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Hiker Comments for the Elliott Knob Hike - 1 to 76 of 76   
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By: Lauren Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 29, 2019
The first couple miles walking through the woods were lovely! Waterfalls, nice spots to sit by the stream, pleasant trail. But when you hit the gravel access road, the hike gets BRUTAL. The road is incredibly steep, and if you go on a hot sunny day, you will be extra sad as there is no shade at all. The meadow at the top is pretty, and the tower is neat with nice views, but not sure the views are worth walking that access road. Consider making this a 5ish-mile hike and only doing the first part of the hike, turning around at the access road.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 8, 2018
The first half of the hike is somewhat pleasant along a forest road, although the creek is nothing to write home about. Unless the water is really up, none of those small waterfalls look impressive. The upper two also have steep scramble trails to the bottom with deadfall, nettle, and mud to deal with. For most people I'd recommend skipping them. The connector trail is an actual trail, and although narrow had good tread. The final climb on the gravel forest road lives up to its reputation. The gradient is easily 1000 ft/mi, and completely exposed to the sun. Fortunately I chose to do this hike on a low humidity day after recent storms, and the temperatures were in the low 70s with a nice breeze at the summit. With the low humidity the visibility was excellent for mid-summer, you can pick out almost every significant peak from central Shenandoah to Lynchburg. Highly recommend checking out Elliott Knob when the skies are clear, and plus there are 4 approaches to the summit so you can mix it up on repeat visits.

By: Diana Mateos Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 30, 2018
Elliot Knob is actually one of the only hikes in the MD-DC-VA area that I have found to be remotely strenuous. I'm from the Southern California area and am used to hiking mountains with moderately intense inclines. I've visited many trails out here because local people have assured me that these will deliver a "tough" trek but I have always been left feeling unsatisfied because these trails always seem more like a stroll through a park. This trail is pretty pleasant through the first 3 miles as you walk along a stream most of the time and are shaded by the tree canopy. If you camp out overnight, make sure you fill up during this part. (There is also another pond near the camping area towards the summit but it was filled with fish and I didn't like the idea of pumping my drinking water out of here.) The last portion, which is a little over a mile, is the difficult, much steeper part of the trail and you are pretty much exposed to the sun until you reach the top. This is what makes Elliot Knob a semi-rigorous hike but in my opinion, is well worth the effort. FYI-we came across a rattlesnake that rattled at us but as long as you're observant and steer clear, you'll be fine. We decided to camp out at the top where there are a few fire pits and lots of shade provided by the trees. There is a satellite station near the campground which is quite noisy but if you ignore that, the area is just beautiful and it is so much cooler than the base of the mountain (when we were there, it was about 91F a the base, and it was roughly 75F at the top and breezy). We had a wonderful time and especially loved that there wasn't much traffic on the trail -- we only saw 2 other hikers the 2 days we were there. There are also a ton of insects and tics but we kept a campfire going all day to keep them away from us.

By: Kate M. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 22, 2018
If you are interested in getting out into the woods, then turn around when you hit the gravel road. The first part is lovely and climbs steadily through the forest trail that follows a creek with several small waterfalls. Great for a hike with a dog. Then it switches back to wind up along a mountainside on a trail surrounded by shrubby mountain laurel. Also pretty nice and a good workout. I would go back and do the first two legs of the hike again to get outside and enjoy a nice day (constant gunshots from the nearby shooting range even fade in time as you get back in there.)

Then it takes a turn for the worse. The road is downright punishing- steep without reprieve, no tree cover, and you are essentially walking under powerlines the entire way. The good feeling of communing with nature is stripped away almost instantly. It never ends. Wound up turning around with the power stations in site and the way back down to the mountain trail was almost worst. Take care not to break an ankle as my feet were constantly rolling on loose gravel. Terrible end to a pleasant hike! First hike of the season and so perhaps a bit ambitious. I'm not in terrible shape but I could always be better. But even in the best shape, I still would never do that again to myself, I don't care how nice the view is from the top. They should have cut the trail across the road and switched-back to the knob that way.That was not hiking.

By: Anonymous Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 14, 2017
I rarely write reviews of hikes, but this one was almost exceptionally bad, which surprised me based on the reviews I read before heading out. The very first bit is nice, through the woods with a pleasant incline, and the trail is well-kept. But then after about 45 minutes or so you take a right turn onto a fire road that is extremely steep, with no tree cover, for the entire rest of the way up. On a hot sunny day and my feet pounding the hard gravel I wondered why this seems to be such a popular hike. But I thought the view must make up for it. I was disappointed to find that after hours of struggling up this unrelentingly steep and decidedly un-scenic road (it follows along under a power line), the top is just a small pasture with the view of the surrounding mountains entirely obscured by trees. I regret having made the trip. I can find stuff like this at home.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 12, 2017
During July 2017, a hiking partner and I completed a round trip hike from Shenandoah Boy Scout Camp to the top of Elliot Knob and back. The 18 mile trek took about 8.5 hours and it was definitely worth every step, including the last 2 miles of the grueling, rocky and rutted service road (where Falls Hollow trail intersects, upward). We started at 1700 feet and summited the knob at 4400 feet – somewhere just over 50,000 steps and almost 4000 feet in elevation gain!! The view from the fire tower is absolutely amazing and the cold breeze was extremely nice. Bring lots of water or prepare to filter water from the creeks along the way if you hike during the summer. I left with 4 liters in my backpack and used every drop!

By: BenJ Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 29, 2017
The creek was up and covered part of the trail. We unblocked a log jam that was helping it overflow the trail. There are a couple of trees that are down over the "cross mountain" part. The temperature was pleasant and only saw a couple of other people. Nice hike with flowering bushes in the forest to look at.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 8, 2017
We split the hike into two days and camped at the top, which was a little chilly this time of year but gorgeous.

Day one was ROUGH for us. Hiking along the waterfalls was refreshing and shady, but we missed the nearly 360-degree turn off of the old Falls Hollow Road onto the yellow blazed trail. On the website, it shows three yellow diamonds on your right indicating to turn left but those diamonds are either no longer there or no longer visible. We hiked straight on the old trail for about half a mile before the trail got too strenuous and we realized we hadn't seen any yellow diamonds. So we turned around and retraced our steps. Luckily, it is easier to see the crazy turn when you are headed back down the hill. The next part of the trail after the turn was shaded and less sloped.

But things change drastically once you hit the dirt access road. I'll be quite honest - I felt incredibly defeated climbing the steep 25% grade. The only thing you can really do is take it in short bursts. The view from the top of that mountain is well worth it though! Including short breaks and our little detour, it took us about 4-4.5 hours to get to the top of the mountain. Also when it comes to water, keep in mind that the only source once you break away from the waterfalls and creek is the pond near the top. Even after filtering it, the water still has a dirty pond water taste and we much preferred the cold creek water. You just have to decide if you are willing to carry all that extra weight up the hardest part of the hike.

