Signal Knob Loop Trail is a 9.8 mile loop trail located near Fort Valley, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Strasburg, VA: Take SR 55 east for about 5 miles to Waterlick. Then take SR 678 south for 5 miles to the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area. The trailhead is at the Bear Wallow / Signal Knob parking lot on SR 678 approximately 1 mile north of the Elizabeth Furnace Picnic Area.
I did not dislike this trail per se, but it just wasn't as challenging nor as 'scenic' as I had hoped. In my opinion, none of the elevation gains or technical areas really warrant a Hard rating. As others have noted, the trail is very rocky, and might put a hard strain on your feet and ankles without proper footwear.
You can do either the full circuit of ~10 miles or hike counterclockwise to Signal Knob and back and do about 7.5-8 miles. Either way, you will get a solid workout
Great trail for a day hike that was fairly technical and rocky. There were also plenty of options for camping.
Hike the loop in one day -- the GWNF map says the loop is 10.6miles. Headed East first, where the trail is the rockiest. It's definitely a rocky trail -- especially for the first five miles from the east side of the parking lot to Signal Knob. If headed up in the fall, the leaves make it difficult to choose steps wisely -- but also provide some amazing views and gorgeous colors. Great loop. There is a bit of trail on an old fire road (between signal knob and the blue blazed trail). Otherwise, almost all the rest of the trail is in the middle of covered Forrest. Well marked. Easy to follow. Impressed with anyone who mountain bikes the loop. It would not be easy.
This hike was a great technical challenge for me. I have a shattered ankle and ACL. It tested my abilities and I was able to unearth my limitations. If you are following the directions on this website you will start with an accent that keeps going until the summit. The trail is well kept and is almost 98 percent rocky. There are no large scrambles but the soft and flat ground is rarely seen. If there are no rocks then there are roots. Previously I did Billy Goat and was using it as a gauge of time. Big mistake. This is nothing like Billy Goat. Signal Knob is the real deal. I found the blazes marked well. I brought a print out of the directions and they came in handy. There are a few off shoots but I wanted to concentrate on the main loop trail. I found the docents much more difficult to traverse than the accents. I woke up muscles that have been dormant during the descents. Definitely recommend trekking poles although we passed a few hikers without. Got to the trailhead about 9am and back to the parking lot by 3:30pm. I highly recommend this trail for those who want to test their bodies and others that just want to have a good time.
Great loop. Two assents actually. Great on trail camping as well with fire pits and sites abundant. The second assent up Bear Wallow is quite demanding with a 3/4 mile demanding climb. Nice quite off trail camping is very close at Elizabeth Furnace Campground.
We stretched this into a two-day trip in early August: arrived Friday evening, parked across the road from the Elizabeth Furnace Campgrounds (Mudhole Gap trailhead/Purple). We camped at a campground near Signal Knob trailhead the first night. The trail is very rocky, you'll definitely need sturdy hiking boots if you're carrying heavy equipments. Tree leaves in the summer makes the scenery not so great on the trail. We went a little further down orange trail and camped by Strasburg Reservoir the second night. Bring more water than you think you'll need, you won't get water on the loop. There are some clear creeks near the reservoir, and fair amount of berries. No wildlife sighting aside from a gecko.
Started at 9:30 in the morning. Never did this trail before. Really enjoyable trail going up the east side of the mountain was my favorite all the way up to the signal tower. Saw several lizards and great views pretty much all the way until just past the tower. Didn't care much for the descent from the tower using the gravel road, it is efficient. The blue blaze trail is really long. If it is your first time definitely take a picture of the trail guide at the trail head. Definitely would do again. Recommended poles and boots because it is really rocky.
We decided to break up the hike to test our new backpacks and to see if our Boston Terriers could handle the distance. By choice of our own, we hiked at 3pm on a hot day in July. Our dogs did fine, there are great campsites. We hiked three miles the first evening. Being all uphill and rocky, it was a slow go. We stopped right before the intersection of the Meneka trail. We set up our tent and camped for the night. The next day we decided the full loop with our dogs might not be wise so we cut across at the Meneka and then caught back up to the trail. While we had a great time and enjoyed the hike, we did not make it to Signal Knob, but the other views were adequate and when there wasn't an overlook there was really nothing to look at. Also FYI, there is no water on the trail so if it is hot bring plenty.
if you have weak ankles, hiking boots would be recommended. the first talk to the TV tower is very Rocky and a lot of loose rocks. really nice walk hope you all enjoy
Hiked it counterclockwise with my wife. The first half to the transmission tower is hard. Not a lot of overlooks but when you have them, views are beautiful. Footing can be difficult. Lots of rocks to deal with. Good hiking shoes a must. Bring more water than you think you need. Great hike and an even better workout.
Great trail! Perfect workout! Definately a harder trail but worth it! Amazing views!