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Hiker Reviews for the Duncan Knob Hike - 1 to 65 of 65   
Review the Duncan Knob hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 7, 2018
We decided to avoid the crowds at Shenandoah National Park on Columbus Day weekend, so we opted for this lesser-known GWNF hike. I was expecting more people on the trail on the knob on a warm holiday weekend, but we only saw a few groups along the way. Overall a fairly easy to moderate hike up to the Gap Creek Trail, then a fun rock scramble to the top of Duncan Knob.

There is no set route up the knob, so we decided to go slightly to the left and straight up the rocks. On the way down, we opted for a more gradual descent on the shoulder. The views up top are great and would be even better when the leaves are off the trees. If you're planning to camp up there, make sure to bring plenty of water. We had attempted an overnight on the nearby Scothorn Gap Trail along the stream, but it was bone dry in July.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 24, 2018
Bottom line: Great hike but watch out for road closures! Also, the boulder rock scramble is fantastic but very perilous in the snow.

We planned on parking at the Gap Creek Parking Area and hiking around the loop. However the Crisman Hollow Road was CLOSED near the intersection of Camp Roosevelt Road, about 3 miles or so from Gap Creek Parking Area. We figured there was also no way to get to the Scothorn Gap trail head without going all the way around to 211 and who knows if Crisman would be closed off from that direction too. So, we called an audible, took a right on 675, and parked at the Stephens Trail Parking area. We took the Massanutten Trail SouthWest about 3 1/2 miles until taking a right on Gap Creek Trail towards Duncan Knob. Printing out the map from this site ahead of time was a lifesaver since we didn't have any cell signal.

Like another reviewer, we walked right past the Duncan Knob trail, even while we were looking for it. The white marker is rubbed off and the snow on the ground didn't help. However, you can avoid our error by getting to the top of the ridge - in the saddle - and looking to the right. (If you start going downhill for a while, you've missed it!) From that saddle area, you don't really need to find the exact trail. Even if you just bushwacked it from there up towards the top, you could get there just fine.

Once you get to the boulder field, following the little cairns (stacked piles of rocks) was really fun. The rock scramble to the top is great, although is was very treacherous in the snow. You couldn't see where holes were between rocks and everything was slippery. However, once we inched our way to the top, the views were really beautiful. Going in the winter meant a more expansive view without leaves blocking it.

We hiked back the way we came. If you don't miss the Duncan Knob trail like we did, the there and back distance was 9.4 miles.

By: Hans und Heidi Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 14, 2017
Will someone please bring a can of white paint out to mark the trail to the summit? Or do the Boy Scouts do that? The white blazes are faded out. We almost missed this trail. When the blue trail is at the crest of the saddle, that is where the skinny White spur trail is. There are no blazes in sight and we walked right past it, and a runner came up behind and missed also. We doubled back before we went downhill very far. At the boulders we scrambled way to the left. It was not as steep and there was a view that otherwise one would miss if they went straight up the rocks.

It was a nice hike. The views should be great in the winter. We hiked on a blue-sky day just after 3 days of rain. The yellow trail downhill was like walking a flowing creek bed, and it was quite muddy on all the segments, but navigable. I give it , on this day, 3 stars over all, 4 for difficulty, 5 for streams that otherwise are not there, 3 for views. We will come back here in the winter, for sure.

Peace,
H und H

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 29, 2016
Gorgeous Fall day to hike this trail. The drive from Vienna Metro Station via I-66 and down I-81 was a breeze. Navigating route 211 through New Market, VA was easy as well. However, when going up the hill, the sign for Crisman Hollow Road on the left side of the road is a "blink and you'll miss it" entry point. Once driving onto Crisman Hollow Road, it is winding and paved road for a mile and a half before turning into a dirt road. The road itself is barely large enough for 2 cars so be cautious when driving on the road.

The Scothorn Gap Parking Area holds up to 10 cars and the lot was full by the time we arrived, so we parked on the side of the road and took our chances that no one would hit my car. We followed the trail in accordance to the HikingUpward map. The incline 20-minutes into the hike (on the first segment of the Scothorn Gap Trail) was slightly challenging as it rarely plateaued enough to catch your breath. The second segment of Scothorn Gap Trail up until the Gap Creek Trail was much more manageable. The incline from the start of the Gap Creek Trail to the Duncan Knob Summit was fun, but the real test came when finagling through the lengthy rock scramble. Believe me, the rock scramble got more challenging as the elevation progressed. I highly recommend going slow over the boulders. The view from the rock outcrop at the summit was breathtaking.

The downhill portion of the Gap Creek Trail, containing a few switchbacks, could be a little claustrophobic as misplaced footing could lead to tumbling down the mountainside. The Massanutten Trail offers some incline and flat sections, plus there is a brief switchback as you get closer back to the Scothorn Gap Trail.

Overall, this is a great hike. Perfect for a dry Fall day. I would avoid this hike if it going to rain as the rocks will be rather slippery. Not sure if this hike is a good hike to do in the Spring or Summer given that the trails are narrow and hikers could easily come into contact with ticks.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 25, 2016
Originally planned to hike out the Scothorn Gap trail and up the blue Gap Creek to camp out on the ridge just below Duncan Knob. I've hiked the Duncan Knob Hollow trail loop previously in the winter and it's great, but this is a muddy boggy mess in the spring/summer. The initial ascent was very wet and you'll be taking your shoes off to cross Passage Creek. Lots of ticks on the way up to the the first four way intersection, so bring bug spray and/or wear pants tucked into socks.

Started down the Scothorn Gap trail after the four way intersection and ended up turning around due to the amount of water on the path. At least 6-7 inches in some areas that are unavoidable. Luckily I knew that there are a couple camping spots out on Strickler Knob, so we turned around and hiked up the Massanutten trail taking the red/pink knob trail on top of the ridge. Overall it ended up being a great overnight trip and we got a great campsite with an amazing view of the Shenandoah River Valley.

I won't be back out here anytime soon. This is certainly a 4-5 star trail in the fall/winter, but i'd avoid in spring/summer. Especially with all the recent rain.

By: yoshi Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Duncan knob is really nice. Climbing up rocks was fun. But there were many ticks, my wife and I found 14 ticks during hiking. We had to check often and we always found a couple ticks. Also there were a lot of muddy places.

