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Hiker Reviews for the Strickler Knob Hike - 1 to 159 of 159   
Review the Strickler Knob hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Abhi Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 15, 2017
This is a rocky hike. It is a bit difficult and because the markings are not done properly there is a chance that you could be lost. It happened with us twice where we went in the wrong direction. Overall the view is very nice and if you are looking for a challenging hike then you should visit.

By: Bret Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 05, 2017
This is a wonderful with great views and some fun rock hopping. I hiked the shorten version since I was doing several shorter hikes that day. Cool weather and a lite breeze made for a great fall hike. The trees are getting some good color and the falling leaves set the mood. The hardest part of the hike is the steep climb to the ridge, but not a constant grade. Once on the ridge its relatively easy with some good views to the east and a few to the west. The intersection with the Strickler Knob trail is fairly obvious, three rock cairns in front of a pink blaze. Blazes were plentiful, trail was easily visible even in the few placesI had to take an extra second to look. Trust your instincts and you will see the trail quicker than you think. At one of the viewpoints looking west I stumbled upon a Hiking Upward geocache, making sure to return it as a I found it. Near the summit there is a trail to the left with purple and blue markers with a nice view to the east.

The summit was the best part of my hike. As I approached I heard two people talking only to discover one of them was the person that built the trail about 10 yrs ago. I've always wondered about trail builders so to meet one makes a connection to the trail. Before leaving he alerted me to 2 juvenile vultures roosting in the rocks. I assume they are the same ones mentioned in an earlier review from this year. My only word of caution is on the decent, the loose rocks and soft dirt from dry weather are an ankle twister. I wish I had made this hike sooner but was glad I waited for the fall colors to set in.

By: GS Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 16, 2017
I hiked the shortened version (~5.2 mi) of this hike with my wife this past weekend. Great views at the end, but we had a bit of fun getting to the knob itself. A few notes:

- There's no signage at all for Strickler Knob. Hiking east from the Scothorn Gap trailhead led us to an eventual four way trailhead with a sign for the Massanutten Connector Trail and a few others. We correctly figured that the "straight" route was the right one, continuing in the direction that the Scothorn Gap trail had led us. (Important: This note doesn't apply to the longer ~8.6 mile version of the hike, which would have you turning right at this intersection.)

- The pink blazes were essential to navigating to the knob. Many wrong paths along the way, so keep an eye out for them.

- There was a turkey vulture living in the rocks you pass through at the base of the summit. He spooked us while we were balancing on an edge when he appeared and flew a ways away. I'm guessing he's roosting there from the smell and his behavior in staying so close by.

- There's ATO fraternity graffiti on the tops of the rocks at the summit, which is sad. Please leave no trace.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, June 21, 2017
This is a great hike. It's not as scary as some of the other reviewers proport it to be. It's certainly worth doing over the other easier trail that slims a few miles off the hike if you want a little bit of a workout. Great canopy cover for the initial 4 miles or so. Obviously, the knob is the fantastic and great place to stop for lunch. The return is basically all downhill until that last "brutal" uphill section. Steady pace and few breather breaks and we got to the top in just under 20mins. If you're worried about it then just hike the first flat section until you get to the decent and assess from there. If you're looking for a great training hike then this is it. At speed, we did it in under 4 hrs.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Started from the Scothorn Gap trail head mid morning. There is a small creek to hop over or wade through right at the very beginning that immediately gives way to a fire road. The fire road starts off gently and is a pleasure to walk for most of its length. There are a couple of steep parts, but nothing to give anyone any pause. The road narrows as it skirts the northern end of a small clearing. Soon after the fire road quickly comes to a four way junction, where the Gap Creek Trail comes in from the left and the Massanutten comes in from the right. Crossing over both you end up on the Scothorn Gap Trail which climbs up through a fairly open forest. Soon you get a limited view looking east across the valley to the mountains that make up Sheandoah National Park. To the south, right near this view is the side trail to Strickler Knob. There is a small cairn on a larger rock that marks the start of the trail, in addition to pink blazes on rocks. It is nearly impossible to miss the turn off to Strickler Knob.

The trail to the knob bounces over some low rocks before becoming single track for a little while. The trail zigs and zags and rolls over and around some interesting rock formations, which provide plenty of diversions for those so inclined to climb or check out every cool little feature on the trail. There are a couple of openings to the west, which provide limited views. Near the end of the trail there is a blue blazed trail that leads down approximately a tenth of a mile to a series of cliffs which provide the best views to be had anywhere on the mountain. From the cliffs the whole of the valley is spread open to the east, and there are limited views to the north where more cliffs tantalize the eyes, and south where you are afforded decent views of the summit knobs.

Back on the main trail, the last section past the cliffs is the hardest. There is a near vertical scramble up about a six foot tall section of rock face, which is much easier going up than down. Immediately after that rock scramble is another section of scrambling between two leaning towers of rock, and then some more scrambling to get to the end of the trail. There are several rock formations at the very end of the trail that provide opportunity for more scrambling up. There are excellent views from the tops of all of them, and you get a three hundred and sixty degree view of everything around you. Unfortunately, there are also graffiti tags on the tops of all the rock formations.

Some notes:

The trail is not very hard. Other than literally the last hundred yards, the trail is quite manageable for children or pets.

The side trail to the cliffs near the summit is well worth the two minutes it takes to get there. The view east across the valley is fantastic.

There were multiple campsites along the trail up and a few more off the side trail to the summit.

I did not see one other person the entire time. My car was the only car at the parking area when I arrived and when I left.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 19, 2017
I don't want to sound like a parrot, but this hike as described is particularly brutal. If you don't want brutal, don't hike this as described. I hike every weekend and like to think I'm in pretty good trail shape and let's just say that it is Tuesday and my quads still hurt from Sunday. I can't think of another hike in the east where I have had to take a "quad break" going downhill but there you have it. Our hike was just shy of 12 miles on the day in 6 hours (it is slow going on the rocky ridge), with 30 minutes to eat up on top of the knob. Despite the brutality, I give it 5 stars anyway. The views are so worth the agony.

Things to be aware of:

1) It is February and the gate is closed until some time in April. The gate is located at the trailhead for the Massanutten Story Book Trail and is 7-tenths of a mile south from where the Massanutten Trail crosses Crisman Hollow Road. We walked the extra mile and a half on the day.

2) If you go in and out via Scothorn Gap, this will be a much easier hike, somewhere around a 3, maybe 3.5 with the rock scramble.

3) A lot of people (and it was flat-out crowded on Sunday: there were about 50 cars parked when we returned late afternoon to the parking lot) are coming in off of a fire road that intersects US 211 on the Luray side of the gap. I have seen it on the map but haven't investigated it: it follows Big Run up to the Massanutten Trail. All those people had much, much fresher legs than did we after coming down the big hill. You could also come in from Camp Roosevelt in the north though it is a longish walk.

4) The pink blazes on the rocks and the red markers on the trees are there, but you have to be looking for them. The pink blazes are on the ground. The red markers are higher than you might expect. I came to a lot of places where it was 50-50 on which way the trail went, but on a narrow ridge, it doesn't really matter. You're going to pick up the "official" path again at some point.

5) I would venture to say that anyone who has the gumption to hike up to the Knob will have little difficulty in climbing up and through the rocks at the end. The scramble is nothing to really worry about. It is fun and the views are such a fantastic reward, though doubtless you will be sharing them with a bunch of other people.

By: Mike H Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 15, 2017
First hike I've done with a 5-star difficulty rating on HikingUpward, and it is definitely warranted. The ascent at the end of the hike is B-r-u-t-a-l (and yes, the capital B is intentional). Aside from that, the rock scrambling and climbing in the last mile up to the summit was quite fun (it's not Old Rag, but still fun nonetheless). I agree that it is very easy to walk right by the start of the pink blazed Strickler Knob trail (I did), but once on it, the markings are easy to follow (and the pink blazes on the rocks are supplemented with red markers nailed to trees). It was a foggy morning, and unfortunately, the fog did not burn off by the time I reached the summit at 11 am so I did not experience the full majesty of the views. It burned off a bit by noon when I left, and the groups of hikers behind me probably got some better views. If you do the hike as described and park at the Massanutten trailhead on Crisman Hollow Road, do not park at the Story Book trailhead - keep going another 0.5 mile on Crisman Hollow past there. Parking is definitely limited (maybe 5-6 cars max).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Please check out our review of this hike on our blog -- http://wp.me/p8ebJj-3g

By: Dave M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2016
Great hike! I arrived early, so parking wasn't an issue. Did not bump into a single person until my return.

A couple of things to point out:

At the top of the ridge, I walked right by the Strickler Knob trail. If you start going down, you went too far. It is well marked with both some (hot) pink paint and a small cairn, but hard to notice if you are daydreaming.

About halfway into the final stretch, the Strickler Knob trail turns right 90 deg. If you see the blue trail beginning, that is the turn.

Enjoy!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 12, 2016
What a workout. This hike was spectacular and we didn't even make it the entire way...

Parking around here can be a little limited, so do keep that in mind if you're planning on coming on a nice day on the weekend.

We started at the Massanutten Trail head and followed the directions on this website. There's a really beautiful outlook not too far in. After that the trail is pretty flat until you hit THE DESCENT. I capitalize this because I am trying to emphasize the difficulty of this portion of the hike... it mentions above that it is steep but I am not sure that conveys the drama. And the corresponding ascent on the way back. Consider yourself warned - this portion of the hike was not easy but it was a fantastic workout (I also was prepping for my upcoming trip and was wearing a 20 lb pack while doing it. This obviously may have altered my experience, but my friend who wasn't wearing weight was also getting a good workout here).

I also wanted to mention that after the first cross of Big Run you will ascend a little and hit a crossroad in the trail. The directions aren't super clear but be sure to stick to the left here. There should be some yellow ribbons tied to the trees. Follow those!

We started late and didn't get a chance to make it out to the summit but I will be doing this hike again soon!

By: Matt W. Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 11, 2016
I haven't done a lot of hiking in VA, but this is my favorite so far. It offers really spectacular views into the towns surrounding Luray, a comfortable 5-6 mile distance (from Scothorn Gap), lots of rock hopping, some fun rock scrambles, and great rock formations on which to climb once you get out to the knob itself. (Be careful though there was a technical rescue required for a hiker who fell the day after our hike.)

My companion and I chose to start at the Scothorn Gap Trailhead. Starting here instead of the Massanutten Trailhead makes the hike a few miles shorter, and I tend to prefer hikes in the 5-7 mile range rather than 9+ miles. (Note that the HikingUpward map is oriented toward those doing the 9+ mile route from Massanutten Trailhead, but you can shorten it by 3 miles or so if you start from Scothorn Gap like we did. Zoom in on the Interactive Map at the bottom of the page, and you'll see the Scothorn Gap Trailhead a little north of the Massanutten Trailhead on Crisman Hollow Road.)

To reach the trailhead, follow your navigation device directions to Crisman Hollow Road. Assuming you're coming onto Crisman Hollow from 211/Lee Highway, you'll pass by the Storybook Trail and the Massanutten Trailhead, and then you'll see the Scothorn Gap Trailhead about a mile or so later. Park, and you're off!

We had two wayfinding questions once we got on the trail, and here are the answers to those:

1) There's a sign about one mile (?) into the Scothorn Gap trail where it intersects with the Massanutten Trail. I forget the labels on the sign, but they don't provide obvious guidance for those on their way to Strickler Knob: you can go right, left, or straight. Go Straight! You want to go uphill, toward the orange (I think) blazes. We didn't mess this up, and you probably won't either, but it caused some doubt when we missed the pink blazes later on. (If you're coming from Massanutten Trail, you'll make a right turn up the hill.)

2) The Strickler Knob trail is blazed with PINK. You need to follow the pink blazes when you get the chance, so keep your eyes to the right of the trail sometime after you pass the sign mentioned in my prior bullet (#1), since it's really easy to miss them (which we did!). As a visual cue, you'll see what looks like a little field of rocks on your right, and that's the Strickler Knob trail itself. The blazes are on the rocks on the ground, which makes them easy to miss. Just past the turn off for the trail, there's a clearing from which you can get a view to the east. If you get to that clearing without having seen a pink blaze, you probably missed your turn.

It's easy to lose the trail for brief moments as you're on your way out to the knob, so you need to be a somewhat diligent about watching for pink blazes.

Once you get out to the knob, the views are really pretty. You'll see quaint towns in the valley to the east, and mountainous terrain to the west. Take it all in while enjoying a snack and the beverage of your choosing :)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 05, 2016
Wonderful hike and the weather today was also fantastic! This hike is Old Rag's younger brother. The rock scramble was fun and not difficult at all. I would give this a 4 in terms of difficulty- only because of the initial steep downward descent (otherwise I would've given it a 3). I hate going downhill since its so slippery especially with fallen leaves and loose gravel/rocks, and it absolutely kills my knees! I'm so glad coming back, I concluded my hike with the steep uphill climb- loved it and for me that part of the hike deserves 5 stars! The trail is very well marked, including the pink blazes towards the summit and knob. My gps logged 9.8 miles. Solitude wise this hike should get a 1. I started at about 10 am and saw only 2 other cars parked at the start of this hike. I didn't see any other hikers through and through until I reached the strickler knob- saw 2 other couples who were probably minutes ahead of me. Shortly after another couple joined us. I reached the summit just in time for lunch (at about 12:45 pm) and spent a good 40-45 minutes at the summit. On my way back, I passed several people throughout the trail- including a couple who were just starting their hike as I completed the uphill climb at about 3:15 pm. When I got back to my car, the area was packed with cars.

By: Andrew & David Taylor Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 17, 2016
Great evening hike we did as father and son (I'm the son). In the future we would definitely park at scothorn gap. Otherwise the first mile is just punishing in either direction. The geocache with the notebook for your thoughts was a cool touch! The views were stellar, especially if you (carefully) make it on top of hanging rock. We had cell service at the top enough to FaceTime for a few minutes. Just enough to make them envious! There is a portion of the trail leading up to the four way intersection that was just wet rocks and we don't find that too fun but otherwise, with exception to the first mile (if parking at the massanutten trailhead), this was fantastic!

We used flashlights for the last couple miles as it was nighttime. It was our way of avoiding the heat (successful) and of seeing some wildlife (unsuccessful).

By: Richard W et al. Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Went here for a day hike in late March at around 60 Fahrenheit. We parked at the parking lot that leads to a much shorter "Storybook trail" that overlooks the nearby valley because the road to the opening of strickler knob is closed and gated. The strickler knob starts off the paved road with a sign that says "Massanutten trail" which leads further into the woods. First part starts with a very narrow path that has small bushes brushing against our ankles the entire time. This is followed by a steep descend down ridge which ends at a nearby streamside camp site. After this, the trail crosses the same stream twice as it heads back up to the top of a ridge. The trail will intersect the scothorn gap right before it heads up to the knob (there will be a sign at the intersection). About 3/4 of a mile onward, the orange trail will start to head down ridge do not head down valley, instead take the right path across some rocks and follow the pink/red blazes instead. This goes all the way to the tip of the knob through a long way of rocks scrambling. We were rewarded with 360 view of the entire valley, definitely one of the best views in the AT mountain ranges.

On the way back, since we did not want to hike back up the steep down-ridge near the start of the trail, we took the scothorn gap trail instead, which took us back to the crisman hollow road. We returned to our car by following the wide paved road all the way back to the starting parking lot.

This was our second hike in VA, with the previous one being Old Rag. I'd say by comparison Strickler Knob is slightly more difficult but also the views are more rewarding (can't beat 360 view). And don't worry about trail markers, the entire trail is well blazed and very obvious.

By: Silpisayz Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 05, 2016
We attempted this hike last February (2015) and had to turn around 1/3 of the way due to making wrong turns and an impending snow storm.

We just revisited this hike and made it into a two day camping trip by combining it with Duncan Knob trail.  The trail was very well maintained with the exception of a few sections of the trail that were wet and muddy but relatively shallow that you could walk straight through. The downhill was relatively clear of leaves and dry and provided good traction. The section that leads to Strickler knob was especially fun and exciting. The trail was very well marked with Pink & Red markings (blazes and plastic markings on trees & pink blazes on rocks). When we finally got to the end there 3 vultures(?) sitting on top of the rocks resting and drinking water from the holes in the rocks. Climbing over the rocks is definitely not for the faint heart. The rocks still had some snow from the previous night but thankfully were not icy.  There is even a campsite if you fancy resting there for the night.

A great deal of gratitude to the gentleman who was working on the trails.

By: Don H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 20, 2016
Beautiful hike. Coming up Big Run, you cross over the headwaters, and the water was bubbling out of the ground in several places. The last 0.3 mile to get to Strickler’s Knob has some rock scrambling, not hard but it'll slow you down if for no reason that just taking in the great views. The view at the end makes it all worth it. Coming back, near the end is a brutal half-mile 800-foot climb from Big Run back up to Crisman Hollow Road. The option to avoid the climb is to take Scothorn Gap Trail on the return trip. That will put your last 2 miles of hiking on Crisman Hollow Road.

By: Mark A Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 31, 2016
So, um, I just wanted to leave this note as a big shout out to the guys who helped push my truck out of the ditch leading to the trailhead -- a week after Snowzilla, the road approaching the trailhead was completely impassible (several inches of snow and ice sitting on the roads) for anything but a 4x4 vehicle.

