before the trail descends.† There is a great view with no man-made structures in view, and we stretched out comfortably on the large rock.† There is another (more obstructed) view further up the trail on the right that overlooks the valley and some homes.† Those views satisfied us and we headed back down to the start of the trail at that point.

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