Signal Knob Loop Trail

HARD 83 reviews

Signal Knob Loop Trail is a 9.8 mile lightly trafficked 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.

DISTANCE
9.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2942 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

horseback riding

views

wildlife

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.

hiking
11 hours ago

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Good elevation gain. Feel like you're really working out in a pretty environment! Not the best for little children.. Mayne for a mile or so.

hiking
22 days ago

Solid hike make sure you a lot at least 6 hours took me 5 but I jogged some of it gets hard but pays off !

1 month ago

backpacking
2 months ago

Overarching comment: DO THIS LOOP COUNTERCLOCKWISE!

MAIN POINT: This loop is an awesome hike for novice backpackers who have only car-camped. It's a great chance to try out your gear and get some practice with relatively low stakes.

ABOUT ME/US: I just did this loop over two days with my wife and 2 friends (and 2 dogs). I did it last February, but they were new to it. It's a great first backpacking trip if you've only car-camped before. It's long enough to really feel like you accomplished something, but not so long that it's overwhelming. We actually did the trail COUNTER-CLOCKWISE, which I HIGHLY recommend.

THE TRAIL: The first half (as we did it) is very rocky and would have been much more challenging (with no real payoff, just less fun) going down than it was going up (which wasn't easy). (The rocks also took a toll on one of our dog's feet. Make sure they're in shape, and perhaps consider using booties if your dog has had foot issues in the past.)

WATER: There was basically no water deep/fast enough for us to use to filter (the shallow streams were fine for our dogs to drink from) with the life-saving exception of the Strasburg Reservoir (not technically in this loop). I've also done this loop in February and there was much more water (the streams were much higher) but in July (whens it's hot and you need more water) there was much less. You'll definitely need AT LEAST 2 liters per person (more would be better) to get you from the parking area to the reservoir where you can filter more.

CAMP SITES: We camped near the reservoir, which was convenient, although far enough away that we definitely added a few miles to the trip going back and forth for water. There are some unofficial campsites very near the reservoir, however. (All the campsites outside of the main campground are unofficial. None are on maps, and none have any facilities other than a possible hiker-made stone fire pit.)

WILDLIFE: We saw a total of 2 deer and we also saw 2 black bears (running away at about 200 feet, the perfect way to see bears, haha). From my conversations and education, as long as you are relatively loud while hiking, and take necessary precautions (see: http://bit.ly/2uajxWb) you're actually safer out on the trails than in the established camp grounds, where bears know more food is available.

BOTTOM LINE: If you're an experienced hiker/backpacker, i'd give it a 3/5. The trail is very rocky on the way up (again, going counter-clockwise) and the view from Signal Knob is OK, but not magnificent.

If you're a relatively inexperienced hiker/backpacker, I give this loop a 6/5.

hiking
2 months ago

Love this trail. Did it counterclockwise with my dog, started at 10:30 finished a little before 3:30. Needed a map to navigate, you have to go off trail after the signal tower to see the overlook that was partially obscured by trees, but overall still a beautiful view. The rocks are TOUGH and I debated once at the top just turning around and going back the same way, but I'm glad I didn't! The ascends were hard but doing the full loop was definitely worth it. Once you get past the overlook the rocks aren't bad and it's more trail walking that I'm used to. Bring more water than you think!

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Worthwhile challenge.

hiking
3 months ago

I can't comment on the whole trail. We hiked with our 4-year old and carried our 1-year old, so we only went as far as the Buzzard Rock Overlook, had lunch, and returned back the way we came. This was an excellent little out and back hike. We were lucky, as the mountain laurel was in full bloom, and it is plentiful along this trail. So the trail was surrounded by white and pink blooms in some sections, almost creating the feeling of being in a narrow tunnel of color. It was pretty incredible. The footing was a bit rocky, but it gave our 4-year old no trouble, so nothing too strenuous for adult hikers in this first section of the trail. Also, we saw a limited number of other hikers, so the trail provided an intermediate level of solitude.

3 months ago

Super tough and rocky but very fun!!

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike! Good mix of very challenging and calm. Be aware that the majority of the the paths are not smooth but are very rocky.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

This was an enjoyable trail and quite a workout for my 54 year old bones. Left the parking lot at 9:15 and arrived back at 3:30. As mentioned, it is rocky and a good pair of hiking boots, plenty of water, snacks and a back up portable charger for your phone is a must. I use my phone for pics, video, etc and it went dead at a creek while I was taking video. Not that big of a deal but I saw 3 other people the entire length of my hike. Had something happened...

hiking
6 months ago

I particularly enjoyed the uphill section all the way to the radio tower. Great view at the Signal Knob outlook area. The gravel road (1.2 miles) down from the knob is just that, a gravel road. After the gravel road, the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail up the ridge is steepest ascent section of this entire loop.

hiking
6 months ago

Wasn't too populated when we went. Really beautiful scenery. Just difficult enough to challenge a newbie, but not enough that it can't easily be tackled with a little sore muscles the next day. Brought my dog. Trails are well marked but parking wasn't.

6 months ago