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Hiker Comments for the Meneka Peak Hike - 1 to 37 of 37   
Average Rating:

By: Hans und Heidei Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 30, 2019
Three stars means "overall a nice hike". It was a very pleasant day for the end of March. The views are nice and consistent, but will be gone when the leaves emerge. There are some fine campsites up there. If you walk counter clockwise the trail varies from rocky, to very rocky crossing 3 scree slopes (which is about an hours time on the way up), to near no rocks most the way down . It never got very steep, we rate it a gradual incline. We encountered maybe 8 people all day. It was the first time out in 4 months and it took our 58 year old knees und ankles 5.5 hours walking time. It was our first time here and we will come back, when again there is no foliage.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 15, 2018
I like this hike a lot. It's true that the first part of the trail (going counterclockwise) is rocky, but if you have sturdy boots you'll be fine. There are good views in places, to all directions even with leaves out, though you may have to peer between trees. Today was a Friday, and I ran into 0 hikers and 3 mountain bikers as I got closer to the finish. Mountain laurel was blooming at the upper elevations. It's unbelievable that you can find such beautiful mountain solitude an hour and a half from Washington.

By: CJ Staton Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 12, 2017
Great hike and views but definitely an ankle killer. Sturdy boots are a must. Didn't see much wildlife except for a snake, which was strange as it was only 40 degrees out. Trekking poles are very helpful, especially on the downward part of the trail.

By: Doug Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 8, 2017
Great, hike I have to admit. Very rocky in spots that do take some time to cross, but some of the views were worth the work. We had to turn around half-way through the hike due to coming up on a mother black bear and two cubs (around the tv tower section). We were already in their "bubble" of comfort for the mom and she decided to bluff charge at my fiance, so we decided to get out why we could. This particular day, the trail was becoming crowded. Overall, we will be completing this hike in the fall. (Side note) Forrest Service had to shut down a camp ground / picnic area close to the parking area to the Signal Knob / Meneka Peak Trail Head. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 20, 2016
Had to take advantage of the beautiful weather on Saturday and get out for some hiking. I've been wanting to do Meneka Peak for a while now and finally got the chance.

I'd agree with the difficulty rating of a 3. The hike itself really isn't that challenging other than the first section up to Buzzard Rock overlook that is a little steep. Some sections are rocky but nothing too difficult. This is a great fall/winter hike since the leaves in spring and summer would likely obscure most of the views the hike offers. There are plenty of camping spots along the trail, although there are only two water sources, one at the very beginning and one at the very end, so bring plenty of water.

Finished in approximately 3.5 hours and there were several other groups/individuals on the trail that day.

By: Bex Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 24, 2015
We hiked the trail and it was sunny when we started and it became partly cloudy. The hike was great and a steady up hike climb but nothing too crazy. The view of buzzard rock had a nice place to stop and have lunch. As we continued on, the train became rocky. We hiked this train in tennis shoes so hiking boots might help, but we didnt find it too hard. There were great views of fall foliage. We stopped for lunch at the first campsite. It was a bit breezy on the ridge, but no need for extra clothes. The only river is at the beginning and the end so bring plenty of water.

We started hiking around 12pm and finished by 4pm. The parking lot was quite full when we arrived.

By: DCEsq Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 10, 2015
Good hike with some views between the trees. Some color change. It's a pretty rocky hike, so hiking boots would help. The trail is easy to follow. We had a bear sighting near the Signal Knob Trail split. It looked like a small adult bear who bounded around 20 feet away from us. After 5 seconds, it rushed away. This is a lower impact hike compared to Signal Knob. The fire road portion of Signal Knob is boring, but Meneka Peak also skips the steep ascent after the Signal Knob fire road.

By: ExFed Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 23, 2015
Started the hike at 7:00 AM from a vacant parking lot. Chilly but sunny. Had done this hike before and much prefer this hike before the leaves come out. Glad that I had my hiking sticks and some sturdy boots, as I had forgotten how rocky many parts of the trail are. My GPS measured the hike to be 8.6 miles, I completed it in 4:18, and I agree with the stated degree of difficulty as a "3". Saw no others on the trail. All in all, a very pleasant walk in the woods.