By: Beth Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Truly lovely views from the summit, but I wish I had heeded the warning of the person below who hiked in May 2014 and mentioned how muddy it was! The trail was quite boggy and buggy, which took away from some of the enjoyment. Overall it was a nice hike, but not one I'd plan to repeat, even in a different season.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 9, 2016
I hiked this on a very windy April Saturday with 10 members of Central Virginia Trailblazers as part of our yearlong "Knobsession" series of hikes.  We didn't have any trouble navigating the trail, but we did get a little confused near the rock scramble at the base of Duncan Knob.  Apparently we missed a turn, but we got back on track and made it to the top.  We were able to find a lunch spot that was protected from the wind yet still had a great view of the valley...even saw a few snowflakes.  We passed only a couple of hikers the entire day.  All in all a great day to be hiking.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 27, 2016
Sometimes hikes don’t go 100% according to plan. This was one of those times. Still, we recommend this hike to most of our outdoorsy friends who have enjoyed trails like Old Rag and are looking for similar experiences without the crowds. Despite the unplanned bits, this stands out as one of our favorite Virginia hikes and we’d like to pair it with Strickler Knob as an overnighter someday soon. Read more about our hike and see lots of photos here: https://fergusandhenri.com/2017/01/07/duncan-knob/

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 26, 2015
Overall, this is an excellent hike. The most fun part is the rock scramble up Duncan Knob you don't need any true bouldering skills, nor are you hoisting yourself up at any point, but you are climbing up and over decent-sized rocks to a great view at the top (it's cold and windy up there). The trail itself was relatively easy except for one part (to understand the following comments, you need to read the directions). After climbing (or not) Duncan Knob, you resume the Gap Creek trail (blazed in blue). The descent is fairly steep, but the grade isn't the problem. The trail narrows very considerably and it's covered in leaves (remember that I hiked in late November), so it becomes quite slippery. Moreover, if you do lose your footing, you will fall off the trail to the left. The drop isn't precipitous (you're not going to die or even break a bone), but you will get plenty of cuts and bruises. I am usually sure-footed, but this part of the trail challenged me at times. Some parts of the trail were also very muddy. The directions on Hiking Upward are generally good, and perhaps I missed a turn, but after I finished Gap Creek, I came to a three-way intersection, not a four-way intersection it has two wooden signs. Go right, as the directions say. The sign says that Scothorn Gap is 2 miles away I didn't measure it, but it felt longer than 2 miles. Unlike other hikers, I didn't experience any bugs (again, remember that I hiked in late November), and I saw no wildlife. If you like rock scrambles, this is a wonderful hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 19, 2015
Pretty nice hike, overall, and will probably do it again, but a few things of note:

1) We've had quite a bit of rain in the region lately, so the pond had water and so did the Scothorn Gap Trail, which we nicknamed the "Scothorn Swamp Trail" about 100 feet beyond that left-hand turn from its intersection with the Massanutten Connector Trail.  Very mucky conditions, though clearly visible and passable.  If particularly nimble and careful to rock hop the really wet areas, waterproof footwear not required.  Quite a bit of grass overgrowth on the trail from the left turn all of the way to Gap Creek Trail.

2) We could not find a single white blaze heading up the rock scramble to Duncan Knob, but fortunately, someone was kind enough to place plenty of cairns (each visible from the last) all of the way up from Gap Creek Trail.  Follow them it's the easiest way there and back.  For what it's worth, we did find ONE white blaze on the rock scramble descent.

3) From approximately 2,200ft to 2,600ft on the Massanutten Trail there were regular intervals of overgrown blackberries and brambles.  We had no equipment to clear the trail and did make it through with only minor cuts and scrapes (and this is with long sleeves and pants), but it did cause delay and was pretty dense in some areas.  Presuming the foliage isn't cut back, it's only going to get worse as the growing season progresses and the thorny canes will certainly persist into the colder months, too.

4) We did not venture off of the trails except for the rocky areas immediately around Duncan Knob, but still had to wend our way through a lot of overgrowth on this loop.  Despite that we found exactly ZERO TICKS.  Unbelievable, but true.  Not a single one found on myself or my husband.  Also, only say two waist high sprigs of poison ivy on the Massanutten Trail and they were easily avoidable.

5) At least at this time of year, epic abundance of blackberries and blueberries scattered along the Massanutten and Scothorn Gap Trails for some delicious and easy foraging!

6) Flies, flies, flies!  Scothorn Gap Trail in the morning was the worst.  Blackflies and gnats, mostly, but in clouds dense enough to create a clearly audible whine/buzz as you hiked, not to mention frequent attempts at entering your ears.  We were in baseball caps, sunglasses, long sleeves, and long pants, and did not get bit by any of them.  A broad-brimmed hat would likely serve better to keep them away from your ears.  A copy of the trail map served to keep them away from the face and ears for us, though a branch with some leaves would do as well, too.  Their numbers dropped a bit by Gap Creek Trail beyond Duncan Knob and along Massanutten, but not sure if do to locations or just intensifying heat.  Much more of a nuisance than anything.

7) We were really hoping to find and photograph some timber rattlesnakes, but we found none.  We did, however, find a 6ft black rat snake, an imperial moth, and an assortment of butterflies, large click beetles, and other insects worth taking a moment to watch/photograph.  Also, one fearless doe.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 20, 2014
I did an overnight back pack on this trail with two other friends and we loved it.  There are several predefined camping spots along the trail, one with a nice rock seating and elevated firepit.  We did the rock scramble to the top and the view was breathtaking at sunset.  Saw one couple at the top and other then that the trail was fairly quiet.  Would recommend this trail for anyone looking for something new to try or to do it again!!

By: Omar M Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Hiked this route 05/25/14. Some of the views were great from the top of the knob. Otherwise, not a great hike - at this time of year, it was very muddy and gnats were all up in our biz. And the ticks were pretty out of control as well - my dog got 14 of them on the day hike. Probably wouldn't want to overnight this route during this season.

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, December 27, 2013
Nice views and a good length for us.  My gps said it was 8.9 miles as mapped.  We didn't have trouble finding the Scothorn Trail, but that may be due to it being winter (and having the gps with us).  Much of the Scothorn Trail is water/ice and mud.  Do not hike this trail without waterproof boots if the weather has been wet.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 19, 2013
We did this trail as a one night and camped at the base of Duncan Knob. Since the main campground (huge) there was taken by late afternoon and the one halfway up Duncan Knob was occupied, we went a little further back from the trail crossings and luckily found a small campsite nestled in the woods, next to a large rock. This was a really pretty hike for the fall, but VERY crowded. We passed at least 20 people and several groups. If you're looking for solitude, you won't find it on this trail (maybe it was just because it was nice a fall weekend?). But it was a great workout and the view from Duncan Knob is beautiful.

By: Jason Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 28, 2013
Hiked Duncan knob for my gf's birthday.  Having done it before, we did not read the recent reviews here on Hiking Upward...oops.  Our intent was to do an out and back hike in order to save some time, however we ended up doing the entire loop because we missed a key intersection.