There are plenty of places to set up camp and start a fire if you want to. We slept great in our tent and sleeping bags even though the temp dropped to 30 degrees. The top of the mountain is an amazing place to watch the sun rise and set though. Day 2 was much easier and all downhill even though it is the same distance. We were down and to the car in just about 1.5-2 hours. Overall a beautiful hike, but you have to brace yourself for the end of the climb up.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 4, 2017
Did this hike as described in the guide. Beautiful hike and the falls were really nice with plenty of water in winter. A couple of spots near the top of the Falls Hollow have washed out and you have to pick your way through a section of the stream, but it wasn't too hard. I thought the switchback trail would be hard but it was relatively easy and a very nice trail. Then, we got to the access road and it kicked my butt. I routinely hike Humpback Rock without stopping to catch my breath, but this is significantly tougher. Expect a real workout and I can only imagine how hot this must be in summer. That said, getting to the top was all worth it. A really nice view and great open area that appears to be used (but not abused) for camping. Coming down, expect the access road to be a knee crusher, with loose gravel and grades steeper than 15% making it be hard on your knees. I'll do it again, but I won't do it in summer.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, January 19, 2017
After reading the "less than stellar" reviews of hiking to Elliott Knob from VA42, we decided to approach the summit from the south on North Mountain trail which can be accessed via Hite Hollow Road. The trailhead was at coordinates 38.132985, -79.362688 (roughly). The trail appears on the "MyTrails" map if downloaded to ones GPS unit. But it is easy to stay on the trail without a GPS.

Our group of 7 hikers really enjoyed the hike. It was a 4.2 mi hike to the summit ascending approx 1,300 feet (8.5 mi RT - we are tired). The ascent was consistent but not overwhelming. The trail was in good shape although it was single file for a bit due to overgrowth.

Very interesting rock formations along the way.

The tower is located on a bald at the top of the mountain. Nice places to sit and have lunch and the view from the tower was excellent in all directions. Being the highest point in Augusta Co. (and the 3rd highest peak in Virginia), this is a must-do hike. Go the way we went - you won't be dissapointed.

By: CH Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 15, 2016
Hiked up from rt 42 then and finished at VA 688 with a scout troop. Going up the first 2/3s was nice. Once we got to the service road it became an aerobic workout. The road goes basically straight up for a mile +. It would not be a fun climb in July or August. The view from the tower is great. We took the north mountain trail over to rt 688 (see Chimney Hollow/Elliot Knob hike). That is a good trail with lots of solitude. If I was to do this again I would have done it in reverse.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Hiked to Elliott's knob along the Falls trail to the fire road to the summit. Maybe the dry weather left little water to flow over the falls. The larger fall did not have any water going over it today. The hike from where the Falls trail joins the fire road to the summit was very difficult.

I made the hike to the summit 9 years ago and the area at the pond was clear of under brush as was the summit. Today both were overgrown. I am sorry to see they have not been maintained.

On the descent, we did not take the Falls trail back but continue straight down the fire road to Route 42 and walked the 1/4 mile to the Falls entrance. Lot shorter.

By: Cecelia Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 11, 2016
If you are a meteor shower or sunset chaser, or if you want to be alone for a couple of days, this is a great place. Otherwise, I'd say this hike isn't worth it. It's frankly kind of ugly (minus the very top), and the gravel road makes it really hot. However, if you still want to go, this is what I learned:

Google maps will take you to an entrance that is not the same one described on this site. (I learned on back drive back eastward that it takes you maybe a quarter mile past it.) It takes you to a gate that says "Foot Travel Welcome - Closed to All Public Motor Vehicle Use" and there's a "School Bus Stop Ahead" sign right where you pull in. I happened to run into an employee of the area who confirmed that this was an okay place to park, even though the footage of dirt didn't really seem like it was fit for cars.

The hike itself was pretty brutal. Granted, I went on a hot, humid day with a large pack at 3:30 in the afternoon. The gravel rock bounces heat back up at you for the entire hike and there are no switchbacks and little sun coverage. There is, however, a good variety of butterflies, mosses, fungi, and shade on the the offshoots which provide great refuge from the path's otherwise mundaneness. I did not come across any waterfalls, but I did see the pond. The pond has a nice little stream running adjacent to it, which was great for filling up on water the next day. It is maybe 15/20 minutes from the top of the mountain.

There is lots of space to pitch a tent at the top, either on the summit itself or right beforehand where the gravel road ends. People have set up fire pits and have kept it pretty clean. Sunsets and meteors here are spectacular.

Overall, I enjoyed myself, but perhaps that's because the meteor shower was so good. The only reason I'd go up again is to watch another one.

By: BenJ Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 23, 2016
My 15 yo daughter and I had a great hike over the weekend. We arrived Saturday mid-morning, hiked up to the top just in time to catch a 30 minute rainstorm. After we dried out we realized we had the entire mountain to ourselves. We went up to the fire watch tower and the views were incredible. The wind was blowing very nicely as we looked at the setting sun. We spent the night at the campsite near all the TV Equipment. The downside is that a cooling tower or something intermittently turns on and off. The upside was that there was plenty of wood already cut and stacked for us. Something else I like about this hike is that there's plenty of water near the top of the mountain. The pond is clean and there are fish swimming in it. And there is a mini camp site close to the spring that feeds it. I imagine that if there were more people it wouldn't be so nice. But we really enjoyed ourselves on this hike. Now on to other places!

By: Joey B Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 24, 2015
I actually really enjoy this hike and have done it a few times. Sometimes I just do the Falls Hollow portion and turn around before the fire road. The portion along Falls Hollow follows a stream and has several waterfalls worth stopping to see. The gravel fire road near the end is brutal. Very steep. While I would prefer hiking through woods instead of on a road, this Falls Hollow to fire road route to the top of Elliots Know is the most convenient. I've never seen more than a couple other hikers on the trail, even in Fall when places like Shenandoah are packed.

My advice is if you really want to make it to the top, be prepared for the steep gravel road at the end. If you don't care about making it to the top, I think doing Falls Hollow by itself would be worth it, especially if you like streams.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 13, 2015
We hiked his as an overnight on a hot and humid weekend. Luckily, we were blessed with a few light showers and that cooled us down before we hit the steep part to the top, which has a few shady spots but it mostly exposed to the sun. I didn't mind the gravel FS road up, though (aside from the heat) as it was a nice challenge, but it was not brutal. We took several breaks and were fine. I actually thought going up the FS road on the Robertson Mountain hike (reviewed her on HU), was harder. I gave this hike three stars because the views from the top are beautiful, and we really enjoyed the lookout tower. There is, of course, graffiti and trash in there, but it's not bad given how many people go in it. While the views from the tower are great, the best ones were of the sunset from a rocky outcrop a short hike back down the trail from the summit on the right. If you're on the summit, that view includes part of a radio tower, which is a little blah, but it's still nice and the sky was gorgeous at sunrise, too. We shared the summit with a pretty loud group of college boys who claimed the campsites under the pines, but we were content with the campsite out in the open. They spent most of the evening in the tower, but quieted down by 2300. Waking up at 3am to stargaze was the highlight of this hike. So many stars to see and so quiet. If you are hiking this in the summer, be sure to bring bug spray, though, as the biting gnats were horrendous and left bites that bled and itched for a week. When the sun went down it was cool enough to keep them at bay. Waterfalls were pretty, but I wasn't that impressed with the first part of the hike. Parking area is small - maybe four cars can fit without blocking anyone in. We ran into a few mountain bikers and day hikers, so solitude on this is more of a 3.

