Strickler Knob – via Scothorn Gap
The Strickler Knob hike is a beautiful, 5.5 mile hike in the Lee Ranger District of George Washington National Forest. It offers fabulous views of the Page Valley and a short, but fun, rock scramble.
This is a great hike that is still not very well known. There are some great views at the top and a mini rock scramble that is good preparation for anyone who wants a little practice before tackling Old Rag. I wouldn’t recommend this hike for small children or dogs due to the rock scramble.
The hike can be a little tricky to navigate, so I have provided some clear directions for following the trail.
After parking at Scothorn Gap, you’ll immediately wade or rock hop across Passage Creek. The hike starts off on a fire road. The way starts to get fairly steep at .4 miles, but levels off again at .65 miles. At .8 miles, the hike gets steep again, but levels at .95 miles. This is the hardest part of the hike, so once that is done, the elevation changes are small. At 1.07 miles, you will see a nice campsite for anyone that wants to stay overnight. At this point, you will see an arrow pointing to the right, where you will pick up the trail again. The trail continues SSE from the campsite and you will be leaving the fire road for a hike through the woods. At 1.3 miles, you will come to a junction sign. Head straight on to the orange-blazed Massanutten trail.
At 1.94 miles you will come to the junction with the Strickler Knob trail to the right. This trail was built and opened in 2006 by some anonymous trailblazers. The blazes for this trail are marked as pink on rocks and typically red or purple rectangles on trees. This trail is fairly rocky, so be careful not to turn your ankles. Around 2.5 miles, you will see gorgeous views of the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. To the west, you will see more of the Shenandoah valley and the Appalachian Mountains. At 2.67 miles, you will reach a rock scramble for about one tenth of a mile until you reach the summit. This is a great spot to have 360 degree views of the area around you. Tied to a tree, you will also see a logbook that someone placed for people to journal about their hike. It’s definitely a good read to those that are interested.
For those that are interested, I also placed a geocache up there. The direct link for the geocache can be found at:
We hiked the Strickler Knob trail on the recommendation of a friend of mine from Flickr. He said it was a fun hike with excellent views. He wasn’t kidding!
We walked the trail on a bitter, windy winter day shortly before the forest road closed for the season. The section of road that leads to the trailhead is periodically closed in the winter to prevent damage to the road surface. (You can always check the status of roads and trails in the George Washington National Forest on their website) The hike was fairly easy and passed through the beautiful woods of Massanutten Mountain. The Strickler Knob trail branches off the main trail and follows a rocky ridgeline over to the knob. I love scrambling on rocks, so the last portion of the trail was my favorite part.
When we reached the knob, the view was amazing. We got there mid-day, so it wasn’t a great time for photography. I’d like to hike it again in the afternoon sometime. I think the late day light would be prettier on the rocks and over the valley below.
While Adam hid his geocache, I spent some time reading the trail journal at the summit. It was entertaining, and I even came across the name of an old co-worker in the book. I also remember it being super windy at the summit. It was so bad, my bag of trailmix blew over and (sadly) sent chocolate covered peanuts spilling all over the rocks. I hate it when I lose chocolate like that. I’m sure some stupid crow enjoyed it though.
- Distance – 5.5 miles round-trip
- Elevation Change – 1,600 feet
- Difficulty – 3. There is some moderate climbing along the route. The scramble might be tough/scary for some.
- Trail Conditions – 3. Most of the trail is nicely graded and well maintained. But once you turn onto the Strickler Knob trail it’s rocky and requires some scrambling.
- Views – 4. Once you reach the top you have some great views.
- Waterfalls/streams – 1. Just a small stream to cross at the beginning.
- Wildlife – 2. Hunters like this area, so there must be wildlife (although we didn’t see any.) During hunting season, make sure you’re wearing bright colors and making noise. A co-worker who was running up here also got attacked by a wild goat here.
- Ease to Navigate – 3. The blazes can be a little tricky to follow on the pink blazed Strickler Knob trail. Otherwise, the trail is pretty straightforward.
- Solitude – 2. Since 2009, this trail has become increasingly popular. We revised the solitude rating from 4.5 down to 2 in 2014.
Directions to trailhead:
Reach the trailhead by turning on to Crisman Hollow Road (FD 274) off of 211 near Luray. Continue on this road for a few miles and park at the Scothorn Gap trail parking.
Once you have parked follow Orange Blazes on Scothorn Gap trail. Follow trail directions above.