Buzzard Rock

  • Highlights: Great views, rocky summit
  • Distance: 4 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change: 631 feet
  • Trail Surface: Very rocky
  • Difficulty Level: Easy/moderate (rocky surface) 
  • Trailhead Parking: Buzzard Rock Trailhead, 3094 Mountain Road, route 619, Lake Frederick VA
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: PaveMint Smokin’ Taphouse—Lionshead Pilsner & Hazy Tides IPA

The Hike:

Buzzard Rock is located on the northern end of Massanutten Mountain near Front Royal VA. This short hike has some great views with a gradual elevation gain. It’s a popular hike and the small parking area on route 619 only accommodates 15-20 vehicles. Parking is not allowed on the road so plan to arrive early. The trail is rocky but is well marked and well maintained.

From the parking area, follow the white-blazed Buzzard Rock Trail through the forest. The incline is gradual and there are lots of rocks beside and on the trail. Mountain laurel and other wildflowers add seasonal color in the spring and the fall foliage is spectacular. At 1.5 miles, reach the first viewpoint with partial views of Fort Valley to the west.

The trail turns sharply left and the incline increases a bit as you climb to the top of the ridge. The rocks lining the trail become larger and so do the views. At 1.8 miles, large rock formations appear on the right. A short scramble is rewarded with great views of Fort Valley to the west. The cliffs of Buzzard Rock are popular with rock climbers. Unless you plan to rock climb, we suggest you stay away from the edge as it’s a sheer drop to the valley floor.

The trail continues south along the ridge for another .2 miles and so do the views. Climb up on the rocks on your right and enjoy the vistas. The trail eventually moves away from the ridge and the views subside. At 2 miles you have reached the peak. You get to enjoy the views one more time as you retrace your steps back to the parking area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

PaveMint Smokin’ Taphouse in nearby Front Royal has some great food and a variety of craft beer options. PaveMint is a farm to street tap house with a variety of street food made with local ingredients. They have indoor and outdoor seating and serve a nice variety of craft beer, wine, and cocktails. Food options include burgers, tacos, BBQ, and salads.

Kathy enjoyed Reaver Beach Brewing Hazy Tides IPA (6% ABV 30 IBU), a fruity New England style IPA which paired nicely with fish tacos. Pete really liked Lionshead Pilsner (4.5% ABV) and a pulled pork sandwich.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.