Camping at Strickler Knob to watch the sunrise

Park at Scothorn Gap Trailhead (GPS: 38.69064,-78.58251)
Main attraction: Hike, 360 degree panoramic views
Hike length: 6 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate
Map and Directions

Saying hi to the best sunrise in Virginia in Strickler Knob


Last weekend we visited Strickler Knob in Massanutten mountain, a sandstone ridge located in the Virginia Appalachians, 2 hours away from Washington DC. There is a 6 mile out-and-back trail that brings you to the 360 degree overlook with beautiful vistas of the Shenandoah valley and Blue Ridge Mountains.

We planned to camp at the top of the ridge, where there is a cozy campground with a nice fireplace. We brought plenty of water because there are no creeks at the top. We also packed a harmonica music instrument and a lot of desire to have fun.

Massanutten trail

We started at the Scothorn Gap trail, followed the steep fire road, passed a plateau with no trees and found a small pond at our left (hidden by trees) where we stopped for 5 minutes and had some fun. Then we picked up the trail again, arrived to a junction sign, and headed straight on to the orange-blazed Massanutten trail.

Rock Scramble

Once the trail stopped ascending, we looked to our right to find the pink-blazed rocky trail (see map below).

The challenge is to do some rock scrambling and bushwhacking while looking for the pink marks on rocks and trees, that eventually bring you to the campsite - all took us 45min.

We left our stuff there and hiked the last part of the rocky trail to the overlook, with beautiful shaped rocks and mountain views.

We had lunch at the top with other hikers enjoying the gentle autumn sun. 

Then we went back to the campground and collected some woods to make fire and cook a fabulous rice that kept us warm.

Massanuten Mountain, Virginia

The sunset on the mountains made us understand why they are called BLUE ridge. Spectacular.

Later after enjoying the fire we watched the moonset and the stars in the dark forests over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

It was bit cold during the night, but the fire, the music and the dance helped a lot.

From the tent we heard an owl and other birds in the early morning.

Massanuten Mountain, Virginia

Morning Glory

Riding a spacerock

We set up an alarm before sunrise to go to the overlook, 5 minutes away from the tent, to see the sun rising over the Shenandoah mountains.

It was unique to see the first light of the day filling the valley and reflecting on the wide variety of white and grey rock formations around us, creating nice shapes and surreal colors all over the place.

After taking a thousand of photos, we did a morning fire, had breakfast at the campground and started our descent back to the car, with our heads full of cool memories and a happy heart.

What we did last weekend? We had fun in nature!