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Hiker Comments for the Signal Knob Hike - 1 to 160 of 160   
Average Rating:

By: Matti Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 24, 2019
Went on a cold, cloudy November day that turned cold, windy and sunny. The hike was lovely and quiet and solitary for the first 5 miles, and then I turned from the Massanutten Trail section onto the Tuscarora Trail section and, unfortunately for hikers, that's also a biking trail. Of seven bikers I encountered, only two yielded right of way (as bikes are supposed to to hikers). One bicyclist startled me so that I jumped off the trail and nearly tumbled down the mountain. He asked if I was okay but didn't slow down. I might be especially frightenable in that circumstance and it's possible all the bicyclists were completely in control and wouldn't have hit me, but the wind made it hard for me to hear them approaching, and with so few other hikers out (I saw only one in six hours), I would imagine the bicyclists are startled by pedestrians, too. The experience made me jumpy and, frankly, wrecked my chance of enjoying the hike. After my major startle, and jumping off the trail, I was on constant high alert, looking over my shoulder the whole time, and couldn't commune with nature. This was my second time doing Signal Knob--last time, four years ago, I encountered only two bicyclists. With so many blind curves on a hiking trail, and the trail being so narrow, I just don't feel safe knowing I could be hit. Unfortunately, I will not likely go back to do this hike again.

By: Zirkminsky Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 8, 2019
I had a fabulous hike yesterday. The weather was perfect and the trail has a well balanced mix of ascents and descents, as well as rocky and smooth trail surfaces. If you are doing the hike counter clockwise like the instructions, then be careful not to lose the trail once you pass the stone house on your left as the trail has been damaged from fallen trees and the orange blazed markers are missing. The trail bears east at the creek.

By: Whitney Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 5, 2019
A really nice, varied hike. The terrain is definitely quite rocky and will fatigue your feet and calves as the day goes on. Hiking on a Thursday morning starting around 10am, I only saw a few people all day. Some wildlife (deer, squirrels, salamanders, and bugs), but otherwise a quiet, secluded hike. A few places to catch a view of the surrounding scenery, but otherwise a hike mostly through forested areas as you climb and descend with a couple places where the sun breaks through. Took about 4.25 hours from start to finish with nothing more than a few breaks for a picture or to listen to the quietness. This hike requires your attention nearly the whole time to make sure your foot is landing securely because even the areas that are less rocky will still have some jagged edges of embedded rocks sticking up or tree roots to step over that can easily cause a fall. Most surprising part of the hike was the second ascent when you get on the Tuscarora Trail. Much steeper climb than the initial up to Signal Knob ridge, but also comes with a much more gradual descent. Overall a great weekday hike if you want some quiet and steady level of effort.

By: Aditya Gaddam Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 24, 2019
I did this as a one-nighter. As others have mentioned, this is a VERY rocky trail. If you have decent hiking shoes, you'll be fine but it does wear on you a little. I have some 2 year old shoes with disappearing tread and it never felt treacherous or anything. The grade is steep in a few places but you can do a comfortable 2mi/hr.

Apart from the rocky-ness, the biggest disappointment for me was variation and overlooks for me. In the 10mi of hiking, there is little in variation and the overlook at Signal Knob is the only big window out.

The campsite at the Signal Knob is small but very close to the overlook so if you are the only one there (like I was), you have a nice view for sunset / sunrise. Speaking of campsites, all the ones I saw were pretty small. The one at the top fit my Flycreek UL2 but a bigger tent might have some space issues. Firepits at all the campsites but actual tent space was pretty small. Hammock users might be ok though. Plently of trees.

On the way down, there are sections where you see random toads. That was a nice surprise.

On the whole, if you haven't done it, I'd do it as a day hike or a one-nighter if you just want to get away from people. But I won't bother going back.

By: Schweity9 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 22, 2019
The hike took us 5 hours but we didn’t stop for anything longer than a 5 min water break. The views up the mountain along the orange blazed trail were beautiful but the trail was so rocky it was difficult to pause anywhere to enjoy it. We actually liked the last 3 miles along the blue blazed trail the best because there weren’t as many rocks to step over and you could just walk and look around more comfortably. It was a nice walk in the woods at this point. Make sure you wear good sturdy hiking boots on this one! While the views were nice there was no large rock outcropping to sit and enjoy them along the way. A lot was covered by trees this time of year (June). There are a few overgrown areas of the trail so make sure you check for ticks. We pulled a few out coming out of those areas. Glad we did the hike but wouldn’t visit again.

By: Hobo Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 29, 2019
I agree with Matt on the full loop hike takes more like 7 hours. I also agree that the out back on the orange trail works better for me so you don't have to re-climb the mountain on the blue loop trail. The blue loop is nice if you want to see some old fort and copper mine holes but long. This also has many flowers so at times during the year there are lots of bees.

By: Loudmouth Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 21, 2019
Great hike! Lots of rocks on the trail for the first three miles or so they will slow you down but the views up top are worth the effort.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 23, 2019
Fantastic hike, with amazing views and great variety of terrain. I will caution anyone hiking with full packs there is no way this loop takes five hours. We took a Crew of Scouts preparing for Philmont on this trek and subtracting meals, it still took us 6-7 hours. I suppose fit people with very light loads could do it in five, but I wouldn't plan on it.

By: Denny M Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Had an enjoyable hike all to myself. Never saw another person. I think if I do it again I will back track after reaching Signal Knob Lookout, and take the Meneka Peak trail rather than the fire road that requires reclimbing the mountain. Many opportunities to look out over the valleys this time of the year.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 14, 2018
Great hike. However going counter clockwise thru the loop, after the first overlook (1.5 miles) there are several rock piles across the trail and rocks off and on for the next mile or two. Be sure to wear the proper shoes and take care. The overlooks are quite spectacular. I was however disappointed at Signal Knob overlook looking west as the small Maple trees have grown to block a lot of the view that was so breathtaking just a couple of years ago. I hope the trail maintenance crew in that area can trim those back as the view really has been compromised. Saw 4 solo's and 3 pairs of hikers all day. Temps in the 50's and cloudy.

By: Jason Rogers Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 22, 2018
This was a great hike that was deceptively difficult. Lots of narrow rocky paths steep inclines. We were sweating by the end.

A note of caution, shortly before the 2 mile mark there was a tree that had fallen on the trail. Because the trail is so narrow and winding up the edge of the mountain, we had no choice but to climb over it. It was unsteady, but did not slide down the mountain while I was on top of it. Hopefully it will be cleared soon, but in the meantime, I'd recommend keeping one hand on another tree, vine, or friend while clambering over it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 16, 2018
A great hike with a very accessible trailhead! I did it for the second time today (having done it in December too). It is a pretty typical local mountain hike with lots of rock, good for building ankle strength. Since it is summer, the views are not as open as they are in the winter. We did not see anyone else until running into some mountain bikers late on the descent. Having a good local loop hike with good altitude gain is special. It can be done in around 3:30 with a steady pace.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 28, 2018
This is easily one of my favorite hikes in the area. Decent elevation gains and gorgeous views as you're right at the tip of the range. I've done this loop counter-clockwise, but I think it would be more enjoyable as a clockwise loop. There are definitely pros and cons:

Doing this hike counter-clockwise, you get to do the 1-mile boring section of the fire road going downhill which is a plus. But you also have some killer switchbacks to deal with after the fire road to get back up to the top of the ridge.

A clockwise hike affords much more gradual uphill section at the beginning, but you have to do the boring fire road part uphill, too, which I'd imagine makes it more tedious. The major upside to doing this hike clockwise is that the awesome views will be near the end resulting in a great payoff and a lot more things to look at while you're tired and going downhill.

If you want to make this loop slightly shorter and avoid the fire road completely, you could take the Meneka Peak trail. Taking the Meneka Peak trail means you don't have to leave the ridge only to climb back up. You'd save about 2 miles and probably save some energy-- though I'm not sure how rocky that particular shortcut is.

By: Adith Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 15, 2017
I agree with those saying you should hike it counter clockwise, the rocks are hard and especially when the leaves fall its something id rather do fresh. The trail was fun and easy to follow, but definitely and ankle buster, and no real views. Signal knob was a pretty narrow view out over the area. Not recommended for novices, and probably would be more fun if you camped in the middle.

By: Sam S. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 16, 2017
Don't bother going on this hike. There's nothing but rocks under your feet the entire time which means your ankles will be killing you by the time you're done. Even if you persevere through the rocky terrain your given a mediocre view that its right next to a loud power station and has a pole with power lines right at the overlook. The hike itself took my friends and I about 7 hours to do the entire loop and I honestly cannot think of a section of it that I enjoyed. Genuinely a bad hike I would not recommend to anyone. I'm not sure why the ratings are so high.

By: DK Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 16, 2017
I have done this hike a couple of times and really like it. It's never too crowded, it's a good work out, and there are some pretty cool views. We took our dog and he did pretty well even though the first half is rocky. We completed the hike in just under 5 hours and we stopped at the overlook for about 15 min. It is sunnier than some other nearby hikes so bring a hat or sunscreen.

By: Ennuienthusiast Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 10, 2017
It was a beautiful day for a hike, and I wasn't the only one who thought so. I passed 7 other hikes out there, from a solo trail runner to a large group eating lunch near the summit. Everyone was in a good mood and enjoying themselves.

I set out to do a shakedown hike with a new pack load before heading out for a few days next month and I wanted something reasonably challenging but not terribly difficult in case the pack was a failure and I had to bail.

I found the hike to be pretty much as advertised. It took me 3:38 with no stops, but I was moving at a brisk pace. 5 hours plus stop time seems like a good estimate, maybe a large group would be a little slower. The first third of the hike is probably the most difficult. There are a few rocky stretches where you will want to watch your footing, but overall it's not technically challenging.

As for the rest... I didn't think the views were all that great, but maybe I just hurried through them. Looked like a lot of great campsites with well-built stone fire rings up at elevation. Plenty of flat ground and well-spaced trees for the hammockers. Bring water, because you won't find anything near the campsites (and precious little anywhere else on this hike - at least this time of year).

Even on a busy day there was plenty of parking, but be aware that there's another (smaller) parking lot about a quarter mile to the north. The parking lot with the trail head has a sign. Guess which one I went to first...

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 16, 2017
Enjoyable day for a lovely hike. I started out around 7:00 AM and only came across two humans the entire time I was on the trail. I came ran into them toward the end of the hike. They had just come across a black bear cub and her mother. They were waiting for momma and her baby to leave the area.

During the hike, I came across two bear cubs, but never saw any sign of momma bear. I just stayed where I was, took a few pictures, and talked to the cubs in a soft voice, letting know I was there. No drama it was an amazing experience and the second bear encounter I have had in less than a month, the first being on the back side of Old Rag on the Solstice.

As with many of the hikes this time of year, the tree canopy was pretty thick there wasn’t much sun during the hike. If it weren’t for all the loose rocks, the first half of the hike would have been simple and quick. The loose rocks slowed the hike down a little. If you have balance issues, it might be a good thing to have walking sticks and thick sole shoes. Once I reached the radio station tower, there was a hour long decent before the next climb, which was simpler because there weren’t a lot of rocks to climb over. This climb was more strenuous though, gaining about 500 ft. in altitude, over a distance of a quarter mile.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 28, 2017
For those about to rock.............haha. So yeah, this is a rocky trail. I would probably never do this one again, but glad we checked it off the list. My wife and I did this as a one night backpacking trip. The trail is well marked, really nice start meandering along the stream (which was flowing very nicely). Not even 15 mins in and there are several campsite on your left, great for late day/night arrivers looking to camp. The blooming flowers on the ascent were so pretty, but the views are less than desirable this time of year on most of the trail. So much foliage. Might be better in the late fall, but I'd give the scenic views a 1. Pros: incredible campsites. I think we counted around 15? Ours was well off the trail with a very nice fire ring. If you are going counter-clockwise, pack in tons of water, especially if you are camping before the Signal Knob overlook. Once you leave the initial stream, there was no more water sources for us for the rest of the day. Once we descended the fire road, the stream starts running again. Plan water very carefully. Cons: rocks (not trying to sound like a baby, but this was brutal/boring), green tunnel, less than stellar overlooks. We spent more time looking down at the trail than on our other surroundings, mainly due to rocks. It started to rain while we were finishing up our hike looking for a site, and I fell with my full pack on, and slashed my wrist and both knees open. Be careful, you never know what could happen. Saw a ton of dayhikers out (Memorial Day weekend), a few mountain bikers, and a handful of trail runners. Once we got to camp, we didn't see another soul until 10am the next day. For something close to DC, this is an attractive hike. But the views during full foliage don't make the payoff worth it for us. Give it a shot though!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 7, 2017
Wonderful hike!  Just a perfect day for this hike today. Cool, but sunny. Incredible wild flowers all along the route.  I did the circuit as described above, and it took about 5 hours, with stops to enjoy the views, take pictures, have some snacks, etc.