Looking forward to doing this hike in a few weeks, when the snow melts a little more.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 16, 2016
In one word... Wow!!! Take the difficulty rating of "5" seriously! This hike is definitely challenging but it's also incredible! We loved the terrain and the views... Lots of uphill and downhill sections and very rocky so make sure you're wearing the proper footwear. If you start at the Massanutten trailhead, keep in mind that the last few miles is uphill and I think that's a pretty brutal ending to a 9.1 mile (in and out) hike! We parked at the Massanutten trailhead and got about 0.3 miles from the intersection of the Strickler Knob trail (the pink trail). Unfortunately we started too late and needed to head back. We didn't attempt to do the Massanutten trail all the way back to our car, definitely not what you want to do at night! Instead, we hiked the Scothorn trail back to the road. We felt more confident walking the road back to our car. Heads-up... The distance between the Scothorn trailhead and the Massanutten trailhead is about 3 miles. A huge thank you to Ranger Chris Williams who happened to be driving by on the road... He gave us a ride back to our car. This is a great challenging hike and I cant' wait to get back out there and actually finish it!

By: Belvedere Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, January 12, 2016
This hike was no joke. One of the most strenuous hikes I've ever done. It was quite cold but still beautiful at the top. I never saw another hiker the entire day. The last steep part is brutal, but it was a great hike overall.

By: eaf93 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 03, 2016
Great hike. The good - challenging, lots of elevation change. The bad - nothing really. While 4.5 mile hike in isn't a circuit, there are lots of little camp sites and plenty of beautiful views. You can also turn it into a circuit and just make the hike out up Crisman Hollow Rd. if you'd prefer avoiding some steep out-hiking. The ugly - coming from the Massanutten Trail Head will require a pretty rigorous hike out right at the end. The first half mile is just getting to a ridge-line, but the second half mile is pretty straight down into the ravine (i.e. just remember you're gonna have to hike back out of that at the end of a day). Such beautiful views once you get up on the second ridge. The trail is pretty clearly marked throughout (orange at first, followed by pink off to the right once you get up onto the second ridge). There is a purple trail about one mile into the Striker's Trail (not sure where that heads), but appears to be going east down the opposite side of the ridge-line. This is a wonderful hike. A great challenge, with a fantastic finish. Plenty of places to camp in/camp out if you want to break it up over two days. FYI - read the beta on this site about when/where/how to start. Spent a solid hour searching around the nature trail before heading further north on Crisman Hollow Rd. to find the parking spot for the actual start of the hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Two Quick Logistical Notes: First, the trail head is, as listed on here, on Crimson Hollow Rd. I came from I 81 North, and I found the trailhead is not at the intersection of Crimson Hollow Rd and VA211 E, even though there are red blazes at this intersection. You must turn on Crimson Hollow Rd, and go estimated 2 or 3 miles on this winding, narrow road. You go past a small parking lot on your right with a family interpretive trail. Next you will come to a small brown sign on the right, Massanutten Trail, with parking on the left. Orange blazes clearly visible. This is your trailhead. As for the summit, the directions here say vaguely you'll know when you get there. My first time up here, I had no clue. The pink blazes actually continue past the summit, for some odd reason. I would say that after about 0.6 miles on the pink blaze trail, look for a rock formation in the shape of a bird's beak jutting out over the trail. This is the summit. I am wondering if technical rock climbing skill is needed for the last part at the end of the hike for the 360 view. I am an average hiker, it was fairly windy at the summit, and I felt like it was too tricky. It would require a hand and foot climb to the top of this narrow rock summit, maybe it was 12 feet tall. But I am not a fan of heights, so if you can do this go for it! I had a great 270 view on terra firma, though not a 360 view. Still it was an amazing view, and well worth it, particularly nice in the fall. Overall the hike was more difficult than I thought it would be, mostly due to the two steep ascents and descents. I parked as hiking upward suggests so it was a good length hike. I did not shorten it by parking at Scothorn gap trailhead, but that is an interesting option next time to eliminate some of the pointless ups and downs. I only saw three other hiking parties on a warm November day. The trail blazes were excellent on orange and good on pink. At times on the pink trail it was a little tricky staying on trail, but not bad. As others have said, finding the pink trail initially can be challenging, I missed it at first. The hike took me five hours including a short break at the summit. Only sign of wildlife was bear scat and one deer. Thankfully all the timber rattlers were well out of sight now that it is getting colder! I hope to come back, it was a great hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Added the Strickler Knob section to Duncan Knob Hollow. I'll say that the blazes were very clearly marked and someone has obviously gone back through to maintain the trail recently. I was also very surprised with the number of people on the trail and camping. There are 2-3 spaces for camping on the pink/red Strickler Knob section.

The scrambling was very fun and the views are fantastic at the end. I've been wanting to do this trail for a long time and I'm glad that I was finally able to. It certainly doesn't disappoint.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 06, 2015
I'm going to start off by agreeing with most other reviewers that this is a pretty tough hike, even for those of us who are in good shape. Once you reach Stickler Knob, all the pain is definitely, definitely worth it. But for most of the hike, you aren't really seeing views, more so just enjoying being in seclusion in the woods. Going on an unusually warm November day, we fought some unexpected challenges. Most of the leaves had recently fallen off the trees and as this is a pretty private hike that isn't frequently trekked upon, the trail was covered with them. This made those downhill stretches fun to say the least. My fiancee and I agreed that by bracing ourselves for losing footing, our legs were tight and tense. Trekking poles would have made this a lot easier, so I am going to go ahead and say that they are a MUST for this hike (leaves or not, they would have really helped with the steepness). I wouldn't really suggest going this time of year unless you enjoy slipping down steep, rocky hills. In previous reviews, it seems that many found this trail poorly marked. I think that it had recently been blazed when we went, because we had no trouble finding our way at all. We did bring some helpful previous reviews along with us as well as the above description by hiking upward and referenced them occasionally to double check our progress, which I would suggest. Just follow the red/orange blazes and turn right at the pink blazes once you get to the rocky part at the top. The pink is BRIGHT pink right now. You really can't miss it. There are also red circular and square plastic shapes nailed to the tree along the pink trail that you can't miss. I have been on trails that are blazed much, much worse. As others have said, it is really fun up on the Knob for those of us who like to climb over big boulders and see beautiful views. To compare it to Old Rag, you may get views for longer on Old Rag, but the seclusion on Stricker Knob is really, really nice (we only saw one other couple coming down as we were going up). We felt lucky to be able to see such beautiful views and have the knob to ourselves. Like another reviewer said, if you wish to shorten the hike and still do the scrambling, parking a few miles further down the road at the Scothorn Gap trailhead and hiking in on the Massanutten Trail is an easier option. Due to a late start and loss of daylight, we parked at the Massanutten trailhead, hiked up to the Knob, and hiked back on the Massanutten trail to the Scothorn Gap trailhead and a little over 2 miles on Crisman Hollow Rd. back to our car. We didn't think hiking back the original way we came in the dark with slick leaves covering the trail was the best option. Anyway, good luck! You'll really enjoy it. Side note: We tried this trail in February of last year and decided not to do it because the gate on Crisman Hollow Rd. was closed. I called ahead this time (via the phone number listed above) and asked if it would be closed, and they said it really only closes in February due to weather. It does not close daily at dark.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 24, 2015
My new favorite, or at least a top three! The only part I didn't love was that initial, steep downhill part- very slippery with the fallen leaves. Oh, and people were flying down Crismon Hollow Road! But, the peaceful stream, fall colors, and stunning views made it all worth it. Go out early- it gets crowded this time of year. If you get out early enough, you will likely have the summit/knob to yourself.

By: Gaspar Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 11, 2015
Hiked this with my girlfriend just a few days ago, on October 11th, 2015.

The Strickler Knob summit and trail were spectacular. Following the trail builder's pink blazes from rock to rock was an exciting little adventure. The rock scramble towards the end was enjoyable. However, we would not compare the scramble to the Old Rag hike, as many other reviewers here have done. This scramble is much less strenuous and significantly shorter. Still very fun and great views, though! Note: Look for the Pink plastic about 12 feet up a tree when you reach the top of the Massanutten trail (after turning at the intersection to stay on Massanutten). If you start descending steeply downhill and having switchbacks, you have missed the pink and gone too far.

Aside from the pink blazed Strickler Knob trail, this hike seemed difficult for no particular reason. You quickly and painfully descend 800 feet into a valley in about half a mile, for the sole purpose of climbing back up over the course of 2 miles. In my experience, there was nothing particularly exciting about this valley, and its only purpose was to make the hike harder. We decided not to return this direction, taking the Scothorn Gap Trail and the Road to return to the upper parking lot.

That said, there was one section along the Massanutten on the upslope where you trek up a stream bed. In the Spring, I can imagine the melt making this part messy. In the Summer, I can imagine this section to be bug ridden. In the Fall, however, when the bugs have gone away and the stream has stopped flowing (for the most part), this section is unique and beautiful.

If you want to enjoy the rock scramble and spectacular views of Strickler Knob without the needless pain, park just a few miles down the road at the Scothorn Gap Trail parking lot (Yellow blazed). This is the same parking lot you would use for the Duncan Knob hike. Follow the fire road through a peaceful and open section of the woods, which includes a seemingly out of place field, and you will eventually find yourself at the very same Scothorn/Massanutten intersection. Stay straight heading uphill onto the Massanutten, and you will reach the Pink plastic start of the Strickler Knob trail in 0.6 miles. The Pink will be on your right, behind what appears to be a stone bench of sorts.

Note: The Strickler Knob Trail is located just off of the set path for the Duncan Knob and Duncan Knob Hollow hikes. Consider taking one of these hikes and adding the 1.4 mi (0.7 out, 0.7 back) of Strickler to your hike for a full day excursion. The views and scramble are worth it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 07, 2015
This hike was one of the harder hikes I've done. A few notes as mentioned in the comments is that this trail is not easily marked. This is not intended to be a "loop" but a hike in and hike out the same way type of hike. The trail to the summit needs a directional post....we missed it and hiked a mile down the other side of the mountain before turning around and finally finding a pink circle nailed to a tree about 12 feet up the tree. Once we were on the trail to the summit there were clear "hot pink" paint markings on the rocks but you need to look around at some points to see where the trail goes. I would probably hike this again but it would be in the fall when the leaves have fallen so that the view is better. Once we got to the Summit we were greeted by 4 Buzzards....we probably looked like an easy lunch as we had hiked 6.74 miles by the time we actually got to the summit. Thank goodness we finally ran into a couple hikers who came in further up Crisman Road than we did so our hike back was not as difficult at the end because we took Crisman Road 1 1/2 mile trail out. Some points along the trail were beautiful but this will not be my first choice option for a day hike. Old Rag Mountain is a much better choice for this type of hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 28, 2015
This is an outstanding hike. It is a difficult hike but the views are worth it. That being said I think the following caveats apply. The notes and description on the main page for this hike are misleading. This is a very challenging hike so getting it wrong makes for a very long day. We started out and attempted to follow the notes/ instructions and ended up gong about 10 miles all together. Here are a number of suggestions.

First, the road off Rt 211 is named Crisman Hollow Road not Crimson Hollow Road. The main feature on this road is the Storybook Trail head for the Massanutten Trail. Just before that trailhead is a small sign depicting 2 hikers with no words. This is not the sign referred to in the comments. You need to go past the Storybook Trail sign and past the small parking area on your right and drive past the gate (that remains open all season) and to the crest of the hill where you will see a small turnaround on the left hand side. You can park there. (Or, if you are not comfortable passing the gate you can park at the parking area for the Storybook trail and walk up the hill.) On the righthand side just after the turnaround area is another small sign depicting two hikers with no words. That is the sign for the trailhead the notes/instructions are referring to. I never saw any while blazed trails throughout the hike. Either we entered at another location or got lucky but I never saw the Massanutten Connector trail.

There are a number of turns in the trail that are not clear from the instructions. Next time I will take a GPS so that I can mark waypoints and provide more detailed comments. Generally if you follow the orange blazed Massanutten Trail you will do well. You will arrive at the intersection of the Scothorn Gap trail. Take a right turn at this trail sign and continue about 1 1/2 miles where you will be a the crest of the hill and a clearing where you will see a rock scramble on the left hand side and some low rocks on the right. The trail continues on and over the hill and continues down the other side of the mountain. Do not do that. At the opening at the crest of the hill look to your right. On a tree you will see a small red/pink plastic circle marker at about 12 feet off the ground. Walk towards that and you will begin to see some pink blazes on the rocks on the ground. It is not at all obvious where the trail to Stickler's Knob begins. You really need to notice the red/pink circle on the tree and then look around for the pink blazes on the rocks. The entrance to this part of the trail really needs to be better marked.

From that point you have about 30 more minutes winding and twisting your way to the knob. There are consistent pink blazes on the rocks but you will need to pay close attention as there will be points along the way where you will have to pause and look around to find the trail and the markers. This part of the trail is challenging as is is a series of rock scrambles of various difficulty culminating in the final climb/scramble to the knob.

Again, this is worth the work but I would have never found the trail leading to the knob had it not been for a local couple coming back from the knob while we were standing at the crest of the hill wondering where to go. The man, Brian, said to me, "Well it's all ready for you and the views are great and there is nobody else up there". I said, "Where"? He said, "Stickler's Knob". I said, "Great, we have been looking for that all day"! What a terrific stroke of luck. We would have never found the knob had it not been for them.

Here's an alternative approach. One that shortens the hike and avoids that difficult downhill at the start of the hike. Drive on Crisman Hollow road past the Storybook Trail parking area, and past the gate on the road and go about 2 miles further to the Scothorn Gap/Duncan Knob trail head and parking area on the right hand side. There is room for a few cars and there is a large fire pit and campsite adjacent to the parking area. The trail from there is essentially an old fire road that ascends over 1 1/2 miles to the intersection with the Orange blazed Massanutten Trail. You will come to the 4-way trail intersection where you can proceed straight across and continue for about another 1 1/2 miles to the crest of the hill and the trail to the knob. Going this way is about 3 1/2 - 4 miles each way. It is not as strenuous as the longer route depicted in the notes/instructions but you get to save your energy for the rock scramble to the knob and have more time to enjoy the view.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 01, 2015
This hike is wonderfully brutal. I highly, highly recommend it - the views are awesome and summit is worth it. Just keep in mind that you're not going to fly through it like you could Old Rag or White Oak Canyon (assuming no crowds). With this hike, you are either going up a steep incline or down - nothing in between (except for the first 100 feet or so). Add the gigantic incline on the return, the overall rocky trail, and the boulder climbing near the summit and you get a beast of a hike.

So here a couple suggestions for those willing to give it a try:

1. Pace yourself. I thought I could just power my way through the steep sections. Ha! Definitely not true with this hike. As mentioned, the entire hike is steep - up and down. Conserve your energy -- the miles are long and you'll definitely need it to get up the incline at the end.

2. No need to bushwhack. The pink blazes for the section near the top are easily identifiable - you just need to slow down a little bit to find them.

3. Bring trekking poles or find a walking stick. With so many rocks and inclines, it is really easy to turn an ankle or worse, fall. Added benefit is that they are good to have if you run into a rattler. (Didn't see any but other reviewers have).

Finally, a couple words of thanks.

* Reviewer Todd J - your directions to the trailhead were spot on. Noting the landmarks on VA211 leading to Crimson Hollow in particular was super helpful. * Hiking Upward website team - this hike never would have received the attention it deserves without you guys. Keep up the good work!!!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 01, 2015
I just read Jayson's review of this hike. It's spot-on. Although he and I were not hiking together, we ran into each other on the trail.

I live on Capitol Hill in Washington. The trailhead is about two hours without traffic.

The directions supplied by Hiking Upward are hopelessly confusing. Todd J is correct. The secret is to find Dan's Steakhouse (route 211 in Luray). The trailhead is only a mile or two from there. Pass Dan's Steakhouse on your right. Not long after make a sharp right on Crisman Hollow Road. You'll pass Storybrook trailhead on your right. Perhaps a half mile later you'll see a small brown hiking sign on your right (it has a picture of two hikers- there are no words). I believe there's also a sign that says "Massanutten Trail." That's the trailhead. There's a small half-circle parking area across the street. If you happen to pass that and come to Scothorn Trail, which is very well marked, you can hike from there. That's what I did. The following applies if you hike from Scothorn. Walk around a bar that says "road closed" (that closure applies to vehicles, not hikers). 1.5 miles later you will come to a well marked intersection with a sign. You have three choices. Go left, although it's not clear where that takes you. Go right, which takes you back to the Massanutten trailhead described in the last paragraph. Go straight. The sign calls that trail Gap Creek or something like that the sign does NOT say Stickler Knob, but that's the way you want to go. Hike up until you arrive at a small clearing, where the trail appears to wane. There's an orange ribbon in front of you that probably goes to Gap Creek. I followed it a little way and that's definitely not the way to Stickler Knob. Instead, look to your right and look up. You'll see a red plastic circle that's the trail you want, even if the path isn't immediately obvious (you will find the path- just look around a bit). The Upward Hiking notes say that the pink blazes have been eliminated. That's categorically false and thank heaven it is false. Those blazes mark the trail to the end. The views are great. The scrambling is different from that at Old Rag, but it's just as fun. Other notes: Tree canopy is very heavy. It can't hurt to wear sunscreen, but you probably won't need it. You will need bug spray. The bugs are very intense. Long pants are a good idea at times the vegetation is close to the trail. Plus, you'll avoid ticks. Wildlife: one turtle, one deer, some large birds Eat the blackberries if you find them. They're great! And, yes, they're safe. I followed the trail back to the Massanutten trailhead for additional mileage. The incline and corresponding decline along that stretch of the trail are by far the most intense I have ever experienced. If you're hiking from the Massanutten trailhead, you'll hit the decline first and your feet will hate you. When you return to that trailhead, you'll hit the incline and your pulmonary system will hate you.

