Bird Knob via Massanutten South Trail

5 reviews #34 hike out of 45 in
8.1 mi
Distance
4 hrs 28 min
Time
terrain
1,135 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is among the most scenic hikes in the area, with two adjoining overlook. One of the unique features of the hike are the variety of geological and plant life found in different areas. It seems to pass through multiple different ecosystems, including a perfect respite at the Emerald Pond swimming hole before heading for a downhill return. The multiple rock scrambles along the way up (and back) make this a hike you (and your legs) will not soon forget. One little advertised feature of the trail is the massive ant colony that inhabits the area past Emerald Pond. Nearly a mile;s worth of trail is seemingly carpeted in ants until passing several large ant hills.

Getting Started

Look for the closed visitor center on the left. It is a green building visible from the road. The parking lot entrance is a bit overgrown and can be difficult to spot. Once in the parking lot, there are two trails, a nature trail leading out from the back of the parking lot and the Wildflower Trail near the entrance to the parking lot. The Wildflower Trail leads to the Massenutten South Trail.

Taking Children

I would not recommend this hike for children. It includes a steep climb with a variety of rock scrambles and other difficult terrain. I would rate it a 3 for younger children. Higher ratings for teenagers who would appreciate the challenging terrain.


    Rate this Hike

    user_profile stars
    3 months, 2 weeks ago
    The most spectacular view I’ve seen in the George Washington National Forrest! Highly recommend the 8+ mile Bird Knob to Emerald Pond. Bonus swimming hole at top!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    3 months, 2 weeks ago
    First mile is a b****! After that some great lookouts, and the pond makes it worth the effort.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    5 months ago
    This is a great, but challenging hike. After 0.3 miles, you are climbing 1800 ft over a mile. Your reward is a breathtaking outlook over the valley, followed by a six mile loop through a tranquil forest and peaceful meadows, with a beautiful mountaintop pond halfway through. The back half of the loop starts less auspiciously, with a long climb up a steep graded fire road. But soon, your trekking back through the woods, passing enormous ant hills to join up with the start of the loop. Take a break again at the overlooks before you start the mile long climb back down - you'll need your strength. But overall, the only thing missing from this hike that you might want is a waterfall.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    4 months, 2 weeks ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    6 months, 3 weeks ago
    ★ ★ ★


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