By: wisteriacamper Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 25, 2015
The Falls Hollow Trail was lovely, though watch out for snakes. We ran into a rattler that wasn't too pleased to see us, but he slithered off the path into the woods. The last portion (1.2 miles) of the hike is rough, though worth the view! Not sure I would hike this again, but it certainly was a good workout.

By: Ken & Brenda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 16, 2015
Once we got off the logging road it was beautiful. Love to hear the streams and falls while we hike. Then we got to the point in the directions on this site where you cross the utility clearing and we should have turned around at that point. We go to the woods to enjoy nature, but seeing the immensity of the clear cutting of the forest made us sick...such destruction! Then we walked up the dirt/gravel road for over a mile...that's not a hiking. We would not recommend it to anyone.

By: Frank Mack Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 15, 2015
Could have been better. Someone needs to be get signage to highlight the trail location on Route 42. And can we find some parking which is extremely limited? We guessed and ended up on the fire road which was very boring by going up. Found the trail on the way down which was nice. I have taken 12-15 hikes via hiking upward and this was the first one that was challenging to find and park. Thanks

By: Appalachian Love Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 3, 2015
Like other people before have said, this is a really difficult hike for the last mile or so. Once you hit the utility road the trail takes off uphill and I found myself stopping a lot to catch my breath and let my heart rate slow down and I would consider myself to be in really good athletic shape. However, the views at the top are beautiful! If it's a sunny day I would definitely wear sunscreen because you're exposed to the sun for a good portion of the hike- especially at the outlook. To read my review/about my trip:

By: AEH Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 14, 2015
My wife & I did this hike following the heavy northern Virginia snowfall during early March.  Most of it had melted, but the streams were pretty full making the two or three crossings a bit hair raising.  Fortunately, there were well made staffs awaiting on the correct side of the creek at all crossings.  The waterfalls were probably about a good as they get due to the earlier snowfall.  The middle part of the ascent is really very nice - not too steep with a nice surface and a good view here & there.  The sound of the flowing creek is also nice.  Once you reach the fire road, it's very steep w/o any leveling off.  Seems to me the grade is maybe 25% or steeper in places.  Just after we got to the fire road it started raining and became pretty windy.  By the time we reach the knob, the winds were strong enough to blow your hat off.  Unfortunately, it was fogged/clouded in and we got no views from the top.  Regardless, I'd recommend this hike if you don't mind about a mile of fairly boring and steep fire road on the way up and the way down.  We did get a couple of nice views from the fire road before the fog & rain arrived.

Parking is pretty limited at the trail head - maybe two or four cars.  But, we were the only ones on the mountain the day we did the hike.

By: Ridgerunner Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 31, 2015
Decided to knock this hike off the list. I've heard a lot of good things about it, and I was not disappointed. I've seen a lot of reviews that knock this hike, but it's not really warranted in my opinion. That said, you will want to be in fairly good shape though. It's not one of the easier hikes out there.

This is mainly a walk through the woods, criss-crossing back and forth across a narrow creek for the first mile, mile and a half with minimal elevation change (600-700 feet of gain).

From the first switch back, this trail really narrows. If there are multiple parties out there, you'll be yielding right of way often. Lucky for us, we saw very few people on the trail. This is expected when there is snow on the ground though, so no big surprise there.

Once you hit the road, the climb gets fairly intense. 1400' feet of gain in the last 3/4-1 mile to the summit. no switchbacks either. You just have to force yourself to keep moving.

The views from the top are without a doubt some of the best I've seen in Virginia. Well worth the extra effort it takes to get to the top.

By: Alice Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2014
The first part of the hike was fine. Nice scenery, lots of plants to identify. The summer has been dry and the stream was very low, so the crossings were not difficult.

The ascent to the top along the gravel road is unrelenting. If you need a challenge and don't care about the environment you are in, this hike is for you. I did this as a day hike, but carried 30 lbs for training. It was grueling.

I saw three groups and one solo hiker during my eight hours on this trail. They were younger and less encumbered so moved much faster. They all commented on how tough the climb on the road was. Some compared it to Old Rag, but without the crowds.

If I were to do this again, I would stop before the gravel road.

Parking--it is the PAVED pull off about 100 yards from the entrance and on the opposite side of the road. Do not pull off on the unpaved area--there is a big whole there that will swallow your tire.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 21, 2014
Attempted Elliot Knob for the first time on 6/9/14 when I was not in good shape. Barely made it to the start of the infamous Fire Gravel Road final ascent and had to quit in defeat. Came back on 7/21/14 when my endurance skill was closer to 100 and made it all the way to the top! Overall the first mile is very boring grassy access road, slightly uphill. Next mile is by far the best, a moderately challenging uphill hike along a beautiful stream with a couple small waterfalls. Next mile is a very tight little trail, also moderate uphill with heavy brush along both sides, keep an eye out for wildlife. I nearly stepped on a large snake, but most likely a harmless one. This portion of the trail is rather intimidating if you are hiking alone, as you feel extremely vulnerable and blind to what might be in the brush. I saw no other hikers during either of my trips, which is great if you are looking for solitude.

Then you get the the final mile plus to the peak, the Fire Gravel Road. It is pure evil. To put in context how insane this final climb is, the first 3 miles took me only 1 hour, then the Fire Gravel Road took another hour by itself. It is brutally slow going with only tiny flat spots every few hundred feet where you can catch your breath. The peak is beautiful, the highest point in August County VA, but it feels rather sketchy with all the man-made structures including the fire watch tower. You can climb this to the top to achieve the perfect sniper position in the event of a zombie apocalypse!

Access to Elliot Knob is decent and free, only about 15 miles SW of Staunton, VA. Keep a sharp eye out for the marker on the right side of the road as shown in the photo on this site. The parking is non-existent off the road, and it really feels like you are not supposed to be parking there. Both visits I breathed a sigh of relief that my truck was not ticketed, towed, or stolen sitting in plain view just off the road. Overall this hike is only worth it if you are looking for the extreme challenge of the Fire Gravel Road. This last ascent easily earns this hike the 4 rating, maybe even a 4.5 in my opinion.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Disappointing hike.  The first section was nice along the stream with a couple of small waterfalls.  After that it turns into a crushed rock road that just goes nearly straight up the mountain a dull trudge.  At the top are too many man-made distractions along with trash everywhere.  Nothing is worse than coming upon old beer bottles and trash strewn all around a summit.  When I returned to my car, I found a parking ticket for $125!  The notation said I was blocking the gate (I clearly wasn't).  I had parked in the same spot as the vehicle pictured on this site, and well to the right side of the gravel forest road and gate.  Very annoying.  Suggest passing on this one.  If you do this hike, don't park in the location suggested.