By: Dayhiker Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 26, 2015
Great Hike! Nice change in scenery along the trail. Like the write up states- there is a fairly long steep downhill just after the start (which of course is a fairly long steep uphill at the end of a long hike). Think about wearing long pants for trail which is narrow in many parts. Fun rock hopping near the top and stunning 360 degree views from the very top. Note-The high peak appears to also be a nest for a family of messy vultures. Overall a fun hike. Enjoy.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 24, 2015
Hardest hike we've ever been on. Best views. Carry 2 liters of water per person keep another 1 liter pp in car for afterwards. The trail is covered/shade almost the entire way. The laurels and azaleas were blooming. We had great weather. The little streams were lovely. We got rattled at by two very large rattle snakes (diameter of your forearm, 6 feet long) that were on the path, but after they rattled, they moved into the woods. Glad I carried a walking stick. The trailhead was hard to find on Chrisman Hollow Road. Take 211 West - cross the Shenandoah, pass the turn for 340 South, it's the next right turn after Dan's Steakhouse. Then, do NOT stop at Storybook trailhead, keep going another mile or so. The trail is flat at first with a nice viewpoint. Then, the trail goes right down into the valley - very hard to go straight down a hill, so plan to rest on the way down as you get warmed up. Stick to the orange blaze marks. Once on the valley floor you will cross the stream twice on fallen logs. The hike then makes an arc through the forest on a soft path and the trail becomes a challenging rocky dry streambed. After streambed, take a right at a sunny intersection (still orange blazes) into a low brush area - bear and snake area. After low brush area, you'll enter a big rocky sitting area switch to PINK blaze markers to get to the knob. The orange starts going down anyway so this will seem wrong. Take pink for about 45 minutes out to the knob. There are some false lookouts, keep going. To climb to top of knob, go around the back side. A rock slide between the peak towers makes a ramp to get up to the top. The hike back was fine, until we hit that first downhill segment. We had to stop 5 or 6 times to rest a few minutes to get up it. We're glad we can now say we did this hike, but probably won't be a perennial favorite due to the difficulty.

By: Trouble0667 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 24, 2015
Arrived Sunday after noon . hiked to the camp at the creek . set up first nights camp here . In the morning hiked uphill and set camp by pond I never did find , but was on maps . then hiked up to summit . saw a fat rattle snake , and people on horses . That night swear a bear and a cub went by on camp site , pretty sure that deer don't snort like that . Awesome trip would recommend as a great overnight spot .

By: Phil Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 28, 2015
Set out from Massanutten Trailhead around 10am. Moderately difficult hike up to the bushwhacked Strickler trail, which is marked by a pink cairn up on a tree. Essentially, you just hang a right across the small rock/Boulder field once you hit the top of the ridge to head out to the knob. A few fun rock scrambles and great views of the New Market Gap and Luray Valley the entire way out the ridge, but the trees were still bare given that it was late March so visibility was high. Definitely one of the more fun hikes I've done in VA. We decided to head out through scothorn gap afterwards and walk back up Crisman Hollow Road to the parking lot afterwards, which was good for tired legs.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 11, 2015
With snow and ice on the ground, this hike was a little slow going, but beautiful. I ran into several groups of people, so it doesn't rate high on the solitude scale. However, the views from the top are just gorgeous. I brought my dog, who is a great rock hopper! There were only two places I had to help him up - otherwise, he managed better than I did in most spots. Only one note that when you reach the ridge, the pink trail to Strickler Knob is on your right and there's a cairn there to mark it. If you start going downhill, you've gone too far. I lost the pink trail a few times, but it's fairly well worn and you'll see pink flashes on the rocks. Be very careful on the last part as there are several large loose rocks.

By: Alec Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Finally reached this incredible spot, with it being 10 degrees and a wind chill of 2, I used pure motivation to get there! Hiking from scothorn gap was probably the play though may I add. Taking the hike from forest development aka EAST LEE, it was a long but well worth it hike. May I add that still ontop where Strickler hails needs to be more clearly marked, the pick blaze is put in mysterious places where I would've never looked upon.

But basically, getting there on a day nobody was there and it was 10 degrees, mentally it was worth it, physically? yeah ill swing it that way, I look forward to hiking this again come spring time!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hiked from Scothorn gap. . .had no trouble finding the trail out the knob - marked with a large rock cairn and a red marker on a nearby tree. Also seem to be (fairly) fresh pink blazes marking the trail all the way to the end. Other than the 30-MPH wind gusts and some ice on the rocks, a fantastic hike. Lives up the billing, particularly on the views (and not just from the summit). Note that I'd still not put this in the same category as Old Rag - you're not on the same large stretches of pure rock. . .this is more of the typical scramble over large slabs, etc. -- but lots of it, including several small but fun climbs. Two sites with fire rings, but only one where you could pitch a tent or two (or, at least where I could do so. . .your mileage may vary).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 07, 2014
A great hike with great views. Started at the 211 parking lot for an additional 2 miles, give or take. A secluded gem.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 23, 2014
It was a very long hike, took me about 7.5 hours to complete it, but still hadn't of found the infamous spot of strickler knob. I had the map and directions printed out in addition.

I followed the Massenutten trail all the way to the 4 way intersection where you are a quarter-mile from Jawbone Overlook and took that left. Went on for a while till i hit an open established trail that led to the road.

The whole time I was looking for the pink blazed tree/rocks and could not find them. I was very saddened to take that long of a hike and not reap the rewards, the pink blaze should be repainted so that way people can clearly see! I understand its a bushwhack, but for the just the beginning of the trail it would be nice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 16, 2014
This hike met my expectations: that it would be easier than Old Rag and nearly as scenic. The weather was perfectly in the low-70s with a nice breeze. It also helped that most of the trail is under the cover of the forrest's shade. I parked at the second spot that comes on Crimson Hollow Rd, which it seemed to me is where the map on this site begins (there were people parked at the first spot too, maybe 0.5-1 mile earlier). A Massanutten trailhead sign is clearly visible from the road along with an orange blaze. I walked at a comfortable pace that included no running and reached Strickler Knob in about 2.75 hours. The initial descent into the valley was VERY steep and required caution. The rest of the hike was relatively comfortable. An inukshuk marked the beginning of the pink/red blazed trail towards Strickler Knob.

It was a little tricky finding the blazes along the ridgetop at times but certainly not difficult. Most of them are on rocks so keep an eye out. The brief rock scramble towards the end was nowhere near as difficult or fun as Old Rag but still required caution and some climbing. Finally at the destination, the 360 view was magnificent and I would rate it just a notch below Old Rag and McAfee Knob. A large swath of the Luray Valley is visible on one side and on the other side are mountains. I had lunch there and relaxed for about 30 minutes. On the way back, I wanted to avoid the steep ascent back to parking (sure, call me lazy) and so I took the Scothorn Gap trail to the road and walked back to my car in about 2 hours and 10 minutes. Interestingly, a couple that was close behind me took the original trail back and made it just 15 minutes after (though they ran some easier portions).

Times: 45 mins from Parking to Massanutten connector trail intersection - 1 hour to Scothorn Gap intersection via Mansutten trail - 1 hour to Strickler Knob - 50 mins back to Scothorn Gap intersection - 3o mins to Crimson Hollow Rd via Scothorn Gap trail - 50 mins back to Parking via the road - Total hiking time: 4 hours and 55 mins.

Additional Notes: I came across multiple bear droppings along the trail so please keep an eye out for bears. I also came across a flock of wild turkeys, which was pretty neat! I hiked alone on a Saturday beginning before noon, had plenty of solitary time as compared to Old Rag, and teamed up with a nice couple before embarking on the pink blazed trail. The trail and summit were nowhere near as busy as Old Rag. Overall, I mostly agree with the ratings. The experience wasn't as "epic" as Old Rag, as it mostly involved walking through the woods until the very end, but I don't think anything can top Old Rag in the Shenandoah area. However, the view at Strickler Knob was well worth it and I'd highly recommend this trail!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I started at the Massanutten trailhead to add the two extra miles.  The steep downhill at 0.3 miles from the start, remember, your climbing back up that sucker at the end of the day. It's a leg burner!

The trail went through some rough, rocky country that I really enjoyed, especially down in the Big Run Creek area.  But here's something anyone else new to this hike should know.  Hiking up to the knob, at the very top of the mountain ridge where the pink trail markers first begin that lead out to Strickler Knob, that area can be a little confusing. That trail does not start off as a tight, recognizable beaten path off through the woods but more of an open area in the woods and pink markers on rocks that can be missed. Like I did.  As you hike uphill from the intersection of Scothorn Gap trail, your on a 0.6 mile bulldozed fireroad.  The old burnt area is to your left and untouched forests on your right.  Once at the very top where this fireroad starts down the other side of the mountain, stop and look hard into the woods on your right. There's a tree with a 5" pink disk nailed about 8' up the trunk that's standing back in the woods in the area where the pink trail markings begin.  Once you locate the pink trail markers on the rocks, getting lost seems almost impossible.  The newly painted pink blazes are great and led right out to the point.  At the end of my day, the last two miles back up the mountain from the Massanutten Connector trail intersection to the Massanutten trailhead is almost all steep uphill and that kicked my butt.  One last advice, ticks!  I pulled 20 or more off my legs through out the day.  Overall I really enjoyed myself on this hike.

By: Woody Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 23, 2014
I hiked this trail from the Scothorn Gap parking area based on the other reviews that suggested this could shorten the hike. I arrived at 11AM on the Friday before Memorial Day and there was only one car in the parking lot. I didn't run into anyone on the trail during the entire hike. There is a very small stream that you cross as you leave the parking area to get on the trail. For the first ~2 miles it is mostly a fire road. When I hiked it the wild flowers were just starting to come out. The real fun begins when you get to the Strickler Knob trail. While the instructions say that this part of the trail is not blazed, it appears as though fresh pink blazes have been repainted within the last year and the trail was easy to follow. The last section before the summit is the most fun and challenging. It was reminiscent of Old Rag, though the rocky stretch is much, much shorter than Old Rag. The view at the end is beautiful.

By: Sanh Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Review of the hike starting from Scotshorn gap parking: For those trying to shorten the trail, you should know that Starting the hike at Scotshorn gap parking shortens the length by more than 2 miles - so the estimate in the description is inaccurate. The roundtrip hike from Scotshorn gap is actually 5.4 miles. It is very easy to follow - from the parking lot, the orange blazed Scotshorn gap trail starts climbing. Most of this is a fire road. There is a point where the trail goes along the left of a grassy meadow and would be easy to lose, but an orange arrow on a tree will point you in the right direction. 1.3 miles from the parking area it runs into the Massanutten/Massanutten Connector trail. Staying straight at this 4-way intersection puts you onto the orange blazed Massanutten trail and you run into the Strickler Knob trail in another 0.6 miles. The Strickler Knob trail is about 0.8 miles. So the total one-way distance is 2.7 miles, or 5.4 roundtrip. Elevation gain is about 1030 ft. It is considerably easier doing the hike from the Scotshorn gap parking area than from the Massanutten parking area. We have hiked it both ways and enjoy both.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
This is a really cool hike. As a past (and successful) through-hiker of the AT, I would recommend the hike as a good prep. hike for those who want a feel for hiking in New England or the Adirondacks without making the long trip. The view is spectacular, but the view rating of 6 needs to be revised. When I saw this hike ranked above McAfee's Knob, Sharp Top, and Mt. Rogers (Wilburn Ridge), I was expecting a truly exceptional viewpoint. What I found was a viewpoint that would probably just barely make my top 10 for Virginia. One other note -- the trails in this area are boggy / muddy right now.

By: Scott Kelly Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 08, 2014
Hiked up to Strickler Knob today from the Rt 211 trailhead (this is slightly longer than the hike from the Massanutten Trailhead, despite the write-up). The round-trip was somewhere between 11 and 11.5 miles, with about 1700ft elevation gain, not including ups and downs, of which there are a few. The trail was snow-covered which necessitated extra caution in the rock scramble, but it was well worth it for the spectacular views and solitude unlike anything you'll find on Old Rag. I encountered only two other people on the way up. As others have mentioned, the rock scramble is not as long as Old Rag's, but the views are much, MUCH better. For my tastes, the 211 route is preferable to the route listed here, as there's no big ascent on the return trip when your legs are tired. Another update to the narrative is that the trail to the summit is now very clearly blazed with pinkish purple paint on the rocks in addition to some markers on trees. You should have no trouble following the trail.

By: Becky Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 08, 2014
We took a somewhat strange route (approx 10.8 miles): Crisman Hollow Road --> Massanutten Trail --> Strickler Knob Trail to summit(had pretty fresh pink blazes at the time of our hike) --> back on Strickler Knob Trail to intersection --> Scothorn Gap Trail --> Crisman Hollow Road. It was a great long hike, and I'm looking forward to giving it another shot when there's less snow. Much of Crisman Hollow Road was closed, so we weren't able to drive to the trailhead and had to park in the Massanutten Storybook Trail lot instead (a paved trail that dead-ends at a nice overlook). We also got a late start and didn't want to navigate the slush-covered, steep, and thus somewhat tricky Massanutten Trail at dusk/in the dark, so we made this into a loop, heading back to Crisman Hollow Road via the Scothorn Gap Trail. If you don't want to do the steep climbs and descents of the Massanutten Trail again, this is a fine route. But I would have much preferred to return via the Massanutten Trail if conditions had allowed--the road is boring. And if you're hiking after a recent snow or heavy rain, I'd strongly suggest wearing waterproof boots and using hiking poles at least. I had poles but my hiking companions did not, and I left them in the dust on some of the slicker uphills (OK, fine, they beat me on the rock scramble, but the poles had nothing to do with that).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 12, 2014
am not in my best shape but I love hiking and trying to do it as often as I can. I did good research on Strickler Knob before going there. I drove from Richmond and I have to say that this was one of the most pleasant driving experiences. The views are amazing on the way to the hike. I usually do not go alone but all of my regular hiking buddies were either sick or busy. The Chrisman Hollow road was a bit wet and you have to be careful driving on it since it takes you around the ridge with cliffs on your right side. I parked at the Massanutten trail head and started the hike around 12.00 at noon. Right after the start of the hike you come to a first amazing vista overlooking the Shenandoah valley. That is where I realized that I have lost my map. In few minutes I have met another hiker Michael who found my map and we decided to do the hike together. Besides meeting Michael, I have seen 3 or 4 other hikers on the trail. The first descent down the ridge is very steep and I have realized how really steep it is, when I had to climb it again on my way back. Make sure you rest awhile before you climb it, because if you are tired and not in the best shape then it will be very hard to do. The hike to the Knob is very nice and moderate. The rock hopping on top of the ridge is not the same as on the Old Rag. Old Rag has much more of actual rock hopping but you can still have some fun climbing on top of the rocks at the Knob, since it seems more extreme. Overall amazing hike even for the winter time. I will do it again in the Spring.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 09, 2013
We had great weather last Saturday for a reattempt of this hike - we'd last tried it in January 2011 on a day with temperatures in the teens. What's not to like on this one - the rock scramble is challenging, and the views are incredible! As the trail description says, once you get to the intersection that leads off to the south for the summit, scrutinize the surroundings carefully to find your blazes - but if you lose them, stay on the ridge and you'll get there! I hope to do this one again sometime. Here's a write-up I did on my blog: http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2013/11/strickler-knob-moderate-gwnf-day-hike.html

By: Tom and Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 04, 2013
Very peaceful hike not seeing another hiker the entire time. If starting on Massanutten trail, parking lot on right and trail entrance is abt half mile down road on right. Downhill at start accurately described as BRUTAL and doubly so on way back. Also watch for stacked rocks on right for entrance to Strickler trail - easy to miss.

By: Robin & Jeff Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 03, 2013
The hike was great. The starter drop was brutal and (though we exited to the street and walked the couple of miles to the car that way) our hiking friends said the climb back up at the end was BRUTAL. You really have to pay attention because we strayed a few times from the pink trail. The scramble wasn't as much fun as Old Rag but the view was spectacular.

By: Nuce86 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 27, 2013
This hike was great. Realizing halfway through that we had started at the wrong location, not so great. We used the coordinates provided by HU and our phone's GPS took us to the Scothorn Gap location instead of the Massanutten trailhead. It was our fault for not paying closer attention. We then proceeded to our chosen campsite (the one near the Big Run) which was the opposite direction from our starting point than the summit. Had we come in the correct way, we would have dropped off our camping supplies and continued to the knob. Instead, we ended up backtracking most of the way and then heading toward the top. Due to the unexpected addition of another five miles to this hike, we were unable to make it to the summit for fear we would be returning to camp in the dark. We had headlamps and flashlights with us, but wanted to avoid the added risk. Someday I will return and conquer that last bit.

I left our debacle out while rating this hike, though. The hike itself was challenging and scenic. This is a great time of year to go, as the weather is perfect and the leaves are kindly falling and expanding beautiful vistas. The bit of rock scrambling that we did toward the end was fun. Watch your step, as some of the rocks that seem the sturdiest will tilt when stepped upon.

The camping portion of our trip went smoothly. The Run provided enough water for our needs and, aside from a bit of noise from an owl sometime in the night, no animals bothered us.

We exited the way we had originally intended, up the steep incline to the Massanutten trailhead. That was a good workout. Bring water. When we made it to the road, we just walked the three miles to our truck. It was peaceful, and a bit of a needed rest after that climb.