As the previous poster has said, the Scothorn Gap trail is no longer well marked, perhaps due to the controlled burn, perhaps due to lack of any sort of trail maintenance.   We missed the 1 mile turn off, just as they did, and ended up turning left onto the Massanutten.  After hiking for awhile and not coming to the white trail, I knew something was wrong.  Then we started descending...uh oh.

Anyhow, eventually we hit another marker and I realized our error.  We ended up doing the loop in reverse. We turned left onto the blue trail and eventually turned right onto the white trail which leads to the scramble.  Someone has placed a well-sized cairn to mark the return to the white trail from the scramble, a nice addition. On the way back we hit the junction with the yellow Scothorn Gap Trail.  The blazes stop after soon after and this trail is very overgrown.  We each picked up a few ticks here, so be on the lookout.  There was an unmarked intersection about 1 mile from the previous junction, we headed straight (vs right) and I believe that was the correct choice.

Finally we came back to the intersection with the Massanutten and saw how we missed the Scothorn Gap trail in the beginning.  After walking through a muddy section of trail that has a rudimentary log bridge covering the mud, the main trail clearly heads to the Massanutten and the Scothorn Gap trail is so overgrown that we didn't even realize it was there!  If you reach the 4 way intersection with the Massanutten you have gone too far! Turn around and head about 50 yards backwards and look for the overgrown Scothorn Gap trail if you want to do the conventional loop or an out/back hike.

With a fun scramble and an awesome view, Duncan knob is really a great hike.  We managed to see plenty of wild life too - turtle, snake, deer.  Although the remnants of the controlled burn were obvious, plenty of foliage is growing in and we had some nice cover from the sun.  Our biggest complaint was the condition of the Scothorn Gap trail.  It needs to be blazed again.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 25, 2013
One of my favorite loops not far from DC.  We saw a wild turkey with chicks. The cicadas were really making noise in one area.  After dinner, we were greeted by the cutest mouse at our campsite (located at the intersection of Massanutten and Gap Creek Trail).  Clearly he has eaten scraps before and this required us to hang our bags from a nearby tree to avoid being chewed during the night.

I last did this loop a year ago and was surprised to see that a fire had gone through this area quite recently. Some sleuthing revealed a prescribed burn back in April.  Everything is burned inside of the loop between the Strickler and Duncan Knobs and down the mountain almost to Crisman Hollow.  While it was really neat to see all the new growth on the forest floor, there is very little tree cover over a large portion of this loop, leaving you exposed to the sun.  Also, the fire crew bulldozed the fire roads, pushing rocks and debris off to the side.  You can easily walk three wide without brushing the bushes.  It's quite a mess and the water erosion is pretty bad.  Very muddy over large portions of the trail.  You pretty much hike with nice green woods on one side of the trail and burned woods on the other.  If I were to do this loop, I would go in cooler weather until the tree cover returns.  The only good thing now is you won't be attacked by the briars on the Massanutten trail as in years past!

By: jmgradon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 5, 2013
I had originally planned to do this in combination with Strickler Knob, which is just a short addition on the way back from Duncan Knob via the Massanutten Trail. My plans almost went awry, however, due to a fork in the Scothorn Gap Trail that is not mentioned in the route description on this website. After hiking steeply upward for about a mile from the trailhead the jeep track suddenly levels out. The jeep track continues left, but there is a big meadow to the right and that is the true continuation of the Scothorn Gap Trail. There is a yellow arrow on a large tree at the fork that points in that direction but it is easy to miss since the natural continuation appears to be on the jeep track. I followed it and came to a big boggy area almost impossible to outflank. When I emerged with muddy boots I missed seeing a trail that diverged off to the left that was in fact a continuation of the Scothorn Gap Trail coming in from the right. Instead I continued on until I came to the junction described in the route description. I took the left turning believing it was the Scothorn Gap Trail, when in fact it was the Massanutten Trail leading in the direction of Strickler Knob. In fact, I had been on the Scothorn Gap Trail coming from the wrong direction, which is why I was confused. The left jeep track fork I had taken earlier had been a shortcut to the main Scothorn Gap Trail, which should be avoided because it is not only confusing but, as described above, extremely wet. At any rate, I soon realized my mistake and ended up doing the described route in reverse. I decided to give Strickler Knob a go. The beginning of the trail to Strickler is not hard to spot (there is a red circular disk on a tree) and there is a path all the way. Some commentators say that the reddish blazes have been removed. This is not true. They are obvious almost the entire way, as is a cleared path. I say almost the entire way because I did not make it all the way. I ran into a timber rattlesnake just off the trail (the first I have seen in the Blue Ridge in 35 years of hiking) not far from the end. I could have bushwacked around it but was unsure I would be able to spot it on the way back. So I continued with the rest of the described hike counterclockwise up to Duncan Knob. On the path from the Gap Trail to the Knob you have to scramble up some sharp boulders for about a hundred feet. It is not hard and not exposed but in the spring there are a lot of what I assume are pieces of leaves from the previous fall that are encrusted onto the rocks. Unpleasant. It is a matter of pure luck whether you can regain the path that runs from the Gap Trail up to the beginning of the boulder field so just make sure you come down at a right angle from the summit rocks. That will ensure you hit the Gap Trail which continues down to the Scothorn Gap Trail and back to your starting point. The view from Duncan Knob, by the way, was OK but not in the same league as Kennedy Peak just to the north.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 30, 2013
My boyfriend and I  are avid hikers and decided to take on this hike.  We knew the main road to the trailhead was closed during the winter/late spring so we hiked 3 miles to the trail head from route 675.  We wanted to do the whole loop but the trail was very muddy.  I mean MUDDY.  We are use to rugged trails but the mud was so deep we decided to just summit ....going up the white blaze.  We had this mountain to ourselves which was great!  The rock scramble was easy on the way up...but challenging on the way down.  It is not marked.  I suggest taking trail tape so you don't loose sight of the trail on the way down.   We ended up bushwaking back to the trail, but someone with less experience in the woods may have difficulty.   This is not a beginner hike...although the elevation gain going from 675 was not that big....

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Access road to the trail head was closed when we attempted on Sunday 2/24/13.  (Would have been a 3 mile walk just to get to the start of the trail)  Sadly we didn't come w/ a map of the nearer areas to see what alternates were available (headed over to Big Schloss), so won't make that mistake again. Have heard good things about this hike and the nearby Kennedy's Peak. Come prepared w/ alternates!

By: Shane Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Great Hike! I've done Old Rag, Sticklers Knob, White Oak Canyon, Hawks Bill, etc and this is now one of my favorites. The fire road was closed so we had to walk 3 miles to the start of the yellow Scotthorn Gap Trail - that was a bummer. It had just snowed so there was a blanket of snow on everything. We got to the summit and found the rock scrabble. It was a lot of fun working up it - the snow limited the amount of time we spent there though. The views are awesome and the best in the area.