By: Linda Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wow, what a disappointment this hike was! I am an experienced backpacker and did this as an overnight with five others new to backpacking...definitely not a good introduction. While the first part of the hike along Falls Hollow was lovely, the majority of our time and effort was spent ascending the grueling gravel fire road. It went on and on. Finally, we reached our "reward" - an array of cell phone and transmission towers! There is a small pond near these where we re-filled our Nalgenes, then endured the final stretch of road. The grassy knob itself is beautiful, but what could be a spectacular view is quite marred by the communication towers. The saving grace for this hike is the grove of spruce trees and cozy campsite. While you will have the place to yourself, the sense of "solitude" for me was diminished by all of the man-made structures. One other big negative was the long trek back down to the pond--the only water source. And footwear with good traction is essential for the steep gravel road. This "hike" taught me to read the reviews more carefully.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 15, 2014
I tackled this as a day hike today with a group from Central Virginia Trailblazers.  The streams were flowing pretty fast due to the recent rain and snow, making the crossings a little tricky but doable.  The views of the waterfalls on the right of the trail were such a nice distraction that none of us noticed the three diamonds marking the sharp left turn, and we continued up the old Falls Hollow Trail.  The HU description says this trail is "no longer navigable"...but we just followed the stream and rock bed and did some bushwhacking until we made it to the top.  I wouldn't want to go through that again, but it was interesting to hike off trail for a change.  The towers at the top didn't detract from the outstanding views, and we never saw a soul the whole day despite the weather being perfect.  All in all a great hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, January 24, 2014
Great Hike. It can be a bit of a workout but well worth the view!

There are many changes in scenery along this hike. There are several falls in the area most of which were frozen over which was amazing. Lots of water sources. When you shift to a small trail the growth is think on each side of the trail for a couple of miles. There isn't really any place to get off the trail when on Hollow trail. Blazes are clearly marked and the trail is in really good condition. Once you get on the last leg the trail will open up to an old vehicle path that was used to get to the fire lookout. This is a steep incline. I will spend the last mile in a half climbing about 1500ft. This makes this trail slightly harder than a moderate in my opinion but we also had two days of gear on our backs and lots of snow on the ground. Beware as you near the top, winds are extremely high. At night we were experiencing approx. 35mph winds (tore a tarp in half) so come prepared.

Over all I loved the challenge and the rewarding sites made it well worth the trip. Even in January we ran into three hiking groups. It seems this is a well traveled trail.

See a video review at:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 24, 2013
We really liked this hike. It was very easy up the logging road, as well as the creek section with the falls. Even the upper section of the Falls Hollow Trail was simple. We had a little snow & it was very windy & the hardest part was the mile up the STEEP access road. I know that it's been noted that it is the hardest part. We have hiked most trails in SW VA, even though we are not AT hikers (we try :)) & this was quite a trek. The top & fire tower were amazing! It's in great shape compared to the others we've found. Probably bc not many vandals will make that hike (thankfully). Overall, the trails were well-marked, well-maintained & the views were gorgeous, antennas aside. Very glad we did it in the winter, even if it was 12 degrees. lol. Definitely one of our favorites now!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Had a little trouble finding this hike because my directions said it would be on the left. Is off 42 S/Little Calf Pasture Highway, on the RIGHT, directly after a yellow-green school bus crossing sign. The parking area is more like a pull off wide enough for a couple of cars. There is a small brown marker #291 under a stop sign to the left side of the parking area for further identification. Hope that helps any future hikers. Really enjoyed this hike! Not the most scenic on the way up, but beautiful views at the top. Also a great workout.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 14, 2013
When I started up the trail there was quite a bit of fog and some rain, but at the summit I was treated to brilliant sunlight and a view of a sea of clouds in all directions. In short, it was amazing.

I doubt that specific scenario can play out for everyone, but even without that this was quite an enjoyable hike. Due to the recent rain pretty much every inch of the trail was slippery with wet leaves and all the streams were running very full.

The last mile or so on the access road is pretty grueling, you definitely aren't expecting that after the gradual ascent up to that point. The fire tower is a good way to get a higher vantage point so long as it remains structurally sound... seems that way for now.

For solitude, this was great. I only met one couple on their way up when I was on my way down, no crowds here!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 20, 2012
After reading several of the reviews we were not sure what to expect. However we were pleasantly surprised. The first half of the hike its amazing, great views, several waterfalls and stunning during the fall. The Second half started off as a disappointment as it is a gravel road. Much to our surprise was how steep the road was. As you walk up you start to look around and realize that the views are 2nd to non in Virginia. Besides no matter how much you don't like the road, the end of this hike makes it all worth while with one of the most amazing views I have seen. This is not a hike for some one out of shape but worth doing it if you are looking for a great day hike.

By: Bryce Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
If you are looking to be alone and clime a mountain like me, this hike will do, but that's about it. The first 1.7 miles is all you would think a hike to be in Western Virginia: quiet, serene, lots of trees, and a large stream that parallels the trail. The elevation gain is minimal= 480ft/mi. You then take a sharp left and cross 2 spurs for the next 0.8mi with little to no elevation gain. That's when you hit the gravel access road. It's a mile, and its strait up=1200ft/mi elevation gain. Enough said! When you get to the radio towers you've all but made it to the top. If you are lucky the towers will even boost your cell phone coverage. Take a left and 5 minutes later you will have made it to the top. You can clime the fire tower and even go on inside, since all the locks have been cut. View from the top isn't all that great, and the wind is fairly strong if you are planning to stay the night. Something I did not like at all is that there is NO parking for this hike. The only place to leave your car is by the gate, which is about 20 feet from the highway, leading passerbyers to assume you have abandoned it!

By: Cello62 Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Good Hike! Now I know this hike receives a lot of complaints due to all the non-nature stuff out there, but I really enjoyed this hike. In the heat of the summer the water wasn't much to look at,  but I'm sure it is much better when it is running. The beginning of the hike starts of fairly easy, but that all changes once you hit the gravel road. The gravel road is no laughing matter, at least for a fat kid like myself. I flew through the start, but this part took some time. Don't let it get you down :( The hike redeems itself when you round that corner to the top. There is a great view point after the gravel ends that is hard to miss. The fire tower is steals the show with views of pretty much everything on a clear day. Being up there makes the negatives of the hike well worth it. Take a load off and relax next to the fire place before heading back down. The views and the challenge(exercise) of the hike makes it worth it in my book. Check it out!

By: Jane Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 4, 2012
This is not a good hike to do when the temperature is in the 20s and windy/snowing. The stream is absolutely beautiful, but expect to cross it several times. The first part of the hike simply follows a dirt road up to the trail. The first part is very easy, but the trail is primitive in several areas (which makes it fun). The second part is pretty boring, as you go through a small trail that allows the width of one person, leaving others to walk in front or behind. Through the second part you slowly gain elevation. The worst part about this hike was the gravel road that takes you to the top. The gravel road was steep and slippery. People can say that its difficult for a novice, but I am a little beyond the novice category, and it was pretty annoying going up (and then down) the gravel trail. Novice or not, you feel it in your joints. The view as you are hiking up the gravel road (if you look behind you) is awesome.

