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Middle Mountain via Scothorn Gap and Massanutten Trail

HARD 32 reviews

Middle Mountain via Scothorn Gap and Massanutten Trail is a 8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Luray, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from March until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

8.0 miles
1,686 feet

dog friendly


nature trips



wild flowers



SOLITUDE, fun rock scramble, great view, shaded trail The high point, literally and figuratively, of this hike is Duncan Knob, a rocky peak with an uninterrupted view, located along the ridge of Catback Mountain. The circuit begins in Crisman Hollow and climbs to Peach Orchard Gap. Before the trail begins to descend, a short easy scramble leads to Duncan Knob with exceptional views from its rocky ledges. From here the trail descends into Duncan Hollow where it follows the stream south, then turns to cross Middle Mountain.

over grown
1 month ago

2 months ago

Great circuit trail, make sure you have an additional smaller pack for the rock scramble and a meal at the top. Very light traffic in October. Multiple camping locations near the summit. We also added in Strikler knob summit on the south end of the hike for an extra view

5 months ago

Went on a one night overnight to Duncan Knob with my dog and had an overall good time. The trail was incredibly swampy on the yellow part of the trail going up and, without waterproof shoes, you are guaranteed to get your feet wet. Also, am glad I brought bug spray because the bugs were relentless on that part of the trail. Note that there are no good water sources on this part of the trail before Duncan Knob so plan accordingly. Once we got to Duncan Knob it was great to camp out and we had the sites to ourselves.

On the way back around the other side of the loop, the trail was much less swampy and buggy (although still muddy) and we got to see a black bear running away from us into the forest. I did find later when returning home that hundreds of tick larva had found their way onto my ankles so make sure to check yourself for ticks and wear pants as a precaution. This part of the trail was much better and had a good source of water.

If I were to do this trip again I’d take an out and back path past middle mountain up to Duncan Knob and back the same way (counter clockwise up, clockwise back) to avoid the swampy part of the trail, even thought it was much steeper.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hiked this trail at the end of May as a 10-mile long loop, reaching both Strickler Knob and Duncan Knob. It was a good 5.5 hour workout. Yes, the two valley sections of the loop (orange and yellow blazed trails) can be quite muddy in places. The trail became a small stream from place to place in those sections. With slower pace and decent hiking boots on, my feet were able to stay dry. Do not recommend wearing shorts here due to thorny overgrown on the sides of the trail and annoying flies and mosquitoes abound. One may still attack either of the two knobs separately without doing the loop.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pretty steep rock scramble but other than that, view was very beautiful

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Very pleasant hike although I would agree with others assessment. The trail, even on October 22, was pretty muddy in spots. I also don't quite understand what the attributes are of the east side of the hike, it was narrow, weedy, and either burnt or cut over forest with nothing to see. I would definitely recommend doing this as an up and back trail, not a loop by staying on the trail as it turns left at each intersection.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Nice hike. Gnats & ticks are pretty bad. Large sections of the trail were muddy, probably from the high water table from all the rain over the last month. However, most appear to be spring fed and may be wet year round. Follow pink blazes to Strickler Knob and white blazes to Duncan Knob. Both locations are awesome with great rock scrambles and views. Neither knob is dog friendly although the description indicates that the hike is. Having said that, the trails are very dog friendly but definitely not the knobs. I had to tie my dog to a tree while we did the scrambles at the knobs. I'm planning to do this trail again but next time I will not do the back side (orange blazes - Massanutten Mountain Trail). This section of the hike was very muddy with tons of ticks, also the views and forest are not very attractive. Most of it is regrowth from an old forest fire; on a sunny day it would be brutal. I'll also do it late fall/winter so we can see more scenery, no bugs and no snakes. Several of the hikers we ran into had seen a rattle snake. Another reason to me for a late fall/winter hike for the knobs is that I'd hate to come face to face with Mr. Rattler while doing the rock scramble. I'd give it a 3 - 3.5 overall, the knobs are a 5 but the hike in between was marginal, especially the backside. Skip the backside and it's easily a 4 - 4.5.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Its along 1.8 uphill but overall we had so much fun... We will definitely going back again...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A nice hike, but wayyy overgrown with about 2 miles of walking through a plethora of thorns, and also LOTS of ticks.

Monday, July 06, 2015

I thought the trail was very overrated. Majority of the trail was a slight incline with the worst bugs I've experienced hiking. Throughout a majority of the hike, we had to stop and pull the nats out of our eyes even with wearing a hat to block them. The trail was overgrown for about 2 miles with thorn bushes that you had to walk through. There is also a part of the trail on the map that doesn't exist even after we spent an hour trying to find it. We ended up taking a detour. The only reason I didn't give this trail a single star was because the rock scaling section and the view from Duncan knob was pretty awesome but I definitely will not be returning to this trail.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The hike up to Duncan Knob starts out pretty challenging with steep, switch-backing inclines. Once you make it to the knob, the scramble up is definitely fun, but it is a challenge. We encountered some boyscouts leaving camp, but they went the other direction. Otherwise, we had the trail all to ourselves. You definitely need a good map and trail directions as the loop is tricky and made up of different trails.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Duncan Knob was a perfect afternoon hike. We got a relatively late start around noon, and we were done by late afternoon with a nice lunch in between. The views were spectacular although the circuit hike could get a little tricky at times. Be sure to have a map or directions with you as it's easy to take a wrong turn.

Would highly recommend! Some fun scrambling too.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wow up up up! Good trail to test out your boots we hiked it with a one year old on our back and our just turn 4 year old. Camp ring 3/4 of the way up, we made a fire for the kids and had lunch. Then went on to play on the rocky top. Down hill was fast and there was some Bear scat on the trail as so for horse dung. Lots of water and a snack were nice to have.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Did this as a loop trail with Strickler. Parked the car at Scotch Horn Gap and took the trail up to Strickler then followed the Massanutten Trail towards Duncan then back down to Chrisman Hollow. Pretty much had the trail to myself. When I got to Chrisman Hollow lots of trail runners where just ending their runs.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It had just snowed so the ride in was a little rough, make sure you have FWD to avoid any car troubles. The trail is beautiful and has many different features. I suggest eating lunch at the top of the mountain, if you do a little rock scrambling you can get some amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the town below. There are a few campsites along the way that would make fun and easy overnights. The one thing about this trail though is that there are many other trails around it with different color blazes, so you have to make sure you are keeping track of where you are and not just following what seems to be your path.

Overall, I had a great hike time on this great day hike. I plan on doing this one a few more times.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trail was actually pretty fun. The scramble was worth it. The views were breathtaking.

The 2 mile incline to get out was a little unexpected. I assumed, by looking at route, I would have a pleasant walk through the valley. They can be just as fun as the summit to me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I camped at the small site at the top of the Knob several times, betwwen 1990 and 1996. Nice place to have a fire, toast some marshmallows, and watch the Sun set. In the Fall, furry critters will chew up anything they can to make their nests in the rocks. Be advised. My favorite route to Duncan Knob is from the south, near the town of New Market, at the Strickler Knob trailhead. Lovely Spring, Summer. and Fall

10 months ago

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Friday, October 14, 2016

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