Buzzard Rock

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I had heard mention of this hike previously, and a friend recently posted a memory of hiking it, and I thought, why not today? I read that the trailhead parking was limited, so I got a fairly early start, leaving the house around 7:00 am. it was still dusk when I left, arriving at the trailhead parking area around 7:45 am. There were three other cars in the lot when I arrived.

I threw on my pack and grabbed my hiking poles, and was on my way. There are no sign-in trail registers in Virginia, unlike the state of New York, where almost every trailhead has a register for hikers to sign in from.

This morning was crisp at 30 degrees, requiring gloves and a hat.; I would wear shorts and a t-shirt on my return trip out. This is beautiful hiking weather! It was forecasted to be a bluebird day; the weather didn't disappoint.

The trail was well-trodden, dry, and blazed with a white dot dash sign every so often on a tree, a very easy-to-follow trail. I read that this hike was a dog-friendly hike, but I had opted not to take any of my dogs on this hike. I was glad I didn't because the trail is pretty narrow up on the ridge, which could be problematic when passing others with dogs.

On my way up, I would meet the hikers that were ahead of me as they made their way back down to the parking area. None of them had backpacks that would carry equipment to spend the night, so I'm not sure what time they had started their day hike or how far they went, except for one I would meet just below Peak 2014.

The trail is gradual, easing its way up to the ridge, providing a few switchbacks along the way to the first lookout, Passage Creek Overlook, which provides some nice views to the north. From here, the trail continued up, narrowing once I passed the last switchback. The trail got pretty craggy as I continued up, providing more and more views from the "knifes edge" the trail followed. The destination of Buzzard Rock ends at the cliffs. From this point, I could see my destination in the distance, an unnamed summit. I initially thought it was the summit of Buzzard Rock, but in fact, it was just the height of land on the ridge. In any event, it was my goal for the day for no other reason than to know I had tagged it. I would continue another 1.5 miles beyond the cliffs to just before the intersection of the Shawl Gap and Massanutten Trails intersection. The trail from the cliffs remains rocky as it goes over two knolls before reaching the unnamed peak. The only hazard was the yellow jacket nest I ran into on the trail just below the summit. I would arrive at the height of the land at 3.23 miles from the trailhead, labeled on the CalTopo map as "Peak-2014." I would enjoy the peak to myself for over a half hour before I returned. I would not see another soul until I came upon a father and son upbound. I had warned them of the yellow jackets just below the summit. We exchanged pleasantries and were soon on our way.

The rest of the hike was uneventful, passing many hikers arriving at or upbound to Buzzard Rock. It was a very busy trail in this section. I was grateful to have started so early.

6.46 miles roundtrip.
1390 ft elevation gain.
Start time 7:45 am.
End time 12:30 pm.
Trailhead parking

About author
Craig
I'm just an average hiker blogging about my adventures. Some people enjoy reading the narrative of stories, while others just want the pictures; I'll post both.

Everyone hikes differently at their own pace and limits; my posts are about mine. My blogs should be used for reference purposes only.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog; feel free to leave a comment or rating.

Hike/Camp/Repeat.

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