We took the Massanutten Connector Trail back to the parking lot on the fire road. It was a nice trail back BUT we had to climb up the ridge before we got to the fire road. It was over 800 feet ascent in about .3 miles. Pretty tough.

By: patkins Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Road closed on this day from both ends of 675 and luckily stumbled onto  Kennedy's Peak which is just to the north and was a good replacement hike,  only had one other small group all day.

By: Fort Valley Man Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Just returned from Duncan Knob (for the 7th or 8th time) and really enjoyed it.  The rock scramble is particularly fun, as are all the great views.  I would like to spend the night in the gap below the knob itself -- looked like a nice chill spot.

By: John M Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 22, 2012
I hiked early Thanksgiving Day, and saw no one else on the trail.

I actually hiked a modified version Duncan's Knob + Strickler Knob trail, so added 1.6 miles to the total hike. It is well worth it. The Strickler Knob trail is relatively level so no real ascending or descending.

The trail description is accurate and was easier than I thought. It seems the hardest part of this hike is at the beginning when hiking up to the first intersection. It’s still not bad though, because it’s about 1.3 – 1.5 miles with a flat spot or so. After that there are some up hills but more gradual.

Duncan Knob had a good view from the top and the climb was a very short one.

After Duncan’s Knob it was nice ascension to Massanutten intersection. I hiked up the Massanutten trail, and while it was all uphill, it was an easy gradual uphill where walking an normal pace was not tiring at all.

I had read about Strickler Knob hike first and really wanted to check it out because it was one of the few hikes rated a “6” for views. Someone had even commented that it was better than Old Rag Mtn, so I had to check this out for me since Old Rag is my favorite mountain.

The view was awesome, but still I wouldn’t rate it better than Old Rag.

Outside of Old Rag this would be a solid second.

Very cool 360 degree view. For some reason it was hazy, so I really want to go back on a clear day to see how much more I can see.

After Strikler's Knob, I liked the rest of hike down because it was grassy and mostly small gravel so I jogged and didn’t have to worry about tripping.

Oh, one thing I did note was that the marker at the first intersection indicates that its 1.5 miles to the parking lot instead of 1.3 miles as stated in this trail description.

No big deal unless you upset about an extra .4 miles?

So my version of the hike was between 10.3 – 10.7 miles.

Two knob's, one hike, loved it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 23, 2012
My wife and I had our two sons and a nephew with us so we took the short version of this hike - straight up (and I mean up - 1,400' of elevation gain in 1.4 miles) the Gap Creek Trail.  When we got to the summit we had the place all to ourselves.  The leaves on some trees are just beginning to change, so there were splotches of reds and yellows here and there down in the valleys below us.  In the next week or two this place will explode with color.  You can see pictures of our hike on our site at WeHikedIt.

By: Alan Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Hiked this one with my buddy today. Had a bit of trouble finding Crisman Hollow Rd. as others reported, but figured it out after backtracking a bit. It was a hot day, and we needed every bit of water we brought with us. The overall hike was a good challenge, with plenty of really steep inclines and some very overgrown bits of trail. Wear long sleeves and pants if possible. You're going to get whacked with thorny branches, run into spider webs, and get your legs scratched up if not. We made that mistake. We found a few ticks on our legs after the overgrown sections and ran into a snake on that part of the path, as well. The rock scramble to the summit was basically a giant pile of rectangular rocks, some of which are a little loose. The view from the top is fantastic and totally worth the trip, though. Definitely make sure you bring a map or know the routes well - things can get a bit confusing coming back down the mountain. We ended up heading back down on and being put out on a trailhead way past where we parked, and had to hike it at least a mile on the gravel road back to our car.

By: Christian Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 24, 2012
Due to time constraints we were only able to hike out to Duncan Knob and back rather than do the entire loop but it was still a pleasant hike. The climb early on reminded me I need to hit the Stairmaster more often at the gym. Parts of the trail are quite overgrown so make sure to check yourselves quite thoroughly during tick season. We found PLENTY on our legs. The climb up the rocks to the summit was a LOT of fun, though maybe not so for those with balance problems or fear of heights. (I have to admit it was kind of intimidating looking from the bottom - we have to go up THERE??) But once you climb, the view you are greeted with is wonderful and there is a nice flat, albeit small, area on the summit to hang out. Ran into only one group of hikers who patiently waited for us to descend from the rocks for their turn at the summit. Look forward to doing this again in the fall and also taking on Strickler Knob.

By: ExFed Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 7, 2012
The weather was unseasonably cool and the parking lot vacant for this midweek hike and the two steep ascents made for a decent workout. Many parts of the trail were heavily overgrown obscuring my foot placement and, more than once, I thought of the Timber Rattlesnakes depicted in photos on this page. I was also concerned that the overgrown trails hosted a heavy tick infestation. At the end of the day I was pleased to discover that I had picked up none, probably due to my "Bugs Off" gaiters and pretreating my clothing with permethrin. I would like to return to this hike during the Winter or Fall when there is limited foliage and I can see my foot placement more frequently.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 19, 2012
We did this hike as an overnight backpacking trip from Sat. 5/19 to Sun. 5/20.
Getting there was pretty simple, but once you get to the gravel road, it can be a little tricky. The trail head is a couple miles down on the left, it has small parking lot, and a small campsite. We pasted the blue trail on the gravel road and knew we had to be close.
We arrived at the parking lot at 9 am and found one car parked with 2 hikers. I was actually surprised that there was not more cars there.
We decided to take this trail backwards, to get the harder and longer hike out of the way. And we are very glad we did. We wanted to camp at the summit on the blue trail, so thats why we started out so early. We took the yellow trail to the 4 way intersection. ( this is where we turned to the right going up the Massanutan Connector trail, hiked about 0.2 miles then realized we went the wrong way). If you do it backwards, make sure you stay straight up the orange trail and DO NOT TAKE A RIGHT. The climbs up were tough, but manageable. The orange  trail on the backside of the mountain is a gradual downhill with some muddy spots.
We reached the intersection of the orange and blue trails and had lunch at the campsite across the river, where someone had already set up shop. ( We passed them on the trail and told them we would be stopping there to have lunch)
We made our way up the blue trail for 0.5 miles, which was really steep, and it was really hot at this point. Once we made it to the top we decided to set up camp at the first campsite. There was plenty of room for a few tents. We eventually shared the space with another couple and about 7 boyscouts. (Not the most quiet evening) Around 9 pm we saw a rattlesnake crawl across the backside of the campfire. We video taped it and watched it go off into the bushes. In the morning we decided to pack up and hike up to the rocks. The vista was not the best during the spring because of the trees, but the rocks were pretty cool.
The hike out was nice, peaceful, and mostly downhill. A handful more people passed through the campsites that evening, and only saw one more family on our way out.
This is a great beginners backpack trip, not too hard, but really gives you a taste of what its like.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 15, 2012
I was finally able to drag my good buddy on a "real" hike in Duncan knob...he admitted afterwards how glad he was that I brought him. What a perfect hike this is with beautiful mountain trails,steep climbs,amazing boulder scrambling,and a stunning vista at the top. Thank you hiking upward for this awesome resource.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 12, 2011
Couldn't have picked a better weekend to tackle this hike. We made this a two night/three day event camping at Scothorn Gap and then hiking to Duncan Knob on Saturday and then Strickler's Knob on Sunday. Duncan Knob was very rewarding with mostly flat terrain with a moderate climb that leads to the approach to the Knob. That was where it got interesting. As you approach over a field of rocks you can see your destination looming above. Once at the base of the summit, the scramble begins as it steadily climbs on the the ridgeline. The views climbing are almost as rewarding as the views at the summit. It was perfect fall weather, albeit a little windy, but certainly one of my favorite hikes. Highly recommended.