I would recommend good hiking shoes, as the path is very rocky. Water proof are a must because there are several stream crossings, and at times the path was very muddy. It is a challenge, particularly after getting on the blue blazed trail. The ascent feels as though it will never end. But when it does, it's all down hill after that. 

I saw maybe 12 other hikers and maybe 6 bikers. Just enough that one doesn't feel completely alone on the mountain.

Challenging, fun, exhilarating views, beautiful scenery. Can't ask for much more than that for a fantastic hike!

By: Hobo Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 30, 2017
The best FREE hike in Northern VA. The views from Signal Knob are real and spectacular! You can look down the Shenandoah valley all the way to PA. One quick highlight before I go into detail- Bees. The spring April flowers along the top portion of the trail are loaded with bees pollinating. I stopped 4 times on the top of the ridge to sit on a rock and take a breather. Every time, consistently, after 5 minutes I was attacked by one or two bees. I did have a white t-shirt, bright colors and deodorant with scent. Possible bees thought maybe I needed to be pollinated. (I am allergic to bees and I did not need to be pollinated LOL) Maybe not the best clothing colors for this hike.

Ample parking both times. There is a clearly view-able brown sign "Signal Knob Parking" from Fort Valley road. The parking lot holds about 100 cars. Maybe 20 cars parked in the lot each time. I encountered only about 10 hikers each time. Parking lot sign says "No overnight parking, No camping, No night visitation." Surprisingly there are a lot of campsites along the trail with current fire pits so don't how that can be with the "No camping" sign.

I've hiked this gem twice now. Once in January in 20 degrees and last weekend on Sunday in 82 degrees. The views are better in winter because of less foliage. I do a lot of hiking and this was a little challenging when you do the blue trail. The blue trail is a quick up once you leave the road.

The first hike I did the circuit as shown(orange to blue), give yourself plenty of time... 7 HOURS.... 7 HOURS. The climb from the parking lot on the orange trail is a slow continuous climb for 1.5 miles to Buzzard overlook. Sounds from the rippling stream are your first encounter shortly after leaving the parking lot. A couple of quick views of the mountains from the trails as you ascend will have you saying "cool!" Buzzard overlook in the summer with leaves is OK. The trail then turns into short sections of all ROCKS. Lots of large rocks. Not rock scrambling, but stepping over large fallen rock areas. The next overlook is .7 which is a nice view of Fort Valley(the bowl/valley area.) Then a long ridge trail with no views until Signal Knob/Antenna. My suggestion is come back on the orange trail. There is really nothing to see on the blue trail except some sunken civil war fort holes. If you're into the civil war then do the blue trail. In the circuit you leave Signal Knob and go down hill on a gravel fire type road. I'm not a fan of hiking on gravel fire roads. The blue trail off the bottom of the fire road is a quick steep up back over the mountain. No views back to the parking lot. The last part of the blue trail near the civil war fort on this circuit also has been turned into some type of a mountain bike course, or there were attempts to add cool ramps, etc... Several park authority signs on the last portion of the blue trail "Do Not Build Ramps or Alter the trail. People like the trail in it's natural state." It appears mountain bikers and the park authority maybe in a little battle over the trail. I only encountered two mountain bikers and both were extremely courteous, slowed down and said thank you to me for leaving them pass. Help this review helps HYOH.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 11, 2017
Wow! Although really tough, this hike should be on everyone's "to do" list. The big elevation gains will leave you gasping for air, but the views will leave you gasping with awe. (haha, yeah that was a cheezy line, but I'm quite proud of it, lol) But seriously, at various points along the hike you'll see aerial views of Fort Valley, SNP, The Shenandoah Valley, both ridges of the Massanutten Mountains, West Virginia and more. The trail is very rocky, pretty much the whole way so be sure to bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water. We went counter-clockwise like HU recommends. The first 3 miles is all uphill but beware! After you reach Signal Knob don't get too still have plenty of climb ahead of you. At the intersection of the Tuscarora Trail and the forest road you'll start on a never-ending climb up and over Green Mountain. We thought this climb was the hardest part of the hike - maybe because we were tired by then.

Throughout the day we only saw maybe 15 other people on the trail which is not a lot, considering we were out there about 7 hours. Yes, we took our time which we recommend. Lots of good campsites along the way to stop and rest or possibly make an overnighter out of it. We definitely recommend this hike - but you'll have to earn the views!

We have a video of this hike on our YouTube channel "Ott Mountain". It follows Hiking Upward's route exactly so it may help you preview trail conditions and the correct way to turn at each trail intersection so you don't get lost. We actually lost one of our hikers for a short while on this trip because she took a wrong turn at Signal Knob. She was halfway down the forest road before one of our runners caught her.

Have fun out there! We'll see you on the trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 4, 2017
Did a overnight on this trail. Beautiful clear sunny day in the 40s, overnight lows in the 20s. Since leaves had fallen, got some great views. Saw a few day hikers, another backpacker, and two mountain bikers. Other than birds, saw no wildlife.

From the parking lot to Buzzard Rock Overlook, expect a fairly easy hike that is mainly uphill but nothing too steep. There are rocky areas to navigate over but nothing too bad. There is small camping site about .25 miles after starting and the stream was running. At Buzzard rock, there are two small campsite, one is on the trail right after you make the sharp left turn to the east. To find the other, don't make the left and stay straight.

From Buzzard Rock to the White trail junction, expect the same uphill travel and there are two spots, each about 50 feet, where the trail is just rocks. Definitely manageable but you want to take your time. Two campsites, as illustrated on the map, both looked very nice. I hiked to Signal Knob and then backtracked to the White train to crossover Meneka Peak. Fairly easy trail up. Took a break at the peak and noticed I had good cell service. Headed back down on the Blue trail and while there are a few rocks, it's nothing like you just went through. It's all mainly downhill and I made really good time. Right around mile 8 was a stream with excellent water flow and about 100 yards past that was a decent sized campsite about 25 feet off the trail to the left. Spent a quiet night here. Remainder of the trail was very easy, smooth, flat or downhill. I enjoyed this trail. Was on the trail about five and a half hours overall.

By: Brad Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 11, 2016
This was our first time on this hike. Loved it! 26* but still very comfortable, as long as we kept moving. Great views. Great variety of terrain and features. Particularly liked that the grading of the trails was very consistent. Trails are well marked. Also liked that there are several significant landmarks to navigate from and confirm your location compared to the map. Highly recommend.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 23, 2016
I've done this on a mountain bike in the reverse direction a bunch of times but this was my first "hike" on the trails. The accent up is steady but not overly steep. We went to Signal Knob but instead of going down the fire road, we backtracked to the White trail and took it back to the truck. Only one stream crossing and it was fairly dry. So if you're hiking with a canine companion, I'd recommend carrying extra water for both of you. Views at the top were great but there was only one or two unrestricted views. Still a great hike to burn off some calories!!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 10, 2016
This hike was a great technical challenge for me. I have a shattered ankle and ACL. It tested my abilities and I was able to unearth my limitations. If you are following the directions on this website you will start with an accent that keeps going until the summit. The trail is well kept and is almost 98 percent rocky. There are no large scrambles but the soft and flat ground is rarely seen. If there are no rocks then there are roots. Previously I did Billy Goat and was using it as a gauge of time. Big mistake. This is nothing like Billy Goat. Signal Knob is the real deal. I found the blazes marked well. I brought a print out of the directions and they came in handy. There are a few off shoots but I wanted to concentrate on the main loop trail. I found the docents much more difficult to traverse than the accents. I woke up muscles that have been dormant during the descents. Definitely recommend trekking poles although we passed a few hikers without. Got to the trailhead about 9am and back to the parking lot by 3:30pm. I highly recommend this trail for those who want to test their bodies and others that just want to have a good time

By: Giker (Girl Hiker) Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 1, 2016
I picked the best day to hike! I know - drizzling, cold, wet, gloomy...but not for me! I hike alone and love the rains! It was all misty (due to the low hanging clouds) through and through. I got zero views, but still this was one of my best hikes because, c'mon! how often do you get to walk in clouds? That too all by yourself??? Sooo lucky! I didn't read Douglas's reviews before I went, and of course forgot to pack a harmonica (lol) but I was walking in heaven, so no bears, no rattlesnakes, heck no hoomans :) Awesome!!!

I would give this trail a 3 star in terms of severity (I would have given 2.5 but ok, hiking on rocks can be tough)- except for a few rocky patches, this trail is pretty smooth and not steep at all! Make sure you take sturdy hiking boots (so glad I bought new ones). I started my hike at exact 9 am and finished it at exactly 1:40 pm. I had packed a lunch, but didn't stop to eat. Again, who's hungry in heaven? not this chick ) I did pause to eat a banana (yep, they serve fruits in heaven). All my mini breaks would add up to 10 minutes. So the hike took me about 4.75 hours. Mind you, I'm not fast...In fact, I have an average pace (if not below average).

Oh, and for the parking lot, I did submit the exact coordinates, but like Doug mentioned, you have to keep going for about 0.1 miles to find the parking lot. Luckily I parked to the right, where the trail begins (that's not a coincidence, I'm pretty & smart) so I was able to get on the trail right away.

All in all, amazing experience! Wouldn't change a thing about my day, but would definitely be back to catch up on my views.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 25, 2016
We hiked this trail on a nice Sunday afternoon. We started around noon and ended at 5:30 pm. As an FYI, if you are heading south on 678 (Fort Valley Road) make sure to go far enough until you see the correct signage (Signal Knob Parking) on the right. The reason I mention this is because there is an empty lot about 0.1 miles to the north of the correct lot with no signage and a trail that leads off up the mountain similar to the correct one. We started hiking it and realized it was not the correct one.

This is a long gentle hike that is not too strenuous with some good views of Buzzards rocks, 1 good view of Fort Valley and great views of Strasburg.

At the top of the ridge (after the white trail splits off of the orange) and heading towards signal knob, we came across 3 black bears (2 cubs and the mom). They were booking it through the foliage which was just starting to turn to fall colors. The mom stopped on the trail and looked at us for about 2 or 3 seconds then followed her cubs. She didn't want to have anything to do with us and was making sure we didn't want anything to do with them. After I saw them, I did notice some blueberries on the sides of the trail. If you are hiking alone, I recommend you bring a harmonica, whistle or put some rocks in a bottle and act like you are a big rattlesnake. You are in bear country so heed the warnings. Who hikes with a harmonica?!?

My GPS recorded 10.25 miles at exactly 5.5 hours. Saw 2 mountain bikers and about 10 other hikers in 2 groups. We did stop for about 45 minutes throughout the hike. Seeing the bears was a great experience!

By: Ken Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 25, 2016
Great weekday hike without another soul in sight the entire time. I did this in about 4 hours with only one brief water stop. Climbs were a nice challenge and trail is very well marked and maintained. One note is that after the TV tower, you can remain on the gravel road or take the orange trail to a lookout and then that will loop you back to the same gravel road-- I found the above written instructions just a bit confusing in that area.

Oh yeah and I saw a bear cub! About 1.5 miles in I heard some rustling about 15 yards ahead and saw a small black bear lift its head and run down the hill. I waited about 10 minutes to ensure mom was not around, made some loud noises and slowly proceeded on down the trail and did not see any more after that.

By: Nolan McD Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 25, 2016
The first half of the trail is pretty good, when hiking counterclockwise. There are a lot of switchbacks and it is very easy to miss the trail if you're not actively looking for the orange markings on the trees. The summit itself offers a very nice view and a relaxing atmosphere to hang out for a few moments and catch your breath. However, after that, I didn't think the trail was that great. I actually ended up missing the switchback and stayed on the access road for several miles before realizing that I had missed the trail. Again, if you are a first timer on this trail, it is very easy to miss the correct route if you're not actively looking for the tree markings, so definitely pay attention especially if you're not using a handheld GPS or anything. The hike ended up alright because two very attractive women who had been out horseback riding stopped and offered me a ride back to the parking lot, which by that time was 7 or 8 miles away, so that made up for the poor second half experience of the hike. If you're from out of town, the people in the Signal Knob area are very friendly and hospitable, so don't worry if you get lost like I did. To the two women who gave me the lift, thanks again!