By: Sean Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I had done this trail a couple of times ages ago so I kind of knew what to expect. Arrived at 7 a.m. and was surprised to see no other cars in the parking lot. Saw no one else on the trail, and no cars when I returned around 12:30 p.m. Have always seen several other people and cars before -- very strange.

One of the rockiest hikes I have experienced, more so than I recall from my first hikes there -- I'd say about 2/3 of the trail you are on irregular rock, and even on the smoother dirt portions -- there aren't many -- you are still dodging them.  Since my early hikes there I had taken kids up to Buzzard Rock Overlook and back with them wearing sneakers. For the whole trail, I strongly recommend sturdy boots. It's still a nice hike.

Saw deer, lizards, frogs, signs of bears, unusual mushrooms. It was humid and warm but somewhat comfortable as the trail is mostly shaded. Should have taken more water -- I took 2 quarts and could have used 3. There are a few springs along the trail so you could filter your own, but I don't know how reliable the flows are in drier weather.

By: Mike C Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, December 20, 2013
Hiked this one today. There were still parts with snow along the side of the trail, but there was only a few crossings where there was snow in the path. Rocky as expected. We only saw one other person on the hike, a mountain biker coming down the Tuscarora side. We completed it in 5 hours, with only a few 5-10 minute breaks.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, December 20, 2013
We hiked this one on a fairly nice Friday. Since it was a weekday, we only saw one other person, a mountain biker, after we made the turn on Tuscarora Trail. For wildlife, we were surprised to see a family of deer scurry off as we crested the top of Meneka peak. While the absurdly warm weather had us peeling off layers, the areas of the hike where the mountain only gets oblique sunlight still had pockets of snow and were chilly to walk through.

Once we passed the peak, the rocks petered out and the walk became easy. In fact, I can see the attraction for mountain biking the Tuscarora Trail from the Signal Knob parking going "south and backwards" to the intersection on the Meneka Peak trail as that section is very rideable going up and down.

All and all, it was a good day and a very nice walk.

By: lwillie63 Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Beautiful set of days for this backpacking hike. We backpacked in and camped overnight. So our hike was actually on the 2nd and the 3rd. The weather was very nice and the hike was good. I was hoping to see more turning leaves, based on a previous post. The trails were a lot rockier than I expected, but we managed them fine. We took our time to make sure no one twisted an ankle on the hike. We hiked it in reverse order, because we started in the afternoon wanted the first day to be longer than the second, based on a stay at the 2nd posted campground prior to the Meneka Peak. We took about 4 hours to get to the campsite, camped and came out the next day in 2 hours. We had a great time, and are looking forward to some more hikes in the area. We grabbed two of the six geocaches on the route, and I will return to get the ones we missed. We also saw no water running in the creak beds.

By: Bustachama Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Beautiful late summer/early fall day for this hike. The leaves are starting to turn at the top part of the ridge. A lot of the Yellow and White trails are covered in rocks making it a bit slower moving in the higher elevations. We found ourselves being more careful to make sure we did not twist ankles. Loose rocks range in size from pebbles to volleyball size. No water current running in the creak beds.

By: Kellygirl Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 9, 2013
I really like this hike and the Mountain Laurel were in full bloom! It was raining most of the time but rather have rain then hot sun. I didn't camp but there were some very nice camping spots. I hiked this counterclockwise and I suggest doing that if you backpacking. This would be a great hike in all seasons. Also a great hike for people who want to increase their hiking the elevation is gradual and not difficult. It is rocky so I would not advise this hike to very new hikers. I even saw a large snake :)

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 4, 2013
This is a good hike that you can easily knock out in about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Albeit a little rocky on the way up, the grade is steady and the views are decent. Bear Wallow is an appropriate name since I encountered a very large black bear during the descent from Meneka Peak. We stared each other down from about 50 yards for about a minute. It was clear he wasn't budging, so I backtracked about 1/10 mile, waited a few minutes, and then slowly resumed the hike. By the time I reached that spot, he was gone. Be alert and walk with your head up - that's my advice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, January 18, 2013
Cranked this out in 3 hours flat (to the minute--first time that has ever happened). Started at 6:58 am at sunrise and ended at 9:58 am. Nice views on the way up. The trail meanders a bit -- I would have knocked off 1/2 mile to a mile for some steeper climbs. This is a nice, self-contained loop. The rocks underfoot, pervasive on the first half of the hike, provide a nice challenge. 

