Pollock Knob is one of the most overshadowed mountains in the entire Shenandoah National Park. It's neighbors are Hawksbill Mountain
and Stony Man
, the two highest in the park.
It is best visible from the trailhead parking area, where it pokes its head out. Perhaps the only other good viewing point would be from the Shenandoah Valley itself.
The Appalachian Trail goes near the summit, and on the way up there are several nice overlooks of Hawksbill, Shenandoah Valley, and the surrounding mountains and rock cliffs.
A sign at the Timber Hollow Overlook notes that the "Knob" was named after George Freeman Pollock, the founder of Skyland, which is the recreational area which is the highest in the park at over 3700'.
Due to the nice views from the overlooks, this is a nice side hike, and another summit to bag while taking a tour through Shenandoah National Park.
From DC follow I-66 West and exit onto US 29 at Gainesville. Follow to Warrenton, and take 211 West. Take 211 to Sperryville until you reach Skyline Drive. Take Skyline Drive south past Milepost 43 until you reach Timber Hollow Overlook (3360'). You will see a sign indicating Pollock Knob, and you must descend to the Appalachian Trail.
From Timber Hollow Overlook (3360') go down to the Appalachian Trail down below, and take it for about 7/8 of a mile heading north on the AT. Take the time to stop at several overlooks along the way.
At one point, the AT drops down (as marked by a large tree with two white marks - see photo below
), but you must go up
and bushwhack to the summit. The woods are very open, so it is very easy to find the summit. It is only 240' of elevation gain from Timber Hollow Overlook to the summit.
For a longer hike, continue on the Appalachian Trail which provides nice views for several miles.
If you want to reach Pollock Knob from a longer route, consider starting at Skyland (only in the spring and summer). This would provide a couple hours on the AT.
When to Climb
The summit of Pollock Knob is at the right of the photo, just above the white rocks.
I would recommend climbing in winter due to the short bushwhack. The park, or sections of the park, may be closed if road conditions are poor. Check with the park at 540-999-3500.
Shenandoah National Park cost $30 for an annual pass. If you do not live in the DC area, you can pay the $15 fee to enter Skyline Drive ($10 from December-February).
Watch out for Poison Ivy in the fall.
In general, campsites are not always open during the winter and spring. Backcountry Camping Permits are required and are available free from park headquarters, visitor centers, and entrance stations. Appalachian Trail hikers may self-register for permits on the AT near Rockfish Gap (south) and Chester Gap (north).
Campfires are not permitted (except at pre-constructed fireplaces at backcountry huts and day-use shelters). Groups may not exceed 10 people. For more info consult the park website.
Check with the park at 540-999-3500.