My advice would be to double check where you are starting and don't let yourself get so excited for the hike that you forget to consult your map. Do not rely on phone/stand-alone GPS devices to get you to the right trailhead. Memorize or print out the pictures that are on this site so that you can recognize what the trailhead looks like.

This is a great website and I can't wait to find our next trip on here!

By: Travis Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 26, 2013
The view is spectacular.  The day was nice.

My problem was on the way back I somehow ended up on the scotch gap yellow trail and had to hike on the road back to my car.
However that was perhaps the most peaceful part.

Maybe because it was a late October Saturday but this was not relaxing one bit.  There were way too many people, all of them from DC, exactly what you go to get away from, for me.  Also, the foilage was a bit weak.

By: Paul Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Another awesome day for a hike... This one is tough...I mean tough...If the final quarter of a mile scramble isn't enough on the knees and ankles...the final hike back up the mountain to the ridge is a killer... Creaky Knees...thank you very much for the heads up!...You can see the pink/purple disc when you look right from the rock pile...hope your knees have recovered... Then the trail is marked/blazed in the right places...bushwack turned hiking trail...Thank you trail builders... Unfortunately, the Massanutten trail builders had no mercy on the steep hike down Waterfall mountain...and eventually hike back up...Whew! Wonderful, challenging hike with colossal summit(s)...plenty of company...for obvious reasons...

By: Creaky Knees Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Awesome day for a hike. A buddy and I wanted to hike Old Rag so this was our Plan B. The decent at the beginning was tough on the knees and the climb back up at the end was brutal but that just made it great. The views from the summit were even better than Old Rag because you can see nearly 360 degrees. The leaves have turned on the ridge tops but it will be another week before the valleys are in full color. Pay attention when turning onto the Strickler Knob trail. We walked right past it and didn't see the stack of rocks. It doesn't look like a trail. If you start down the opposite side of the ridge stop and go back. Look for the red/pink disc attached to a tree then you'll know you found the trail.

By: Fuzz n' Bean Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
First time doing this hike and what a great hike! The descent is hardcore and most of the hike does not offer much to look at until the summit...Then it explodes with a 360 degree view of panoramic landscape! I can't wait to return and camp at the summit!

By: Joe Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Another great one. We got a late start and didn't make the summit until 4:00, but the view was fantastic. We parked on Crissmon Hollow Road so we has to make the long hike upwards back to the car. I knew it would be painful when we were going down it. It was pitch dark before we made it back to the car and ended up encountering a bear in a tree on the way back. I'd hike this one again.

By: Jordan D Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 07, 2013
Overall this was a pretty decent hike. I did the hike GoRuck style with extra brick weight in my pack along with two other friends. If you're going in with extra weight, be very, very careful during the first stretch that goes downhill. We had several sliding and short falling incidents as we made our way down, but thankfully nothing serious. The inclines pretty steep going down and there are points where it gets difficult to grip the surface well. As the description says, this trail isn't that great for kids and animal companions. After the short decline, the journey up to Strickler Knob is less steep. Pay attention to the trail blazes in the description so you don't get lost. After you get on the pink/red blaze towards the end, you'll start to get into the bushwhack-ier stuff and it can get difficult to find where you're going. Bring bugspray! The last stretch is rocky and there are a couple short scrambles for you to climb in order to progress along the trail. You'll know when you reach a definitive end at the "summit", and the view is spectacular. Recommend bringing a device that can take panoramic pictures to capture the beauty. Be careful if you scramble to the higher point on the summit because, again, very rocky and can be tricky. Also recommend wearing gloves for this because it smelled strongly of urine at the top at some points :-\ On the way back, we took the yellow blaze trail that appears to be a fire/access road back to the main road and took that up for a couple miles instead of traveling back to the steep incline at the beginning. It's longer, but less treacherous and will get you back to the same place you started. Overall, this was a nice hike - it gets a little rough and can be dangerous at some points, but the view at the top was worth it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 06, 2013
Awesome hike and the views were spectacular. The directions are accurate, just be careful not to veer off of the "bushwhacked" portion of the trail. We took our dog and he was a bit ahead of us on what looked to be a clear path. It was not the trail and he walked into a swarm of bees that were nesting in the ground. (Ouch). One other note, regardless of other reviews, a dog CANNOT make it to the summit. There are several vertical climbs and unless your dog can fly or you keep it in a purse, they cannot go all the way to the summit. The scramble was cool, but not on par with Old Rag. We could not locate the journal anywhere.

By: Upward and Onward Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 05, 2013
My wife and I set out to hike today and followed the directions. Great detailed directions listed on the site. Went out and back in about 4 hours 30 minutes. We ate lunch around the summit rocks for about 15 minutes. Two hikers we passed had the opportunity to see a relentless timber rattler along the rock hopping section of the Strickler Knob Trail. We walked back with sticks in hand to make sure we made noise. Great hike, Great weather! Coming back up the ridge to Crimson Hollow Road was a relentless but fun climb to end the hike. I recommend this hike to hikers that love Old Rag, but don't love waiting in lines to climb a few rocks.

By: jmgradon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 26, 2013
See my earlier post.  I went back to try this again over the Memorial Day weekend.  This time there was no timber rattlesnake basking right next to the trail.   Last time I attempted it  via the Scothorn Gap Trail.  This time I did it according to the route describe above which follows the Massanutten Trail starting from Crisman Hollow Rd a few miles south of the beginning to the Scothorn Gap Trail.   Once again, it was easy to find the Strickler Knob trail and to follow it to its conclusion. Once on that trail the only danger of straying off route is going through the bolder field at the very beginning or clambering over some of the intermediate rock piles, where it is possible to miss the trail as you clamber down or around.  But even so it is easy to refind.  In addition, someone has put new pink blazes down on boulders during the second half to the trail to the Knob.  This helps.  The rock scrambling toward the end was lots of fun and fairly easy.  There is no move as difficult as the one on Old Rag where you have to lift yourself up a rock crevice that is sometimes dripping with water.  But there is a lot more easy and fun scrambling than on Old Rag.  The views from the summit rocks is way better than Old Rag and among the best in the region.  No kidding.  A WORD OF CAUTION.  A lot of people do this route via the Scothorn Gap Trail, which is much easier, since there is no big uphill climb at the end, and a lot shorter as well.  However, I encountered two fairly large parties who had taken the wrong turn at the big junction when the Scothorn Gap Trail runs into the Massanutten Trail.  They had incorrectly taken the first right which took them down the Massanutten Trail in the wrong direction, where I encountered them on my way up.  Instead, they should have continued straight on which is the Massanutten Trail heading in the proper direction uphill until you come to the Strickler Knob trail on cresting the ridge.  Part of the problem is that you can't see any orange blazes on the trees ahead at the beginning, while you can to the right on the Massanutten Trail heading in the wrong direction.  Another hint is that the wrong way is signposted to the Massanutten Connector trail while the right way is sign posted to the Gap Trail.  Part of the problem is that Massnutten mountain is much less well marked than Shenandoah National Park and you have be careful.  Make sure you take a good map, such as the one available on this site, as well as the PATC map of Massanutten mountain, and trust the maps rather than your instincts. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Overall, a great hike, although we had some difficulty keeping on the trail. In particular, after getting through the 3 boulders, we weren't able to find where the trail picked up and so weren't able to reach the summit. Very pretty hike, although for those (like myself and my companion) a little less familiar with hiking, I'd suggest going carefully when looking for the pink trail (we passed by it the first time). After finding it and, until the three boulders, I thought that the pink trail was better marked than expected. Even though we didn't reach the peak, we saw some very pretty views.

I'd say it was a difficult hike, but more in terms of keeping on the trail than the hike itself (although the hill coming back is killer)!

By: jmgradon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 05, 2013
I did this in conjunction with Duncan Knob, reviewed separately.  My approach was via the Scothorn Gap Trail, which is considerably shorter than the described route.  I found the path to Strickler Knob from the Massanutten Trail (which the Scothorn Trail runs into) easy to find.  There is is a small red disk on a tree at the beginning of the route but you can also very clearly see reddish blazes on the the trees and rocks leading almost all the way to the summit.  Although these were ostensibly removed by park rangers, and do look like someone tried to erase them at some point, they are still clearly visible.  There is also a definite path cut through the brush almost  the whole way which is impossible to miss.  I say almost the whole way in both instances because I did not make it the whole way.  The reason?  I encountered a timber rattlesnake just off the trail not far from the end.  This is the first one I have encountered in 35 years of hiking in the area.  I could have bushwacked around it but was afraid I might not see it in time on the way back so I turned around and left the summit rocks for another day.  Maybe I was being overly cautious but you never know.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Hiked this one for the third....fourth? time. To whomever decorated the woods with bright orange duct tape your efforts are neither needed or appreciated. Leave the construction cones for the beltway, and keep the woods natural. If you cannot see the red / pink trail markers that already exist, you should not be on the trail anyway. I have contacted the park service and they will be removed asap.

Other than that, it was a solitary and enjoyable hike! The wildfire came up the the trail, so it's a contrast of blackenend forest on the one side and lush greenery on the other.

By: Jim Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Mel - the orange markers could have been left there by scientists who are studying something where they need to be able to go back to certain locations.

By: Ray Bennett Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 27, 2013
Great hike.  A lot of people will probably be curious as to how it compares to Old Rag.

Difficulty: More. if you start at the Massanutten Trail Head and return the same way.  Scothorn parking would make this much easier than Old Rag.  The Massanutten parking spot is very difficult because you have to end your hike up hill, regardless of which way you return (road or trail).

View: Better. The view at the summit is awesome. You can view in all directions and see mountains both East and West. You get a great view of the valley and Luray. 

Solitude: Much better. Old Rag is ridden with groups of people who don't know how to rock scramble. Especially on a Saturday afternoon. Goodness! Not this hike.

Rock Scrambling: worse/different.  If you get an opportunity to scramble around old rag without any people around, then that would definitely be more enjoyable. If there were more treacherous drops on Strickler Knob, then it would be the obvious choice. The rock types are considerably different. Strickler has edgy, step like rocks and Old Rag has round boulders. They are both totally enjoyable and I recommend Strickler's for people who like to scramble for the sake of scrambling. 

Trails: better. The Massanutten trail is more secluded, forestry and near a small running river most of the way. Once you are on Scothorn's trail, it's more or less a fire road. It's also has a good amount of loose, small rocks.  Right now, there's a lot of burned area on the side of the trail. They are easier to walk than Old Rag, but, due to the uphill battle at the end, these can be much more difficult. If you want the scramble and views without the thigh pain, just stick with Scothorn's trail up and back.  Also, it's more fun to have to keep an eye out for changing markers.  Don't worry, you won't get lost (print the map, though). It adds an extra dimension of outdoor fun.

By: Fort Valley Man Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 12, 2013
Hiked this yet again and loved it.  When you look to the west, you will see "The Knob", which has some Indian Petroglyths and a place where they conducted winter solstice rituals.  No trail, so you have to bushwack.  The Archeologists say that the Indians favored the south facing knobs for religious purposes and that Strickler was also a candidate but no evidence has been found.  Duncan Knob, though, does have signs of Indians, mainly in lithic materials found in the gap just below.

By: Brett Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, January 10, 2013
In my opinion, this hike offered plenty of great view on the way.  At the beginning of the hike, you have a nice view on the mountains, and as you walk down (getting pushed by the steepness of the trail) you encounter a wonderful creek and great camping grounds.  It does get tricky because there are so many different colored markers out there, but if you keep looking around you will be able to find your way.  The climb at the end is not very difficult, but it makes the view that much better.  Think lion king - Simba being held up as a baby on the cliff type of view!  Totally worth all the hard work to get there and back (which is much worse!)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 12, 2012
I would have to say the view from the top makes me favor this trail over old rag.

It was well marked and relatively easy to follow from my perspective. The whole trail is sort of mundane before reaching the last .5 mile of it. The trek back up the original steep drop at the begining is the most difficult aspect of the whole thing! But climbing the large boulders at the top made it worth it. Overall, this is definietly one of my new favorite hikes, and I would recommend it!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 06, 2012
I hike Strickler at least twice a year, it's a great workout. I have come to love the descent/ascent that starts and ends the hike. Trail has been cleaned up considerably with the clearing away of large trees and trunks that were in the way just last year. Would love to be able to make it for a sunrise at the summit...it's gotta be spectacular...

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 17, 2012
I gave this hike one star even though Strickler Knob is a great place to visit, because the hike probably should not be listed. The trail to the Knob from the MT was cut without authorization of the Forest Service. The Service then painted over blazes near the junction with the MT and removed the sign that was placed there in order to close the trail. Hikers should check with the Lee Ranger District (540-984-4101 M-F 8:00-4:30) to determine their current policy before attempting this hike. The Service website normally does not cover such issues. Perhaps if numerous calls are received the Service may decide to formally open a well cut trail and close of dead end paths etc. However, if it is OK to hike, as some reviewers noted, it would be better for most folks to hike from the Scothorn Gap trail head to avoid the steep descent/ascent on Waterfall Mountain. There is an interesting pond along this route to the north in Scothorn Gap, but it is obscured by scrub and many hikers miss it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 17, 2012
Man, I loved this place. I don't know if it was the beautiful Shenandoah River or New Market Gap or Luray. But what ever it was it was worth the hike. I know what it was, it was the goat on the rocks. Here I am on top of the world, watching the butterflies, Hawks and other wildlife. Then all of a sudden here it is, A goat on a rock.. It just made my day. See the pic:
https://fbcdn-photos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/221799_4412277466052_1841699713_n.jpg

By: Chad Daniels Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 04, 2012
This is roughly a 2.5 hour drive from my house in Lynchburg VA. I am an avid hiker, and have hikes nearly every trail within a 60 mile radius on hiking upward. This was an overall, great hike, but there are a couple things to know before planning this hike.

1. The hike isn't horribly difficult, except for the initial 800 foot drop into the valley, coming out is a pretty tough trek, even for someone who backpacks almost weekly.

2.When your about 1 mile from the knob, BEWARE, the trail branches off to the right. If you remain straight, you will come out onto a trail, that is VERY overgrown, and starts to switchback down the mountain. If the trail looks to be very overgrow with high grass, turn around, and make sure you are following the red tape around the trees. Luckily, I only hiked about 10 minutes, before I realized something was wrong. I ran into 2 other groups that missed this turn, and ended up not even making it to the knob, since the went 1.5 hours out of the way.

3.There is an additional parking spot that allows you to skip out on the beginning hill, which was the only real challenge on this hike.

4. This is NOT a 6 rated view. At best, I would give this a 4. Don't get me wrong, the terrain is very fun, and this is an AWESOME hike, definitely worth the drive, but the view at the end is not as good as Mcafee's knob, or Dragon's tooth.

That being said, I strongly recommend this hike. For anyone looking for a true backcountry adventure, this will be high on your list.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
This hike was a tough one at first. I went with a couple friends and the way we took involved dropping about 800 feet in 5 minutes. I have never been so exhausted hiking downhill before. A few miles later we reached the purple blaze trail that lead to the overlook. We had recently hiked Duncan Knob and sat on a rock right in front of the side trail start, totally unaware of it's existence. The side-trail along the ridge runs for about a mile of very congested woods followed by great views. The Final overlook of Strickler Knob is one of the best I've seen making the hike worth it. There is an overhanging rock ledge that looks like something out of a moving. There is also pretty much a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and Luray. Discouraged by climbing the mountain on the way back, we elected to take the road instead, which proved to be horrible. It was several miles of gravel road, hill after hill. Over all, this is an excellent hike due to the views you are rewarded with at the end. No amount of unpleasant hiking can diminish it. Also, check out Duncan Knob a few miles down the ridge from it.

By: Brandon Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Wow for being the 3rd most reviewed hike on this site, I only saw 2 pairs of other people on a gorgeous non-humid June Saturday. I had the summit all to myself for the half hour I was there at 11:45am.

If you want a good workout, do the full hike. Climing 800' in half a mile after hiking 8 miles will wear you out good.

I dunno why the Views are rated a 6, they're just a normal 5.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Outstanding hike.
Would not advise hiking it in the rain or alone.  I never saw any people one the hike and I did it two days in a row.
Personally I did not think the bugs were a big issue but it was windy when I was there.  Maybe that helped.  Hard to say how long it took.  I was not in a hurry.  First day I did it in 5 hrs round trip but did not go all the way through the bolder scramble.
Second day I did the boulder scramble but started from Scothorn Trail (for an easier hike).  That was about a 4 hr round trip.

Directions: 1.2 miles past Dan's Steakhouse on 211 westbound, right on East Lee Hwy and go 2.1 miles when gate is down. 4.4 miles to Scothorn Trail parking.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 15, 2012

This was a great hike.  One word of warning--Crisman Hollow Road isn't well marked off of 211.  We drove past it twice before we just guessed what road it was.  I believe the sign says "East Lee Hwy". 

We took the shorter version from the Scothorn Gap trailhead.  One note about the ratings--this hike would be hard if we went the long way.  But when you go from Scothorn Gap, it's not nearly as tough as Old Rag. 

As an earlier reviewer noted, the bugs were brutal.  I wish we had gone in fall. 

The rock scramble part was fun, and the summit was great.  it took us almost exactly 4 hours from leaving the car to returning to the car, and we had 1/2 hour for lunch. 

When you get to the top there is a turkey buzzard/vulture that lives up near the summit.  It will let you get but so close, and then it will fly off.  But it may startle you, because it won't make a sound until you are almost on top of it. 