By: John S Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 7, 2016
Overall, a pretty nice hike. It's fairly strenuous if you do the 10 mile loop. I'd suggest you take a picture of the at parking lot before setting off or take a printed map with you. There trailheads do switch a couple times. I would give the hike full stars for solitude. We saw 5 hikers or so during the 5 hours we did the hike. My biggest complaint is that most of the hike does not have clear view or any grand Vistas. There are roughly 2 to 3 points at which you can see through the trees to catch a glimpse of the valley. The hiking goes from dirt, to firm rock to loose rock in many parts. Wear good shows with ample ankle support. This is a fairly strenuous hike if you do the entire loop. Overall, a nice hike if you're looking for a challenge and don't want to drive too far from DC to have some fun in this area.

By: Terri V Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 5, 2016
I did this hike exactly as advertised. The hike up to the Signal Knob Overlook was one of my favorite hikes that I have done this summer. Virtually the entire way up you get peeks through the trees of the beautiful views. The incline was steady, but not overly taxing. There was a very rocky section, but I enjoy traversing from rock to rock. The blazing on this trail was some of the best I have ever seen - you are almost never at a point where you don't see a blaze. I also liked how the couple of blazes before a trail junction you got double blazes - both the Orange of the Massanutten Trail and the color of the upcoming junction trail.

I didn't enjoy the return route anywhere near as much. The fire road was pretty boring, although there were lots of butterflies flitting about. There were stretches of the Tuscarora Trail that were nice, but there were long stretches with very narrow, overgrown trail and no real views. And the blazing was nowhere near as good as the Massanutten Trail.

It seems that berry season is over, as I didn't see any. No bears, either, and just a couple of backpackers - no other day hikers.

Overall, a fantastic hike! I hope to return in the fall to see the autumn colors and get even better views with the thinner foliage. But I will likely make it an out and back on the Massanutten Trail.

By: Old Man Dunn Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Very good hike. Harder than I anticipated. Lots of scree on front end, and on the return some good uphill. Definitely bring more water than you think you should. One important note: I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND BRINGING DOGS ON THIS HIKE. We had two, and both of them, 2 days later, are limping with torn pads. The rocks on the front end are tough for them to navigate.

By: Ed Matthews Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 26, 2016
With about four different microclimates, this was a very interesting hike to take in both flora and fauna. We started north from the parking lot on the orange-blazed Massanutten Trail to Signal Knob Overlook, backtracked to the white-blazed Meneka Peak Trail to skip the fire road, followed the ridgeline to the junction with the blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail and followed that east down the hill back to the southern end of the parking lot. The choice to skip the boring fire road on the way back was brilliant walking the ridgeline on the white-blazed trail was the best part of the trail for me.

Everything was well signposted and well blazed. We had no problems finding the trail at any point. A bonus is that we had the trail nearly to ourselves on a summer Sunday. In a seven-hour day of walking and photography, we encountered perhaps 8 other people. There were fresh horse tracks on the Meneka Peak Trail and on the Tuscarora, so keep an eye out for equestrians. We also encountered a lone mountain biker on the Tuscarora.

Bear sign was everywhere and the blueberry crop is heavy this year. We feasted on blueberries and black raspberries as I am sure the bears are as well. We scared one poor bear when we popped around the corner to find him ambling down the trail towards us. He hightailed it for the underbrush.

A lot of reviews make note of the rocks and from the tone, I thought it would be something akin to walking barefoot on dragonglass shards. Not so. Yes, the trail is rocky in parts and yes, my feet were done with rocks by the time we returned. But the big rocks were easy enough to negotiate. It was the sections full of small rocks that were the worst because we couldn't bounce from rock to rock. Still, it's nothing to freak about. Sure it's rocky but a good pair of shoes will get you through. Don't let the rocks deter you from a wonderful walk.

There is nothing tough about the trail really. The ascents are for the most part long and gentle the descents ditto. Yet, if you are not in shape, you would be advised to hike something easier. This isn't a route for beginners. The Knob is about five miles in and at that point you have no choice but to walk the five miles back.

All in all, a very enjoyable day in the woods.

By: Grey-Beard Jim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Hiked from the parking lot counter clockwise to the Signal Knob overlook and then back along the ridge trail via Meneka Peak to the Tuscarora Trail. Great weather. Approximately 5 hours. Good hike. Better in the Winter when you can see more.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 30, 2016
Vigorous hike up the mountain.  It was Memorial Day but there was plenty of parking and the lot was well signed.  If you don't have a map, take a long look at the map at the start of the trail.  The first part of the trip rounded the side of the mountain.  The white oaks, pines, sassafras and blooming mountain laurel was beautiful. Further up the trail was extremely rocky.  The path itself consisted of medium size pieces of granite (that are probably slippery when the leaves fall).  You'll want to have real hiking boots that support your ankles.  The views of both Fort Valley and the Shenandoah Valley were beautiful.  The TV transmission tower at the top near Signal Knob was a noisy surprise. Take plenty of water.

By: CStepp80 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 3, 2016
Arrived at the parking lot just before 1:30pm Sunday, April 3. The forecast was calling for wind, so I planned the trip in hope to dodge the wind as it died down late in the afternoon.

My route was the Orange Blazed Massanutten Trail up to Buzzard Rocks, and onward to Signal Knob, back to the Meneka Peak Trail, and finally taking the Tuscarora Trail to the parking lot. My GPS measured 11.05 miles this route and it took me 5.5 hours (including breaks) with a total elevation gain of 2,035ft. Word of caution, it is extremely rocky this way – I highly recommend boots. It is a solid 1 mile of navigating rocks from just before Buzzard Rocks all the way to the Shenandoah Valley Overlook, as if you’re walking on an old creek bed. Second word of caution – beware of snakes sunbathing on the rocks, especially in the afternoon on these sunny spring days. I saw quite a few on my hike. I hiked Old Rag last week and I thought this trail was much more difficult, mainly because my feet were done in from the rocks on the way up- I did not expect it to be that rocky. The views from Signal Knob were very nice and clear and I met a few trailblazers at the top working the trails. I only passed 10 people the entire length of the trail and had the overlook to myself for 30 minutes, so you will definitely not hit many crowds on this trail. I would recommend taking the reverse way to avoid the rocks - Massanutten South, to Tuscarora, to Meneka Peak, to Signal Knob, and back- it will end up being about a 12 mile round trip hike that way, same elevation gain, although more gradual.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 13, 2016
Leaves were still down so we got some decent views before the rains came down on us. Socked in from then on . Lots of excellent camping spots up top (bring water.) Beautiful down in the bottom area. You can take the cutoff trail if you want to avoid climbing back up Meneka Peak. It is a well maintained trail but rocky. Enjoy.

By: GGinDC Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 8, 2015
Started about 7am. Very quiet, I only saw about 8 other people the whole hike. The way up was good, a lot of fallen leaves making some of the rocks more slippery then they normally would be. Good views and saw a few deer. On the way down from the knob, the road was a little wet, but nothing too bad. The last up and down was fine, but leaves made staying on the trail a little difficult. I had a good time on this hike, but would probably stay away in the future because my ankles didn't do too well with so many small rocks. Luckily I had my trekking poles, but another guy fell and twisted his ankle on a rock. Overall nice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 13, 2015
I actually really liked this hike, there was something about the trails that was very peaceful and enjoyable (although I would definitely recommend backtracking along the Massanutten trail to Meneka Peak and hiking along that's much more scenic).  We hardly saw anyone the whole day, and the weather was perfect, nice and cool.  Being from the Northeast, I actually liked the rocky trail.  It makes it interesting (when I hike, this trail is what I expect to encounter!).  The viewpoint at Signal Knob was cool, but a bit disappointing that you could hear the traffic below.

Overall, I would do this one again, but only when the leaves are down so I could get some better views up on Meneka Peak.

By: John D Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 6, 2015
Waste of a hike. It was nearly all rocks, and the views were completely forgettable. Also, my GPS had nearly 11 miles, not 9.9.

By: jd Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 29, 2015
Did an overnight with 4 children age 5-12. Was good hike overall not alot of scenery to look at. Would probably be a better fall hike. Very rocky. . All streams were dried up so no place to refill water. Overlooks were grown up so the views were a bit limited. Second ascent was steep but rewarding when we got to the top. Really had to push ourselves.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 8, 2015
Such many rocks. Wow.

By: the wandering fools Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 18, 2015
out for an early morning hike before the heat wave rolled in. this has been on our list for awhile but the less than stellar reviews pushed it to the bottom of the list. we got to the trail head around 7am just as the rain started to fall. the first few miles were uneventful. the coolest part was the random stone cabin that you encounter within the first mile. the first push uphill is pretty easy. there are a few views that can be seen between the trees but nothing spectacular. we arrived at the transmission tower. what a weird place for a radio broadcasting building. there is an ok view to be had from the back side of the building but it is obstructed by wires. signal knob is about a 1/4 mile from the tower. i was definitely disappointed by the overlook. maybe i have been spoiled by some incredible overlooks this year...this one wasn't even in the top 5. this marks the halfway point of the circuit. the next 5 miles is boring and includes a tough ascent that gives you no reward once you reach the top.

i am glad we did this hike but it will most likely not be on the repeat list unless we are looking for a fun overnight trip. there were some decent campsites scattered throughout.

ps - it is blueberry season! this was the best part of the hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The blueberries are ripe - watch out for bears!

I was hiking alone up to buzzard overlook around noon, clapping and calling out "hey bear!" every so often. I was 3/4 of the way to the overlook, when out of nowhere, I heard thumping foot steps and a loud crashing coming toward me in the steep bank of rhododendrons above and behind me - it stopped within about 10 -12 feet. I never saw the bear through the brush but I'm certain that's what it was.

It could be that I just happened to be there as it was barreling down the steep bank. But it seemed more like it was watching me, didn't like me there and was charging me on purpose. Either way it definitely scared me!

I stood tall and faced it and yelled at it, waving my arms. There was another, quieter rustle. Then I backed away, picked up a rock, yelled at it and waived my arms some more. I continued up the path and scolded it some more as I left.

I waited 30 minutes at the overlook before venturing back down, banging rocks and singing out loud along the way. There was a nice long scat on the path halfway down the mountain that wasn't there before, and that was the last sign I saw of the bear.

I honestly can't remember what I was doing the exact moment it charged, but there were several things that could have provoked it: 1. I was moving slowly through the area - paused a lot to catch my breath, take in the view and yes, pick blueberries, even crouching down to get the low ones! 2. The bank was steep, the path was narrow, and there was no "polite way" for a bear to pass around me unnoticed. 3. I was using a stick to swat at horse flies - making a swishing sound 4. I had an apple in my backpack.

Moral of the story - go with a friend, smell proof your food, keep moving with no sudden movements and don't eat the bear's blueberries! Or wait a few weeks until blueberry season is over!

By: Steve F. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 28, 2015
Great views for modest effort. Be sure to continue past the transmitter, following the orange blazes to the nice overlook. Nice time I will hike back to the white-blazed Meneka Peak Trail and take that to the blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail, rather than go down the gravel road and then hike back up to Meneka Peak.

By: Mike G Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 7, 2015
The final section of the hike (past Mile 9.3, returning to the parking lot) on the orange-blazed Massanutten Trail is in the process of being rebuilt/diverted. The existing trail goes straight down a short, fairly steep slope that has experienced significant erosion. A new trail with multiple switchbacks is in the process of being cleared, so for the moment there are two trails criss-crossing each other on the way back to the parking lot. Presumably at some point the old trail will be blocked off and the new switchback trail will take over.

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 6, 2015
My wife and I hiked this several times before but always turned back at the TV tower. This time we did the whole loop from orange to blue trails crossing over a small creek. Part of the trail was pretty wet as the previous week was pretty wet. This is one of our favorite hikes for the difficulty and elevation gain and close proximity to Montgomery County, MD. Someday we will overnight camp this one, lots of wonderful campsites. We were really crushing it getting to the overlook in two hours after stopping for lunch and another break. Could have done it in under 5 hours but I have 8 year old boots and this was their last voyage. The sole collapsed too many times on my left boot and evenutally this pressure bruised my foot pretty badly so I hobbled the last 1.5 miles. Because of this foot pain my hike became excruciatingly painful. Without this bruise I feel like we would have broke 5 hours. Very fun hike, still feeling it today! Going to try Strickler Knob next week with brand new Keen boots!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Two parts to the hike. First part follows the Orange hash marks. Gradual ascent but not very challenging. Second part follows the blue hash mark. Much better and somewhat steep in areas. As mentioned in other reviews, difficult rocky trail nearly throughout. Views at lookouts were limited because of foliage. Several good campsites. Arrived at 7:00 am and didn't see anyone for the first two hours. Saw a total of five hikers. Also saw a couple mountain bikers. Finished in 4 hrs. Overall, it was a good hike but probably wouldn't do it again due to the rocky trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 18, 2015
Started the hike at 8:00 am and did not see a single soul. This was nice for solitude but not great when you are breaking all of the cobwebs with your face! This time of day the hike was mostly shaded. My GPS clocked it at 10.26. I found the points to be mostly accurate but the pink trail was at mile 8.0 vs the 7.1 listed on the guide. Not sure if this was my GPS error or if the trail has just changed over the years. It was not an exceptionally hard trail overall but the long stretches of boulders made it technically more challenging than some other trails. Lots of flowers and wildlife to be seen today!

