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Strickler Knob - Luray, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
8.6 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5.0 hours with 1/2 hour for lunch
2,140 ft
George Washington National Forest
Printable Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Luray Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), GPS eXchange (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route

Park at either the Massanutten Trailhead 38.66285, -78.59838, or at the Scothorn Gap Trailhead 38.69143, -78.58004 on Crisman Hollow Road/274.
Crisman Hollow Road/274 is closed February 1 to April 1.

Some of the best vistas in the mid-Atlantic. The Strickler Knob Trail is a challenging rock hopping/scramble with beautiful views of New Market Gap, the Luray Valley, and a 360 degree picture perfect panorama from the Strickler Knob summit. This is a challenging hike with a great little rock scramble on the ridge. Camp at any of the ridge campsites and enjoy great sunsets and sunrises over the Shenandoah Valley, however be sure to carry up water as there are no springs along the ridge.

  • The Strickler Knob Trail is not a maintained or an official trail, and is considered a bushwack. This hike is not suitable for young children or dogs.

  • You can shorten the hike to 5.2 miles and avoid the tough climb at the end by starting the hike from the Scothorn Gap trailhead on Crisman Hollow Rd/274.
  • Mile 0.0 - From the Massanutten trailhead on Crimson Hollow Rd/VA211 start east towards Waterfall Mountain on the orange blazed Massanutten trail, immediately passing a campsite on the left. In 0.3 miles there is a vista of the Luray Valley. Continue for 0.3 miles at which point the trail turns steeply downhill.

  • Mile 0.6 - Make several switchbacks, then the trail becomes less steep before reaching the intersection of the white blazed Massanutten Connector trail in 0.5 miles from the ridge.

  • Mile 1.1 - Turn left on the orange blazed Massanutten trail as it begins to climb alongside Big Run, passing a campsite in 0.1 miles. Cross the run where the trail becomes steeper, then re-cross the run, make one large switchback, then level out and arrive at the intersection of the yellow blazed Scothorn Gap trail 1.9 miles from the last intersection.

  • Mile 3.0 - Turn right uphill as the orange blazed Massanutten Trail continues to climb then arrives at the ridge and intersection of the pink blazed Strickler Knob trail in another 0.6 miles.

  • Mile 3.6 - Now the fun starts. Firstly, thank you to the trail builders! This used to be a formidable bushwhack. The Strickler Knob trail is marked with pink blazes on the rocks, but may not be there as they have previously been removed by the Forestry Service. The trail will also appear to end in several places, but keep heading along the ridge and you'll pick the trail back up. After 0.3 miles pass a rock outcrop and view to the west and north. From this vista, continue on the trail rock hopping for another 0.4 miles to another opening, and beautiful vista to the southwest. From this point the rock hopping and bouldering becomes more intense. The first obstacle is a 12ft climb over a small rock wall, then just before the the main summit pass through a group of three boulders. This is not the summit stack! Once through the crack continue to follow the blazes, pass a small overhang, and climb a 6ft ledge.

  • Mile 4.3 - The main summit is accessed through a rock crack on the left. Continue for another 30ft to the southern summit overlook. Climbing to the main summit provides a 360 degree view of the Luray Valley and New Market Gap.

Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Strickler Knob hike:

Hiker Reviews For The Strickler Knob Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 15, 2018
Did this for the workout element b/c it's rated difficult but was super surprised how wonderful Strickler's Knob was....well worth the effort...it's difficult tho....there must be easier ways to access the Knob if you look for them....The first hill down from the road/start is a killer! Wear good boots.....not really a hike for lite hiking or running shoes b/c of loose rocks underfoot.

You shouldn't do the Knob alone - as I did- because of difficult terrain and risk of a fall or broken ankle in a remote region. I didn't see a person all day. When you get there you are def up w the buzzards and hawks but they all moved off when I approached and loitered overhead while I ate lunch and enjoyed the wonderful vista.

The start at the Masanuttan trail crossing of Crimson Hollow road is well marked...don't look for it until you leave the hard top road and get into the Forest land and the road becomes gravel. Also, don't be put off by the bushwhack element of this hike....the SK trail is easily followed and the best part of the walk.

By: Katie Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 14, 2018
This is a super fun hike, especially if you like rock scrambles and a little bouldering! There are also gorgeous 360 views from the top, though I would not recommend the Strickler Knob portion for someone with a serious fear of heights. I am in my 30s and did this hike with my 60-year-old mom. Both of us climb and hike a fair amount and even she was having some vertigo at the top. We found the hike to be challenging in places but totally manageable.

We started from the Massanutten trailhead and came back via the Scothorn Gap trail to cut out some of the elevation change and time at the end of the day. From the Scothorn Gap parking area, it's just over 2 miles walk on Crismon Hollow Road to get back to the Massanutten trailhead, making the entire hike just under 9.5 miles. The PDF topo map and guide above (which you can download to iBooks) were spot-on and very helpful. I think we were lucky because there were clear pink blazes on the trail, but I imagine it would be much more difficult to stay on the path if they had been removed.

Watch out for rattlesnakes, as we almost stepped on a very large and angry one coming back down toward the Scothorn Gap parking area!

By: Alex H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 31, 2018
Wow, This hike should be a 6 difficulty. But you should do it. 1. Its brutally step if you hike the 8 mile section described above (which ended up being closer to 10 because the fire road was closed and I had to walk up the road .5 mile to get to the trail)
2. The section up to the knob (pink blazed trail) is pretty much a half a mile of rock scramble.
3. A sincere thanks to whoever marked the pink trail up. Nonetheless, its a hard trail to follow, you gotta pay close attention.

Now that I've said all that, You should absolutely do this hike. Nothing worth having comes easy. The views at the top are some of the best in the valley. There is also a Blue blazed offshoot near Strickler knob that takes you to a great spot overlooking Luray, better than on top of Strickler to me.

Last thing to note, there was a turkey vulture nesting under some rocks right under the knob which I startled as I was climbing. If your unfamiliar those large birds, they make the noises of a much larger, perhaps predator animal. It may even cause one to shriek in fear if your not expecting it. Just fyi.

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 5, 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.

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