 


By: Midlo Day Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2012
My husband, 11 yr. old son, and I each give this hike different ratings. Husband and son give it 4 stars for the climbing. I give it 3 stars because it is not a particularly pretty trail and it is very buggy. The large black flies were relentless. That could be beacuse we have had such a mild winter.  We also started the hike with unfriendly campers occupying the Scothorn Gap Trail parking area. We arrived about 8:30 AM to find 4 or 5 tents with approx. 8 people camping in the parking area. We pulled in and parked between two tents. We were immediately confronted by one of the male campers asking why we were parking at their camping site. I reminded them this was a trailhead parking area. He turned and walked away, but the group seemed hostile. My husband and I talked quietly debating if we should leave the car. We were worried we would return to find it vandelized, but we decided to take our chances and went for the hike.

We came up Rt. 340 from Elkton, turned left onto Rt. 211. Go past Dan's Steakhouse and about 1 mile past Sonny's BBQ turn right onto a paved road. There is no signage for Crimson Rd. The paved road turns to gravel and Scothorn Gap Trail is apprx. 4 miles. The very best description of the trail is at this link http://virginiatrailguide.com/2009/05/05/strickler-knob/. Hiking Upward needs to update the hiking directions.

The hike up has some steep parts, but not too bad. The worst part for this hike was there was no wind and the bugs were torture.  The scramble at the end, though short, was great fun! Much different than Old Rag in that with Strickler Knob you climb more as opposed to squeezing between and jumping over boulders. Scothorn Gap and Massanutten Trail were well marked. Finding the Strickler Knob Trail can be tricky, but look to the right for pale pink blazes on rocks as you near the top of the ridge. The blazes to Strickler Knob are faded, but visable. We spent about 45 minutes at the top alone, but on the way down we passed large groups of hikers going up.

When we returned to the trailhead, there were 9 or 10 other vehicles parked amongst the angry campers. I guess they figured out it was not a  private camp site after all.

By: Mike Bennett Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2012
We started late in the day from Scothorn gap.The trail is very easy and wide but all up hill. We scampered up the top in about 1.5 hours.  There was little wind and some bugs. The view is incredible and worth the hike. We remained on top about an hour. Many folks were camping. The camp sites are limited but the views are not. One vulture landed near us at the top but we were all alive and kicking.The two vertical climbs near the top are not bad just take your time and plan our handholds. The walk down was quick and we were back the car in about an hour.  Overall a very nice hike for a lunch and lounge. 

By: Mike Bennett Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2012
We started late in the day from Scothorn gap.The trail is very easy and wide but all up hill. We scampered up the top in about 1.5 hours.  There was little wind and some bugs. The view is incredible and worth the hike. We remained on top about an hour. Many folks were camping. The camp sites are limited but the views are not. One vulture landed near us at the top but we were all alive and kicking.The two vertical climbs near the top are not bad just take your time and plan our handholds. The walk down was quick and we were back the car in about an hour.  Overall a very nice hike for a lunch and lounge. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 31, 2012
This was my first time on the 'Beast of the East'. Strickler Knob may be one of the toughest trails in VA, but it has one of the best views I've ever seen. Unlike Old Rag, there is no wide, open top to scamper around on. Nonetheless, it has the most incredible rock stacks to perch on and witness the valley from all sides. There are a couple of great campsites along the trail and one nice one near the top. We were lucky to have a sunny, warm Spring day to climb. The blue sky added to the intense scenery. Fortunately, the fire road opened that morning, so we drove right to the trailhead and were the first cars there. The Mass. Connector had that steep 700ft. drop that left us sweaty even going downhill. The trail is well-marked and easy to negotiate until you get to the ridge top. Then is becomes more difficult, but as you mention, simply keep going along the ridge and blazes become evident. Rock hopping soon commences, followed by some fun scrambles. Then you scale the rock stacks at the top and the vistas unfold. We stayed an hour or more, eating lunch and soaking in the rays. We decided on taking the Scothorn Gap Trail back to avoid the super steep uphill bit on the Mass. Connector. It was a wise choice. Our water was gone by the time we reached Crismon Hollow Fire Road. Luckily, there is a nice stream paralleling the road and I had my filter, so water was replenished. Two more miles of up and down gravel road hiking brought us back to the Massanutten Trailhead. This adds a good mile to the hike, but was worth the longer distance. I cannot recommend this hike highly enough. Be sure to locate Strickler Knob on the drive up. It's hard to miss, but you might not realize it's where you're going. Even from the valley floor, this mountain is remarkable.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 23, 2012
Fantastic hike!  My wife and I took work off this past Friday and hiked this with the help of Boone, our 35 lb mutt.  It was a great day for hiking, with clear skies and temps in the high-70's.  We found the trailhead easily, parking at Massanutten Storybook trailhead and hiking up Crisman (signs on the trail said something else, either Crimson or Crismon??) Hollow Rd to the trailhead for the Massanutten Connector trail.  As other readers have noted, make sure you don't start hiking on the boardwalk, as you'll be in for a short and boring hike!  Also, the fire road is about to be opened for the season, so you should be able to drive right to the trailhead for the MC trail soon.

My wife and I are young-ish and reasonably athletic so the initial downhill on the MC didn't bother us, I actually found the subsequent switchbacks more difficult as we worked our way North in the valley to connect to the Scothorn Gap trail.  We did have to hunt a little bit to find the Strickler Knob trail as we reached to top of the ridge, but the red and/or pink markers (it varies) are still visible and they will eventually get you to the rocks at the tip of the ridge.

I want to point out that our little mountain goat of a dog had no problems with this trail.  We only ran into trouble at the very top of Strickler Knob as some of the ledges were just too high for him.  At this point we started hoisting him up.  Our dog is a sort of built for this stuff though, if yours is skittish with heights or has trouble with rough trails you'll definitely want to leave him/her at home. 

Watch out for angry buzzards at the top, I had to clear a few away before we could climb the highest part.  The view at the top alone makes this hike worthwhile.  Even though the rest of the hike isn't amazingly scenic, we enjoyed hiking alone through the woods as we made our way to the peak (we didn't see a single other person once we left the trailhead).  That seclusion, nice weather and views made the day for us.

We didn't feel like killing ourselves on the MC trail going up the steep wall of the valley so on the way back we opted for the SG trail, which dumped us out on the fire road sooner.  This means that you have longer to hike on the fire road but by the end of this hike we were okay with that.  We completed the whole thing in about just under hours, with 30 minutes at the top for resting and taking in the views.  On the way home we stopped for pizza at Rudy's in Sperryville, which I highly recommend!

Last thing, as far as comparing this to Old Rag, they're somewhat different beasts.  Old Rag has these huge exposed rocks that you can sort of play on, Strickler Knob is more hiking over rocks through woods as you near the top.  If you want things to play on, Old Rag might be your best bet.  If you want seclusion, I'd go with Strickler Knob.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Fantastic hike. I'll confirm what Keith R. said - the road is still closed at Massanutten Storybook. If you park here and start hiking on a boardwalk, you're doing the wrong trail. Walk up the road for about a mile and then turn right. About another mile after that the trail turns and gets STEEP! Hiking back up this thing at the end was a real booger.

The pink blazed trail to the right was really hard to miss. You'll see the ridgeline you're going to walk on, and if you go up and over and start heading downhill, you've missed it.

I'm new here, and the most similar hike I've ever done is Old Rag. As for difficulty I think they're roughly the same. There's more rock scrambling on Old Rag, but the big hill at the end of this one is tough. The rock scrambles here are lots of fun, and the stones aren't as slicked-worn down like Old Rag.

Happy Hiking!

By: Keith Robertson Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, February 17, 2012
Just a warning to everyone- even though it isn't on the forestry's website, Crisman Hollow rd is indeed closed past the trailhead for the "Massanutten Storybook" trail.  I was expecting to start this from the Scothern Gap trailhead...well, I ended up road walking to the Massanutten trail and getting to the point where the trail very steeply goes down, went down a bit, turned around to look up, and realized that I really didn't want to finish off my hike going up that grade.  I did find something interesting though:  where the trail makes it's sharp right going down (you'll see a rock with an orange arrow pointing right,) if you go straight there is an unblazed trail that follows the ridgeline.  It looks like it was maintained a long time ago (old tree cuts,) but is pretty overgrown now.  I ended up following that until it too started to descend into Scothern Gap.  I'm pretty sure it probably intersects the Scothern Gap trail, but at that time I decided to turn back.

I'll return when the roads aren't closed for the season to get to the actual knob judging by the views I was able to get from the ridgeline it will be worth it.

By: Horace Scruggs Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Wanted to get out on a winter hike an this was perfect.  My friend, Dave Small, and I had done a ton of hiking in the SNP so finding a hike on MM was new.  Finding the Mass.trail head was easy and the dip down and out of into Big Run was tough.  Once we gain the ridge the hiking was fairly easy.  We overshot the turn off of Mass. Trail by a few hundred feet.  Just remember to turn right BEFORE heading down the other side of the ridge.

Once on the Strickler Knob trail it was pretty easy find your way.  The trail is well blazed with pink markers in the rocks and trees.  There were a couple of scrambles as you get closer to the end of the hike but all very manageable.  Awesome vews at the end.  Better than Old Rag to some degree.

We ended up returning to our car on the Scotthorn trail and walkiing on the road.  To me using the Scotthorn Trail both ways make sense. 

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 08, 2012
Great hike, though I did not start and finish at Crisman Hollow Rd. Perfect start to the new year. Not one person on the trail, but there was a goat 1/4 mi from the summit on the summit ridge! The "Bushwhack" in winter is very clear, though I could see a little more difficulty following the Red/Pink markers and paint in summer with blooming foliage. One of the best views in the GWNF, no doubt.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 02, 2012
Just got back from Scothorn / Massanutten route to the knob.  Although Crisman Hollow was not in my car's GPS system, the road was clearly visible from 211 very close to the county line.  Given the date, the hike was quite cold and windy, although overall very enjoyable.  The signage at the intersection of Scothorn and Massanutten is confusing - to reach the knob, you will head directly across the intersection turning neither right nor left.  The spur path to the knob is unmarked, and can be spotten on the right at the highest point along the trail before it goes over the ridge and starts downward.  Following knob trail was straightforward.  We had dogs with us, so one of us turned back where the bouldering began.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 29, 2011
Saw this hike on HU and didn't really read all of the info. Grabbed my day pack and an old map and headed out the door. Finding the spur trail was a little difficult, but well worth the extra mileage.  Had the mountain to myself with the exception of 5 hikers who turned around where the spur trail begins.  The weather was cool and breezy.  This will definitely be an overnight trip for me the next time.  The views are incredible.  A top 5 hike for this area.  You will want to wear hiking shoes/boots with lots of ankle support as the the trail is riddled with rocks.  Shared the stacks with 3 upset turkey vultures.

By: NC Hiker Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 03, 2011
The view from the summit stack is incredible. When you get to the end, turn around and you'll see another crack between two stacks - go through that crack and climb up and you'll see an outcrop just big enough for a campfire and a one/two man tent - just get your guyouts tied off tight, the wind is brutal. And don't sleep up there unless you know you don't roll in your sleep - you'll roll right off the mountain.

Wake up, have some coffee, watch the sunrise.

There's critters up there, don't forget to bear bag and hang your food and smelly stuff and keep your kit in your tent, I left my trekking pole out on the rock and woke up to find the handle half chewed up and the strap missing.

By the way, I want to bump what the poster below me mentioned - when you get to the top of the ridgeline on the orange blazed Massanutten trail, you'll see a descent into a grassy brambly area. Stop about 100 feet shy of that descent and look over to the right out amongst the rocks - find a reddish brown blaze, start walking toward it. The trail is reasonably easy to follow, and there's a couple of campsites on the way.

By: mel Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I actually hiked this in the summer, don't remember the specific date. I just wanted to try and help out those who can't find the summit. Basically, if you follow the direction that HU specifies, you will reach the top of the mountain and the trail will flatten out for about 150 feet. At the edge of the flat area, you will see the trail descends into a brush / grassy / bramble area. DO NOT CONTINUE! Turn around, retrace your steps by about 30-40 feet, and turn LEFT into the woods. There are some medium boulders and lots of scattered rocks, keep going perpendicular to the original trail.

The blazes are mostly on the rocks, not the trees, and the trail is NOT straight, zig-zagging left and right. Look for the pink / red blazes on the rocks - some have been since covered with grey paint, I think to keep the trail mostly a secret. There are a few red plastic disks nailed into trees as well, instead of paint blazes. Closer to the summit, the blazes are more obvious and bright pink / red.

Good luck and I hope this helps!! It's totally worth the hike, probably my favorite even over Old Rag because there are so few people there. Old Rag is only worth doing now as a sunrise hike, leaving the parking at about 3am.

 


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 13, 2011
I guess I picked the right day to hike this trail as we saw absolutely no one on the Strickler Knob section. We owned the ridgeline. We made the trip late morning on Sunday after doing Duncan Knob on Saturday. For the trail being "bushwacked" it was well marked with faded red blazes on rocks that turned to pink the closer you got to the end. There were also red plastic markers on trees to guide you along the way. The only time it wasn't specifically marked was at the very beginning, but is easy enough to find if you know what you're looking for.

Difficulty was up there, but not out of the realm of anyone looking for a fun challenge with an awesome reward. The scrambles were almost "bouldering-lite" and added a layer of risk and challenge that will help deter the less dedicated travelers. I will definitely do this hike again and hope that it stays in its "semi-touched" form.

This hike is something special and I hope it stays that way.

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 12, 2011
I did this hike on a foggy, overcast day with rain threatening in August and loved it.  I had the whole mountainside to myself.  On 11/12 I led my wife, son, and nephew up to the knob and it was packed with people.  We must have met 20 people on the way out to the knob.  There was a group of 5 at the summit when we got there and we had to wait our turn to climb to the top.  Soon after we got to the top another group arrived and waited for us to climb down so they could go up.  This is a very popular hike - and rightfully so - but bear in mind that it will be crowded on nice weekends.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 30, 2011
So I hiked this yesterday.  I checked the weather and it said zero snow accumulation.  That forecast was inaccurate.  There was anywhere from 4-8" of snow on the mountain.  Made from a very beautiful scene, when it came to the rock scramble it was very slow going, and if it were not for the two ahead of me with GPS I think it would have been hard to navigate.  To all those who can't find the trail to the knob, if you crest the hill, you have gone too far, look for the tree with the red blaze in it, you go in there. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 28, 2011
The view at the top will take your breath away!  Or maybe that's the rock scramble.... This was a phenomenal hike all around, but mostly for the views up top.  Definitely 5/6 stars for views alone.  As for getting there? Well, that was mostly uneventful, aside from the challenge of using the GPS to stay on the pink-blazed trail leading up to Strickler's Knob.  After reading the reviews,  I was expecting rock formations on par with Old Rag, and while I wasn't disappointed, they were not nearly as spectacular or challenging to climb over.  Nevertheless, I had a blast jumping from rock to rock and even got to follow a Pileated Woodpecker while he flew from tree to tree in front of me.  The hike back down was much easier then going up, except for the last 1.5 miles of steep grade back to the ridge line and road.  That was a ball-buster, but that intense sort of work out at the end always makes for a sweet, relaxing ride home.   All in all, I would highly recommend this hike to those with a sense of adventure and a good 5-6 hours to kill.  I think having a good map or, better yet, a GPS would prevent you from missing out on anything up near the summit.  Oh, and I was the ONLY one up there for the entire 9 miles.   Thanks to HikingUpward for reviewing this one.

By: Steph Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2011
This was a great hike! The first part on the Massanutten was pretty steep, so we took other reviewers advice and got off on the Scothorn Gap trail (and on the Crimson Hollow Rd) on the way back to avoid the super steep uphill climb of Massanutten. The fall color was beautiful too. The best part of the hike is definitely the Strickler Knob portion of the hike. There are tons of rocks, so we were careful to look where we were going to avoid turning an ankle. The view from the very top was GORGEOUS! We couldn't find the journal that is supposedly there near a tree or a rock. Also, for camping, there was really only one spot, but it was great! The only part of the ratings of this trail that we found to be inaccurate was the one on solitude. We probably passed 30 people over the saturday and sunday we were hiking, and we waited a good 30-40 minutes to get to the top because other folks were already up there, and that was around 4pm. Still overall, it was  great trail, and a great time!

By: Zach Carlson Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 01, 2011
I had high hopes for this hike... brought my climbing shoes along and everything. However, I was very disappointed. We never did find the pink blaze trail that supposedly splits from the orange blaze Massanutten trail, so we never even came close to any rock formations or any sort of summit. Perhaps it was poor directions perhaps it was poor navigation. Either way, the hike was long, dull, and unrewarding. I would avoid it unless you have someone who knows exactly where to go.

By: Josie Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 18, 2011
Great hike, but when I go back I'll be skipping the first section of the Massanutten Trail and parking at the Scothorn Gap trailhead.  The 1 mile descent/ascent on the Massanutten was brutal, and I didn't see anything too interesting while on it (besides some awesome looking fungi thriving in the moisture).

The views were breathtaking and it looks like someone's repainted some of the trail blazes.  We missed the very beginning of the Strickler Knob trail, but it didn't take us long to figure it out.

