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Bird Knob Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near New Market, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,601 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Emerald Pond is a beautiful spring fed swimming hole nestled in a small hollow off the Bird Knob Trail. The water has exceptional clarity, and in the summer months is surprisingly warm for a mountain pond. 1.5 miles in you get a beautiful view of Harrisonburg Valley. Campsites are also available near the pond.

backpacking
bugs
great!
over grown
7 days ago

We followed the directions from @Frank Ol Man Hiking and they were spot on. You start out on the Discovery Trail and turn off to the right on a dirt trail just right before the sign titled "You Are Invited." The first fork is marked by a pile of red rocks at about 0.4 miles, stay to the right. According to our GPS it was only 1.06 miles up to the vista point from the parking lot. It's definitely steep and it was in the 90s so hydrate & take breaks often. This is also where the trail gets very overgrown with some thorny branches to scoot past. The vista point is gorgeous with a couple different rock outcrops for lunch groups. The trail is pretty flat after the vista. The second fork is around 1.9 miles marked by wooden signs, we stayed to the right. At around 3.6 miles we reached an open meadow which turns towards the pond. The pond was absolutely gorgeous, and perfect for swimming. The camping spots were crowded so get there early or try a weekday. There are about two to three established campsites but we made our own out in the woods since there were already families there. There are also cars parked by the pond so there is a way to get here without hiking. The hike back out the next morning went by really fast and our total hiking time was 4 hours. Overall this was a great weekend and a beautiful trail, we plan on returning.

hiking
14 days ago

Beyond beautiful on 6-20-20. Took us under 5 hours. Pretty overlooks, flowers (mainly mountain laurels) and a magical lake. Wish there wasn’t trash left around the lake, but overall one of the best trails in VA! The lot was almost full around 830 am on a beautiful Saturday, so get an early start. When you are at the lot look for “Massanutten wildflower Trail” towards the left of the parking lot.

hiking
20 days ago

The first two miles are hard with it being all uphill but then you reach a viewpoint is worth it. The lake is another 2 miles bur very worth it! Beautiful right now with all the flowers.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

I do this hike every year. I am always amazed there aren't as many people on this trail or the pond every time I go. Like every one says in the reviews below, this first section is really steep, but after that it stays pretty level. Please wear long sleeved shirts/tight bottoms and wear bug repellant. There are a lot of ticks here. Also, be smart about the wildlife in general here. I have passed bears twice on this trail and seen a few snakes. I don't want to scare anyone off, but I have seen this hike posted and advertised as an insta-worthy hike so I want people to be prepared before they start the hike.

1 month ago

This path takes you up the Discovery Trail to start. There is a side trail that is well used, but not blazed, that takes you to the same place. It is steeper but more direct. We really enjoyed this hike. Pretty views. once you hit the ridge, it's an easy trail out to the pond.

rocky
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes in the area. The first section to the overlook is pretty steep with sections of rock scramble but the view at the top makes all your sweat worth it. After the overlook the trail becomes much softer with a lot of moss and longer flat intervals. You have to hike along a forest road for a short bit to the pond which makes for a great lunch and swimming break. The water stays very clear and clean however the campsites tend to be littered with trash. Overall a great day hike accessable to most fitness levels

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

Trail was a perfect pace. You get the hard part out of the way in the beginning so the rest is smooth sailing. The lake is beautiful and a great half way point. We wanted to go for a dip in the lake, but beware of snakes. We happened on a day when a woman was bitten by a copperhead while climbing on the rocks. Definitely be aware in the warmer months. There aren’t always distinct markers, but the trail is clear. There aren’t many trails in VA that I would revisit, but this trail I definitely would.

hiking
2 months ago

The pond is beautiful.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike, the pond is beautiful

hiking
2 months ago

Trail starts at the beginning of the parking lot; follow the Orange marks. Trail is rocky throughout; first 1 1/2 miles is mostly up hill and the last half mile is steep. The next 3 miles is flat through the wood on the summit. At the half way mark is a pond, very clear water...worth seeing. After the first 2 miles there are some great vistas. At about mile 6 the trail heads down, steep through a lot of rocks....be careful. Enjoy, good hike, good work out. At the first vista I looked around at the beauty Mother Nature had provided then looked at the town below in the distance and thought about what the terrible virus was doing to our world. A great hike is a good way to take your mine off what is going on in the world below you. Please be safe

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

This is a beautiful trail but does use some fire roads. From the parking lot start on the Wildflower Trail. The spring is located just after the turn around. There are also several meadows that would be great for camping. It took us around three hours to complete.