By: userid333 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 15, 2011
We turned this into an overnight backpacking trip, setting up camp at the intersection of the white blazed spur to the Knob and blue blazed Gap Creek trail (marked Camping 2 in the GPS route). We had the place to ourselves, but the available camping space was huge with space for 15 or more tents. We found 4 fire rings scattered around, and there were perhaps more. As the pictures show, the site is wooded but it is also on the ridge. This makes the center of the site a bit exposed in high winds (as we had). However, we were able to pitch our tents just over the crest to a leeward section and out of much of the wind. It was a nice, if dry, site.

There is also a nice small site about a third of the way up the spur to the Knob.

The fall views from the Knob were fantastic.

Overall the hike was great. There are long climbs and descents, so make sure your quads are up to it.

By: Jake Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 28, 2011
Doug, I bushwacked "The Knob" at Short Mountain in late July.  It is brutal to go along the top of the ridge in the summer.  I hear it is much easier to start at the road at the bottom of the mountain and just bushwack up to the top.  In either case, it was awesome!  Well worth it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 28, 2011
The directions are right on.  If a guy from Nebraska can find it and follow the directions, you know its good.  Being unfamiliar with the area, I didn't realize that much of the trail would be underwater this time of year.  Once I made it to the blue blazed trail, the condition was much better.  Took me 3 hours round trip (not completing the loop).

By: Mark Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Warning.  Gate can be closed on really pretty days.  Didn't think we would need to call for gate status.  Made a day of it by starting down on Rt 211 but couldn't get to Duncan Knob before time ran out.  Great area.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 9, 2011
I hiked in on the Gap Greek Trail from Crisman Hollow Road for a 3.5-mile round trip hike. I had completed the 8.7-mile loop suggested here a couple of years ago, but was looking for something shorter on a cold, windy afternoon. I had Duncan Knob all to myself, although the wind limited my stay up there to about 10 minutes.

On a somewhat unrelated note, does anybody know if a trail leads to The Knob on the southern end of Short Mountain? The Massanutten Trail traverses some of Short Mountain, but from all the maps I've seen it cuts east into the valley at Moreland Gap. Is there a trail that continues south to The Knob or some other way to approach it? I'd appreciate any help anyone could provide.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 2, 2010
Our first serious hike and a nice one. It was pretty steep initially but leveled out to a nice forest hike before Duncan Knob. The climb to the top was a solid rock scramble one we didn't finish due to concerns about time to complete the full loop. We also got off the trail on the way back down, so ended up bushwacking back to the camp at the foot of Duncan Knob. The white blazes are very hard to see.

The hike down into the valley is several rocky switchbacks and required some concentration. The hike out of the valley is a long and fairly intense 2 miles uphill. We exercise regularly but are not extremely fit, so it really tested us. It was more intense than I expected, but we felt great after we completed it.

If you're interested in the views, consider hiking to Duncan Knob and then going back the way you came.  This is about 6.8 miles round trip and affords you plenty of time and energy to play around at the top. With the campsite at the base of the rock scramble, I think this 6.8 out/back would be a great overnighter.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 2, 2010
This is a supplement to the review I already posted. I remembered a few things after the fact and there's no way to edit the old one. 

-The change in scenery and surroundings is astounding. You get dense forest, grassy clearings, rock beds, mountain streams, sandy trails, etc, etc, etc.

-We saw ZERO people from the four way juntion 1.3 miles in and the valley floor at 4.4 miles. If it wasn't for the two people we passed at the junction, we wouldn't have seen anyone in the first 5.7 miles (left parking area @ 12:45p).

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 27, 2010
Awesome!  The weather was mild the day we went (about 80 during the day and 50/60 at night).  Did this as an overnighter.  Took less than two hours to get to top and an hour and 15 to get back down (came back down the way we went up).

The hike itself was not off the charts until we got to the rock scramble.  Not difficult, but very fun.  The views from the top were amazing.   The sky was very clear and there was not much humidity, so visability was great.  The breeze at the top was constant and cool.  At night, the temp was perfect for sleeping without a tent. 

Did not encounter that many bugs at all and only saw a few birds which was odd.  A few flies here and there, but they did not bother us much.  Take a camera and if you are doing this as an overnight trip, plan to camp at the top.  The view of the stars was perfect.   Contacted GW forest ahead to ask about where you can/cannot set up camp and you can camp anywhere.  Saw one other group and a few ATV lights at night, but other than that, it was quiet. 

Recommend it highly

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 4, 2010
A solid hike and a wonderful view. I wish I had attempted it for sunset. From the peak of Duncan Knob, my compass indicated the best view opened due west. I suspect it would have been perfect for sunset, though the scramble down those rocks again would have been a tricky. I'm not familiar with GW National Forest guidelines/rules, but I wonder if you could just pitch camp on top of the Knob? If so, I'd definitely go back to do just that. Plenty of room up there to set up a nice camp. Failing that though, there's a large camp site at the bottom, where the blue and white trails converge. I echo an earlier reviewer's thoughts on just heading back the way I came: after the knob, the rest of the hike was more of a chore with not so much pay-off (very overgrown, plenty of ticks, no views to speak of). Nevertheless, it was nice and shaded when the sun was on its descent, which was welcome. I didn't properly estimate water either - I only brought/drank 32 oz. I would have been happier with twice that, minimum. Overall: a great workout, a beautiful view of God's country.

By: mch Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 27, 2010
The summit makes this hike totally worth it. Scrambling over a bunch of medium to large size rocks and boulders on a steep grade to get to the top is a great challenge on top of a moderately difficult ascent. The views are awesome. The trail is difficult, so it's great for a good challenge or a workout, but I would honestly go back down the way I came up instead of following the map and going the loop. The red blazed trail on the other side of the mountain is really windy and kind of overgrown. It's great if you want an adventure.


