Cow Knob is located in the Shenandoah Mountains in George Washington National Forest. It is directly on the border with Rockingham County, Virginia and Pendleton County, West Virginia.
Cow Knob can not actually be accessed as the summit is located on private property and there is a gate across the road / trail and it is heavily marked with No Trespassing signs. I actaully went a bit beyond the gate and there appears to be a house / cabin along the trail. At that point, I retreated to the car.
Cow Knob has a salamander named after it which is on a protected list as a sensitive species.
From Washington, D.C., take Interstate 66 west past Front Royal to it's intersection with Interstate 81. Follow Interstate 81 south for approximately 45 minutes to the Route 211 exit. At Route 211, head west until you arrive in Timberville. In Timberville, make a left at the traffic light onto Route 42 and follow for several miles until you arrive in Broadway. Once in Broadway, make a right turn at the light onto Route 259 and follow this past Chimney Rock and Cooters Store (I understand that there are some nice rock climbing cliffs in this area).
Continue on until you pass Fulks Run and then Route 612. Once past Route 612, make your next left onto an unnumbered asphalt road. This will take you to the top of the mountain (the road will turn into a gravel road). Once you reach the top of the mountain, continue on for about 1/3 mile and you will see a small, dirt road on the right side with a Forest Service road sign marked "85". I choose to park here and hike to the mountain. You could drive the next part if you have a 4x4.
After 1.6 miles up "85", I came across the gate with the No Trespassing signs. I estimate that you can get within .5 mile of the actual summit.
Permits are not required.
There are no fees associated with this route.
There are no parking passes required.
When To Climb
Cow Knob could be climbed year-round.
Access to the area may be a problem in the winter months. If you follow the road into West Virginia, there are approximately (4) creek crossings which would require 4x4.
There are numerous camp-sites throughout the area. These are not actual campgrounds but areas which have been cleared and camp-sites have been made.
If you continue on the road into West Virginia, when you intersect with Route 654, make a right hand turn and follow this for approximately (5) miles and you will see a sign for Camp Run Campgrounds. There are about (12) camp-sites here. It offers cleared, level tent sites, picnic tables campfire grills, and outhouses. There are no fees for camping here. There is also a small lake here for fishing as well.
Check out Fisher Knob as this mountain is fairly close and makes for a nice hike.
Cow Knob is under the jurisdiction of the Dry River Ranger District.