Basically, the streams are awesome, the falls are worth it, we saw no other people on the trail, so definitely solitude. The wind picked up and it snowed off and on, so that was a bit of an annoyance at times, but it was fun.

By: Bobby Three Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 24, 2012
The first half is awesome.  I give the first half 5 stars.  I loved hiking along the stream and even over the stream at times.  The second half is a long trek up a now gravel path that is 1 star and not worth it.  Gravel, gravel and more gravel.  I was ready to return just to get back to the waterfalls.

By: Blue Ridge Berserkers Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 11, 2012
My climbing buddy and I hit this on what was probably the only winter day of 2011/12 in Virginia.

It was cloudy and in the 30's when we set out from the Falls Hollow Trail. There was a light snow cover above 2000' and we got a half inch early on as we hiked the first stretch along the stream.

The last haul up the gravel access road can be rough. In true winter conditions, I'd recomend crampons and axe. A slip on that gravel road when snow covered can send you quite a ways back down!

Once we broke the ridgeline, we felt the wind. We could hear the wind howling over our heads from the rhododenrons onward, but this was the first time we felt it. At the summit, it was 20*F with winds 30 gusting 50+. It was a little taste of what it's like on bigger mountains.

I also did this alone as an overnight backpack March 31-April 1. This time I took the northern approach from Dry Branch Gap. This trail switches back across three finger ridges with moss-covered rockfall areas on the inside apexes of the ridges. The trail then levels out as it traverses the ridge southwards to the summit. You still have to hump it up the gravel access road, but only for a couple hundred yards.

By: Dognurse Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 4, 2011
A cake walk of a hike, until the last section up the fire road! Views from the top are less than impressive, but waterfalls are good, and it is secluded. Only passed 2 people, and a 1 family of idiots with an unleashed dog. Not one I would do again, but worth doing if your local.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 20, 2011
I started out late on Friday with my dog Maxwell with the intent on staying the night at the top. The trail was really well maintained. There are A LOT more waterfalls and streams than the description puts on. The trail pretty much follows the stream most of the way until about the last mile and a half, so there is plenty of filterable water along your way. The last push up the logging road is no joke! I recommend walking sticks and having enough water as the last ascension is really the hard part of the hike. The view from up top was incredible! There was a great overhanging rock to see west side view, and i camped where I could see the Shenandoah Valley. Not much to offer for campfire wood on top. The next day I descended to stay at one of my favorite secrets, Falls Hollow. On the way down I passed a mountain biker, and a boy scout troop. When I woke in the morning I saw some horseback riders. For such a beautiful weekend I was surprised to see so few people. Excellent hike! Max sure loved it too.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 29, 2011
My wife and I decided to do an overnight trip to Elliot Knob during her spring break.  The hike is really 5 separate portions.  The first part starts out very easy along the logging road.  I read somewhere that this was an old logging road, but it was still pretty active today.  We could hear hunters in the distance which took a little away from the walk.  The trail is very easy to follow even though there are many off roads.  Eventually, you come to the second section, which is the stream ways.  This was our favorite section of the hike.  Even though we didn't realize it, you end up crossing streams about 8 or 9 times.  There had been a crazy storm the night before, so it's possible that some of the streams were higher than usual.  Still, it was very fun and exciting to cross them.  I would not want to do this during colder weather though.  The 3rd part of the hike is a small trail that connects the Hollow Falls trail to the service road up to Elliot Knob.  It's narrow, but an easy and has great views of the surrounding mountains.  The service road, just as this page says, is very difficult.  It's lose gravel and very steep and we considered it part  of the hike.  The pay-off was worth it though and the summit and final stretch offers some really amazing views.  Yes, there are a bunch of towers at the top, but I didn't think they took away from the hike.  We had the summit all to ourselves for the night and camped out in the open.  The temperature dropped drastically at night and we woke to find our tent covered in frost.  It was also very windy and even though it was around 70 degrees during the day, the night was very cold.  Still, we had a great time.  The next day we hiked back down the same way to our car.  I would recommend this hike during May or June, before it gets extremely hot but after the cold passes.  The service road is hard and in the blazing heat of the summer, it would be very difficult as much of it is in the direct sun.  Feel free to email me if anyone has questions or would like to see pictures.  Happy hiking!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 22, 2011
I've hiked to Elliot Knob in all four seasons over several years and it's a good hike, but those who complain about the obvious presence of man have their points. Notwithstanding the complaints about the "roads" and the transmission towers near the summit, it has a good mix of moving between fire roads and narrow hiking trails as well as stream crossings and some great views (even on the way up). I went today when it was in the low 20s and virtually no wind. When there's no wind, no leaves in the trees, and virtually no birds, you can experience complete zen quiet on the ridge between the Falls Hollow Trail and the fire road. Physically, it can be challenging for those who haven't been out for a while or are novices. It's not technically challenging, but there are some decent ascents during the first 3/4's of the hike. The road to the top is another story. It's a solid mile of steep climbing on a gravel road that zig-zags between the clear-cut utility lines that cut down the mountain. It's worth the hike though, because as soon as pass the humming transmission stations, there's one last ascent to the top that offers great views and a true sense of reaching the highest spot in the area. Once you're at the top, there are plenty of spots to set up camp or just relax for a quick lunch before heading back down. On that note, your knees and ankles will be grateful if you brought a pair of trekking poles for the descent down the access road. It's a sustained steep descent, so if you have sensitive joints, take precautions or just be ready take your time going down so you don't put too much stress on your joints.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 12, 2010
The hike itself isn't anything special. For most of the 8 miles you're either walking on an old logging road or slogging up/slipping down a steep gravel access road. Still, on a clear, cool day this is a worthwhile hike to soak in the views up top. A large hole has been cut in the gate around the lookout tower, so for now access is easy.

As many reviewers have noted, the summit area is far from pristine with the towers at the humming transmission station. But the views make up for the man-made annoyances. I'd rate the views up top a "5." On a clear day you're treated to a commanding view of the Shenandoah Valley. There is also a beautiful overlook to the southwest at a rocky outcropping just before reaching the summit.

The access road is now gravel rather than dirt, but it's still steep and slick on the trip down. Trekking poles are definitely useful. I wouldn't recommend this hike on a hot, sunny summer afternoon or else you'll bake on the exposed access road. For me, this hike is all about the views, so I only suggest huffing up to the summit on a clear day unless your primary goal is to get in a great workout.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 2, 2010
This hike is NOT for the person looking for a nice "get out of town and away" hike.

I would put this hike as "if you live in the area, or happen to be by this are, why not.."


Do not drive to this spot and stay overnight at the summit just to try it out.

The summit is like walking into a mini industrialized zone. there are now 2 base tower sites (totaling over 4 towers) plus the fire tower at the summit. And one of the tower sites has an A/C that cranks up all night long.

This hike should actually be scrapped all together because they have totally ruined it.