By: Fort Valley Man Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 1, 2012
I like this trail enough to have taken my students here several times for hiking trips, but I think it is slightly overrated compared to some of the trails further south in the Massanutten range.  Nice views at the top, proximity to some nice water (Passage Creek on one side and the Strasburg Reservoir on the other), and a bit of history.  This was a signal outpost during the Civil War and the site of a very minor battle.  A Georgian Volunteer killed in the fight is buried near the reservoir.  Lots of evidence of Indian visitation along the Meneka Peak.  Fairly convenient compared to other hiking spots.

By: PeteandhisdogJordie Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 10, 2012
I hiked a small portion of this trail just to see what was at Meneka Peak as I was hiking the Signal Knob trail because the junction to the peak is only a half mile away. I don't think I will hike this way again. For a trail called Meneka peak, and signs indicating Meneka peak, there was nothing to indicate when you arrived, and I had to guess. The only way I knew that I was there was that I was at the highest point in the trail, there was a campsite there, and everything was lower. There is no overlook at the peak, as it was really obscured by trees. My recommendation is that if you are looking for a good view, either just stop at the second overlook on the Signal Knob trail, or take the extra time to go to Signal Knob. Otherwise, after the second overlook on the Signal Knob trail, it's just becomes walking through the woods....

By: japplin Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 28, 2012
Good hike today with my 10 year old.  He did it without breaking a sweat.  I on the other hand...  First, the directions are perfect.  Can't miss.  Degree of difficulty is a hard one.  The inclines are not steep at all.  Views are tremendous. It can be difficult to stumble across the several rock slides.  Several great campsites.  Some joker decided it would be funny to put a Chesapectin fossil in the fire pit of the campsite at Meneka Peak.  Watch out for the bikers. They're nice guys. It was our experience that they won't see you until they're right upon you. 

By: WV hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 28, 2011
Nice hike with some nice views, I took the signal knob trail out and back for a little extra viewing, completed the hike in just under 4 hrs but I was moving pretty fast.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2011
I'll echo the last hiker's comments . . . much rockier than we expected, which added to the length of the hike considerably.  I hiked Meneka with my girlfriend and our two dogs.  Had a false start with the wrong parking lot (it's the 2nd lot on the road, not the 1st), and overall the hike was beautiful, great views on the way up, much less so on the way down.  Lots of loose rocks, which slowed us down considerably, and not much water on the trail (although there was a spring which left enough water for the dogs to sip, and a creek on the back side), and a fair bit of traffic (good people, though . . . even mountain bikers heading down Bear Swallow Trail on the back side).  A nice hike, but with a new hiker on board, it took us 7 hours to complete.  Overall a great hike, but be ready for some rocks.

By: cupcake Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 17, 2010
We did this with our 7 month old, and two dogs.  I have to agree with the other reviewers that this is a bit more rocky than we expected.   The trail was also pretty crowded, we passed other groups (or they passed us) every few minutes on the signal knob trail.  The views from the ridge are nice, and the camping footprints looked good, although we did not use them.  There is no water along the trail, so make sure you bring plenty to drink along with you.  The rocky section is slightly arduous, so we were very surprised to see someone carrying their mountain bike over the rocks.  Apparently he had been given some poor advice on a place to ride.  We did not see much wildlife, most likely because of the crowded condition on the trail.  There was evidence of bears in the area. 

By: Kipp Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 4, 2010
Great hike overall. We hiked counterclockwise, going up some rocky trails at first, but with beautiful views of Buzzard Rocks. Six of us spent the night up at the top, just before where the trail splits to the Signal Knob trail and the Meneka Peak trail. Great campsites around, although many of them are right on the trail, so you don't get much privacy. There were a few hikers in the middle of the night and before sunrise. One of them thought it would be funny to shout loudly, waking us all up and leaving us a bit freaked out. It seems we were not the first to post something about freaky middle-of-the-night hikers on this trail. Otherwsie, the only problem with this hike is the water situation. In August there is no water anywhere on the mountain. Some of us had to make a 4 hour side trip down to the resevoir on the West side to refill our water bottles.