Be sure to bring water. I didn't read the trail's instructions well enough, and when they say bring plenty of water, they mean it.

Also, the trail is quite secluded. I never saw another person on the trail, and I saw a few deer and a black bear. No snakes, though, for which I was quite glad considering the pictures of the trail on this site.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 18, 2010
First I would like to say bring two maps, my friend and I lost ours in the first mile. With that being said, the orange and the yellow trailblazes looked A LOT alike. I thought that it was a great hike, but you better be in fair shape if you want to complete the loop in 4 hours. Great views, and only came across one other couple while there. The ground today was had very few ice spots. Also, the water has run through the ground and pushed up the trail and froze it again making it a fun hike when you are stepping into ground that crunches down an inch or more. Overall, it was a GREAT hike, the rock scramble was fun. There is a great camp site right below the Knob making it an entertaining thought to turn this trip into an overnighter sometime in the future.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 31, 2009
Great workout and super payoff up on Duncan Knob.  For the most part, however, just a pleasant walk through the woods.  The trail was a bit rocky most of the time and slippery due to the morning shower, but not too bad.  The views from the Knob are beautiful and not to be missed.  Be very careful on the rocks, there are some super slippery spots (I almost ate some granite near the top).  Wear the right shoes and enjoy.  The wind was blowing 40 at least at the peak and the panoramic view was worth the rock scramble.  I would have rated this higher had there been a few more payoffs and a break from some of the monotony on the Massanutten Trail, however, this is still a keeper hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 25, 2009
This was a very nice hike. Started the hike at about 11:30 and headed up the Scothorn Trail which is more steep than is to be expected as soon as you get out of the car. After stretching the legs on the uphill, it became much easier. Got to the intersection of the Masnutten trailand took that to the intersection of the Strickler Knob trail and Massanutten trail. Went to Strickler knob which was the highlight of the trip and should be added to this hike at only 1.5 miles out to the knob and back. Spent some time out on the knob which was a lot of fun and not to be missed. Hiked over to Duncan knob next and climbed to the top for some great views. Could sit up on either of the two rocky outcroppings for a long time but it was time to leave. The trails between the rocks get a 3/4 but the rocks make this trip. Would do again and wonder how I missed this trail for so long.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 12, 2009
Started this hike from the Orange Massanutten Trail.  Took me two hours to get to Duncan Knob following the Orange-Yellow-Blue-and White trails. Once I got to Duncan Knob, I was impressed by the bouldering and the effort to climb to the top of the Knob.  Very good views once you hit the top.  Leaves are showing fall colors.  This is definitely a "keeper" hike to do again the future.  I went back the same route rather than go down the blue into the valley.  I knew I had a major uphill hike on the Orange so I kept it simple today.  4 1/2 hours total it took me to complete the hike. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 23, 2009

Right turn off 211 has Crisman Hollow sign on the left of road and brown 274 post on right.  On other side of 211 is a yellow building.  Wear long sleeves & pants.  Respray for bugs before starting the orange trail.

When I read all the comments I wasn't expecting much today.  We (9 hikers from meetup.com) did Overall Run last Sunday & got  a great workout.  This billed itself as more elevation gain taking less time so I figured it would be a nice hike but nothing to write home about. Wow was I wrong.  There were several stretches going up which were a nice workout.  The scramble was a lot of fun and the view breath taking -- clear -- we could see forever.  We took a different route down the rock scramble and enjoyed every minute of the hike.  Ran into one person on the way to the scramble and 3 mountain bikers with a chain saw cutting up a huge log so they could ride by.

We'll be back to see the fall folliage.


By: 179 Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our route took in both Strickler Knob and Duncan Knob over a two-night, 8.63 mile, trek.  We started from the Gap Creek trailhead on the Crisman Hollow road climbing to the Scothorn Gap trail in the opposite, counter clockwise, direction from those on this web page.  It's a rocky jeep trail and has a lot of wet spots from springs and runoff.  The weather was unseasonably warm all weekend, near 90 degrees, and there weren't any leaves on the trees in this area.  A recent forest fire had scorched the ridge above the campsites along the Crisman Hollow road upward and southeastward toward Waterfall Mt and Strickler Knob.  The fire seemed to have burned the top of the duff and some brush but didn't burn the bigger trees.  The ridge trail south to Strickler Knob was rocky as you'd expect so we dropped packs for the side hike and rockscramble to the knob.  The air was clear and the views from Strickler Knob were outstanding.  We continued toward the campsite below Burner's Gap through more area that had been scorched by the fire.  The trail had been bulldozed probably in an effort to stop the fire.  Cold water from the stream was a welcome relief when we got to camp.  The second morning we climbed the ridge to Peach Tree Gap and dropped packs for the rockscramble to Duncan Knob.  The views were just as good as you see them in the pictures on this site - no snakes though.  We returned to the trailhead by the Gap Creek trail.  If you're hiking or backpacking in this area take plenty of water and a means of purifying more from streams and seeps.   Camps you find on the ridges are dry.  Sunscreen and bug spray are also recommended.  The bugs on Duncan knob really got a piece of us but overall it was a good hike.


By: JohnR Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 2, 2008

My wife and did this trail on a 60 degree sunny day in early November. The leaf color was past its peak but still interesting, the skies were hazy but clear and the temperature was perfect. The first half of the hike was the best part with the payoff being, of course, Duncan Knob itself. The views were very nice and no one was there but us. One negative aspect was the large number of bugs that were swarming the knob... we hadn't brought insect repellent because it was November after all, so instead of lazing around resting we ate lunch and then headed out fairly quickly. The return leg on the Massanutten Trail was a little disappointing... the 1/2 mile down the Gap Creek Trail was rocky and the fallen leaves hid the rocks which made the footing treacherous, and in general the surroundings were not really noteworthy. This trail was the odd exception where I would probably have been happier not doing a loop but just returning the same way we came in. All in all a good workout and a good hike.


By: Brandon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 7, 2008
Arrived at 12:30 on a great Sunday and only 2 other vehicles were in the parking lot.

Nice views up top. The climb up to the knob was more rock field climbing than I was expecting - I thought more boulders and rock faces would be involved. Took that little shortcut trail north of the pond - there was a yellow arrow that indicated to not take the trail, but it's no big deal in my view.

The trail in sections were boggier than I expected. And the 2 creeks had more water in them than I expected, considering the time of year, and how close their headwaters are. So you do at least have water to filter at the very beginning/end, and the halfway point.

The middle half of the Massanutten trail was pretty bad. Overgrown in many areas, thanks in part to all the dead trees allowing all that vegetation to flourish.