By: G Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Decent hike - though I think there are many better options at this mileage in this area.

The middle 2/3rd of this hike is VERY rocky. I usually ignore rocky trail warnings and comfortably hike in trail runners, but this hike really requires more support. Very draining with low-hikers.

The view is nice, though be aware it is primarily a city view. Hiking in late fall/winter/early spring provides nice views all the way up. Hike down (then up, then down) from Signal Knob is a bit tedious. Boring stretch down a gravel road that would likely be fully exposed to the sun even in summer. Final note: some guidebooks and websites suggest taking the opposite route around the circuit. I do not recommend this. It would be a long slog to the ridge, followed by a steep rocky descent, followed by a relatively steep trudge up the gravel road, followed by a descent down the rockiest portion of the trail.

By: TessaK Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 8, 2015
On this particular day, this hike would get a 1 for solitude, as i ran into more then 30 people. Most of those were a group of boy scouts training for Philmont and things quieted down once I passed them. I also found it jarring to see a transformer station and cell tower on the top. There were some nice views nearby though. There were icy stretches here and there, and the gravel road was decidedly soggy, but nothing too bad.

By: Grey-Beard Jim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 31, 2015
First time doing this hike. Really enjoyed it. Challenging, with great views enhanced by the sunshine and snow. Took about 2.5 hours to the Signal Knob going counter clockwise direction. Returned via the same route in just under 2 hours. Will go again in the Spring to see how it is then. I highly recommend this hike.

By: Amy Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 31, 2014
If you are looking for a workout or challenge, this is not the hike for you. This is more like 4 tedious hours of strolling through the woods. This is not a "hike". I'd give it a 2 on the difficulty rating, not sure who is giving it a 4 or why?! Wish I hadn't wasted my time.

By: Roscoe P. Coltrane Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 31, 2014
This is a fine hike. Great views, varied terrain, and a good amount of elevation change. Amy probably took the wrong route. :-)

By: Lisa Q Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 7, 2014
Great hike, 3rd time we've done it, each time with out dog.

By: Bryan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 29, 2014
A pretty nice hike. Not overly difficult compared to other hikes I've been on, but it does feel very long. The trek up to signal knob has some great views, and the top of the mountain was still covered in over half a foot of snow, which made the forest beautiful! Once you get to signal knob, the view is awesome. The trek coming back around from signal knob is pretty boring though. It drags on forever and there really isn't much to see the whole way back, but the views on the first half make up for it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 22, 2014
I've hiked all over Virginia, and this trail remains one of my favorites.  I led a group from Central Virginia Trailblazers last Saturday.  The bear trees allowed for great views but tricky hiking, as many of the rocks were hidden under the fallen leaves.  No bear sightings and only a few hikers on the trail the entire day.

By: MattD Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2014
I did this as a training hike with a goal of 4 hours, but it took 4.5. The parking lot was full, but only saw 3-4 people all day, and a couple of bikers. It's a good day hike. I'm not a fan of the rocky terrain up to Signal Knob, so be sure to have good ankle support. After you come down the fire road and turn left onto Bear Wallow Trail (about m5.5), it turns up hill for about a mile, which was tough. After getting to the peak, and turned down hill it was a nice steady decent. The map is good, but my GPS clocked this at more like 10.5.

By: Zelma Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Took us 5 hours to complete this hike, plus about 20 minutes of stop at Signal Knob overlook. The hike was pretty intense and the ground only gets flat at about the last 2 or 3 miles. This flat surface is very much helpful as by that time we were so exhausted and just wanted to get to the parking lot and rest. Overall this is a difficult trail, total distance according to my gps is 10.17 miles from parking and back.

Tips: hiking shoes with good ankle support is a must as the trail is rocky. Wear long legging/pants, as the trail is covered with bush at several points. My long pants got scratches here and there. Our car is the only car parked but this is Thursday, not sure how the situation is on weekend. PS: we did not encounter any bear. But lots of bugs.

By: peter Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I hike portions of this hike often, usually a couple of times a week.The main reason why I'm posting is to make you aware of a bear that is hanging out about 1/4-1/2 mile into the hike. Ive seen him 3 times over the last few weeks. He is usually by the house that is never used. He seems to get spooked by people and he frequently runs full speed across the trail down to the creek. The problem is he doest run further than that. He stays just out of sight. I just thought you should be aware because his behavior is a little unusual.

By: DCA Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 22, 2014
Arrived early in the morning (Drove from DC) around 8-8:30 and there were only two other cars in the parking lot.  It was foggy/ misting for the first hour or two but cleared up very nice right before reaching Signal Knob.  Generally speaking it is a pretty rocky hike, had one person with the group that wore sneakers and they began to complain about the rocks about 3/4 of the way through so boots are strongly suggested.  It rained the night before and just a little that morning so not only were the rocks wet there were multiple places where a little water was running down the trail so i'd recommend proper footwear if it is wet out as well.  The climbs weren't extreme although the second one was a slight challenge, I would say that I am in good shape.  Ran into less than 10 people on the trail in total so that was nice, three were on horseback and one on a bicycle.  I will say that when we got back to the parking lot around mid day there were many bikers setting up to head out to the trails so this may be an area that gets busy with bikes later in the day.

All in all a good hike with some slightly challenging climbs, rocky for sure so proper footwear is reccomended. Enjoy!

By: Bernard in Virginia Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Nice hike, challenging terrain, great views especially on the first leg up to Signal Knob. The hike up the Tuscarora Trail is brutal -- recommend a break or two going up. Also, there appears to be a new campsite (cleared area with a fire ring) just past the stream on the southern portion of the hike, a few miles before the parking area. Nice to have an established camping option on the way in from the hike. I recommend this one.

By: Tim Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 23, 2014
This is a nice hike. It is getting very busy though. On my last trip some people had set up a tent in the trail and a hammock strung up across the trail near the Buzzard Rock Overlook. Also a new development is I brought a lot of ticks and fleas home with me. I might do this one again during the off season but it's pretty much off the list of my last minute unplanned hikes

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 3, 2014
OK, we now have a mystery to solve regarding this hike. At the knob, there is a plaque that reads: "Mountain Serenity: Hubert and Claudia enjoyed it together many hundred times." It's hard to find _ mostly hidden under the edge of a rock if you start down the cliff of the main overlook. It's a formal plaque that has been cemented into the ground. Anyone know what it means? Who are Hubert and Claudia? By the way, it's a great hike. Always enjoy it. Weather was perfect this weekend. Great views of the Shenandoah Valley.

By: Mike & Linda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 12, 2014
We kiked Signal Knob on Saturday April 12.    Great weather.  Great hike! 

The trail up to the Knob is a steady incline, fairly rocky in places.  No leg burning climbs, though.  Sturdy shoes or boots are recommended.  We backtracked on the trail from Signal Knob to the Meneka Peak trail (white blaze) and took this over to the Tuscarora Trail, and back to the parking lot.  My pedometer said 10.3 miles for this route.  There are some nice views on Meneka Peak, as well.  The trees had few leaves, so there were  many places where we could see a long way.  Nice!

By: Jae Kim Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 22, 2014
It was a great trail for our groups as named "WDC Hiking Club. It was so beautiful day and fresh air.

By: Herb Wilburn Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 4, 2014
I took a different tack on this hike, I do the Signal Knob/Bear Wallow route many times each year. This time I started up past Buzzard Rock to the Meneka Peak trail split. I went left up and over Meneka Peak (my favorite spot on the mountain) turning back on the Tuscarora Trail toward Signal Knob. Up the Service Road, out to Signal Knob for a look, then back on the yellow/orange line home via Buzzard Rock. I never enjoy the Bear Wallow portion of the suggested route, so I thought this might be better. The rocky trail beats you up a bit, but it's not as boring as the Bear Wallow trek.

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Appropriate New Year's Day hike I think...First Massanutten outpost...Iconic historical place... good hike... Challenging because of the rocky trails and the distance. Signal Knob itself would not be a 5 for views...the entire hike is a 5 for views. Especially in leaveless wintertime. Ran into a few people but plenty of solitude.

By: Matt Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I hiked the loop counter-clockwise. I wasn't in top shape so it was very tough. The first half of the hike was challenging but comfortable. I camped by the reservoir, which was apparently a very popular camping spot. I had a tiny campsite by the water. Very pretty, and I highly recommend checking it out. The next morning, I hiked up the F/S road to the peak. The peak was gorgeous. The views on this hike really are amazing. The rest of the hike was b r u t a l. I swear there was no point where I wasn't either going up hill, rock hopping, or both. By the end of the hike I could barely walk!

Overall, great hike. Super challenging but very rewarding. It was very crowded, but keep in mind that this is a trail that is easily accessible from the metro area and this was a beautiful Saturday in mid fall. Doesn't get much sweeter than that!

By: Ellen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 16, 2013
No way is this a four in difficulty. This was our first time on this hike. We are experienced and in pretty good shape, ages 47 and 58. We went counter-clockwise (going up the orange-blazed trail). It was a very gradual ascent. The only challenge was dry slippery leaves and tricky footing on the rocks - and there are LOTS of rocks. Coming back down on the blue-blazed trail was much less rocky and it is a gradual descent on switchbacks. Actually kind of boring. It is pretty enough, even at this time of year, and there are some good views from the ridges, but overall, I'd say it was maybe a three and then only because of the tricky footing and the distance.

By: Serge Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 11, 2013
This is an amazing hike to take in the autumn, perhaps the best time is mid-october to mid-november.
Leafs have fallen enough on the higher parts of the trail so you could see far, far away throughout the entire trail, and trees are still covered down below so there is something colorful all the way to the bottom. One of the best autumn hikes in the area.

By: Nick C. Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 18, 2013
This was a nice hike with a few disappointments.  We hiked this on a Friday, and we only saw one other person, so it was quite nice as far as solitude.  There are a number of good views that overlook the surrounding ridges as you ascend the Signal Knob trail.  One of them has a cool old tree with a trunk split into 3 in such a way as to form a perfect seat.  At Signal Knob itself, the view is of Strasburg personally I much preferred the views of nature on the ascent.  The hike down from Signal Knob is on an access road, so it's not all that interesting.  You don't see too much for the rest of the hike, though you will get a few more limited views as you cross the ridge on the Tuscarora trail.  We were surprised by the number of sections of trail with fields of small to medium sized rocks.  Crossing these is definitely a workout for your ankles, a pain for your feet, and keeps you looking down rather than at your surroundings.  We were just doing a day hike, but there appeared to be a number of well-used campsites (where people had built fire rings) along the way.  Some were practically on the trail while others were a bit more secluded.

We were hoping to see some good fall color but found that things were greener at the bottom and browner at the top without much color between.  I think this was due to the windy and raining weather in the previous week.  We were also hoping to see some wildlife, but we only saw turkey vultures and squirrels the whole time (not even deer).  I can't explain that, and I don't know if it's typical.  Overall, though, this hike has a lot of views and gives you a decent workout without being overly strenuous, so it's worth checking out.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 7, 2013
Did the clockwise hike and camped at the reservoir. Awesome weather and great views. First time having done this hike and packing for overnighter I would definitely recommend starting blue trail (clockwise) and doing day 2 on orange and seeing signal knob. Seen a black phase (i think) timber rattler coming up blue trail just before summit and intersection with white trail in the boulder field eating a frog. Many great places to camp. If coming regular route counter clockwise bring plenty of water as not much available until you decend from Signal Knob. Definitely not a stroll in the park but manageable. The reservoir is worth the extra .4 mile, especially in the warmer months.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 26, 2013

Have done this one three times now and really enjoy it.   On this last trip, some of the views were obscured by the follage and I think I must of walked through about 100 spider webs in the two days hiking there.   I did extend the trip a little and went down the Massanuten trail just to scout it out a bit.   I also discovered a very nice water source on the return, where I came back up FR66 to the Signal Knob tower access road.  Right by the road block is a cold spring.  This was very convienent as it was so hot, I was running low on water (started with 3.5 liters).   Anyway, there are a multitude of camping spots, beyond the two marked on the attached map so don't be nervous about going a little farther to find a spot.  There was also an abundance of wildlife spotted this trip.   For what it's worth, also bear and coyote scat spotted, but pretty common in this area.