By: ArlHiker Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Went on a very hot, hazy and humid day. Thought to do Signal Knob, but given the haze the scenic vistas offered little reward. The first half of the hike is quite rocky, and you really need to life your feet and watch your step. The second half is downhill and easier. This would be a great hike when there are fewer leaves and clear skies. It took me about 3.5 hours to do the 8.5 mile loop. Did the hike on a weekday and so no one else. Did see bear droppings, but no wildlife otherwise.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 17, 2010

I decided to do this hike in reverse (with my dog) based on the campsites noted, since I was going to camp for the night.  We got a late start on Saturday, so we really pushed the pace. The blue blazed Tuscarora trail was the most pleasant part of the hike....less rocky and plenty of springs for water sources along the way.  We stopped at the Tuscarora (blue) and Meneka Peak (white) trail intersection for a break and the bugs literally swarmed us.  Thank goodness the breeze picked up a bit and kept the bugs at bay during the white blazed Meneka Peak trail portion.  The Meneka Peak trail was rockier than I expected, so don't count on this trail being easy simply because of the elevation changes being minor.  We stopped for the night on the Massanutten trail, about 100 yards east of the Meneka Peak/Massanutten trail intersection.  We had enough time before sunset to make a run for Signal Knob for the view, and check in via cell phone with the homefront.  On Sunday morning, we hiked down the Massanutten trail (which was very rocky in the higher elevations) for the last 3 miles to the parking area.  Next time, I would do this hike in the "regular" direction.  There were some nice campsites along the Tuscarora trail, and some nice natural springs for water sources which would make camping just as enjoyable, without having to pack in as much water (assuming the springs don't run dry in the summer).  Best parts of the hike:  the views, the solitude, and the wind that kept the bugs at bay and the condensation non-existant.  Worst part:  the rocks (I have the blisters to prove it), and the hiker that went by at 3:38am(??) on Sunday morning and spooked both me and my dog.

And, I totally forgot about checking on the Geocache. :( 

By: kackeroo Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 17, 2010
Addendum to my previous review.  There is a nice campsite on the Tuscarora trail at coordinates 38 55' 53" N, 78 20' 21" W.  It is close to a natural spring at 38 55' 56" N, 78 20' 45" W.

By: threehikers Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 6, 2010
A beautiful clear day helped to make this hike enjoyable. The leaves are gone so the views are good even in places where there is no overlook. The trail up and the trail down were mostly snow free but the top across the peak was virtually snow covered the whole way. We hiked with our regular boots and had no problem with the snow other than the extra effort required when hiking in it. We met several people, one group, four people with dogs and one mountain bike on the trail. The parking lot was crowded. Most were doing the Signal Knob loop and we walked in complete solitude across the top of Meneka where we found some dry large rocks to have lunch. A good winter hike on a beautiful day!

By: sarah Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2010
This was a good hike to begin the season! We started at the trail head on the right side of the parking lot (orange trail). The ascent was steady but not too steep. The views were fantastic since the trees were still bare. The snow on the mountains was gorgeous. The trails weren't muddy, though there was still snow near the top. We all had hiking boots, no winter weather footwear, and we did fine. Make sure your boots are waterproof though! There's a good place to stop for lunch right after the white trail meets the blue trail. There are lots of rocks to sit on and a nice view of the valley.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 22, 2009  16 hikers completed this hike in 3.5 hours 5 of the faster hikers added the 2 mile round trip to Signal Knob.  We ALL wonder why other hikers are complaining about the views.  We're definitely coming back and maybe next time we'll try counterclockwise.  Did get a scare the night b4 the hike when we hear about  a hiker being shot futher south.  We  found some bright orange tape & all wore it.  I'm not a hunter & until now paid no attention, but I'll be doing my research b4 going on other hikes.  We didn't have ANY problems, ran into more hikers, backpackers than I would have guessed.  Thirteen of us once again we headed to Soul Mountain Restaurant about 20 minutes away in Front Royal.  The food was great again and the wait staff are fantastic.

By: craig Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 18, 2009
Very nice hike, great views of buzzard rock and Shenandoah valley, weather was perfect too, temperatures were high 70's low 80's.  The hike description and trail map was not very helpful though, the colors blazed on the trail did not seem to match up with our directions, I guess we need a better map next time.