Also, VA-211  is, I think, one of the nicer backcountry roads to drive on. Smooth gravel, and mostly straight driving.

By: Larry Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 15, 2008

I should have read the reviews before taking the hike. I have hiked Duncan Knob before but it has been a few years and I was unsure of how to get back so I used the “get directions” section from the HikingUpward website and I found the Google Maps directions misleading near the end of the trip. The directions were fine up thru the Fort Valley Road (19.9 mi) and Camp Roosevelt Road (3.3 mi), but then it says slight right at NF-274. At this point you will come to a very obvious turn off at a bend in the road. There are several signs with road numbers and none of the numbers match the numbers given in the directions. We continued on 675 until we passed the Massanutten trail and realized that we should have done something at the intersection. There are two roads to the right... you want to take the middle road and you will know it's the right road because there is a road sign that says “Crisman Hollow Road” which is FR 274. You will first pass a sign for Gap Creek which goes over to Duncan Knob and the next one will be Scothorn Gap Trail which is on the left with parking and several nice camp sites available.

This hike was great. We took the entire family to include our 5 year old. It was a little overgrown with blackberries before you got to the four-way junction with the Massanutten and Massanutten Connector trail, which made it a little difficult for the little guy. However, the blackberries were ripe and made a great addition to breakfast. There were great views from the top Duncan Knob!  The little guy and his mother did not go to the top. I cannot comment on the whole loop because when we arrived at the top of Duncan Knob it began to rain heavily with some lightening and we left via the Gap Creek trail and made our way back to Crisman Hollow Road and back to our vehicle.  We had hiked the other side of this circuit, the Massanutten Trail as part of the Duncan Knob Hollow hike, (also a great hike) so we opted to use the Gap Creek Trail to see some country we had not hiked on before.


By: Andy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 3, 2008
Hiked on 5/3/08 and ran into a group of folks that were clearing the trail with chainsaws. All trails are cleared now.

Between the pond, scramble, views, and burnt sections of the forest, this was a very enjoyable and diverse hike.

By: Brian Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 14, 2008
This hike has wonderful views from the top of the knob!  I cannot comment on the whole of the loop because when we arrived at Crisman Hollow Road (274?) we found the gate closed.  We didn't want to walk the 4 miles of road to the trailhead and instead took the Massanutten trail off of Mountain Top Rd. to the Gap Creek trail and then on up to the Duncan Knob trail.

The knob was completely deserted and we had a wonderful time at the top.  We had two dogs with us, and as stated by many hikers, the scramble up to the knob is hard for dogs.  Our older dog made it up with few problems, but we were also hiking with a 10 month old puppy who had a heck of a time getting up.  Should your dog hurt itself it would be very hard to get him/her down.  We risked it and everything turned out fine. 

We hope to return to do the full loop as described.  Anyone looking to hike this loop may wish to check with the Forest Service to see if Crisman Hollow Rd. is open or not.   The good news is there are other routes up to the knob. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 6, 2008
READ THIS FIRST FOR DIRECTIONS HELP: I used the 'get directions' section from the HikingUpward website and found the GoogleMaps directions misleading near the end of the trip. The directions were fine up thru the Fort Valley Road (19.9 mi) and Camp Roosevelt Road (3.3 MI) BUT then it says slight right at NF-274. At this point you will come to a very obvious turn off at a bend in the road. There are several signs with road numbers and none of the numbers match the numbers given in the directions. There are two roads to the right... you want to take the middle road and you will know it's the right road because there is a road sign that says 'CHRISMAN HOLLOW ROAD' and shortly thereafter a national forest wooden sign that says 'Entering George Washington Forest' after that it's about 4.5 miles to the trailhead. You will first pass a sign for Signal Knob trail head and next one will be Scothorn Gap Trail which is on the left with parking and several nice camp sites available.

That said: Several nice things about this hike... The aforementioned camping sites make this an ideal place to pull in and car camp the night before the hike then you can hike light the next morning and not have to backpack into some place and find a site. The trails are well marked with the exception, as HikingUpward notes mentions, that I found it hard, after having scrambled to the top of Duncan Knob, finding my way back to the white blazed trail which leads back to the main trail. I might suggest tying a flag or two to trees to find your way back. The view from the top is incredible...There's an interesting dead tree trunk near a fire pit where the Duncan Knob scramble trail joins the main Blue Blazed trail which has become a sort of totem in which small objects (troll dolls, small toys, etc) have been placed into woodpecker divots that you may find interesting or perhaps want to leave a small token of your own.

The hike is mostly up and down without a lot of flat walking. The trails can be a little slick especially on the down side of the mountain which had a lot of leaves so walking sticks are very useful.

Enjoy yourself on this nice hike

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 27, 2007

I did a variation of this hike, only starting at the Gap Creek trailhead, then following in the reverse direction described here, and making a side trip out to Strickler Knob (as far as I know, this is an unofficial trail to the knob). 

  You should be aware the portions of the Massanutten Trail that were  the most severely affected by forest fire are in very poor condition.  The trail is obstucted in many places by fallen trees, and getting around them in this area is differcult.  Most of the trails on this hike, with the exception of this area, are okay, with only occasional obstructions that are easily traversed.

  By beginning the hike from the Gap Creek Trailhead, you have a less steep initial climb, but on a more rocky trail.  Also, the parking here is very limited.  From this point, it is only about a mile and a half to the Duncan Knob cutoff trail, so you either arrive very early, or very late in your hike.   


By: Rgrand Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2007

I was looking for a loop hike between 7 and 9 miles that my dog could go on and this was perfect.  The trail was well marked and easy to follow.  I would recommend good hiking boots.  There are loose rocks throughout the trail and it's easy to turn an ankle or slip on the steep descents.

I agree with the previous review that the rock scramble is too dangerous for dogs.  My dog is only 24 lbs so I could pick her up and set her on big rocks, but I only did it for a very short section of the rock scramble and it was really a challenge.  As soon as we could see a litte bit of the view, we turned around and went back down.

Other than that, bring a good map of the roads leading to the trailhead.  The 211 is not marked so you have to know where to turn in order to find it. 

And watch out for snakes. 


By: Andy, Megan & Timber Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 2, 2007
DO NOT TAKE DOGS ON THIS HIKE IF YOU PLAN TO SUMMIT.  We have a 1 year old Weimaraner that was unable to make the 100 yard boulder/rock scramble to the summit.  She made it about 20 ft into it and already had a cut on her leg and was whining because she was scared to death. 

Other than that, the parking area was little tough to find because there is also a campsite at the parking area.  We saw the cars, then saw the tent, and didn't pay much attention because we didn't think that could possibly be the trail head.