By: Wiley and Beth Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 3, 2013
We had started this hike in January of 2011 when winter camping at Elizabeth Furnance. We ran into treacherous ice before the summit. This time we hiked through with a few rain showers, that's all. It is a rather rocky trail most of the time and sturdy boots were a plus. Blazes were clearly visible and the trail was clear of natural and manmade debris. Not many hikers and no bears. We made it in the average time of 5.5 hours. Missed seeing some of the flora and fauna due to watching our footing on the trail. It was a good hike but not on our "favorites" list

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 15, 2013
My youngest son and I hiked this today for my birthday. It was a bit more strenuous than I expected. I feel like we went UP a lot more than DOWN-and definitely felt like we rarely walked on flat trail- but that may be the result of not being conditioned for the terrain lots of rocks. As a matter of fact, I commented several times that it felt like the trails were dried up rocky creek beds. But, in case you think I"m complaining, I LOVED IT! Even though I'm a short distance runner, I used muscles today that I didn't know I had! My son is a Marine, so no problem for him. I got a great workout! Brought my dog - he loved it but was tired and his paws are hurting him. I didn't think about getting him booties but may invest because I want to try some of the others in the area. I read the previous posts about seeing bears and just as I was getting a bit disappointed in not seeing a bear - BEAR ENCOUNTER! Right before we reached the radio tower. Didn't expect to get so close to one. Really got my adrenaline going. They are BIG. There are lots of berry bushes around so it's no wonder they're out and about. I would love to do this one again in the fall. It is difficult to see beyond the heavy cover so the fall may offer more scenic views. Great hike for someone who wants to come out from DC Metro area didn't take too long to get here. Completed it in just around 5 hours. I had a wonderful day.

By: Doug Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 6, 2013
Bring your swimsuit in the summer. Hike down .5 miles to the Strasburg Reservoir on the orange marked trail for a nice refreshing swim. Many locals swim there and the water seems very clean. You can also take the ladder up the spillway tower and have a nice 10 to 12 foot jump into the water. Very fun. The locals told us to be sure to jump in from the left side of the tower (when facing the dam) where it is deepest. Apparently there are some under water pipes on the other side.

By: Jeff & Rita Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 5, 2013
This was a really nice hike even in steamy, 92-degree heat and humidity as most of the trail is under light-to-moderate canopy. On the way to the Knob we noticed a lot of fresh bear scat and overturned rocks where the bears must have been looking for grubs or other food. Perhaps not so coincidentally, that section of the trail also had a lot of wild blueberry bushes! There are some decent views along the way, but in the summer you need to keep an eye out because of leaf cover. Before the junction at Meneka Peak, for example, the view of the Knob is as picturesque as the view of the valley from the Knob itself but is easy to miss. In fact, it is from this vantage point that it becomes obvious why the Confederate Army chose this particular ridgeline for a lookout during the Civil War. The short but strenuous climb from Passage Creek back up to the Meneka Peak trail also gives impressive views but can be easily missed if you&rsquore just focused on pushing through the ascent. If you are a first-time hiker, make sure to wear good foot gear as the entire 10.5 mile trail is unceasingly rocky. Otherwise, enjoy!

By: M Shoemaker Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 4, 2013
My daughter and I hiked on July 4th and ran into a black bear about 3 miles up on the trail. Luckily we weren't talking at the time when my daughter spotted the bear about 3 feet ahead of her. She quickly turned around and we slowly walked away. A beautiful hike, but we really weren't expecting to run into a black bear. A wonderful but scary experience. Enjoy!!!

By: BD Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 6, 2013
This was a really great hike but tough! A lot of it is rocky so its tough on your feet...wear good shoes! We did the hike counter-clockwise, started around 10:30am, finished 5:00pm. Passed a few great campsites between the parking lot and the transmission tower. On the descent on the blue trail (somewhere between the service road and the end of the hike) we came across a bear. We didn't notice him until we were about 30-40 yards away, but he was minding his own. Eventually he started to wander off, but we then back tracked 20-30 minutes or so since we knew other hikers were behind us and we could join them temporarily so we could proceed past where we saw the bear. We then turned around again and continued the hike and didn't see the bear again. Recommendaton: keep going on the blue trail and eventually you'll find the orange trail again which will take you back to the parking lot. We thought we had missed the intersection of the blue with the orange for the final leg of the hike, but we were just tired from the bear encounter and wanted to just call it a day! I really recommend this hike, but it is medium-hard difficulty with lots of rocks, not many streams, great views, and only came across a few other hikers and a boy scout group.

By: Don A Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 30, 2013
My 4th time doing this circuit, but the last time was 20 years ago. I was planning to go to Shenandoah NP but heard about all the snow still there above 2000 ft. So Signal Knob was a great plan b and at 2300 ft or so there was just a little snow on the north facing part of the ridge. Views were really great without leaves on the trees, surprisingly along the Maneka Peak trail where you could see the blue ridge mountains way out to the east. Yes, I took the shortcut rather than adding the second ascent. I really like the first 3 miles or so of this hike. Its really rocky and just so different and one of my favorite trails. Definately better in the winter/early spring with the continuous views. None of it is real steep, but its still quite a workout from walking on rocks all day You'll feel it more in your feet and ankles than your thighs! I took 6 hours but spent a good 45 minutes at Signal Knob eating lunch. Hurry and do it before the leaves get here.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Personally, I liked this hike very much.  It's fairly short, the trails were clearly marked and maintained well, the views were decent all along the ridgelines, fellow hikers courteous (and there were a lot of them), etc...  Parking was sparse, but I think there was an organized event taking place on the weekend we went.   We had the luxury of utilizing one of the tent sites up on the ridge which (depending on which one you get, it would seriously impact the rating here).   Luckily, it was mid March with some wintery weather in the forecast so we had our option of any/all of them.  Some of the designated camp spots are literally right on the trail.   I never understand this as it makes fellow hikers feel like they are invading someone's privacy by walking through someone's camp and the overnighters, many of whom are there to get away from civilization for the weekend, may not want all the visitors.  Finally, like others have mentioned, there are some loose rock scrambles on the upper portions of this trail.   Stiff soles and ankle support would be wise.   In closing, despite the critique concerning the camping, the hike IMHO was fantastic!   I will certainly be back and do this one again.  I really enjoyed it and recommend it, even for the beginners or less athletic hikers.

By: Chill hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 18, 2012
I left Arlington at 6 this morning, and was on the trail at 7:40. Started out the hike in the lower 30s, up at the knob it was substantially colder. Saw two campsites, 3 mountain bikers, and 3 on horses.

Good hike, very rocky but great views this time of year. Leaves make the rocks a bit slick, but manageable. At the summit we chilled for 30 minutes and made coffees, still finished by 1230.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2012
This is my favorite hike in the Shenandoah Valley - period. I've done it countless times. It's a great workout with a 270 degree panoramic view at the top of the valley and river below. Like many have said, this trail is extremely rocky so you need to wear shoes with good ankle support. The only time I did this hike in tennis shoes, I sprained my ankle on the way down. Lesson learned the hard way. In the winter time, I like to do this hike at night. If you get started at around 7 PM, you can make it up and back before midnight and spend a good hour at the top. It's well worth the effort.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2012
This was a great hike for the first three hours, but only a good hike for the last two. Beautiful weather and a crisp cool breeze made the first several hours of the hike go by fairly quickly. Signal Knob has a gorgeous view of Strasburg and the intersections of Interstates 81 and 66. The panorama was definitely worth the long hike up and back.

The last couple of hours of the hike were a bit of a bear. Nearly every inch of the trail is covered in rocks. While it isn't a problem for the first half, we definitely started to feel it in the second half. And although the the ascent in the first half of the trail was fairly gradual, the ascent on the second portion of the hike (after coming down from Signal Knob) was tiring. By the end of the hike, if you're not wearing supportive shoes you will feel the rocks with every step.

Having said that it's hard to beat the views from Signal Knob!

By: John M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 15, 2012
I liked this hike, but was expecting more in the way of mountain views. I thought this hike was relatively easy, in that it was a gradual uphill hike and there really were not any steep parts.

No rock scramble on this hike (which I enjoy) but it was a pleasant enjoyable. If someone was looking to run/job a trail, this would be a good candidate.

It think the views might be excellent if I tried the hike a month later when there would be less leaves on the trees. With much of the trail being along the side of a steep mountain it seemed that I would have had an excellent view with a few less leaves.

Either way the hike was very relaxing and enjoyable. I saw less than 10 others when hiking.

I also saw a medium sized black bear when near the end of the hike. He was walking the trail in my direction and we stopped and stared at each other until I reached in my back-pack and he took off into the woods to view me from some bushes as I walked by. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 15, 2012
We hiked this on a Saturday and it was not crowded at all. We encountered 5 other people the whole hike. The parking lot was about 3/4 full, but we did not see that many people on the trail. We were surprised that the "view" was of a cookie cutter housing development in the valley (didn't really feel like you were "out there" that much). The trail is well blazed and the directions are clear, you won't get lost on this one. Would highly recommend. We had a much better time at Signal Knob than at Fridley Gap the next day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 4, 2012
Hiked with my 3 kids (16/15/12) on a really hot day was tough to take the sun exposure on a really dry day nearing 100. Solitude was good though! Until we saw the bear up near the signal tower, that was exciting. A pretty strenuous hike when you're carrying a 30# pack, so got a good workout. The kids wore sneakers, two were okay and the third had sore feet and ankles, so boots are probably much wiser. Second time for this hike preferred the cooler temps on Memorial Day 2011, but it is great scenery regardless of time of year, I think.

By: J.N. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 16, 2012
It's a good hike but be prepared for a lot of work. It does offer great views but the trail is very rocky.  The 0.7 up is nothing but loose rocks just begging to trip you up.  Wear proper boots! None of the hike is terribly steep and most of the path is in the lovely shade.  We went in just before the blueberry bushes have started busting.  If you're there in July make sure you bring some tupperware to bring them home!

By: Charles Johnstone Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 12, 2012
Did a backpacking trip from the lower parking lot to Signal Knob down to the Strasburg Reservoir to camp for the night. On the way out, we packed over Green Mountain on the Tuscarora trail back to the parking lot. The weather was beautiful and we saw few hikers along the way. Maybe it was because they were holding a race on part of the trail (away from where we were at the time). Overnight at the camp ground, we saw a small group of backpackers and a large family type gathering (complete with a running stroller and a red wagon used as gear haulers). The trail appeared to be well maintained and we had no issues. The climb over Green Mountain was a grind, but not so much so as the long descent. With full packs, this was a long leg-burner.

Overall, a great weekend and a beautiful area!

By: Peter Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Hiked to the second overlook today. Parts of it were beautiful because the bushes were blooming. Upon arriving at the second overlook I had to turn around because there were FOUR bears (mom and cubs) only about 20 yards off of the trail. I hike this hike alot and this was the first time I had ever come across bears on this trail...

By: PeteandhisdogJordie Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 10, 2012
Wow. All I can say is what a difference between a weekday and a weekend with this hike. Almost every day during the week I hike to the second overlook (and further, if there is time) after work. I am literally by myself, and the solitude is pretty close to a 5. (occasionally someone is there) BUT apparently on the weekends it's a glorified, (and yes, I mean glorified), 1. I arrived at about 8:30 AM to find the parking lot completely full, (which is quite large) save for about two spots. There was a tent set up on the far side. I started out walking behind a caravan of about 10 hikers, but thankfully they let me go ahead, and I continued up the hike. I didn't go a 1/2 mile at any portion of this hike without running into at least one person. The reason why the tent was set up is that there appears to be a trail running group that comes there on Saturdays. I think they run the trail in reverse, and after passing Signal Knob they run the mile and then turn at the Meneka Peak trail (I took the extra 1/2 mile to go see what was at Meneka peak, don't bother, there isn't a view there) and thats where everyone was headed. All in all it was still a very nice hike on a beautiful day, with everyone being very friendly and seeming to like Jordie. The only trouble that I had the whole time was with a woman who was sitting on a log and had two dogs that were not socialized well either to animals or to humans. Probably not the best idea to bring them on a trail that at times is packed with runners and hikers and is very narrow at times....

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 26, 2012
Perfect weather and perfect time of year to hike this with the leaves down yielding some nice views.  Apparently everybody and their mother also picked today to hike it too.  We had a two or three groups of 4 people, one group of 10, a group of 30+, and some single hikers as well.  Way too much traffic for my liking as I love the solitude and that's why I tend to hike more when it's colder out.