Lots of fun rocks to play on.  I can't wait to go back with climbing shoes!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 10, 2011
Love this hike although I liked DavidZ 10 mile trail. We hiked the hikingupward trail to a T and the last mile of the hike heading back to the car was a killer. When you get to the ridge and intersection of the pink blazed Strickler Knob trail look real hard on the right for then brown on the rocks if you head down you went to far as we did. We hike just about every sat if you are looking for hiking partners http://www.facebook.com/#!/mjgreene77

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 29, 2011
I did the Strickler Knob/Duncan Knob 10 mile loop (see midatlantichikes), starting at Scothorn Gap parking, which eliminates the nasty climb at the end of the described hike, and allows you to see both knobs.  The vistas at both knobs are fabulous, with Strickler giving a full 360 view, with really fun rock scrambling on both.  At Strickler, make sure you keep going till you can't go any farther (cliff) as there are many false summits.  I suspect many of those giving this a lower review never made it to the end, as the vista is as good as any in Virginia.  The scambling up Duncan Knob is alot of fun.  Awesome but tough hike.  A few trees down on Massanuten trail from hurricane.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 26, 2011
I'm primarily reviewing the "Strickler Knob" aspect of this hike. Truth be told, the Massanutten Trail, while great for a workout, wasn't particularly exciting. I would consider parking at the trailhead of Scothorn Gap and picking up the Massanutten Trail if you're short for time or somewhat new to hiking. As other reviewers have mentioned, the return from Strickler Knob via the Massanutten Trail is brutal due to the sharp incline.

HikingUpward's description of this hike needs a little updating: I wouldn't consider this hike a bushwack any longer, the trail is somewhat well marked. It seems obvious that many of the original pink trail markers have been painted over with brown paint. However, many of the markers are intact and colored with bright pink paint. Several of the markers along the Knob are red. All in all, the trail was easy to find. Our only point of confusion was at the intersection of Scothorn Gap and Massanutten Trail.

Once you connect with Strickler Knob, the real fun begins. There are several great opportunities for easy bouldering and many great views along the way to the final summit. When you arrive at the last vista, some bouldering will take you higher than the trees to enjoy a take-your-breath-away, 360 degree view of the valley below.

At the summit there is a great geocache and a journal. Hopefully it will still be there after Hurricane Irene plows through.

By: R. Emmons Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 07, 2011
This is only the second hike that I have done in the area the first being Old Rag. For those that like what ya get on Old Rag, I would seriously consider doing Strickler Knob as well! It is as challenging, if not more challenging than Old Rag. Since it is not a maintained trail, we had to consult a map an GPS sometimes to make sure that we were still where we wanted to be. There is a lot of rocky paths that will give your legs and ankles a good workout.

If you are a rock climber, there is plenty of decent bouldering up near the summit along the pink path! I will be sure to bring my climbing shoes next time.

We did not encounter anyone else on trail. Saw plenty of people when I went to Old Rag.

The rock formation at the summit was more fun to play on than the Old Rag summit. I Loved them both, though!

By: Leo Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 17, 2011
One of the best hikes in NW Va. Just remember to be on the lookout for the Stricker Knob trail -- it's easy to miss if you're not looking for it. As another reviewer pointed out, the right turn you need to make is right at the top of the ridge you have gone too far if you start descending. Also, the hill back up to the road is hardcore.

Great fun, great views -- you won't be disappointed as long as you don't miss the Stricker Knob trail and stay well hydrated!

By: FC Exile Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 04, 2011
My Girl Jen and I hiked this hoping to see the 4th Fireworks in Luray but the weather did not co-operate w/ us. This is only her second hike in recent years w/ Kennedy's peak 2 weeks before this, so we took it slow. We left the car at the trailhead at 2:00 and took the Massanutten Trail Straight Downhill. It started raining at the bottom where we rested by the campsite at the stream. A few switchbacks after that point are not indicated on the map and Jen insists it's longer than advertised. It took us 4 hours over wet rock w/ frequent rest stops just to get to the pink trail at 6:00. Because we were camping we both carried packs but later in the hike I carried both (Something I had anticipated and prepared for.) The weather had appeared to clear, so we made our way to the summit stack passing two campsites overlooking Page valley. My plan was to try to catch simultaneous displays at Luray and New Market from the summit. Just as we arrived however the ceiling fell and it began to rain and the light began to fail. The plan now changed to finding a suitable crash spot nearby without having to backtrack a 1/4 mile. 30 Ft below the summit off the "Back" I found a nice pine and mulch covered shelf that just held the Hammerhead 2 we recently purchased. 20 Min later we we're nicely tucked away and dry hoping the weather would clear but to no avail. I had a hole in my mattress so i awoke every couple of hours to blow it up. Nothing bothered us through the night. I'm not sure that even a bear would try climbing up there in the wet dark. Once the last light was gone we were pretty much confined to an 8'X10' space. First thing in the morning (6:30) Jen swore she could not walk and would need to be rescued, but I knew better. We had a 2:00 check in at a cabin w/ Hot tub and a non-refundable deposit. After some good coffee and oatmeal I packed everything up put our site back the way I found it and we went to the peak and got some good photos in the sun. Then she put her pack on and hiked out the pink trail without a single stop. After a short rest at the cairns we started off downhill and went out the yellow blazed gap trail. The last bit of fire road goes straight down for what seems like 3/4's of a mile. If we had tried to come in that way I don't think she would have liked it. Before we knew it, there was passage creek and our shoes were off and our feet in the water. I had hid my bike here and while she waited I rode uphill 2 miles to the car and brought it back in a half hour. This hike was great even though the weather was not.
The End.

By: GRez Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 03, 2011
Great hike, very challenging, great views. A few comments: the trail head off of Massanutten is tricky, but it is at the top of the ridge - if you're going downhill, you've gone too far the tree with the journal is down - it's a 2 foot stump and the rest of it, blaze included, is over the edge no adult buzzards but there was an adolescent down in the rock crevice (careful there) and we prefer Duncan Knob both for climbing & views - personal preference.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 02, 2011
Lost about an hour starting due to looking for "Crimson Road"...Follow "wazoo"'s directions...the bullet points - absolutely insane descent from the Massanutten trailhead...keep that in mind as you have that equally crazy ascent at the end of the hike...encountered a turtle and, oh yeah...a bear. Literally one of the more frightful hikes I have done (didn't help that I was by myself and my imagination was going crazy after the bear encounter near the summit). The views were great...at the end of the hike while doing the ascent, I absolutely hated this hike - very painful, it seemed like I was never going to get back to my car. Two days later while still recuperating, I can't wait to go back!

By: L Boogie Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 30, 2011
As the reviewer below states, the hike starts off with a silly descent! 95deg outside and my girlfriend and I started the hike at 3PM. Decided to take the Scothorn Gap Trail back after coming off of Strickler Knob Trail then took the Crisman Hollow Road back 2 miles or so. We did not want to play with that big climb at the end while it was getting dark on us. Next time for sure : )

Great hike, nice trails and beuatiful view! The creek crossings were an awesome place to splash the chilly water on your face!

By: Roscoe P. Coltrane Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 29, 2011

Great hike overall. The rock scrambling & view at the end was well worth it despite the things I'll complain about below. :-)

Couple things that I think should be pointed out. First of all the initial descent into the valley is about the steepest I've seen anywhere. I didn't look closely enough at the elevation map beforehand. It's about 800 feet in a third of a mile, which is pretty insane. The problem with it is that on the way back you have to climb it, and by then you've already done around 8 miles. So keep this in mind. Make sure you have plenty of water left by then. We were sweating like crazy and it wasn't even noon yet.

The other issue was that a 5-minute portion of the Massanutten trail was actually a stream. I don't know how much rain is required to make this happen -- it rained 2 days before our hike, but AFAIK not the day prior. But the "hike" along this portion of the trail involved hopping between wet rocks to avoid landing in the water. So prepare accordingly. We hike in Vibrams so this wasn't as enjoyable as it might have been otherwise.

This hike definitely lived up to its difficulty rating of 5!


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 28, 2011
Hiked up from Scothorn Gap trail. Both Scothorn and Massanuttan trails were well marked and fairly easy, though Scothorn is pretty much straight up from the parking off 211. No real problem finding where Strickler Knob broke off, and the Strickler Knob trail itself was very well blazed, though it looks as if someone has broken some plastic blazes off the trees. The majority of trail markings were on the rocks, with usually no more than 40 or so feet between blazes. One note: it appears some turkey buzzards have built a nest in the rocky gap before the final rock formation. We had a rather tense standoff with a puffed up and irate buzzard on our way back down, with several others flying over about 10 feet above our heads. Other than giving us some stink-eye, they let us pass, but would recommend other hikers remain alert. The views were fantastic and a little scramble at the end allows for some great photo ops up on a natural shelf. Definitely use care if descending Scothorn Gap, with tired ankles from the scrambling it wouldn't take much to turn your ankle on the loose, steep gravel. Up and back took just over 4 hours, including lots of side climbs for photos and buzzard standoff.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 07, 2011
I just completed this hike today, coupled with duncan knob. I certainly appreciate the views, they were outstanding. As for the rock scramble, while it was fun, it was more of an ankle turner than something of a challenge. I much rather enjoyed the summit to duncan knob. Interestingly enough I did not have a problem navigating the trail, I do have one of the AT maps, but I was asked by a couple people how to get around. The entrance to Sticklers knob has been clearly altered by hikers, sort of an ad-hoc sign. I have to forewarn anyone that does both of these summits in one day, its a lot of up and down, the eastern side of the mountain has almost no switchbacks, and is a straight shot to the top. Also, I know I had checked the weather, but as I was climbing the boulders to Duncan knob a storm blew up on me, it was concerning me being that the boulders were very unstable, and the added moisture was not a benefit.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 17, 2011
This is a fantastic hike that will not disappoint. We hiked it the day after substantial rain fall. It was still possible to cross the stream at the first two crossings. The first crossing was a little dicey with high water. The second was somewhat easier. However, what looked to be the third crossing was not actually a crossing. Instead, the stream *became* the trail! It made things interesting for sure. You might want to take that possibility into account if you do this hike after a lot of rainfall.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Nice hike! I did this one solo on a beautiful Sunday. I was a little concerned about the trail being "unmaintained", but it was well marked and easy to navigate. The rock scramble was a workout, but 12 foot wall wasn't too tough - nothing you need assistance with if you're in good enough shape to make it that far. Having hiked Old Rag, I'd say the last 0.2 miles is comparable. I cheated on the way back and took the Scothorn Trail back to Rt 211 and walked along the road back to the car. My GPS says the total was about 10.5 miles.

By: Matthew Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 25, 2011
This was beyond an exceptional hike. It was a great experience and Old Rag has nothing on Strickler Knob. SOme things to note is that 1) the intial MT is very easy to miss 2) the Big Run River campground is a perfect place to camp, very awesome 3) taking the right off of MT onto the Strickler Knob is also very easy to miss because the pink trail marker is about 20 ft. off the trail painted onto a rock (a previous hiker was smart and nice enough to make an arrow on top of a flat rock out of sticks and other rocks- very helpful) 4) the rock hopping and scrambling is awesome. I strongly recommend allowing enough time to make sure you get to climb every face and shelf as there are many. Lastly, where is the journal??? Myself and two friends looked and scoured for 20-25 min. and couldn't find it anywhere. That was the only downfall off the entire hike. Amazing trip!

By: Samuel Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 25, 2011
The hike was awesome. Some problems on our end but the mountain was great. there arent many good signs along the way but i guess this was due to the fact that Strickler Knob isnt an official trail.

if you manage to get to the top by following the directions and using the makeshift arrow made by rocks pointing to the pink trail, then you did pretty good for yourself. now on the way down.. if you decide to take the shortcut labeled... CRIMSON HOLLOW 1.5miles make sure you dont get lost. at the end of that trail is a paved gravel road. in front of you is a sign that is labeled.. SCOTHORN GAP TRAIL on both sides. take a LEFT to uphil and it will lead you back to the parking lot where the STORYTRAIL bridge was located.

we got lost on the way and ended up in the dark for a good hour. it gets pretty scary at night but luckily we had a small flashlight and made our way back somehow. this trail is isolated so you wont see anyone or get any help if you find yourself lost. just take the written directions on this website.

By: wazoo Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 30, 2010
A great hike.  Highlight was the last quarter mile to and from the Knob itself a fun and not-too-challenging scramble, rewarded by truly exceptional views.  Not in the same league as Old Rag, but a lot of fun nevertheless.  Two points on navigation. (1) As others have reported, the turnoff from US-211W to R274 (Crissom Hollow Road) is very easy to miss.  Forewarned about this, we found it first go.  But we met others on the trail who reported that they had wasted a huge amount of time looking for it.  So recommend that you use your odometer to find the spot -- it is 53.8 miles from the beginning of the relevant section of US-211 (using Google map from DC).  (2)  The turn-off from the Massanuten Trail to the Strickler Knob Trail is EXTREMELY easy to miss -- we over-shot.  A big part of the problem is that the blazes from MT (and during the first part of the Knob trail) are not pink, which is used further along the trail.  Rather, they are very strange brown color, which makes them very hard to see on the trees, at least during fall.  Two tips: (a) Be alert to the weird color thing and (b) remember that the turn to the trail is within a few yards of the top of the ridge line -- if you start descending again, you have gone too far!

By: Callie83 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Awesome hike! Definitly a workout, but worth the effort. To find the forest road 274, look for a brown street sign at the top of the ridge on 211. It's called Crisman Hollow - the little red post with the numbers 274 is nearly impossible to see!! If you start to go down the other side of the mountain, you've gone too far. The fall color is stunning right now, and with all the vista points I didn't want to come down. The trail to the knob is fairly easy to follow, just look for the pink/red blazes and the plastic tags on the trees.

By: RockMan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Most excellent hike. Fairly easy (most East Cost hikes are you know) and beautiful vistas especially this peak Autumn color weekend. Did the shortened version from Scothorn Trailhead (6.25 miles round trip) with my five year old daughter and hound dog and encountered no problems until the end (had to carry the dog to the summit and spot my daughter). One of my favorites, after the West face of Seneca Rocks (of course). Also, from the Knob we witnessed the smoke plume on the Southern Massanutten from the 100 acre forest fire...smokey air settled in around Luray and the odor hung in the air during the entire hike.

By: Ghostrider Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 18, 2010
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the hardy souls who blazed the pink Strickler Knob trail. My son and I parked at the Scothorn Gap trailhead. Frankly, the hike from here to the top of the ridge isn't very pretty. But once you reach the top of the ridge and begin on the Strickler Knob summit section it's all worthwhile. A word of advice: even if you can't see the red markings on the trees at the top of the ridge, just turn right (south) and you'll pick them up quickly. We couldn't believe some people have said they couldn't follow the trail. It is VERY WELL marked. You can't lose your way. The pink and red markings are everywhere and even if you can't find them just use common sense and you'll go the right way. Yes, the last quarter mile or so of the trail involves climbing over, around, and between a lot of boulders, but I'm 60 years old and I managed. As long as you have a good pair of hiking shoes and a decent sense of balance you should be able to handle it. The last scramble up to the summit rock is a bit intimidating and if you have any acrophobia you'll probably not be able to handle it. But the views from the summit rock cannot be overstated. No pictures can ever do justice to the panoramic vista. I almost feel that all other hikes from here on are going to be somewhat of a letdown after having conquered Strickler Knob.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Of the HikingUpward hikes I've done thus far (eleven), this trek features one of my favorite - if not my absolute favorite - views. I combined this with the Kerns Mountain hike. Together, it made for a rigorous hike that was probably in the area of 16 miles. I started with the Strickler's Knob hike and then continued on with the Kerns Mountain hike. This approach led to my only complaint, which is that the climax of the hike is over way too soon. If I did this again, I would start with the Kerns Mountain hike (backward) and then proceed to Strickler's Knob.

The views were spectacular. Some turkey vultures have nested at the Knob, so be prepared to kick them out so you can take your turn. While I was there, one female refused to leave - I think she might have been protecting a nest (though, admittedly, it seems a little late in the year for that).

Like the last reviewer, I missed the 'turn' towards the Knob proper. Actually, I don't know that it is marked at all from the trail. Nevertheless, when you reach the 2700 elevation mark (you'll know it), just pay attention to the position of the sun and the elevation. If you start going downhill, you've gone too far.

By: Ronadon Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 12, 2010
Well. I want to give this hike 5 stars but we never made it to the actual knob. There was a little problem where our map/guide was lost just before the final turn up to the strickler trail and we hiked way too far. So be careful to keep your eyes peeled for the trail head of stricklers knob. I am definitely heading back to give it another shot. I am going to try and come in on the scothorn trail to save some time and try to do strickler and duncan knob in one day which shouldn't be too ambitious of a goal.

By: Darby Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 21, 2010
Hiked this for the first time and had a great time. Based on other reviews I was worried about bugs and prepared for the worst....but we had no problems, guess we lucked out. When getting there: the access road (274) off of 211 is difficult to see and easy to drive past, the route number is on a red post. For a saturday hike I was happy only to run into a few groups of hikers...great solitude. Trail was well marked, showed us various incline changes and had pretty solid footing throughout. We did miss the turn onto the Strickler Knob Trail (from massanutten trail) and started heading downhill...realized after going back that if you get to the top of the ridge and it gets rocky - look right! Summit provided great views and some other outcrops on the way - good rocks to have lunch and reload. Be sure to keep in mind that the steep decline as you begin the hike....is what you're going up on the way back. That incline on the way back turned out to be very challenging and rewarding in the end. This hike is not terribly 'technical' but will give your fitness and especially legs a good test. 'ave it!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 17, 2010
I agree with all of the comments I have read. The bugs WERE terrible, bug spray did not phase them. There WERE a lot of spider webs....on the way up. The solitude was great, I only saw one other couple on the entire hike. The views were beautiful but it was so humid and hazy, that kinda limited the distance. I would like to try this again in cooler weather, after the frost kills all the bugs. Seriously, I will probably remember the bugs and the humidity the most! I started early to beat the heat, it was in the 70s but was very humid. I had no problem drinking 3 Gator Aids and still did not bring enough. The return up the last incline WAS brutal. Great workout! The pink blazed trail at the end was a little difficult to see but like someone else mentioned if you start heading down you missed it. The entire trail was marked well, I had no trouble following it, but I was being pretty careful after reading other comments. I have no idea why it is called a "bushwack", the initial description probably needs to be updated. I did not bring my dog, the only place he would have had a problem is at the very end in the rocks but still probably could have made it . They did remind me a bit of Old Rag but not as difficult.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 24, 2010

I live in Fort Valley and have hiked just about every trail on Massanutten, from Signal Knob to the Massanutten Ski Resort.  The Strickler Knob hike is one of my top three favorite hikes in this area, mainly because it is hauntingly beautiful and involves enough moderate adventure to keep things interesting.  It is also relatively unhiked compared to places like Old Rag and some of the more convenient hikes even in the relatively untouristed Massanutten Mountain. 

