The Signal Knob hike in the George Washington National Forest has spectacular views of Strausburg VA. in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as Buzzard Rock in Fort Valley to the east.
Signal Knob, at 2,106ft, gets its name as both Confederate and Union troops used it as a lookout during the Civil War. The Confederate Signal Corps controlled the outlook from 1862 until August 14, 1864, when Union troops defeated the 61st Georgia Volunteer Infantry and took control of the peak.
Mile 0.0 - Start the hike from the right side of the Signal
Knob parking area. The trail is blazed orange which designates it as part of the Massanutten Trail. Start uphill
on the orange blazed trail then shortly pass an old
stone house on your left, cross a small stream, then follow the trail around the
eastern section of the mountain.
Mile 1.5 - Arrive at the Buzzard
Rock Overlook. The trail will take a hairpin turn back to the south and becomes significantly more rocky. In 0.9 miles from the Buzzard Rock Overlook the trail turns back to the north passing another nice vista of Fort Valley. Continue to follow the orange blazed trail as it becomes less steep, then passes several nice camp spots just before arriving at the intersection of the Meneka Peak Trail.
Mile 3.4 - Pass the Meneka Peak Trail on the left, continuing on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail as it winds around the ridge to your
right and passing a transmission tower in another 0.8 miles.
Mile 9.3 - Continue straight on the orange blazed Massanutten
Trail (this section was formerly the the Tuscarora Spur Trail
and was reblazed in 2002) as it
descends slightly, then parallels Fort Valley Rd./VA678.
Mile 9.9 - Arrive back
on the left side of the Signal Knob parking area.
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Signal Knob hike:
Reviews For The Signal Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
Fantastic hike, with amazing views and great variety of terrain. I will caution anyone hiking with full packs there is no way this loop takes five hours. We took a Crew of Scouts preparing for Philmont on this trek and subtracting meals, it still took us 6-7 hours. I suppose fit people with very light loads could do it in five, but I wouldn't plan on it.
Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Had an enjoyable hike all to myself. Never saw another person. I think if I do it again I will back track after reaching Signal Knob Lookout, and take the Meneka Peak trail rather than the fire road that requires reclimbing the mountain. Many opportunities to look out over the valleys this time of the year.
Date of Hike: Sunday, October 14, 2018
Great hike. However going counter clockwise thru the loop, after the first overlook (1.5 miles) there are several rock piles across the trail and rocks off and on for the next mile or two. Be sure to wear the proper shoes and take care. The overlooks are quite spectacular. I was however disappointed at Signal Knob overlook looking west as the small Maple trees have grown to block a lot of the view that was so breathtaking just a couple of years ago. I hope the trail maintenance crew in that area can trim those back as the view really has been compromised. Saw 4 solo's and 3 pairs of hikers all day. Temps in the 50's and cloudy.
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 22, 2018
This was a great hike that was deceptively difficult. Lots of narrow rocky paths steep inclines. We were sweating by the end.
A note of caution, shortly before the 2 mile mark there was a tree that had fallen on the trail. Because the trail is so narrow and winding up the edge of the mountain, we had no choice but to climb over it. It was unsteady, but did not slide down the mountain while I was on top of it. Hopefully it will be cleared soon, but in the meantime, I'd recommend keeping one hand on another tree, vine, or friend while clambering over it.
Date of Hike: Monday, July 16, 2018
A great hike with a very accessible trailhead! I did it for the second time today (having done it in December too). It is a pretty typical local mountain hike with lots of rock, good for building ankle strength. Since it is summer, the views are not as open as they are in the winter. We did not see anyone else until running into some mountain bikers late on the descent. Having a good local loop hike with good altitude gain is special. It can be done in around 3:30 with a steady pace.