Instead of a beautiful view from the top, you now see a microwave dish smacked onto a tower.

Completely sucks!!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 4, 2010
My husband and I did this hike as an overnight camping trip. We were carrying a lot of camping equipment, which made this hike a little bit more difficult than normal, particularly the last mile of the trail on the gravel road (this part was very very steep!). We camped in the open grassy area of the summit in front of the tower while three other people camped underneath the spruce trees. It does get a little windy at night, but it was not as bad as we thought it was going to be. The morning sunrise was amazing. Overall, the view is worth the steep hike. My only advice: if you are camping, be prepared to hike down the trail to gather water and decent firewood (near the transformer station area) because there is neither at the summit.

By: Garrett Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This was an excellent hike. It was raining the entire way up and the trail drained well so except for the very first half mile there weren't many puddles or mud. The second half of the hike is now not so much a dirt road as much as it is new gravel. Once you get on the gravel road, make sure to take note of what the path looks like because it could be easy to miss it on the way back down. Also, don't expect to get into that observation tower at the summit unless you're comfortable climbing over barbed wire. There is a gate around it and it's locked. The view from the top seems like it would have been amazing except visibility was extremely low. Overall it was a really enjoyable day at at times, in the mist, it felt more like Washington than Virginia.

By: Kevin Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 26, 2010
The woods part of the trail (2/3 of the hike) is nicely marked and well maintained.  Unfortunately the last 1+ mile to the summit is up a gravel access road to various electronic towers that are located just short of the summit.  There is currently road construction going on with a bull dozer and roller which is somewhat loud and definitely interferes with the "woodsy feel".  Also, the tower at the top is kept secured (although access is possible) Overall a nice hike, it will be better once the road equipment is removed.


By: Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 28, 2010
Took the longer but more gradual hike south (up) from trailhead on 688 / Parkersburg Turnpike (see*  Camped over 2 very quiet, peaceful nights on summit under the spruce trees, and the spring is flowing quiet well.  Saw a mother bear and several cubs, a 2-foot mostly-black rattler, tall spikey white flowers, a couple of orange salamanders, polywogs in the pond, the usual buzzards soaring by, and one shirtless male primate running (!) up from Rt 42.  Had a mix of warm sunshine, cool passing fog banks, or a couple of thunderstorms.  *Trail from 688:  trail is getting bushy in spots but still quite passable and pleasant.  Lots of poison ivy within the first 200 yards. We didn't investigate the spring at the "8 / 2" mile mark.  All in all, a great getaway.

By: Mdk Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 17, 2010
Went with my wife and son and our friend Denise.  This was a nice walk in the woods, overgrown in spots.  The road towards the tower was brutal.  Didn't add to the beauty of the hike that's for sure.  Once at the top, the view is nice.  I climbed to the top of the tower, but it was VERY windy and it made me nervous.  Still got some good shots.

Nice hike, but that road took away from it.  I also liked the Spruce part.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 16, 2010
Just finished hiking in heavy snow--a slosh fest but well worth it. Followed two pairs of interesting tracks for about two miles in the snow. Each looked like a big cat print, with the larger track as wide as my palm--a cougar?

By: Rufus Master Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 12, 2009
Had a great time making a backpacking trip out of this. It was clear and pleasant. Had not rained much recently, so as expected the waterfalls were not flowing heavily, but still pretty, a good drink, would have been a refreshing dip.
Pay attention to that elevation profile, it is uninterrupted vertical climb: very nice forest stretch for the first 3 miles.
As others have mentioned the last 1.3 miles are quite strenuous and tricky on the gravel road. But if you know what you're getting into, and approach this hike like it's a going to be a workout, then you'll get it, and are in for a treat at the top and on your way down. If doing a day hike, prob worth it to budget a little time to hang out on top. Poles would have been useful going down the road, but weren't a necessity in dry weather.
Solitude factor was great, never saw another hiker (or camper) during our 24 hours (on a beautiful weather Saturday-Sunday in September)
Wildlife: unidentified heavy footsteps at summit in AM, black snake on trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 2, 2009
A good hike overall with a strenuous steep climb the last mile on a very rocky rough road. The waterfalls are nice and one is a great place to soak tired feet on the way down. The hike down is very challenging on that first mile of rocky rough road. The view from the top is excellent including the fire tower which has a breech in the fence that surrounds it. It is definitely a good workout for a rewarding view!

By: flyingcrook Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It was a good hike. The very steep at trail road at the end made the hike seems a lot longer than 8 miles. I saw a mother bear with two cubs about a quarter of a mile before making the left off the old logging road. I never would have seen them until they started making noise. I didn't see another person on the trail. But there must have been horses earlier in the day or the previous day. All the rain we had in the past days made the falls really nice but some other the streams a little sketchy, it was easy enough to walk up the stream a little ways to find a better place to cross.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 7, 2009
The trail head is hard to see from the road and I passed it and stopped 0.3 miles further up the road and began my hike in error from that site. I was on the access road to the communication tower and the trail went straight up a difficult, rocky ascent that lasted almost two hours. Coming down I picked up the correct trail and it was great, really scenic. The streams were gushing and I was the only person on the trail until I saw one couple about a half hour from the end. On exiting I had to walk along the highway to my car but that was better than making the straight descent on a rugged steep road of loose rock. For someone who wants to test their endurance and would like to make this a circuit rather than an up and back, try this route, you can see the access road on the trail map on the website. But be warned, my quads are still sore three days later!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 25, 2009

This was my second hike up Elliot Knob this year, and was far better than my April 18 hike.  This trip, I was prepared with two hiking poles for the final 1.5 mile slog up the forest access road to the summit . . . and I brought a rain poncho just in case.  It rained the entire hike, alternating from light drizzle to heavy downpour.  The trails were slick and muddy and the 2 poles made all the difference, particularly on the upper trail.  The great thing about this hike is that it really is 2 or 3 sections . . . the main trail . . . the traverse . . . and the upper trail.  The upper trail is just a steep (very) access road . . . not a great trail, but the price of admission to the highest point in the GWNF.  Great campsites at the top, or at the spruce cluster just below the summit . . . I would advise not camping near the pond below the spruce as there were clear signs of wildlife around the pond.  There was quite a lot of trash at the top, and on the upper trail . . . I brought an entire day pack filled with trash back down with me.  This is a great workout, but there are better hikes, better views, and more pristine trails.  Still, a great rain hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Elliott's Knob lived up to its reputation.  It's almost two different hikes . . . the first is a steady climb through the woods with nice waterfalls and a great mix of trails and rock hopping, then a sharp left to traverse the mountain to reach the main forest service road . . . then it's uphill . . . very uphill . . . for over a mile!  It was the best cardio workout I've had in years.  The pond near the top was a great place for a long and well deserved break.  Then it's up through the spruce to the summit.  The view from the top was not 360 degrees, but it was a great view.  There's a nice boulder on the trail to the summit that makes a good photo (better than the summit shot).  There were four other groups / couples on the trail, but frankly after that climb, I needed some words of encouragement!  I rated this a 4, but it's probably more like a 3.5 due to the time spent on roads and the brutal hike up.  Take lots of water, and pack a picnic . . . you'll need the energy.  Next stop:  Hardscrabble.

