Kaylor Knob is a fairly easy ridge hike offering nice views in George Washington National Forest. The summit is the highest point on Second Mountain.
For those that regularly follow our blog, you may know that Christine sprained her ankle badly during our hike up Buzzard Rock. While she was healing, we participated in a Backpacking 101 course through PATC. The workshop concludes with an overnight backpacking trip scheduled for the first weekend in May. We decided to test out the ankle with some extra weight to see if going on the backpacking trip would even be possible. So, we got our gear together and decided to do a short hike to Kaylor Knob after work last Friday.
While you can approach this summit from Cub Run, we decided to try the shorter approach, taking off from the overlook at Massanutten Resort. The hike starts across the road from the parking lot at the top of the overlook. We have hiked this trail several times to the first overlook where a geocache is hidden, but this was the first time that we took the hike to the summit. Since the last time we did this hike, someone has improved the trail markings. You simply follow the blue-blazed trail along the way (some points also have blue signs marked with a “K.K.” and the mileage). At around .5 miles, you will come to a junction with another trail that is marked with pink blazes. Just stay to the right and continue on the blue-blazed trail. At .75 miles, you will come to a small rock outcropping that has a nice view to the west. If you continue up the hill past this outcropping, you will continue to walk along the ridge. You will see views to the west and east through the trees that will open up at different spots. Shortly after 1.5 miles, you will come to the summit, which is marked with a larger outcropping and nice views to the east. After taking some time to enjoy the views head back the way you came. This trail also connects to Cub Run Road. If you are interested in a longer hike (around 8.5 miles out-and-back), you could try this route.
I do think the views to the east are better than the views to the west on this hike. If you wanted to see a nice sunrise, you should get up early to make it to the summit by sunrise. If you are a geocacher, there are two caches you could easily reach hiking this trail:
This is a great short hike to do if you’re visiting the Massanutten area.
Adam and I have a backpacking trip coming up, so I needed to get out there and give the ankle a good test drive. Our original plan was to hike somewhere in Shenandoah on Saturday and then spend the night camping in our backyard. However, the weather took a turn for the worse, and we ended up just squeezing in a quick hike to Kaylor Knob on Friday evening. (we also skipped the tent in the backyard and slept in our nice, plush bed instead.)
I managed to load about 25 pounds of gear into our backpack for the “dress rehearsal”. My ankle felt completely fine for the entire hike – stable and painless. The pack was easy to carry and comfortable. It did make the hills a little tougher, but I still felt really good. I know our packs for the trip will be a little heavier, but this was still a decent test.
The Kaylor Knob hike is not particularly remarkable. It’s pretty and peaceful and has two nice viewpoints along the way. There are definitely more impressive trails in our area, but this one is a five minute drive from the house, so it was perfect for a quick after-work hike.
Unfortunately, the morning after the hike, my ankle and Achilles tendon were pretty sore. Even though they felt great on the hike, I don’t know if I’m 100% ready to go on our backpack trip.
Note: If you have a couple days in the area, be sure to check out the Massanutten Ridge Trail!
- Distance – 3.3 miles out-and-back
- Elevation Change – about 450 feet
- Difficulty –1.5 Most people should be able to do this.
- Trail Conditions – 3. While the trail is used often, it contains lots of pointy rocks.
- Waterfalls/streams – 0. Non-existent.
- Views – 2.5. Pretty, but not terribly open or panoramic.
- Wildlife –1.5 There isn’t much room for wildlife on the top of this ridge. Expect to see birds of prey soaring in view as well as many of the local birds in the thickets.
- Ease to Navigate –4.5. If you stay on the blue-blazes, you’ll be fine.
- Solitude –3. You may see some people due to its popularity with vacationers, but you should still have mostly solitude.
Directions to trailhead: From Harrisonburg, head east on US 33 for about 10 miles. Turn left at the Exxon on the left and head on SR 644, Resort Drive. Follow this road and take a left on Massanutten Drive. You will reach a guard house. Let the guard know that you are here to hike and they will give you a guest pass. After about 3 miles, take a right on Del Webb Drive. Follow Del Webb Drive for about two miles until you begin to drive up to the ridge, where there is a parking lot on the left. After you park here, cross the road. At the end of the guard rail you will begin the Kaylor Knob trail.