When I was a child, this hike had to be bushwacked from the fire trail, which was fun but extremely difficult and tiring.  Some good people have since cut a clear (but quite small) trail through the dense brush out to the knob itself, which has made this trip much more enjoyable and eliminates any excuse for failing to see that portion of the ridge.  The people who blazed the trail were obviously unable to move the assortment of large boulders, however, which means that hikers can still enjoy a bit of leasurely class 2-3 rock scrambling throughout the relatively short trek.  For the most part, this a fun rock scrambling, not the comparatively boring block field that one finds on many of the other trails.

The highlights of the trail include: several wonderful rock overhangs and outcrops with great views a number of short bushwacks leading to interesting rock scrambles and more incredible views a series of massive blocks at the knob itself, riddled with old "dens" and mysterious formations and a large amount of wildlife ranging from birds to bears.  I have hiked this route at least five times in the past year and I have never met any human on the footpath from the fire trail to the knob.  Another great thing about this hike is that it is somewhat close to the Duncan Knob trail (another one of my top three), which contains a short but quite delightful run of class 2-3 rock scrambling leading up to the knob itself.  A number of trailheads feeds into the system that leads to these two fine destinations, and all have lots of water at the respective bases but nothing but dryness along the ridge lines.

While you are walking, though, don't get too self absorbed, as the area is loaded with rattlesnakes and bears.  As long as you are making noise, though, nothing is going to bother you.  If you pay attention, you can have some really cool close encounters with other very interesting species of animal, particularly in and around the knob and surrounding rock dens.


By: charlie is good Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 11, 2010
We started from the Scothorn Gap Trailhead. The initial climb up, which looks like some kind of old fire road, was probably the most difficult portion. Once you get past that, it is smooth sailing. The rock climbing at the end is very similar to Old Rag. A lot of bugs at the top, be sure you wear bug spray.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 29, 2010
I hiked this with a friend on a warm humid day. This is an excellent, but challenging hike. Definitely not for beginners, despite hikes like Old Rag having only one less difficulty rating (4). I hope someday the rating system on this site is revised a bit or at least on a scale of 10. The initial descent on Massanutten is quite steep. We knew it was going to be punishment coming back after 9 miles of mid-day hiking. The ascent on Massanutten was tough, but very doable, especially if the ground isn't wet. There are a lot of small wet rocks today, so hiking poles were nice to have. The forest canopy is quite dense in this area, so if it rains the day before, count on extreme humidity. Once you round the bend in Massanutten to head toward the pink blaze, the forest is predominantly conifer and you're mostly hiking along a ridge: plenty of breeze and not much humidity. The rock scramble was quite fun. We saw plenty of hawks and vultures(?) flying over head. The view up top along the scramble is amazing, especially at the end of the ridge (Strickler Knob). The views are comparable to Old Rag, although this hike is much less traveled (probably due to difficulty), so the view is not spoiled. My only complaint is that the pink blaze isn't very well marked. We made a few wrong turns despite the trail now being bushwacked. I might bring some pink or red spray paint next time to mark the rocks more often. Light pink isn't the easiest to see and I imagine the paint weathers quickly on the rock surface. The descent on Massanutten was just fine. Like we guessed, the final ascent up Massanutten was grueling and never seems to end. It's very rewarding to reach the top. If it's hot and humid, have plenty of water. Both of us went through 3 L without much difficulty with 80 degrees and humidity. I highly recommend hiking poles on the orange blaze, especially going up/down the first 1 mile. They're a pain to hold on the rock scramble, so you should plan to strap them to your pack. I would advise doing this hike on a hot and humid day unless you are really fit or a sadist.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 16, 2010
This is a great hike. I did it with a friend last weekend. The views at the top really are striking. Some of the best I've ever seen. Be aware that the offshoot trail to Strickler Knob is easy to miss. We passed by it a total of 3 times before I saw it. It is right at the top of the ridgeline, keep a sharp eye out for the pale pink markers on the right. I think due to us missing the trail we ended up doing something closer to 14 miles. Save plenty of energy and water for that return hike. That last mile after you pass by the Mass. Connector trail is one of the most brutal up-hill climbs I've done.

By: Nick Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 23, 2010

Great hike... Check below for my route and review...

http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=586445

By: Andy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 17, 2010
This was a very nice way to spend a cool and windy April day.

The very first section of the trail before the descent of Waterfall Mountain is particularly pleasant. The spring wild flowers and an easy grassy trail quickly change into a difficult wobbly legged descent into the valley. This is the single most difficult section of trail that I have encountered in the many trails that I have hiked on in the Massanutten Mountain area. After reaching the valley, I decided that I would not be returning by the same path but would instead return via the Scothorn Gap Trail and Crisman Hollow Rd.

The trail to Strickler knob is fun and easy to follow. (Finding the knob trail from the Massanutten trail is simple turn right once you reach the ridge. If you are still heading up, you are not there yet if you are heading down into Duncan Hollow, you've gone too far.) I had excellent views from the summit but it was too windy to enjoy all 360 degrees. I ate my lunch sitting on a sheltered ledge at the southern end of the summit stack which still provided an excellent view south into the valley.

The walk back down is along a jeep trail but I enjoyed it as my legs were a bit tired at this point. Some people seem to eschew areas previously burned but I think it just adds variety. Look closely and enjoy the differences in flora and enjoy the rebirth of the forest.

The final walk back along Crisman hollow road was pleasant enough but would be fairly difficult if taken in hot summer sun. The half dozen cars that passed me were all polite enough to slow down and not leave me coughing on a cloud of dust.

Notes:

* VA 340 is quite fast so long as you don't get stuck behind any slow pokes. It took about 1.5 hrs to reach the trailhead from Fairfax.
* Be sure to walk out on the Massanutten Storybook trail. Its very short and adds a nice view to enjoy before heading home.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 10, 2010
http://www.meetup.com/CharityHikers/calendar/12817244/ Perfect day!!! I have wanted to meet Tony, Hiking Upward's creator, since I began organizing hikes with Meet up 2 years ago this month. 22 of us hiked his favorite trail. It was fun to learn things from him, meet new hikers and reconnect with return hikers. Topping off the day @ Stonewall Jackson Restaurant was a treat. Yeah us!!!! that last 1/2 mile climb is a real killer, but what an accomplishment. I'll be back for the fall foliage

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 02, 2010
My girlfriend and I hiked this twice, once in September of 2009 and once in April 2010. The first time we were unable to finish because we walked right past the ridge which leads to the knob and just continued down the orange blazed trail till it began to get dark. Not sure if the pink and red blazes were there or not but we missed them.  It took us a long time to hike the beginning because of the magical spider forest in which there were thousands of spiders and spiderwebs which was pretty frustrating.

The second time we came back, determined to make it to the knob. No spider this time, and the gnats and bugs weren't too bad. Made it to the ridge and decided to follow it, despite there being no trail blazes. Made it to the knob, pretty underwhelmed. The view is nice, but not great and there is a lot of burned trees and destroyed foliage surrounding the area.

Oh and the Massanutten trail head is off of "Chrisman Hollow Road" not Crimson Hollow(at least that's what the sign says, I can't find it on google maps).

Decent hike, but not particularly great and has the potential to be an unpleasant experience due to the potential for getting lost, and the -ridiculous amount of bugs-

By: Kabe Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 27, 2010
Hiked the Strickler Knob trail with some friends this weekend. When you first arrive, park at the parking area and hike North on the access road until you see the "Massanutten Trail" sign on your right, this is actually the trail head for the Strickler Knob hike. The trail was adequately marked with orange markers. The campsite on the small stream in the valley below the knob is big enough for about four tents. More comfortable/larger sites are available back toward the trail head and access road. This was a very difficult trail when carrying a heavy pack.

By: Nick Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, December 18, 2009
I did this hike in December (obvious by the hiked date) so the view wasn't as nice as it may be in the spring/summer. However, the trail markers were easily seen and the trial was just as easy to follow. There is no technical difficulty with this hike and if your dog is in shape enough, you can bring the little friend along. I believe the difficulty level is based on the workout factor the steep hill at the beginning doesn't seem tough until your heading back and have to hike back up it. Good hike and I certainly would do it again. My only complaint is the road marker off 211 isn't too obvious its marked by a brown wooden post.

By: Joe of MD Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 06, 2009
The description and reviews here said that the trail was no longer blazed, but it certainly is now, right to the top of the knob. It was a strenuous hike even though it's not very long. I met only one couple who passed me on the Massanutten trail between the Massanutten Connector and the Scothorn Gap trails.

But after I reached the ridgeline and began following the (apparently restored) red and pink blazes, I met over a dozen people! No solitude up there yesterday! They were all headed back, so when I got out to the last boulders, it was just me and the hawks. :)

The day was hazy and I expected to be caught in the rain on my way back to my car. Despite the clouds, the view was spectacular. This is the kind of hike that makes me want to invest in a good camera, but in truth, no pictures, no words, can do justice to the view.

A couple notes about the directions. The link to google maps gave me directions coming out from the DC beltway on I-66 to US 340. That's fine, but when 340 and 211 split, the directions said to continue on 211 East when in fact I had been traveling on 211 West. No U-turn required. So continue with 211 West.

The sign for the Forestry Development road is not visible from 211 heading west, and there is some other name on the sign that is visible. However, if you take the immediate right after crossing into Shenandoah County from Page County, you're on it.

By: tuff Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 29, 2009
This was a beautiful hike and not as difficult as they say. The bouldering was short lived and not as outstanding as old rag but it was entertaining. I wish i brought my dogs, they would of been fine, but they' re very athletic and can climb like cats. The view was spectacular! I loved how remote and private it was...not a soul there on a beautiful sunday. I did probably take down 1000 spider webs though along the way. Looks like someone is trying to hide the pink blazes. I found a lot covered by rocks and some of them are painted over with brown. A lot of the tree markers have been ripped off too. The last mile coming back was a nice 1000ft. climb. It wasn't too bad, short and sweet. I think it was more painful going down it. Saw lots of bear shit, so beware. I'll definately go back, next time with the bitches.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 01, 2009
Ok. What Strickler Knob did everyone else hike? Because "5 Stars" is insanely generous.

My partner and I are mid-20s, athletic, avid hikers. A 10 mile hike is our usual Saturday activity. We typically cut estimated times down in half. We love Old Rag, and after reading the reviews about Strickler Knob, were excited for an even more incredible view and fun rock scramble. (For comparison purposes, we climbed Old Rag just a week before this hike-- the positive memory fresh in our minds)

For this hike, we followed the directions to start at MassanuttenTrail, not what most people who hike this trail do. After re-reading the reviews, most people who enjoy this trail start from Scothorn Trail, a shorter and MUCH easier hike than the miserably steep descent followed by an up and down trek through jungle-esque conditions. Think insane humidity, horseflies, gnats and massive spiderwebs covering the extremely narrow and overgrown trail. We love wildlife, but don't love swatting down spider webs every 20 feet for two miles. We started early (8am) to avoid the midday heat and other hikers, and to our regret, an early start meant miserably damp, slick conditions--making the steep descent particularly slow going.

The hike from where the Massanhuten and Scothorn Trails intersect to the start of the Strickler Knob trail is uneventful, and frankly, quite boring. A new-growth forest on the left does not hide the scars of a fire, and there really is nothing to see. The final ascent to Strickler Knob is nothing like the Old Rag scramble. It's not a 'fun challenge' -- it's the unpleasant navigation of small, loose, angular rocks that becomes a chore rather than a challenge. Maybe if we had a breeze, or any bit of wind to help counteract the incessant swarm of gnats and flies, we could have actually enjoyed the views. Oh wait, actually, the views aren't that impressive anyways. Compared to the awe-inspiring rock outcropping at Old Rag, Strickler's Knob is underwhelming. While the 360 degrees is nice, the main take away for us was how far away our car was. As a hiker posted previously, the main companion at the top is an old, dead tree and a bunch of circling vultures. Not exactly inspiring in fact, it was both depressing and anti-climatic. Reading the hiker's log book, we were struck by how positive and inspiring the hike and views were for them, and how this hike clearly beat Old Rag. We just don't get it.

We hiked back down to the intersection of the Massanuten and Scothorn trail. Rather than bushwack our way through the jungle undergrowth of the Massanuten Trail and hopeful that a trail not yet taken would bring redemption to the hike, we chose the easier descent down Scothorn Trail. Again, we were disappointed with the "scenery." If a hike down a gravel road/burned out forest is what you like, then this hike is for you. If you want to see actual wildlife besides swarms of gnats and flies, and some green forest, go elsewhere. We returned to the road where we walked an unpleasant 2+ miles back to our parked car. Never again.

Bottom line: Someone please tell us where the real Strickler's Knob is that everyone keeps raving about. We'd like to hike that, please.

By: Ron Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, July 27, 2009

Were E&H reviewing Strickler Knob or their humid, buggy August day? Strickler Knob is exhilarating on a clear, low-humidity day when the 270-degree views (especially of the Blue Ridge and Page Valley) are so spectacular. There is a great sense of surprise and discovery as you wend your way along the path -- it's not really a trail -- around rock formations and outcroppings and then emerge from a schism between formations to the final redoubt and scenic vista.

Unfortunately, though, I have it on good authority that the Forest Service has suppressed use of the path by removing the trailhead sign, removing the red plastic tree blazes, and painting over the lavender rock blazes with gray paint. So, as of mid-August, anyone going out there will have to follow the path without the aid of blazes. They also removed the Strickler Knob Log which was in a dry bag hanging from a tree at the terminus. There were hundreds of entries in the tattered log, almost all expressing writers' delight with the hike and the splendor of the final destination.

Apparently the Forest Service will consider making this an official trail in the future. In the meantime, adventurous souls can still go up there. Although the path meanders, it follows the top of the narrow ridge and you can't likely get lost. Near the end, among the big rock formations, you have to be more careful. The main route is not dangerous, so if you come to a dangerous spot, retrace your steps and try another route. The final formation has three "towers." You climb through the rock jumble between them until you emerge at the final lookout. Happy exploring!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 26, 2009

This is my 3rd time hiking this trail. One thing to note when getting to the pink blazed Strickler Knob portion. The "Strickler Knob" wooden sign appears to have been removed. I couldn't find it anywhere so don't know if it's a temporary thing or someone stole it.

Good conditioning hike, especially on the return portion.

By: Seth Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 03, 2009
Great hike but rather grueling even for a seasoned hiker. We missed Crimson Hollow Rd/VA211 several times because there is another street name on the regular road sign and further back off 211 there is a smaller brown street sign. We parked at the Massanutten trailhead and continued up from there. Lot's of up and down. Good footwear with ankle support is a must for this hike. The majority of the hike has lots of smaller rocks making it easy to trip over your ankles. I must say that my legs and ankles took a huge beating. Don't let this discourage you as it makes for a good challenge and a rewarding hike. We took about 3.5 hours round trip and stopped to take pictures at many points. If you are looking for a shorter and easier route to the top, start at the Scothorn Gap trailhead which is further down the road from the Massanutten trailhead. There is more parking there and you have an easy shot straight up to the pink trail to reach the summit. Take plenty of water and give yourself plenty of time to avoid hiking after dark.

A GPS note:

The GPS tracks you can download here are right on the money. However, if you are using GPS to get to the trailhead, my GPS kept freaking out and only got me close. Use google maps and count the milage for the last direction so you don't miss Crimson Hollow.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 03, 2009
We added the pink trail portion of this hike to the Duncan Knob hike found on this site to bag two of best vistas on the mountain in one day. Since we had been to Duncan Knob twice before we reversed the direction of the loop allowing us to attack Strickler Knob first. The views were great. The total distance this way was 10 miles.

By: S.P. Gass Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 27, 2009
For years, I've been interested in hiking Strickler Knob in the Lee Ranger District of George Washington National Forest. My 2000 PATC Guide to Massanutten Mountain describes the hike as a "very difficult bushwack" mentioning that the last rocky top cannot be reached without a rope. I was curious, but never made the trip.

More recently, I read that someone built a new pink blazed trail connecting Strickler Knob with the Massanutten Trail. I'm not sure if rocks shifted at some point, but now the summit stack is now accessible to hikers without rope.

We began our hike at the Scothorn Gap trailhead on Crisman Hollow Road. The yellow-blazed Scothorn Gap Trail passes some interesting scenery through an area previously impacted by wildfire. In addition to some mushrooms and moss, we also noticed pink fumewort wildflowers. We spotted some raccoon tracks, but my photograph did not turn out well. The only unpleasant factor was an abundance of toilet paper near the trailhead. If you use toilet paper in the woods then please bury it.