By: dm Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 29, 2009
I don't have a problem with uphill, but I do have a problem with lots of time on roads.  After you leave the trail, this hike is not really that fun, although the top of the mountain has very good views of both valleys.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 9, 2009
Wow, what a great hike.  The combination of views and waterfalls makes this hike perfect.   The top part is challenging, but the pond area and the summit are just great places to chillax and enjoy life.  I will definitely be back here, and I think I'll try to make it part of an overnight.  The day was beautiful, but since it was during the week (yay Spring Break!), I only saw 2 small groups of people, one on the way up, one coming up on the way down. 

By: Anoniem Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 9, 2009
This is the best way to burn 2400 calories and put some muscles in your butt.  It's the toughest hike I've found yet in Virginia.  The trail builders apparently do not believe in switchbacks.  I liked that we only passed a couple of groups since I like to let my dog run around loose.  (Sorry to whomever he was barking at that day!)  It did take us over 6 hours, and we're around 30 years old.  Because it took longer than we anticipated, we got caught in the dark on the way back.  I recommend making a mental note of the turns you make at the beginning of the trail because they are hard to see in the dark!  (If you do not have great sense of direction.)  The waterfalls are plentiful and the views are nice, as well.  The campsite areas looked beautiful, and I'd love to come back sometime and use them.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 8, 2009
Blessed with the first 70 degree days of 2009, I headed for the hills. This one is really 3 very different hiking segments.  The first is a nice walk through the woods that eventuallly gets rocky.  Once you cross the stream, the hike gets steeper, but gently so - segment 2.  There are waterfalls and beautiful wooded areas.  The third part is the schlep up the service road to the summit.  No bones about it it's a brick - a real cardio test.  It may be the longest mile you'll hike, but the summit is worth the effort - 360 degrees of natural beauty, save for the transmission tower.  Suggest stopping at each power pole to turn around and behold the scenery.  Trying to take it in a single bound will definitely increase your use of profanity (hiking this segment during Lent adds to the challenge if you've given up cussin'). Going down is fast - easy cardio, but murder on the brakes.  Did the whole trail in 4 hours. The trailhead is very easy to find, and the trail is very clearly marked. Again I saw big pink arrows sprayed on the trail, probably by some group.  Have no idea why they bothered.  Even I couldn't get lost on this one.  Saw a surprising number of people on the trail, but with great weather, I'm not surprised.     

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 8, 2009
A friend and I have been itching to go hiking for the past couple weeks so we took the cold night in stride as we camped at the summit overnight. I will have to say that the last mile of the hike definitely changed this rating from a 4 to a 5. My friend and I are both in shape and we were both hurting pretty bad this last mile. We didn't pass many other people probably cause it is February and the warm weather hasn't really come around yet but we did pass about 4 other people just day hiking. The first part of the hike was nice going by the streams and waterfalls that were frozen at the time, but that last part of the hike wasn't my favorite by far. It was relieving reaching the summit with the great views, but we almost threw in the towel and decided to set up at the small pond almost at the top. Which is sad I know, but if you do this hike you will be able to see that that last part is tough. But overall when you reach the top it is satisfying and the waterfalls are a nice addition at the beginning. Overall, great hike if you are looking for something challenging at the top, but if you are looking for something more relaxing I would suggest another hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 27, 2008

I live in Staunton, va, so this is a good place to have basically in my backyard. The change of flora was nice traveling through the different elevations. The streams were nice to see, as well as the thick Rhodedendrons. I would like to see the blooming in the spring. When I have time constraints and want to just get out in the woods I will use it, and the shorter "Little North Mountain" trail across 42. It is good to have this near.

Watch out for Hunters, Passed one in the 1st clearing.

The biggest disappointment is the access road, so keep this in mind if going up to the summit. The hardest 1 mile that I have ever hiked in my life. I am 45 years old, so keep this in mind. But I have hiked Mcafee's knob in Roanoke and Tinker Cliffs, they are nothing compared to this mile.  When there are emergency exits built into the road because of the steepness in the road, it ought to say alot. Once you get to the top, you do feel like you are on top of the world. That part was good. This is Thanksgiving day, and there was an ice storm on the top, so there was a lot of cracking of trees. Not so easy walkng up and down icy roads. If you rate this as a 4 for difficulty, My hat is off to you, its a 5.

It will be awhile before I walk to the top again, 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 22, 2008
Did the hike we a few friends on a Sat.  Saw a couple of hikers, but not many people were on the trail.  There were some hunters so becareful.  50% of the hike is on a fire road and the other half is on single track trails.  The last mile was the hardest, but doable.  When we did it there was snow on the ground and ice on the waterfalls, which made the hike better.  The summit was nice and there were some great campsites on the summit.  Overall, a nice hike.

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 24, 2008
We went up the North Mountain trail which was a long accent from route 688. This is a nice trail with some good views along the way. The Buffalo spring was dry (probably seasonal). We went with our 2 dogs and the round trip was about 4 hours. Views at the top are great so were the blueberries. This gets a 3 rather than a 4 only because there are a lot of pricker bushes about 25% of the way.

By: David Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2008
I don't really recommend this hike, except if you seek only solitude.  At any rate, anything once you hit the "steep dirt fire road" was no good for myself and two other hikers.  I did not realize the hike was up a fire road and utility easements for the majority of the final ascent, and this makes it sort of anticlimactic.  Additionally, coming down is a pain as you are walking on a sandy surface on hard packed rock - slippery.  Wear appropriate boots.

As an aside, there is some sort of bush all along the section after the Run and before fire road.  When it is blooming, which I would suspect is about a week or two from the Date Hiked, it will be amazingly beautiful.  All of them had buds, a couple along the way had already started blooming.  From the bottom up through that section would be a great quick out-and-back. 

All in all, it made for an OK lone hike, but compared to the many other amazing hikes in this area it falls short.  Thus one star, as none of us liked it very much.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 23, 2008
An amazing hike! It was a tough climb, but definatly worth it. I would hike it again in a heart beat! I think we took a diffrent rout that was shorter. I could'nt tell you exactly where. If you love the quiteness of the mountains you will love hicking to the top. There are streams and beatiful pine forest. I suggest anyone who wants a long day hike to go, just be prepared the weather can change in a heart beat. 