By: Tom Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hiked this on a sunny 50 degree day (DC) with three college kids. Really enjoyed it.

The parking area and trail head are well marked. The blazes are easy to find and not confusing at all. No chance of getting lost.

This is a fantastic hike to take when foilage is down because there are great views in every direction. The route is almost entirely on the south side of the hills so we caught sunshine on almost the whole hike  Footing was not as bad as suggested in some previous reviews and the kids, who hiked in running shoes, didn't have problems.

I was concerned that the 8.6 miles might be a bit too much for us, but it wasn't.  This hike is gentle and moves along easily. Even so there are several well defined places on the map where you can plan to stop and head back.  The trail down from Menetka Pk is entirely gentle downhill and you fly along even if you're tired.

By: ecb3 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 29, 2008

A nice hike.  The weather was warm but not oppressive.  Approaching the Buzzard Rock Overlook, there was charring from small recent forest fires.  I spoke to a USFS firefighter at the Buzzard Rock Overlook, who indicated that there were fires two weeks earlier, started by lightening.  They thought it had been put out by rain, but received reports of additional fires on 6/27.  We saw a little smoke coming up from the mountainside below as we were speaking.  They cut in a new/bigger overlook at this point on the trail.

I was going to go up to Signal Knob, but a late start and forecasted thunderstorms (and tired legs from a long bike ride the day before) convinced me to make the turn up to Meneka Peak.  There are no good views from this peak.  The Meneka trail runs between the Massanuten and Tuscarora trails, but is not as well used.  It is a little overgrown, making me wonder for a moment on a couple of occassions whether I had strayed from the path.  But it was not a problem.

About a half a mile below the Meneka/Tuscarora junction, there was an area where a rotted tree had fallen to expose a spring running underground below it.  At this spot, I passed some mountain bikers who said they had shooed a rattler from the trail 50 feet down the trail.  I saw no sign of it as I passed.  Signs of an old fire on this part of the hike.

 While I saw some bear scat on the Massanutten trail I saw no bears.  Lots of blueberry bushes on the Tuscarora segment--should be ripe in another 4-6 weeks.  I got some good photos of two butterflies on a flower right as I emerged back at the parking lot.  I agree with the previous commenters--bring your boots for this hike.

By: cb Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 12, 2008
Like others have said, this is a great hike with nice views, particularly the first couple of miles.  The only thing I have to add is to make sure to wear proper footwear.  I didn't have boots but wish I had with all the rocks.  There are sections where it seems like you go for 20 minutes without touching dirt.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 3, 2007
We enjoyed this hike a lot.  I would note that there were three good campsites on the way up according to the directions.  They are located just before the turn-off from the orange/yellow blazed trail to the white blazed trail.  We stayed in the 2nd campsite.  The third might have been just a little nicer.  There are a lot of rocks along the trail.  I wish that I had had my walking stick.  We spent 2 hours getting to the campsite and then 3 more hours to finish the hike.  We're not quick hikers, but we enjoyed the scenery.   Another exciting find for us was several fresh piles of bear scat!

By: jitbug Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I wouldn't recommend this hike to anyone. I didn't like it very much for simple fact that it was too rocky.  Hiking on a path of rocks ranging in size from baseballs to cinderblocks for miles on end is just not very enjoyable.  Also, although I never left the path I still managed to pick up over a hundred deer be sure to check yourself afterwards.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 25, 2007

great hike, had perfect weather for it today.  about 60 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in the sky.  saw more than a dozen people out there (as well as about six mountain bikers) so it's definitely known.  no leaves on the trees yet, so really good views most of the time, especially on meneka peak itself (almost 360!)  as others have said, very rocky trail at times, but nothing extreme. 

all the directions for this hike are accurate and easily followed, all turns are signed.  recommended!

By: Hiker, husband, and dog Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 22, 2006
This hike is not for the faint of heart, but the views approaching and at Buzzard Rock are awesome.  Start this hike early in the day; we were keeping a quick pace with our Weimeraner puppy pulling us along, and it took us the full 4 hours. Also, a lot of the trail is rocky, and several sections are narrow; make sure to keep your head up and look around as you hike! The first half of the hike has great views at more than Buzzard Rock. All in all, a great hike, but definately meant for the intermediate to advanced hiker crowd.

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