At a trail intersection we went straight onto the orange-blazed Massanutten Mountain Trail before turning off on the pink-blazed Strickler Knob Trail. On the Strickler Knob Trail, we used caution when passing some bees flying in and around a hole in a tree. Before reaching the summit, we passed by some ripening blueberries. Someone left a journal at the summit however, the watertight bag containing the journal had leaked.

Some have compared hiking Strickler Knob to hiking Old Rag Mountain. While Strickler Knob is a great hike with a bit of scrambling at the end, in my opinion the Old Rag rock scramble is more fun than Strickler Knob. However, Strickler Knob was definitely less crowded (we saw just three other groups of hikers) and the views are perhaps even better. Concerning the views, of course it didn't hurt that we made the hike during June 2009 when we had unusually fine weather with low dewpoints and relatively little haze.

I also posted the report with some hyperlinks and directions at: http://www.olddominionwildlife.com/2009/07/29/hiking-strickler-knob/

Pictures are at: http://picasaweb.google.com/spgass/StricklerKnob?feat=directlink#

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 21, 2009

My wife, 2 daughters and I did the hike from Scothorn Trail. Very nice hike with favorable weather conditions after so much rain in June. We had a nice breeze most of the day which kept the gnats, mosquitoes and horseflies at bay. Very wise to take a compass and a topo map, we missed the Massanutten trail by staying on the Scothorn Trail a little too long which ended up in a dead end marsh. We doubled back and picked up the Massanutten trail discovering we should have gone in the direction of the sign that simply had a yellow “F” and an arrow pointing right. The area where the sign was posted, for lack of a better term, is an alpine meadow with tall grass which we walked through for about 50 yards before the trail opened up.

Pretty uneventful all the way to Strickler Knob except for the beauty of a rather new growth of forest. Once at Strickler Knob we enjoyed the stunning beauty of the views from several different perches soaking up the sunshine interrupted only by an occasional fair weather cumulus cloud floating by.

This was a great hike and I highly recommend it. As advertised, the solitude was good, we saw 2 other people who arrived at Strickler about a half hour after us. We stayed for about an hour eating lunch and taking in the sights of the Shenandoah and surrounding valley. The trip down was a little harder than the trip up at least for me. My knees took a bit of a pounding, enough so that I made a hiking stick to help take a little pressure off. All in all a great day.


By: Linda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 13, 2009
This is a great trail with good signs. The solitude is high, only 2 people we met on the summit. The sign book is full, and is wet. The view on the summit is wonderful. Need plenty of water. Be aware of the snakes in the bush.

By: Blair Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009
The good: This was a worthwhile hike and not crowded, making it a good alternative for people who want more solitude. The views were absolutely remarkable, and the last leg of the outbound journey is very nice.

The bad: The trail is not particularly well-marked, so bring directions on your hike. (I did not see one sign that referred to "Strickler Knob," for example, and Route 274 is easy to miss.) Do not expect an Old Rag-style rock scramble, either. There is a scramble, but it is much shorter and less interesting than the one on Old Rag.

Be prepared - this hike can be deceptive in terms of the energy required. The final stage of the return (also the first stage of the outbound leg) from the Massanutten trailhead is fairly steep and grueling, even for an avid hiker. There are few switchbacks and a lot of straight uphill. Bring water!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Forget about solitude on this hike - the word is out. Did this hike yesterday and must have passed 30+ people. A lot of folks doing the shorter version. A portion of the hike is on a wide fire road with burnouts on one side. Not the idea of a real trail. Worse, the final ascent to the knob becomes a mule train because folks are so worried about losing the trail. While they did a great job with the markings and the bushwhacking, on a busy day this is an accident waiting to happen. Some loose rocks, a lot of places for the weaker wildebeest to go down. My recommendation, go on a weekday.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 12, 2009
I did the shorter version of this hike (from the Scothorn Gap trailhead) on Easter Sunday and loved it. It was fairly quiet -- I saw maybe four couples along the trail in total. Two things I would like to alert people to:

- I walked right past the pink blazes and had to double back which added an extra hour to my hike. Based on the pictures, I think there used to be a sign next to the turn that has since disappear. So look carefully. The beginning of the pink blazed trail is very rocky and doesn't immediately look very trail-like.

- On your way back from the summit look for some blue blazes to your right. There's also a sign, but I don't recall exactly what it said: "Something Rocks -- 100 yards". The views on this side of the knob well worth the detour.

Thanks to everyone for publicizing this hike.

By: Paomi Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 21, 2009
Definitely one of the best hikes in VA. Arguable the best views in VA, and so much fun climbing around on the boulders for the last 1/2 mile.

For years, hikers would bushwack the last 1/2 mile or so to see these views, but now we have the Strickler Knob trail.

If you don't get to a very pinnacle with obvious 360 degree views in all directions and the hiker's log in the big plastic bag hanging from a tree, then you haven't gotten to the end. There are a couple of very nice spots with great views near the end, and it feels as if you are at the top. It looks like the trail ahead goes down, not up, from those spots. But keep following the pink blazes until you KNOW you're at the end: 360-degree, completely unobstructed views.

My wife and I are mid-30s, in good but not great shape. Hiking 10 miles in a day is probably our outer limit. We felt the climbing along the rocks was very reasonable. You just have to be careful and thoughtful. Watch out for boulders that can shift their weight.

Also, you'll do a little bit of very basic rock climbing. Just think, if I lose a hand-hold or a foot-hold here, what would the consequences be? If the answer is, "I'd fall and break a leg or worse," then back off and reposition or go another route.

Driving from DC, rather than taking 66W to 340, we took 66W to 81S, and then to 211 east. I *think* that was faster -- more cruising at highway speeds, anyway.

Once you get on 221 east, make sure to check your odometer. It's 3.6 miles to Forestry Development Road / 274, but the road isn't marked that well. The most obvious sign says Crissom Hollow Road (spelling?), not Forestry Development or 274. However, once you make the left turn, you'll quickly see signs saying 274.

On 274, you go past the trailhead for "Massanutten Storybook" trail -- which has a pretty pedestrian bridge. Keep going to get to the Massanutten trailhead.

At this time of the year, the gate was closed on 274, but it was only a 10-minute walk from the parking area to the trailhead.

Make sure you start out on the orange blazed trail heading east, not west.

It IS impressive, how steep that first decent is. Our legs were getting a little wobbly, even though it was still the first mile of the hike.

Then you hike up, following the creek. Nice to be out in the woods, but nothing too special in terms of the scenery this time of year -- not until you get to the pink-blazed Strickler Knob trail that is, when it all starts to become awfully jaw-dropping.

All in all, I thought the trail was very clearly marked and easy to follow, with good signs at the key intersections. Just pay attention whenever the orange blaze trail intersects with the other trails -- 1) the white-blazed Massanutten Connector at the bottom of the decent, 2) the yellow-blazed Scothorn Gap Trail once you climb up near the ridge line, and 3) the pink-blazed Strickler Knob trail.

Also, when you head back down, coming off the pink-blazed trail, make sure you take a left onto the orange-blazed trail, not a right.

Hiking back to the car, we didn't want to climb up that steep ascent from the Massanutten Connector to the road. Instead, we took the yellow-blazed Scothorn Gap Trail, which was a pleasant hike among pine trees. The two-mile hike along the road, back to the car, had it's own ups and downs, and we were pretty tired by that point, but still, that route was probably easier than retracing the entire orange-blazed Massanutten trail, with its steep 1/2 mile ascent.

Next trip, I'm hoping the gate on Forestry Development road will be open. Then I'll drive to the Scothorn Gap Trailhead for a much easier ascent to Strickler Knob. More time and energy to spend on the pinnacle that way, and only about 2.7 miles to the top from that approach, without the very steep decent of the Massanutten trail.

Enjoy!

By: JT Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 08, 2009
Great hike! Hard down hill section to begin on massanutten trail but once you reach the strickler knob section the rock scramble is awesome!  Picked a perfect day to hike, overall a perfect day.

By: Sam Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Unfortunately, I didn't pick the best day to make this hike but I was still able to appreciate the limited views from the summit.  It was partly cloudy and about 35 degrees when I left the Massanutten trailhead but as I made my way up, the temperature dropped significantly and a snow squall blew in as I made my way across the summit ridge.  With the windchill, the temperature was definitely in the teens.  I took my gloves off to snap a few photos and they were almost instantly numb and stiff from the cold.  I only stayed on the summit stack for fifteen minutes or so because the wind was relentless.  Aside from that, even with the limited visibility, I can understand why this hike earned a "6" for views.  I certainly didn't get the best Strickler Knob has to offer and I was still extremely impressed.  One thing I will say is that hikers should take care on the rock scramble during the winter.  There's not a whole lot of extensive climbing required but some of the ledges get completely iced over and I nearly took a fall after slipping on an iced ledge that was camouflaged with snow.   I had seen elsewhere on this site that the rock scramble was as good as Old Rag, but I'd have to disagree with that.  Old Rag's scramble is much more extensive.  Overall, though, it was a good hike and it is definitely worth the trip.

By: Sabrina Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 23, 2008

After missing the trail last time, we headed back this past weekend determined to climb Strickler Knob, starting from the Scothurn Gap trail this time around. It was about 30 degrees when we started, but after walking uphill for about a 1/2 mile, we warmed up rather quickly. A lot of the ground was snow covered, which made the trail a lot prettier. On our way up, we spotted a frozen lake a bit off the trail that we had fun exploring. Once we started Strickler Knob we had some great views. The rock climbing became a bit more challenging as we reached the top, which was a lot of fun. The views were awesome at the summit, and it was really nice to eat lunch up there, and take it all in. We didn't run into anyone while we were on the Strickler Knob trail itself, but we saw about 10 people on the Scothurn Gap trail. We may have beat the rush, since we had an early start.


By: Sabrina Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Unfortunately, we ran into some problems at Strickler Knob.  First, before we even got to the trail, we couldn't find Forestry Development Rd, which is the road that you need to take to get to the trail head.  We passed it the first time, because the road sign actually says E. Lee Hwy, not Forestry Development Rd.  We started from the Massanutten trail head, which was challenging in the beginning because the descent was pretty steep, but after that it was pretty easy going.  We really ran into problems once we came to the intersection of the Massanutten trail and the Strickler Knob trail.  The sign for Strickler Knob was not very visible from the Massanutten trail.  It's set back from the trail, and the sign itself is small and blends into the trees.  We passed right by it the first time, and didn't realize we were headed in the wrong direction for quite a while, because as we continued to hike the Masanutten trail there were a couple of pink markers, which made us think we were going in the right direction.  In addition to the out of place pink markers, there were red markers on some of the trees, which added to the confusion.  To avoid making this mistake, just keep an eye out for the rocky area at the top of the hill, if you are ascending from the south side of the Massanutten trail.  Strickler Knob is about .6 miles from the intersection of the Scothurn Gap and Massanutten trails.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 08, 2008
A group of nine of us hiked from the Scothorn Gap Trail. We had some difficulty finding the correct road that you started on, but after that we had an amazing hike!!  We made it to the point around five, which was late but we had planned on camping close to the top anyway.  For anyone who wants to camp within about a quarter mile from the top, there is a small campsite on the left hand side that has enough (but VERY tight) space for 3-4 tents.  Overall, some of the best views we have seen!! Just as good if not better than Big Schloss. Solitude should be a four, we saw 7-9 hikers on the trail but overall great!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 02, 2008
Did the hike as described. For those that say that it's not like Old Rag, you're right! I would say this is maybe a super-Bearfence Mountain or something along those lines. And the rocks at the top are smoother than other rock outcrops like Old Rag and Big Schloss, I felt like I was watching my steps more than usual.

Difficulty: If you want a good workout, take the hike as described. The descent/ascent of Waterfall Mountain is brutal. The slope is almost 800' over a distance of 1/2 mile. I don't think I've ever done anything harder on the trail than this section. If you want to take it a bit easier, you can try the Scothorn Gap trailhead, or the Massanutten Connector (the latter is longer, but you won't have that insane climb to do)

Directions: If approaching from the South, the trailhead is almost a mile beyond where the road becomes gravel. That first parking area is nice and all, but it's for some little Storybook interpretive trail, and I don't think it connects to Massanutten. The trailhead has a sign, "Massanutten Trail" next to the road. Parking is on the west side of the road.

Views: They stunk today, thanks to some... I dunno, autumn haze??? But they're there, and when crap isn't blocking your view, they're bound to be more amazing than what I saw. It's becoming late for fall foliage. The trees don't look too bad from above, but aren't too great when you're walking in them.

The solitude should be lowered to at least a 4. If it's a weekend, you will see more than a couple hikers. I saw about 15 today (Sunday).

And on a random note, if you really want to see chipmunks, they're all over this area. I saw/heard more today than I think my whole family (and me) has seen in our lives, combined.

By: Rock On! Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 19, 2008
Best Hike I've done on this site! Great bouldering site if you don't mind the lichen and long walk. The awesome view is compounded by the fact that there is no one else there. Did see a few dogs and 4 guys on motocross bikes, but none near the summit as we had the place to ourselves :)

By: CJ Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good "workout" hike. A bit dangerous on the last mile to Strickler Knob (and back). The rocks were damp and slipping can be a big problem.  Add loose rocks to the mix and it's a challenge to make sure you don't hurt yourself. Overall, a good experience. 


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 20, 2008
I'm a little confused in trying to find the Forest Development Road to access the parking for the Massanutten Trailhead where I planned on starting the hike to Strickler Knob.  I did see a blocked off road based on where the map and parking was opposite side of VA 211.  It's overgrown and felt this may not be the location to the parking area.  Any assistance would be helpful. 

By: Cameron Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 15, 2008
Great hike, the rock scramble isnt as great as Old Rag (so I hear) but the views are worth the effort, be sure to record your story in the notebook hanging from a tree limb at the top!

By: Pstroller Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 01, 2008
I did this hike via the Scothorn Gap Trail. A little overgrown, so be prepared to do some bushwhacking. The Strickler Knob trail was pretty efficient, but I did lose it a couple of times. The views from the knob were awesome - a clear, beautiful day with blue skies and nice breeze. I agree w/ the reviewers who said that this hike is not Old Rag-like. Kind of a cross between Duncan Knob and Kennedy Peak. Being a Labor Day Monday, I wasn't expecting solitude and seclusion but I was a little surprised to see 17 hikers and 2 dogs. From a difficulty standpoint, I'd say this hike is much easier than Old Rag, but I wouldn't call it easy (plus I took the Scothorn shortcut) it's pretty rugged. I'd recommend this hike. A beautiful day in the Masanutten Mountain highlands!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 01, 2008
Great hike with great scrambles. The trail is well marked, but the blazes are harder to see on the way back down. Be sure, if you park at the lot off of the Massanutten trail that you CROSS THE STREET to get on the trail. DO NOT take the trail on the same side as the parking lot. The hike itself is great!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2008
Definitely enjoyed the hike, it's fun to sort of pick your way once you hit the spur trail, and the rock-hopping is great.  The 12ft climb is not that formidable, and overall I thought the hike was quite easy.  We did take the Scothorn Gap Trail since we were pressed for time, so maybe that made a big difference, but I wouldn't call it a level 5 difficulty.  Unfortunately it was crazy humid so we didn't get much of a view, but the hike itself was very interesting so that completely made up for it.  This would be a great short hike when you want to get out but the visibility isn't great.  Don't go when it's wet though - it was pretty dry, and my roommate still took a couple spills!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2008
I agree - the views were incredible, but the comparison to Old Rag is rather overdone. Only a handful of portions near the end of the spur trail could be considered Rag-esque, but don't let that stop anyone from taking this great hike!
I started my solo at 7:30 AM from the the Scothorn Gap trailhead - a shortcut that saves a few miles and two traverses over Waterfall Mountain. The area was very foggy, thanks to two days of rain from the remnants of T.S. Faye. Be very careful, as the rocks on the spur trail are treacherous when wet thankfully I made the trip without mishap. The Knob was completely fogged in when I arrived, with only the South Massenutten and Shenandoah N.P. visible above the clouds. With the fog, it was one of the most visually stunning hikes I've taken in this region for a long time! I took a nap on the rocks, and waited for the fog to lift somewhat before I started back down - I spent close to 2 hours on the knob! Definitely one of my new favorites!

By: Misha Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 24, 2008
Trekking poles are really very useful on this hike! The view is remarkable, but I would not compare it with Old Rag. I parked at the large parking near the boardwalk, adding 0.5 mi of walking along a pleasant road. Will definitely come back in the fall and combine this hike with Duncan Knob as a 2-day BP.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 23, 2008

This is a must hike even though I didn't have it to myself as advertised - I had to scare off 10 very bold Vultures at the top of the Knob!!!  In fact they kept circling while I was eating my lunch. They must have seen how exhausted I was and wanted to hang around in case I expired. I usually recover quickly from hikes but I am still sore today from this one. There is a pretty long stretch about .5 mile into the hike that goes down very steeply for about .6 mile, hiking poles came in handy. Keep that downhill in mind as you have to come back up that on the return trip, save some water and a snack. There is a sign at the Strickler Knob trail intersection that says 1 mile to the knob but, hikingupwards measures it at around .7. That .7 is pretty tough, you will not make "good time" on this stretch due the rocks and scrambling (which was fun) but the views at the end are unbelievable and you won't be able to stay there for just 30 mins for lunch, I stayed about 1hr 20 mins the views were so great, hated to leave but the car wasn't coming to me. Take plenty of water and good hiking boots.


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