I really enjoy the first section of hike along the creek as I find the noise relaxing.  The two overlooks have great views for a minimal amount of effort before you turn in to cross over the ridge and head to the back-side starting toward the tower.  There is lots of smaller rock (bowling ball and larger) that you need to navigate so be careful and hike with ankle support if you can.  Trekking poles help save the knees and keep your balance too.  This hike always gets old after I summit and am headed back down and takes me slightly longer than I would want it to but I love the views from the first two look-outs.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, January 12, 2012
I've restarted hiking Signal Knob every day after work. It's a great starter hike because of the gradualness of the incline. If you want to avoid bikers, come during the week. I've been up on the mountain by myself with my dog basically every time I've gone for the last two weeks. The only thing I don't like about it are the rock outcroppings. Some of them are not secure and care is required at times. The views are much better during this time of year than in the spring or summer. B1gazn if you liked Signal Knob other hikes fairly nearby that are good as well are Buzzard Rock, Overall Run, Big Schloss (1/2 hour away), Tibbett Knob (1/2 hour away), and Overall Run (1/2 hour away)

By: b1gazn Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 7, 2012
This is my first time ever hiking and I loved the experience. The weather was beautiful and there wasn't that many people out. My hound dog loved the trail and the random hunting dogs that accompied us along our hike.

The only issue I had with the trail was that we shared the trails with mountain bikers. I love mountain biking myself and I know how annoying we can be but some of those switchbacks were hard to navigate when you have people flying down the trails. Most of the trails are singletrack so it felt like we were literally pushed aside on the trail.

By: Rachel H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 10, 2011
Hiked this clockwise instead of counterclockwise and detoured across the Meneka Peak trail, having no particular desire for a second big climb, especially with such a nice ridgetop trail available. On this cold but clear Saturday we saw few other hikers (except for a few groups of dayhikers coming up from the carpark around 2 pm, which we thought was cutting it close with the waning daylight) but plenty of perfect campsites for overnighters, and we enjoyed both the solitude and the great views that the bare trees allowed. I don't know that I'd need to hike this trail again, though, since the final 3 miles of trail were on toe-smashing, ankle-twisting rocky terrain that's probably better coming up than going down.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2011
Brilliant hike.  I would not say this a "4" in difficulty, more a "3.5".  The longer distance makes the altitude changes seem less strenuous.  We had a clear day with 50 degree weather.  The trail was dry.  Most of the leaves had fallen.  So there were plenty of good views.  The leaves on the ground, while pleasant, can make the surface unpredictable.  I do recommend taking the spur to the pond where the orange trail meets the blue one along the upper ridge.  This a natural tranquil setting for a lunch or break and it is not windy there.  With the spur, our hiking distance extended to nearly 12 miles.  BTW, the microwave tower is NOT the Signal Knob overlook.  Walk a few steps further to find the overlook.

By: Peter Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 23, 2011
Really pleasant hike with the fall colors at their peak for most of the trail (at the very top, above 2000 feet, they were probably just past peak). The views from the lookout rocks are good and well worth the climb, though they aren't the best in the area. Overall, would thoroughly recommend it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2011
This was a spectacular trail. The orange blazed trail up is just gorgeous. Views from the Signal Knob Overlook are sweeping and you can see quite a bit of the surrounding area... which is why it's a good place for that giant transmission tower with its ominous DANGER RADIATION AREA signs... Don't worry though, there's no danger on the ground next to the tower. I actually hiked a bit further on this trail than I meant to on the return leg, as I missed the blue blazed turnoff and continued on until I hit the reservoir, which was quite pretty, but backtracking is never fun. The second short ascent to get over the ridge was tougher than the initial climb up just because I was already tired. I affirm the advice to wear sturdy hiking boots on this trail with good ankle support. Lots of little rocks that like to scoot out from under your feet when you step on them, and especially dangerous now with leaves covering them up. The return trip is a nice walk through the woods and was quite pleasant after the initial uphill portion. It's getting a bit colder now so be sure to bring a fleece or something to put on when you're standing still or taking a break. It's warm enough while you're moving but got chilly at the higher elevations when stopped.

By: Daryl Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 8, 2011
Great hike with incredible views!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 2, 2011 I joined the Fredericksburg Meet up for a gorgeous fall hike.  The colors are wonderful.  Get out before they are gone.

By: Wilson Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 10, 2011
Several downed trees laying across trail probably due to the recent tropical storms.  One tree in particular was huge, so big that I ended up finding a way around rather than attempting to go over it.  The detours have been taken down, the damage from the wildfires can be seen in the last mile back to the parking lot.  A very rocky trail, wear good boots.

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 20, 2011
Did this hike with a friend yesterday. We originally intended this to be an overnight where we'd camp on the backside around mile 7 or 8. Unfortunately, all of the creeks beds were pretty dry and despite carrying 3.5-4 liters of water each we just didn't think we'd have enough water to be comfortable through the following morning, so we ended up turning it into a day hike. As others have noted this hike is extremely rocky and I'd recommend boots or ankle high hiking shoes. I normally hike in trail runners, but after reading other reviews opted for boots and was glad I did. The view from the Signal Knob overlook was fantastic. Only ran into about 5 other people on the trail. There is still a detour in place on the backside due to some recent wildfires.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 13, 2011
I did this hike last May, and again today. Part of the trail today was blocked off by the Forest service for Wildlife reasons. Which is a few miles from the parking area. So you will end up on a detour that takes you down a FS road, and the paved HW. Walking down the Highway for about a mile is sketchy. The detour added 1 mile to the hike. Minus todays detour, it's a nice hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 24, 2011
Hiked this as a 2-night backpack with my sister and the dog. Between the three of us, we have three bad knees, and were carrying backpacks, so we took our time. Friday night we climbed up to the ridge before the Meneka peak trail. Found a nice campsite well off the trail right at the point where the trail turns north on the ridgeline. There are 3 campsites together here, and we took the one fartherest from the trail (out of sight). We started out around 2pm, and arrived at our campsite around 5pm. We only saw two dayhikers on Friday. We hung the bear bag for the night and were out by 8pm. In a nutshell, the trail was up, up, up and rocky, rocky, rocky, rocky! But the views were awesome! On Saturday, our goal was to hike all the way to a campsite on the Tuscarora trail that we used last year just past the intersection of the pink trail (aka Rattlesnake Trail). We packed up, retrieved our bear bag (un-molested), ate breakfast and headed out around 8:30am. We reached Signal Knob around 11am (like I said, bad knees). The view is mostly civilization and not wilderness, but it was great to check good ole' SK off our "to-do" list! The fire road down to the Tuscarora trail is VERY steep at first, then it levels off a little. Our feet & knees were complaining about the constant downhill! We had lunch & re-stocked our water supply via filter at Little Passage Creek. We expected day hikers to catch up to us anytime, but only two guys came by when we were at the creek. Then we started the .7 mile climb back up Green Mtn/Meneka Peak ridge. What a workout!! Then the downhill to find our campsite just beyond the pink trail. The feet were NOT happy about more downhill! There is a spring that is still running towards the upper end of the Tuscarora trail about .5 miles down from the ridge. The trail is wet there, and the spring can be accessed via a hole in the ground (literally) on the right side of the trail. It's at the first "dip" in the terrain after the ridge. I wish we had known before we carried all that water up the mountain from Little Passage Creek! The Tuscarora trail is rocky, but gets better as you hike down. On the way, we saw a blacksnake and a box turtle. We arrived at our campsite just past the pink trail around 2pm. We set up camp, had an early dinner, hung the bear bag and then called it a day by 5pm. We could hear all the day-hikers going past up until around 7pm. Guess they were behind us all along. On Sunday, we were back on the trail by 6:30am, and reached the SK parking lot by 8:00am. We had left shower bags in the car because Elizabeth Furnace has a new bath house. We drove to Bear Wallow, walked across the road to the campground, and then had the best warm shower EVER!! Worth mentioning: no bear sightings or signs of bears all weekend, Meneka Peak trail has been freshly blazed, Massanutten trail maintenance (trimming) was evident (thanks!), the dog alerted at least three times on some kind of wildlife that made us extra vigilant (although we never saw anything), and the new EF bath house is the shiznit!

By: Nick Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, April 18, 2011
I did this hike together with my two young daughters, 6 and 8 years old. They loved it, but were rather tired for the final 3 miles or so. In retrospect, I wish I had saved time and supplies for a break before the last hour to re-energize the troops.

By: PeterandhisdogJordie Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, March 21, 2011
This is the normal hike that I do daily as it is only a few minutes from where I live. I like to do this hike as  a setup for the more major hikes that I do in the summer. The gradual consistent incline is great for building stamina if you try to go fairly fast. A couple of things to note on this hike that are different from in previous years. You need to be careful on some of the larger rocks in the more extreme rocky sections. Some of them appear secure but probably due to the recent heavy rains are in fact loose. I almost went of the side of the mountain yesterday when I stepped on one and it tilted significantly. The other last thing is that everyone hiking in this area needs to get their tick repellent on. The ticks are starting to come out (earlier than last year) and I discovered one crawling up my leg yesterday.

By: Matt Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 4, 2011
Great day to be on the mountain.  I agree with comments below that good boots are a must.  Parts of the trail are quite rocky and you'll need to watch your step on them.  But the views are spectacular and the trail is very accessible.

By: Mike and Crystal Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 12, 2011
Great hike! It was a little windy and some ice on the trail but other than that it was perfect for mid February. We will definitely do this on again!

By: Pete Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
This is probably the most frequent hike that I do in the fall as it is only 20 minutes from my home in Stephens City. This hike is a great hike to do particularly in the fall but also during the winter. During the Spring and Summer this trail is very rocky and there isn't much dirt to the paths once you start going uphill. However, in the fall the fallen leaves do much to cushion your feet during the hike, and in the winter the views are extremely beautiful after it snows. (The hike is pretty easy to access even if the roads are snow covered.) Last winter I even forged through the sometimes 4+ feet of snow to the first overlook. That was tiring but a lot of one point the snow was chest deep!

One small thing to be aware of. The last couple of times I have gone on this hike I have run into hunters on the trail, carrying rifles. Make sure that you don't venture too far off of the trail as it may be risky to do so.

By: MrMush Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 23, 2010

Great Hike - Nice Views. Pretty tough footing over the rocks starting about 1/2 way up and all the way to the top.  Definitely need 64+ oz of water.  If the lot is full, there is other parking at the Eliz Furnace day use area or another lot about 1/2 mile further down the road.

I am new to hiking and this kicked my butt - but I loved it.

By: R Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 25, 2010
This is a fantastic hike!  Remember to take plenty of water with you. One 16 oz  plastic water bottle is not enough!! When hiking in the summer months, I reccomend at least 50-60 oz of water Today there was no water in the seasonal streams, so make sure you bring extra water for your pet too.  If this is your first trip to Massanutten, it is quite different than any trails in SNP. The descents are technical with loose footing and extremely steep and narrow parts of the trail.

 You will encounter various types of mosses and ferns and wonderful old growth hard woods. Make sure to seek out the Dolls Eyes in July and the many mushrooms.

I am a trail runner and these trails and tun these trails with frequency. Some of the trail ettiqute I saw today was absolutely shocking! If you are on an ascent, or stopped for lunch....PLEASE give hikers and runners on the descent the right of way. On a the descent (Tuscarora Trail, which was very techinal) a group of hikers were standing in the middle of the trail. When we came upon them, they did not even move to the side. We had to stop running and walk by them, walking off the trail. Please realize it is harder to stop on the descent and it is even more difficult when running or hiking with a pack. It is dangerous. Just want to put this out there....when asecending, please yeild  to the people on the descent. Thanks!

(pardon my spelling, i did not dl the spellcheck

By: Alex Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 18, 2010
Great hike but the claim of 1 quart of water is understated and should be corrected. On the downhill I ran into several people that were out of water. Also on the Downhill side, there were 8-10 mountain bikers in differing intervals. Downhill was much tougher then uphill. Lots of rocks on this hike, good hiking boots are a must. Great photos from the overlooks.

