Signal Knob Loop Trail

HARD 88 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
2230 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.

11 days ago

Great trail with good elevation change. The late fall views are amazing. Make sure to have enough water and sturdy footwear.

camping
1 month ago

Hiked up Friday afternoon camped on Meneka Peak. Then hiked to Signal Knob and back down Saturday.

camping
1 month ago

I put five stars for excitement. I had hiked the entire trail several times, but never camped overnight. This time my soul mate and I decided to try it. We hiked in counterclockwise and set up our tent and hung our bear bag. We then hiked up to Buzzard Outlook for a nice afternoon jaunt. We got back to camp and had dinner. We went to bed quite early, as we had a busy week. We planned to head to the top of Signal Knob in the morning. About an hour after we got into our tent, the sound of heavy footsteps woke us up. Our ursine friend poked around our camp for about twenty minutes, circling our tent and sniffing it. It bounded off, obviously spooked by something (perhaps our halted breathing or our racing hearts). We got up to examine any damage and found a couple of toothmarks in a water bottle and in our hanging water filter. We went back to sleep after our heart rates lowered substantially. We were awakened several hours later (presumably by the same bear) and were “entertained” by its roaming around our tent again. It wandered off after this second foray after twenty minutes. We got up (we didn’t get much sleep) about 7 and packed. We’ll hike the rest of the trail some other time.

trail running
1 month ago

Just ran this (October 2017) and want to give a fair warning to others: it is tough. Ran counterclockwise, like others recommended, and had several (10+) near-misses for ankle sprains and hyperextended knees primarily because the trail is very rocky and the footing uneven.

I brought 64oz water and kicked it about two miles before getting back to the parking lot. Overall, this is a really fun and challenging trail to run. Very lightly traveled and the view from the top is great.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months 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 !

4 months ago

backpacking
5 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
5 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
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Worthwhile challenge.

hiking
6 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.

6 months ago

Super tough and rocky but very fun!!

6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 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.