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

A scenic vista about 2 miles in, then just a nice forest walk. Not as picturesque as many in the area, but pleasant enough with a mountain lake halfway for a refreshing dip.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike! The first and last 1.5 miles is pretty rugged. The rest in between is smooth sailing, with a couple stunning vistas of the valley to the west, and a gorgeous crystal-clear pond halfway through the trip.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful view points. The trail was poorly marked but I followed directions from a previous comment and it was great! The campsites looked awesome!

hiking
bugs
over grown
10 months ago

To avoid the early steep ascent from New Market Gap on US 211 old visitor center, we drove in from US 340 South from Luray, right on VA 685 at Newport, VA, right on Cub Run Road into GW National Forest. Not far in, well preserved Catherine Furnace was picturesque and interesting. Then Forest Access (dirt) Road along Cub Run between spectacular, primeval 50' high rock walls close by on both sides. 4 or 5 miles more on dirt road to find gate at Bird Knob Trail with white and orange blazes. Hiked with the white blazes a couple hundred yards to a fork with no blazes. (Right led a few hundred more yards to Emerald Pond, but we lost a lot of time wandering around it trying to pick up the white blazes.) Back at the unmarked fork we tried left that crossed the stream that drains from the Pond and eventually picked up the white Bird Knob blazes. After the right edge of a wildlife clearing, the white blazes continued up to a forested ridge. No views in this wooded section. From a 10 year old PATC Massanutten Mtn. guidebook, we expected a 2.2 mile hike, but that may have been the estimated distance 1 way to its intersection with orange blazed South Massanutten Trail. (I measured this 1 way 2.5 miles +, including wandering around Emerald Pond.) Old trail post with some distances indicated turned us to right 1 mile to the Forest Access dirt road. This part of the South Massanutten Trail featured "I wonder who dumped those sand piles way out here in the forest." Eventually identified these as Allegheny Mound Ant colonies, 3-5' tall. Passed 10 or 12 of these, at a brisk pace because we had noticed the many ants underfoot on the trail surface. Downhill finish along the dirt road, with the orange blazes, reached our trailhead, a total of 4.69 miles over 2:15 hours.

hiking
10 months ago

This was a great out and back trail, get most of the elevation out of the way in the beginning. There were a few perches with a great westerly view. Watch out for the mounds of fire ants on the Massanuten south trail. Emerald pond was a nice spot for a break and a swim!

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
11 months ago

Only had time to do part of the trail today—unfortunately the hard uphill part. Still beautiful with a good work out.

hiking
11 months ago

Went out to Emerald pond and it was fantastic. About 4.2 to get there.

rocky
scramble
11 months ago

Park at the big green house that used to be a visitor center. This was a nice workout. The first mile is pretty steep with lots of rocks and boulders. After that it's a moderate trail with lots of shade. It was about 90 in Luray but in the upper 70s low 80s on the trail. Very nice. Our biggest challenge was staying on and finding the correct trail. From the parking lot you'll walk on the asphalt trail maybe 20 or 30 feet. You'll see the trail head going up on the right. I don't remember seeing any markings. About a quarter to a half mile up you'll come to a T with orange blazes going right and left. There's also a red property marker on the ground. Turn to the right! Another mile or so and get to incredible views. You just finished the hardest part until you have to go back down those rocks and boulders. As you continue you need to pay attention so you can take the right split to get on Bird Knob Trail. There is a sign but it confused us. Follow arrow to Bird Knob. The blazes turn to white at that point. Follow the trail for a couple of miles. Before you get to the locked gate make a left hairpin turn to go up to the pond. Beautiful. You can go back the same way for an up and back. If you want you can go around the locked gate, turn left and go up the forest service road. Go straight up the road and go around another gate. This is now orange blazes. Sorry I don't remember the name of the trail. Just stay on this trail and you'll see the split where the sign is for Bird Knob that you saw earlier. Continue on and you'll see the viewpoints again. Continue on but don't miss the split where the red property marker is. Turn left and head back to the parking lot. Great walk in the woods. I hope this helps.

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