Signal Knob follows Fort Valley Road in Virginia and is a nice “off the beaten path” hike just west of the northern end of Shenandoah National Park. A 10.6 mile loop trail is the most common route, but we decided to extend our hike to 16 miles for training purposes. The 4.5 mile trail to Signal Knob was a rocky, uphill path, and Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) was in full bloom with delicate, white, goblet-shaped flowers that lined the trail like buttercream frosting draped over a supermarket birthday cake. The view from Signal Knob was a little anticlimactic, but we were hiking for miles, not views.
For the remaining 11.5 miles, we weaved together a gradual downhill forest service road, a marshy path over Mud Hole Gap, and a series of winding, hilly roads and trails that led us back to our parked car containing a reward of immeasurable opulence…sandals.