virginia hikes: Strickler Knob via Scothorn Gap, April 16 2017

Following our day and hike with Rose this past spring weekend, we were on our way back to SW Virginia. Since the drive on I-81 can be quite monotonous with the heavy traffic, we decided to stretch our legs and arms out with a hike and some scrambling.





There are a few routes that you can take leading up to intersection of Massanutten Trail and the pink blazed, newly marked trail to Strickler Knob. We originally saw the longer version on Hiking Upwards, but opted for the shorter version starting from Scothorn Gap Trailhead since we just wanted a short hike to break up our drive.


The trail head is located of Crisman Hollow Rd, a dirt road, and has enough space for 10 cars or so. The Scothorn Gap Trail crosses Passage Creek right after the trailhead and heads uphill on what looks like an old, wide fire road. This would the the steepest uphills of the day.

Once we reached Scothorn Gap, there was a nice flat area with a couple fire rings. We didn’t see any water sources, but the maps indicate a stream or pond near the area. Continuing on, the trail slightly descends from the gap before coming to a four way intersection. We continued straight on the Massanutten Trail.


The trail curves around and up Middle Mountain until you reach another gap of sorts with a view of the fields on the other side of the chain. At this point there were rocks forming an arrow pointing to the right.


We saw pink blazes signaling the spur to take for Strickler Knob.


There is no official trail here, but the blazes takes took us over a series of rocks to hop across.

There were also a few fire rings right along the marked route. So plenty of camping potential here.

Though the best spot is later on when you see a few blue blazes leading to a nice open view and a view of Strickler Knob.

As we neared the Knob itself, there were a few scrambling spots.


The final scramble took us through a gap in the rocks


to the underside of the Knob.


Scrambling onto the Knob was pretty fun


and provided a nice 360 degree view.


Apparently there are a couple turkey vultures that were making the knob their home.

After lunch, we headed back and reaching the car just before the rain started.


ratings (1-5; link for detailed breakdown)

  • views:  2. There is a nice 360 view on top of the Knob itself with a few mountain ridges to the northwest and farmland to the southeast with the South Fork of the Shenandoah River snaking through. However, other than the view at the top, there aren’t many vistas. Mainly, it’s a nice scramble along the ridge.
  • difficulty: 2. This one barely qualifies as a 2 for difficulty since it’s not that long or gain elevation quickly. The steepest section of this hike is the initial slope up toward Scothorn Gap. Afterwards, the slope is gentler around Middle Mountain. There is a little bit of scrambling and rock hopping on the spur toward the Knob that may be more fatiguing.
  • technical: 2. The scrambling and rock hopping on the spur does provide some technical challenge, but doesn’t compare to scrambling on Old Rag, the upper end of the 2 rating. Previously, the spur was more of a bushwhack, but now it’s well marked with bright pink blazes.

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