I also got directions by mapping with google maps, which took me from Woodstock, VA through Edinburg Gap, and onto about 8 miles of FS roads.  We assumed we were lost until we ended up on Rt 211.  We then headed towards luray, but found nothing.  After reviewing the map at the service station, we got back on track and ended up at the trail head.

The hardest part about this hike is the first mile where you'll climb up up and up without even a warm up.  The last ascent of this hike isn't as steep as the description says it is, but that makes for a great home stretch, knowing that you've ascended all there is and you're on your way down.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 17, 2007
We have hiked in SNP quite a bit , but this was our first trip to Massanutten.  We can't wait to go back. Duncan Knob was fantastic.  We found the illusive walking stick!

By: fatboy Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A couple of buddies and i set out to the Scothorn Gap trail and didn't even know about Duncan's Knob.  Another fantastic place along this trip was Stickler's Knob.  It was about a 1 mile out and back and had some very rewarding views as well.  It was hard to notice, not on the map, and you can barely see the sign for it, I highly recommend doing both knobs.


By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 9, 2007
I found this hike quite nice and a good work out to boot. Yes, the hike goes along some fire road, but they do not appear to be very used. I thought views were pretty good, but there was no leaf cover either.  I found it quite interesting that the area had obviously gone through quite a forest fire in the past, and I saw not one animal. Plenty of tracks, but not a single siting. It made for a very eerie quiet. The scramble up to Duncan Knob was awesome! Near vertical in some spots (I hit it straight on). The views are well worth the exertion needed to get to the top. I was happy for colder temps ( it snowed at one point) so the snakes would stay down. Stayed on Duncan Knob for a while adjusting my pack and heating up a nice hot meal. The return trail became a bit overgrown about a mile before reconnecting with Scothorn Gap trail. I wish I had time to do the 1 mile out and back to Sickerts (?) Knob. Oh well, next time.

By: Michele Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 16, 2006
We found this hike disappointing. Except for the rock scramble, it is very boring--just walking along trails that are, or appear to be, fire roads. The scramble and view saved it from being a total loss. We wish we would have done the hike in reverse. It would have made the hike on the blue trail more interesting because of the climb.

By: shirlenne Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 3, 2006
Overall, I thought it was a nice hike.  There's only one major view along the hike (at the summit) but it's really beautiful.  There is a mini-rock scramble near the top which is fun.  It made me a little nervous because I'm terrified of heights, but I think it's actually pretty safe.  There were hardly any people there when I went, so it seems like a good trail if you want to get away from the world.  The only thing that bothered me was the amount of bugs... I really don't mind some, but that day, there were SWARMS of gnats along the vast majority of the trail, to the point where they were bouncing off my eyes.  So bug repellent might be a good idea.  :-)  Basically though, a nice hike to do if you want some peace and quiet, a breathtaking view, and a good workout.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 5, 2006
My family and I did this hike last weekend, planning to camp at the pond and day hike with our 4 and 8 year old girls to the Knob the next morning. We found that fire road 274 is closed. Was told by other campers it is due to open April 8th. We altered our plans and drove over to the starting point for the Kennedy Peak hike and hiked in on the Massanutten Trial (Orange Blazed). We camped about 2.5 miles in on a pre-civil war iron ore mine site. Note that at three miles are nice designated camp sites next to a stream that we were unaware of.

Next morning continued to the blue blazed Gap Trail (at three miles from parking lot). Half mile later we reached the white blazed trail to the top. Top was a scramble as mentioned. Coming back down was tricky carrying the four year old!

By: Tim Koppenhaver Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 4, 2005
I did this hike as an out-and-back, from Scothorn Gap parking area to the peak and back. The pdf map with landmark descriptions from the website were very accurate and helpful. Trails were well marked. Saw lots of deer, including three in the middle of the pond at mile 1 munching weeds. I've been to other area peaks (Signal Knob, Old Rag, Big Schloss, Kennedy Peak) and Duncan is one of the best. Excellent views, and the last quarter mile scramble to the top is awesome.

By: dflaherty Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 14, 2005
Looking at the PDF map provided by hiking upward I decided that I wanted to do the hike in reverse. I will explain my route in this review. I prefer to hike up the first 2/3rds of a hike and then down. The first 1. 3 miles of the hike up Scothorn Gap is really on a mini fire road and it is important to note that apparently there was a controlled burn of Middle Mountain at some point in the last 6 months. So the forest floor is charred black completely to your left. It is really kinda cool. I had never seen this before except when Shenendoah had that fire 4 year ago? Anyway the first 1.3 miles of the hike is on a fire road that is very sandy. I'm not the biggest fan of fire roads. I prefer a true trail but I don't want to sound to picky. Anyway, it is a somewhat steep hike with a couple of swithbacks till your reach the 4-way of trialhead. As I mentioned before I did the hike in reverse so I started straight ahead on the orange blazed Mansanutten Trail which takes you to the right side of Middle Mountain, then swings left around to the the other side. The fire road area is not as sandy on the stretch. The trail takes you to the ridge of Middle Mountain for some great views before decending down Middle Mountain and swinging to your the left. The views are not as great on this 2.1 mile strech to the bottom of the blue blazed Gap trail. The rock formations are very interesting though. I saw a few deer hoping around me. They were to my right where there was still green vegetation becaseue everything to my left is burnt. Overall a very peaceful, canopy covered stretch to the start of the Gap Trail. Swinging to your left as you begin to climb the blue blazed Gap trail you are going into the burnt forest floor. There was some green young vegetation coming up but overall 90% of the floor is just balck cinders. The trail is also very steep so be prepared for this half mile ascent being the toughest part of the hike but it is short. Reaching the crest of Middle Mountain I headed toward Duncan Knob on the white blazed trail. Very quickly I reached the base of the rock-boulder pile. The formation is about 100 yards up to the very top. The view at the top is tremendous. I was lucky to get good clear weather. After eating I headed down. Be careful going both up and down!! You are climbing over boulders, not rocks. (See Pictures) After that I headed back down the Gap trail to my right and quickly picked up the yellow balzed Scothorn gap trail to my left. Total time was 4:20 minutes. So overall the hike is peaceful, quiet and moderately strenous. I am giving it a 3 becasue you never really have a great view away from the trail when you are not on the mountain. The burnt areas give the hike an odd feeling. Anyway that is my 2 cents.

By: SteveInFXBG Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 12, 2005
The views from the top of Duncan Knob, and the fun and challenging rock scramble once you get there, are well worth the trip. The wind was really howling up there that day. I will have to try to make it back sometime to see the mountain laurel in bloom. Also ran into a group of hikers that had an older map (The 50 Hikes in Northern Virginia book) and got them going the right way with some help from the map I printed off of here (you can see the old trails on that map too). Overall, a fun time.

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