By: Lyle Walker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 19, 2008
It took me a few minutes to find the starting point but I should have looked at the instructions where it clearly said look for side road marked "291".  There was 3-4" of snow on the ground with a top crust which made the hike more stenuous.  I met no one on the trail.  The first half of the hike is the most enjoyable.  The second half on the forest road to the top is a huff and puff without a lot of beauty and unfortunately there are communication towers on the top.  However, the view from the top provides a great study of the topography of this part of VA.  The area is interesting and I plan to go back and do some sections of the North Mountain Trail later this year.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2007
This is the time of the year to see great views of the valley without the haze.  We could see forever this past weekend and it was easy to pick out Massanutten Mtn from the top of Elliot Knob.  I hiked this with my daughter and we made an overnight camp trip out of it.  We had a great sunset and almost a full moon over towards Harrisonburg.  Not much water flowing over the waterfalls due I am sure to our lack of rain in most of VA.  Be prepared for that last "steep" mile, it is brutal with a full pack on. I would highly recommend hiking poles or a hiking stick for the trip down as it can be very precarious with the loose gravel on the road.  None of the photos of that last mile does justice as to how steep it really is but if you want some good views, solitude, and some good camp sites then this is great hike to do. I would imagine in the next week or two this would be a good place to view the Fall colors. PS: I reset my trip odometer when Route 254 ends and it becomes Route 42, the parking area/trailhead was 3.1 miles from that point.  Don't blink or you could miss it.  It is just before a curve. 

By: Ryan Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 27, 2007
The trailhead is not marked from the road, so it took us a while to find where we needed to pull in.  The hike passes a couple of nice waterfalls, although I think they would have been more impressive if the area had recieved more rainfall prior to our hike.  The rock formations are really impressive, not necessarily for their size by the terraced shapes that many of them have.  The main thing I did not like about this hike was its reliance on man made roads.  The final and most difficult ascent passes up a steep access road to a communications building and the fire tower at the top.  It was a hazy day so I image the views are better on different days.  It is definitely a good workout but I think there are much better hikes to be had in the GWNF.

By: Mole Hill Rambler Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 26, 2006
Challenging but rewarding course. The water features are amazing. The last section on the steep forest service dirt road was the real challenge as it hits the top part of the mountain head on. However, it makes for a good workout and the view is well worth it. Beautiful day for a hike. 60 degrees and sunny. Took 70 ounces of water, which was sufficient for the cooler day. A few of the creek crossings were a challenge, probably due to recent heavy rains. Trail markers and descriptions on this site  were good.  

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 6, 2006

I hiked Elliot Knob on a beautiful, clear autumn day.  From the top I had great views east towards the Shenandoah Valley and also out towards the west.  On this clear day, from the top I could see as far as Massanutten Mountain, nearly 40 miles away.  The top portion along the access road is very challenging.  On the way back down I missed the trail back to the parking area and ended up on Hwy 42.  Fortunately it is only about a quarter mile back to where I parked.  As far a solitude, I did pass several other hikers on the access road.  There was a group of 4-5 people on horseback at the top of the mountain, near the fire tower.  They had come up from the Deerfield Valley on the west side of Elliot Knob.

By: Rdawg Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 18, 2006
My wife and I hiked this on a rather hot day and I would agree with the other poster to bring enough water.  We took two 32-ounce Gaterade bottles and those were polished off by the time we got to the top.  Second part of the hike turnes onto a very steep access road.  It is largely in the sun and that is where you will kill your water stores.  On the way back down we saw 2 Timber rattlesnakes so be carefull.  The access road on the way down is possibly harder on the way down than it is on the way up.  Trail was very well marked, but we still missed the turn back on the way back to turn back into the woods (this is fine because you only have a 1/2 mile walk when you get back to Route 42).  This was a great hike, probably better in the fall when the humidity is lower (for visibility as well as for breathing). 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 26, 2006
Well it was an extremely rainy day. So all of our gear got wet. I actually hiked with the boy scouts. So we hiked from camp to the mountain (APPX. 5 miles) and then hiked the mountain. We all ran out of water near the base of the mountain. It rained very hard. The few moments it wasnt rainy it was hot and muggy. Then we got to the top. Our gear was soaked. Sleeping bags, Tents, Spare clothes, Everything. We could not find dry wood to start a fire so we just ate dry raman noodles. They taste good when your starved though. Going up the mountain took about 2 and a half hours cuz we were haulin'. At the top there was no view cuz we were in a cloud! So it was constant mist and rain and wind. So we got there about 8 and then set up camp. Every one dehyderated and soaked we went to bed. We all had wet sleeping bags and smelled bad. I personally did not sleep that night Cuz of the harsh winds and rain. It was quite the spooky place at night. Morning came and we had a handful of trail mix and then packed up and hiked down hungry, tired, and dehyderated. After a ways all of our toes hurt from hiking down cuz your toes were constantly jamming into the toes of your shoes cuz of the steep decline. so i suggest you trim your toe nails if your gonna take the hike down. But all in all we made it. Hope you have a better experience, Random Hiker

By: kate & guddu Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 14, 2006
We drove from Richmond on my husband's mid-week day off. Luckily it was cool when we hiked because we should have brought more water than we did.  We directions were good, but we nearly missed the parking spot. We did not see anyone else on the hike--  but we did see many black and blue butterflies, daisies, and white flowers.  My husband also had a run-in with a stinging nettle (?) plant, but quickly remedied the itching with a jump in the nearby waterfall. I expected the falls and the summit view to be a bit more impressive. It was cloudy, so perhaps that was to blame. The uphill portions were definitely impressive-- it was quite a workout. We finished the trail in about 4 hours-- but we were going pretty quick. The trail was VERY clearly marked, even for these novice hikers.  The trail descriptions were also accurate.  It was a fun day trip.

By: wayne Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 7, 2000
This was the hike my dad and i always did during hunting season,just for fun. We never went up the gravel road,we went in from the Deerfield side. Anyone looking for more of a mountain trail should look into that trail. It is just a rocky foot path,and steep at times. When I was a kid some of the telegraph wire that went to the tower was still in the trees. We always saw plenty of wild life and nice veiws.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 15, 1961
i was 13 and my brother was 11.  we backpacked to the summit from Buffalo.  it took us approximately 10 hours. we had lunch at the summit under the fire tower.  in those days you could go in the tower.  it was a magnificent view.  i had to practically drag my brother the last 2 miles but he did a fantastic job to only be 11 years old.   i am amazed now that our parents let us take that trip but i am so glad they did.  i will never forget our trip.  By the way,  we lived at Buffalo Gap at the time.  My dad was an electrician during the construction of the new high school there.

By: Brandon Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 1, 1912
This was a pretty darn good hike. I was a little worried when parking on by the gate as I didn't want it to look like my car was abandoned, but I got back in a few hours and it was no worry.

They really downplay the streams on this hike. For the first two miles or so at least you are following a stream with many waterfalls the entire way. You do cross it several times however so make sure you either have good balance or waterproof shoes. Nothing you can fall into though, only a couple of inches deep at the crossings.

The trail is marked fairly well. Not really marked on the roads portions but the yellow triangles stamped on the trees every couple hundred feet or so once the trail gets single-file and rather crowded. Once you get to the 'dirt road' (aka gravel road that goes straight up) you are nearly on the home stretch. But that road is steep, very steep, and a little over a mile long straight up. It was quite exhausting to say the least. I'd say the temperature was in the high 70's yesterday with little breeze and it was getting pretty hot. Once you just about reach the top there is a nice little pond with fish swimming around in it, etc. A good place to wash your face and cool down a bit after hiking up the road.

Views were great.

I only saw two other hikers.

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