By: Larry Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 6, 2010
Although the parking lot was fairly full, we encountered very few people on the entire circuit.  We really enjoyed the whole hike, but I would emphasize that good boots (and hiking poles are helpful, too) are important for the first leg of the hike due to the rocks.  We stopped for lunch by the radio tower and didn't realize that the Signal Nob overlook was just a few hundred yards further along.  It would have been a much better place to chill out after the long uphill climb.  It was very distressing to see the trash at several of the camp sites along the way.
By the way, my GPS for the distance was 9.75 miles for the entire circuit.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 24, 2010
I will summarize what my girlfriend and I hiked, followed by my review of the hike. We were going to hike in with out internal frame packs and camp at one of the sites on the map after the second outlook. We made it a little less than a mile down the trail before we threw in the towel and turned around, realizing we were not going to make the campsites. We are in above average shape, however our packs were fairly heavy, and the incline along with the narrowness of the trail make it hard to manage. My point is that if you are planning on hiking into the campsites with gear for an overnight trip, you had better be in good shape, be prepared to take multiple breaks, and pack as light as possible. What we ended up doing was going to the group campsite about 5 miles down Fort Valley Rd. which is actually a good campsite. As much seclusion as someone would get at a big campsite (30+ sites), and it is right along Passage Creek. It  is $10 to camp which is a little much, but they do provide firewood and two full time volunteer rangers at all times. Next time, we will be getting to our campsite early in the morning and doing this hike without packs, which is still going to be fairly strenuous, but doable. We did get to see a large black bear up close and personal, which was really cool. Taking a break, sitting on our packs, we heard a large rustling about 100 yards down the mountain, as if someone was clearing a bunch of leaves to make a campsite. That stopped, and I went to walk a half mile or so down the trail without my pack to see if there were any flat sections of land to make a camp. I saw a black bear about 35 yards down the trail, slowly meandering along it. The bear looked back at me, gave a huff and started slowly up the mountain. We kept an eye on it until it got out of sight, and unfortunately I didnt get to snap a good pic through the trees. It was by far the coolest wildlife encounter I have had in the woods. HU Note: Here are a couple of good articles for those new to Backpacking:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 26, 2010  Our intent was sunset @ the Knob which is why 14 of us began our hike @ 4:30pm.  It's a nice challenge to the top, particularly when hot.  A couple checked out Meneka Peak too. While the Knob is a delightful rest stop and beautiful view we all decided it was the wrong direction to wait for sunset.  Heading back watch out for the left turn off the service road onto Tuscaro.  Several went past it.  Once on Tuscaro there is another climb AND then the sunset.  Check out our pictures.  Really cool one thru the trees.  We had headlamps on most of the way down and made sure to regroup several times, the last time, we all hiked together so we wouldn't get lost.  Even that late, I drank nearly 70 ounces of water.  We'll be back.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 5, 2010
I've hiked this trail innumerable times and used to go faithfully every weekend from Central PA or Philly as my schedule permitted. Now that I live in Illinois whenever I'm back east I make sure I do the run up to Signal Knob overlook and back. One of the highlights of the hike is the possibility of seeing the many black bears who inhabit Massanutten and if the person or group is sufficiently quiet, this will certainly add to the excitement of the experience. My most recent trek was no exception. It was my first time up the mountain since having cancer surgery in March but I was able to do the entire in 3 hours, somewhat slower than 10 years ago when I first began frequenting the mountain. Make sure you hydrate properly, remember that the abundant timber rattlers will be out sunning whenever it's above 80 degrees, and be sure to take plenty of pictures.

By: John V. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 2, 2010
A good hike.  Our Boy Scout group camped at the Elizabeth Furnace group site Saturday night and hiked the Signal Knob loop on Sunday with 25 - 30 lbs packs as preparation for our trip to Philmont this summer.   The camp site is fine, though currently no water is available there.    As noted,  the first part of the hike contains some very rocky stretches and good boots are necessary.    The day was warm, humid, and buggy.   The recommendation to carry at least 1 quart of water is low.     Our total time from start to finish was 5 hours and 45 minutes which included a couple of 20 minute breaks.   Saw several mountain bikers, a couple of small groups, and one large group (20+) having lunch on the ridge, but no wildlife.    Did see a Lady's Slipper blooming right in the trail. 

By: Mike A Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 1, 2010

Did an overnight backpack last weekend.  The trail head for this hike and easy to get to from DC, and the trail itself very well marked.  There are some nice overlooks and a nice variation in hiking environment.  The trail itself was very rocky, and there was not a lot of level trail--mostly either uphill or downhill.  While it would probably be an easy hike, but with a backpack, it can get a little tiring.  It was fairly buggy--not a lot of biting insects, but a lot of knats and inchworms (with the invisible threads hanging from trees) made it somewhat annoying.   We passed a few groups of people--some hikers, a few other backpackers, and some mountain bikers, but it wasn't 'crowded'.  On a hot day, bring extra water, as there are sections where there isn't a lot of tree cover. 

We walked by at least 8 or 9 campsites--most small, single tent sites, but some that could accomodate small groups.  Unfortunately not everyone abides by pack in/pack out, as there were discarded water bottles along the trail and in camp, and a burned Nintendo DS in our fire ring.

We did come across some interesting wildlife, seeing a lot of eastern fence lizards, a large rat snake, a coiled and noisy timber rattler, and a sharp shinned hawk, as well as wild irises and an orchid.

Overall, a good hike, and nice to be out in the woods, but nothing too distinctivea bout it and not one of my favorites.

By: Molly Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 11, 2010

This is truely a lovely hike, and not too difficult, despite the distance.   The signal tower near the Signal Knob overlook is quite an eyesore, but not enough to ruin the whole day.  The trail is very rocky and rugged, so be sure to have good, supportive shoes for this one. 

The total hike took us about 6 hours, including our lunch break.  I could probably solo this one in about 4, but the rugrat slowed us down.

All in all, a really lovely area to spend the day!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I hiked the Signal Knob hike yesterday with my dog. Unfortunately the pictures provided for this hike. particularly at the Signal Knob overlook don't do it justice. When you arrive at the Signal Knob tower, make sure that you continue to the overlook. The view, which is about 270 degrees  this time of year is spectacular, particularly of Strasburg and the surrounding countryside, but you can also see a little of Winchester, the regional airport, and the mountains to the west. There are three other things I would say about this hike and the are 1) there are no real severe grades on this hike, just a long slow gradual incline, so it is a good hike for someone that is not all that fit but wants something that is just hard enough to get your breath going and your heart rate up and 2) that its VERY rocky in spots, and ecspecially after the recent rains many of the larger rocks that appear secure are not. This is not a hike for someone with knee trouble. 3) When the weather warms it might be a good idea to camp out on the mountain. There are several camping areas along the trail, and I counted 2 or 3 at Signal Knob itself. All and all it's a good hike

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 11, 2009
It was relatively humid/hot the first part of the day, so the initial climb up to Buzzards Rock was pretty sweaty.  Views were great, though.  The big rock slides were cool, too.  Once up to the ridge, the various camping sites looked great.  We went all the way out to Signal Knob where we had lunch.  Then followed the orange blazes down the fire road, which was pretty boring.  If I could do that part again, I'd double back on orange toward the white trail and go over Meneka Peak to blue.  The ascent on the blue trail away from the orange fire road and back up to the ridge was pretty fun, though.  Once over the ridge and heading back down blue, we ran into Bear Wallow's namesake - a pretty large black bear!  This was by far the coolest part of the day.  He was about 50 yds downtrail from us when we came around a small knoll.  Fortunately, he/she was way more scared of us than we were of him/her!  The bear promptly took off up into the woods and we continued on our way.  The rest of the descent on blue was nice - I think I'll go back to mountain bike the Elizabeth Furnace trails and will be sure to include an up/down on the blue trail!  About half a mile from the car, the humidity and clouds that had been building all day finally started to rumble and open up.  We picked up the pace back to the car.  We had just managed to get into dry clothes and open a couple Dogfishheads when it began to pour so hard you couldnt see more than 25 feet away.  A nice finale to a fun day.  Overall a good hike with a few good vantage points of the Shenandoahs.  Only saw 2 other small groups of people the entire time.

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 5, 2009
Went to the top of Meneka peek and back to the parking lot in two hours. It was great temps today for a hike! Only saw a few hikers and one mountain biker.These trails allways seem to be empty.

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

Overall, the hike was good. The mountain laurel was in bloom which made for a beautiful hike. As noted in other reviews, it is rocky &ndash substantial shoes are a must. Also, parts of the trail need a little maintenance as the foliage is beginning to close in. The uphill is long but not too demanding.  The views were worth the effort.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 16, 2009

I have a regular hiking group that is getting out every other month to take on some of the summit hikes in the Massanutten Ridge.  This is the second we've done - we did Duncan Knob in March.  We use Hiking Upward extensively to prepare for our trips.

As the other reviewers have noted, this hike is very rocky on the first ascent, which is also a continuous climb for about 2.5 to 3 miles.  Sturdy hiking shoes are a must.  There is a second ascent that is steeper, but with switchbacks it is quite manageable and it doesn't have the rocks.

The views on this hike make it all worthwhile.  If you are a camper, these are the best campsites I've seen.  On the weekend, you may not have this hike to yourself - we encountered three scout groups.

All in all, I liked this one and recommend it.  You can read more about our hike on my blog - .

By: fiann Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 26, 2009

I really enjoyed this hike.  It has a nice "pay off" at the top with a great view of the valley.  Two things that should be mentioned 1) I would say 85% of this trail is ROCKY 2)  A fairly strenuous  assent remains after you have reached signal knob- you start to go down, but then have to climb a number of switchbacks. 

By: S Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 19, 2009
We were two couples and three kids. One 6 yr old, one 2 and 1 19 month. The 6 yr old hiked the entire loop and the other two were carried in packs. The kids were great because they had great attitudes. The trail was very rocky for the first half but less so for the second half. Took us the 5.5 hours plus 30 for lunch. Great hike.

By: mwrliberty Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009
This was a pretty good hike all around.  The rocks throughout the first half were no joke.  It cannot be stressed enough that good boots are a must have for this trail.  I bought some fairly inexpensive boots and 3 days later my feet are still hurting.  The second half of the trail had a couple stretches of rocky trail but for the most part was pretty nice.  This was the nicest weekend since the winter so the trail was pretty packed.  We took our time and went about 5.5 miles the first day and set up camp at a sweet little spot just after the trail crosses little passage creek about a mile past signal knob.  We had a large group so we set up 4 tents easily and had plenty of space.   Overall, really nice hike with amazing views.   

By: Gr8DaneLvr Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 10, 2009
There were about 12 of us that descended upon Signal Knob at about 10:30am. While we had expected rain, we only saw a few drops, which was a relief since the temperature was in the upper 60s most of the hike. We did not see anyone the entire hike, which allowed us to spread out into two groups moving at different speeds. We all finished in just under 5.5 hours, including about 30-minutes for lunch at Signal Knob. The trail was rocky than I had expected, so I was glad to have my poles. I definitely would not recommend doing this trail in anything but some sort of hiking boot. I would rate the Difficulty a 3 rather than 4, but there were a few sections that pushed the limits of 4. The one thing that I was pleasantly surprised by were the number and quality of camping sites along the trail. I would definitely like to go back for an overnight backpack trip.

By: Sam Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 20, 2008
It was a cloudy/overcast day but the views from Signal Knob were still pretty spectacular.  The trail and directions off the website were accurate and easy to follow and the terrain wasn't overly steep.  I didn't see a single person on the trail but I did see a couple cars in the parking area when I returned.  This all made for a very relaxing and quiet hike.  I will say the hike probably did not live up to its 4/5 difficulty rating since most of the ascent was steady but not terribly steep.  The views, though, were as advertised.

By: PJ Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 16, 2008
It was a bit cold, windy, and overcast the day we hiked, so that made the trail pretty uncrowded.  We saw a few mountain bikers and two groups of hikers.  However, when we started out at the parking lot it was obvious that a larger Boy Scout group was just finishing from an overnight.  Peak season is probably much busier.

We are all in great shape and it still took 4.5 hours with a few little breaks.  It was nearly all uphill/downhill with little flat.  I would definitely recommend boots as a necessity for this hike, as it is covered in rocks almost the entire time.  This time of year, those rocks are covered in leaves and hard to see - so the boots helped us avoid a great many twisted ankles.

There were some great views, and overall with the leaves off the trees I think we had good visibility throughout the hike. 

By: WyEast Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 8, 2008
I hiked this loop on a very warm fall day. I thought the first half up to the knob was a great ascent and a spectacular trail. The knob wasn't as impressive as I had been imagining (probably because of the views of a populated area and the fact that I was up Strickler Knob a few weeks ago) but was still very pretty. The fire road section was uneventful and I might try the white connector trail next time. The hike down was long and the trail was rocky and completely covered in leaves, making it a tad tricky. I passed a family of 7 on the way up but had the knob to myself for about 15-20 minutes. Passed three groups on the way down, including a group of about 10-15. Pretty crowded. The camping looked great and next time I'll make it an overnighter. Loop took me 4.5 hours including a lunch break at the top and several photo breaks.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 7, 2008


2 of my friends and I are planning on going up tomorrow night and doing this hike after work...camping for the evening. I was wondering if anyone knew where the 4 designated camp spots were along this trail.

If anyone has any other useful advice, we will take that as well.

