The Appalachian Trail sends its devotees about 25 miles east of 4,460-foot Elliot Knob, which means this grassy peak in George Washington National Forest is far off the beaten path. This 8.5-mile out-and-back follows yellow blazes along forest roads and foot paths starting from VA 42 to the wide-open summit. Along the way, ogle a pair of trickling five- to 10-foot waterfalls at .8 mile and a small pond and spring .2 mile later, then work up a sweat en route to the payoff—a fire tower with westward views toward the rolling Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. Camp sheltered under a stand of spruce, but lounge beneath open skies and finger-draw constellations into the night.
Map USGS quad Elliot Knob
Contact (540) 984-4101; southernregion.fs.fed.us/gwj