OverviewThis is a nice 10 mile loop hike taking in the best of Signal Knob and several nearby vistas. It takes in portions of two long-distance trails, the Big Blue Trail and the Massanutten Trail. The hike can be done from either the Elizabeth Furnace area (five miles south of US55 on VA678) or the Signal Knob trailhead (four miles south of US55 on VA678). The description here is for the counter-clockwise hike starting at the Signal Knob TH.
Route DescriptionFrom the Signal Knob TH, follow yellow/orange blazes on the Massanutten Trail as it climbs north past a spring to the ridgeline. Enjoy views of Buzzard Rocks across the valley at 1.2 miles and along the length of Fort Valley at 2.0 miles. Pass a small campsite at 2.7 miles. Bear right at the junction with the Maneka Peak Trail (white blazes) at 3.3 miles and descend slightly along the ridge to Signal Knob at 4.3 miles. Enjoy the view.
From Signal Knob, descend a gravel road south-west (the Little Passage Creek Trail, orange blazes) for one mile to the intersection with the Bear Wallow-Big Blue trail (blue blazes). Cross the creek and ascend the ridge to an intersection with the Maneka Peak Trail (white) at about 6.0 miles. Continue on the Bear Wallow-Big Blue trail as it descends back down toward Passage Creek. At 9.3 miles, a short side trail will take you to Elizabeth Furnace. Stay high and traverse another 0.5 miles to the Signal Knob parking area.
Shorter options can be had by taking the Maneka Peak Trail and avoiding the descent along the Little Passage Creek.