Thank you

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 15, 2008
Finished the trail with my two daughters. First day we climbed 3-1/2 to 4 miles and made camp. The views were great, especially on a full moon. The trail coming up was rocky/small boulders. Not bad just watch your step. Second day we made it up to signal knob and down the back by way of fire road. Not much to see coming down. Nice camp sites were you intersect with purple trail (mudd Gap) along the stream. Would have camped there but to early in the day. We decided to go alittle further hoping to see a camp site along the way. Did not see any sites coming back. Don't advise going this route back. The stream was great as you crossed it five times but after that you wind up following a fire road back to parking lot about 3-4 miles. All together it was a very good trip and the time i spent with my daughters was priceless.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 6, 2008

A good hike. I got to the top of Signal Knob around 2am, and it was a gorgeous view at night. I don't recommend hiking this trail after sunset, but I was finishing up my circuit of the 71 mile Massanutten trail and knob is makes up the last 5 miles. The whole trail took less than 22 hours, but those rocky sections coming will require alot of time to safely maneuver through. I too would suggest boots, or very well supported trail shoes. I'd like to catch the views in the daylight next time. Yeah, that tv tower at the top is a bit random and ugly. Stay safe everyone, and enjoy being outside this fall.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 9, 2008
Great hike.  For what it's worth - we found the suggested hike time of 7 hours to be way off.  It took us about 4 hours with a few short breaks.  I think if you're in pretty good shape this is about how long it would take.

We found some raspberry bushes off to the left as we were coming down the fire road (close to the intersection w/ Tuscarora Trail).  Looks like some people/animals already got to most of them but we were still able to enjoy a few.

By: Casey Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 5, 2008
This was a wonderful hike. My girlfriend and I just had tennis shoes on and we paid the price with twisted ankles and sharp rocks to the feet. The view from signal knob was somewhat limited due to overcast skies but it was still worth it. The only other people we encountered were three campers within the first ten minutes of the hike but Other than that nothing. Saw a few chip monks  and we took a lot of spider webs to the face. Overall it was a great trip!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 7, 2008
This was my first hike and thanks to this site I was prepared.  Good shoes are a must,  I would have sprained my ankle 10 time without good shoes.  Due to my inexperience and age I had to take my time because of the rocks.  I saw rocks in my sleep after this hike.  I did the hike on a Monday and there were no other cars in the lot when I started or when I finished.  I didn't see any snakes but I did see a bear.    The views were great.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 12, 2008
There is a forest fire in the vacinity.  Smoke can be seen 30 miles away.  Booo to whomever was involved in this.

By: Mugs Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 25, 2008
Good hike and good workout. Mountain Laurels were in bloom towards the top which made it even nicer. I agree that you need to wear good boots. Very rocky and you will twist your ankle if you are not careful. We saw some deer and a huge black snake along the trail. Great views from the top.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 29, 2008
This hike was geat. The first three miles or so are a steady but manageable ascent. The veiw from Signal Knob was very good due to the excellant weather. We passed a group of scouts with very full and heavy packs and also a few other couples with dogs and one mountain biker. The mile down the road was very uneventful and I think the next time I do this hike I will turn back at Signal knob overlook and return to the White blazed Maneka Peak Trail and continue the hike from there. We saw no wildlife on this hike but there was plenty of scat that came in all shapes and sizes. Passage Creek was filled with trout fisherman and they took up a good bit of the parking lot. Better to get there early this time of year.

By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 22, 2008
I hiked this route a couple of years ago, and returned here with a couple of friends who are preparing to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in October. I had forgotten how rocky this hike gets in spots. The views do not disappoint, though they were limited on this trip due to inclement weather. We encountered the works; rain, sleet, snow, and hail.  Finally the sun came out  on the second climb and on the way back and the sun was warm enough to shed some layers.  This is a fun hike! The trail conditions, other than being rocky are very good.  Can't wait for Spring to get in to full speed!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Two of my friends and I (Barry and Roger) went up on an "over nighter" up the trail just as a small snow storm enveloped the Signal Knob area.  Bring lots of water - glad we did - there is none (except snow if lucky).  With heavy packs the trip up took 4.5 hours (trip down only 2.5hrs).  The over night temp went down to 15 degrees F!  Cold, but not too bad with the right gear - I actually had the greatest sleep in a long time! (...less snooring from tents 10 feet away!) 

The only thing that will improve or make your hike on Signal Knob is a VERY GOOD quality hiking boot ... the trail is very rocky in places (most places) and a good hiking stick.  In summer I'd be concerned about rattlesnakes in the rocks?  The fire rings/camp sites are near the top, not on maps or commenly known ... the closer to the top, the better the sites ... but all are good and fire wood plentyful.  We all had a good time! .... Get down before dark - its harder getting off the trail in the dark like ... we did ... but still a good experience.  Overall, it was fun and cold.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 17, 2008
We hiked on a 40 degree radiantly sunny day. Views through bare trees abounded. You ascend on the outside of the mountain, so you have views the whole way. As everyone says, trail is extremely rocky and leaves were plentiful. We were a little bummed that the last descent seemed really long. Hike took us 4 hours with only a 10 minute stop. Passage Creek along the road you drive in on was brimming and beautiful.

By: Pigeon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 27, 2008
This was a good hike. We moved quickly up to Signal Knob but upon descending we were suprised at the ascent back up the mountain. Very rocky and not much wildlife but enjoyable even with a bit of snow flurries. We finished it in about 4.5 hours. We also visited Spelunkers and got the Bacon Cavern burger which was delicious.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 11, 2007
I had mountain biked up to Meneka Peak the back way before, but this was my first full Signal Knob loop hike.  My girlfriend and I hiked it in 4.5 hours with a few short stops for pictures and a snack.  Overall, I think it would be a better hike in the late Fall or Winter because the views would be better.  The hike was challenging and very rocky for a good majority of the hike.  I highly recommend good boots!

The stop at Spelunker's in Front Royal after the hike was great.  Good burgers and shakes are a must after that hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thanks to all previous posts. The directions on this website link to were dead on perfect. Was a warm day. I carried 70 oz. of water, was enough. The trail is well marked and maintained. I enjoyed the first half of the hike. 2nd half not much fun.  After the 2nd ascent  , I was pretty much hurting the rest of the hike.   The views are nice. Probably better on  a clear day. Warm, hazy, October sun doesn't make for great far visibilty.  Looking back on Passage Gorge were the best views. Watched the "hawks" or whatever birds they are, circling the gorge, I counted 8 of them. Only saw 4 people until the Tuscarora Trail. 4 ladise walking their horse were coming down. They said they went to the top, couldn't find the trail, were circling back.  Made me a little uncomfortable until I got to the top. There is  a sign pointing to the Meneka Trail, and 1 pointing down to Elizabeth Furnace. Yeah, if you keep going staright, it's a dead end. Hiking down was uneventful and mostly painful. To speed up the hike I ran in the flat or not so rocky areas. My biggest complaint, and probably why I won't hike it again, is the fact that there was  a lot of air traffic noise. I guess Sunday is the most volume day for flying. Almost non-stop, Commercial jets, private planes, even heard a helicopter.  Good workout, I finished in about 4.5 hours.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 8, 2007
I really enjoyed this hike.  The trail was very rocky at times with fairly steep inclines.  The views were amazing.    The day was very hot and I required over 96 ounces of water, so be prepared.  I hiked the entire trail without seeing another person, possibly because it was such a hot day.  I did see several bears, though.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 18, 2007
Beautiful, bright sunny day with a few inches of snow on the ground and dazzling icicles hanging from the trees. I was the only person out on the knob today, although lots of folks seemed to be using the Massanutten Mtn Trail. Winter hikes always reveal a breathtaking amount of the landscape and today was no exception! The trail is only difficult from a distance standpoint and the occasional rocky bit of terrain. The elevation gain is very well graded. For pictures of the hike, go to

By: ashipey Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 15, 2007
Hello all! Great hike!!   The weather was outstanding and the trail is in excellent condition.  We hiked the trail at a fast pace and finished in just under four hours. I would recommend a sturdy pair of hiking boots,(No tennies for this hike)!!!!   Also walking sticks are extremely helpful through the rocky sections.  The view from Signal Knob is exceptional.

By: Funkbone Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 14, 2007

I have done this hike many times in all seasons and winter is by far the best.  There are some o.k . switchbacks and inclines and it is very rocky at certain parts in the trail, so be careful not to get caught in the rain because the lichen can make the rocks quite slick.

There are some nice patches of Mountain Laurel and some fine oaks along the trail.  But I wish that there were a few more overlooks on the trail, alot of the times it was "tunnel vision" and everything looked the same.  I ran/hiked the trail w/ a friend and finished in 3.5 hours. I wore my Vasque Trail Runners and they ate up the terrain. However, "regular" sneakers are not reccomended.  If you plan on walking, make sure that your footwear offers excellent motion control and has a sturdy shank in the midsole to protect your arches from pointy rocks.

After the hike, stop in Front Royal at a place called Spelunker's. They have AWESOME milkshakes and hand grind their beef for their hamburgers.

By: Michele Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 11, 2006
It was a nice hike, but nothing spectacular. The only tricky part about footing is that the leaves cover half of the rocks and it's hard to tell what you're stepping on. Neither ascent is that bad, thought the second certainly is tougher. Noise from tower is not that bad either, we could hardly hear it from the overlook. We went at a moderate pace, slower over the rockier areas, and finished in 5.5 hrs, including a lunch break.

By: Alexandria VA Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 9, 2006

By: Daryl M & Pam S. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 30, 2006
Today was an awesome day for hiking...  Clear skies, beautiful weather & GREAT Company!.. THANKS for the day Pam!  The trail is marked wonderfully, except for part of the descent on the Blue Trail, and THAT second Ascent is a tough one....  BUT hey we went we had great weather, great views, a wonderful 1st day with one another.  Even shared some wine on the top.  How about that.  I'd recommend this hike to anyone.  It did not seem like 10.5 miles.  We finished in 6 hours and went at a nice comfortable pace.  We plan on doing it again in the fall.  My 1st hike of that length, and it was REALLY nice....  Hey I think it was a great trail and a great day made better by the wonderful lady that was with me...  Glad we did it Pam!

By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 5, 2006
I had been eagerly awaiting a time to do this hike. I was not disappointed! Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day and it was perfect for a tougher hike. Without leaves, the views were limitless nearly the entire hike. There are a few real 'ankle biter' rocky sections along the trail. The back side of the hike on the fire road was a bit boring, and all I was thinking about was climbing back up to Meneka Peak. The second ascent kicked my butt a bit. Spotted some really nice rock formations on the mountain side just past the pink trail junction. I carried a full pack for training, so I felt good that I was able to do this hike wihtout trouble. As always, the map and hike decription were excellent. Can't wait to do it again, and hike along the Meneka Peak. Thanks for a great hike!!

By: mw Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2006
really great day, really great views. i took it easy and did this as an overnighter, setting up camp on the meneka peak trail. no leaves + cold temps + clear skies + full moon = a very enjoyable time. i will certainly do this loop again. highly recommended.

By: Nicklucci Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 10, 2005
Brisk December temperatures, a cloudless sky and a thick blanket of fresh powder made this hike nothing short of magical. The sweeping vistas were a dangerous lure, providing frequent distraction from what occasionally became tricky footwork during the first ascent. Though the views from the summit provided a nice backdrop for lunch, the ambiance was tainted by a series of strange noises that emanated from the nearby radio tower. After lunch, while strolling down the service road, I found my eyes glued to the ridgeline to my left as it became more and more distant, and the inescapable trek up it more and more foreboding. The ensuing ascent was invigorating, though it hardly came as a surprise.

A couple notes: 1) The half-mile descent along the service road feels longer than it is -- keep walking, the blue-blazed trail intersection is difficult to miss. 2) While on US678, there is a smaller parking lot, also on the right, just before the one for signal knob. I made the mistake of pulling into that one first... just trying to save others from the same mistake.

Note: Nicklucci is correct, the distance from Signal Knob peak down the orange blazed service road to where it meets the blue blazed Tuscarora trail is 1.2 miles NOT 0.5 miles as originally posted. It has been corrected – Thanks,

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 20, 2005
My girlfriend and I are both avid hikers and we really enjoyed this hike. It was arduous in some areas but the views were more than worth the climb. I strongly recommend that you wear sturdy hiking shoes as the trail is rocky. Also, if you are hiking this time of year you don't always see the rocks due to the leaves that cover the trail. If you plan on keeping a fast pace the hike can be done in 5 hours. If you're going to take breaks allow at least 6 to 7 hours. The maps and written trail directions from this site are perfect and I recommend taking them with you. Enjoy the views!!!!!!!!

By: Linda Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 5, 2005
My knees hurt!! Actually, it wasn't a bad hike, I was just a bit unprepared for it. Take water with you and print out a map from this site. The map on the post at the parking lot was lacking to say the least. There were few signs and none telling you how far along the trail you were.

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