OverviewGreat North Mountain is located on the border between Virginia and West Virginia. The highest point on Great North Mountain is Mill Mountain, which is 5.5 miles north of Wolf Gap. Mill Mountain's neighbor to the west is Halfmoon Mountain, which forms the northern end of Trout Run Valley.
Halfmoon Mountain is one of the few peaks on Great North Mountain that is entirely in one state. It has good views from its summit of Mill Mountain, Long Mountain, Trout Run Valley, and the ridges to the west of Great North Mountain.
Getting ThereHalfmoon Mountain Trail: From Woodstock, go south on Route 42 until reaching SR 675. Turn right and follow SR 675 to Wolf Gap, where it enters West Virginia. Continue on this road, which is now CR 23/10. After another 5.5 miles, turn right on FR 509 and follow it until reaching the closed gate in front of the bridge. Park on the right side.
Walk across the bridge, and you will be on the yellow-blazed Halfmoon Montain Trail. Follow this trail for 2.5 miles; the ascent through the woods is mostly gradual. Turn left at the white-blazed Halfmoon Mountain Lookout Trail and follow it for 0.7 miles. At this point, the left fork of the trail leads to views of Mill Mountain and the Great North Mountain ridge. Return to the main trail, and follow it for a steep and rocky 0.1 miles to the sunmit, where there are views of Trout Run Valley, Long Mountain, and the ridges to the west of Great North Mountain.
Round trip: 6.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet.
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Bucktail Trail: From Woodstock, go north on Interstate 81 to Strasburg. Take Route 55 west across the border into West Virginia, and continue to Wardensville. Turn on to CR 5/1, and go for 5.3 miles until reaching the parking lot for the Bucktail Trail.
Start hiking on the orange-blazed Bucktail Trail, which you will follow for 1.4 miles to the pink-blazed German Wilson Trail. Turn left here take the German Wilson Trail for 1.2 miles to the junction with the Halfmoon Mountain Lookout Trail. Make a right turn, and hike for 0.4 miles to the summit.
Round trip: 6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet.
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Red TapeHalfmoon Mountain and the routes to its summit are on public land in the George Washington National Forest. There are no fees or permits required for hiking or camping.
CampingFree camping is permitted throughout the George Washington National Forest except in the immediate vicinity of picnic areas and a few other locations.
There are campsites at the junction of the Bucktail and German Wilson Trail, on the Germaan Wilson Trail about 0.1 miles from the junction with the Halfmoon Mountain Lookout Trail, and near the Halfmoon Mountain summit.
The Sugar Knob Cabin is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. It is located 3.1 miles from the summit of Halfmoon Mountain. To get there, follow the Halfmoon Mountain Lookout Trail for 0.8 from the summit to the junction with the Halfmoon Mountain Trail. Turn left and take the Halfmoon Trail for 0.7 miles to the blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail. Turn right here, and follow the Tuscarora Trail for 1.5 miles, and then make a right at the yellow-blazed Little Stony Creek Trail. After another 0.1 miles, the Sugar Knob Cabin will be on the right. This little stone 10X10 cabin can accommodate four guests.
When to ClimbHalfmoon Mountain can be climbed nearly all year round. The hike can be particularly delightful from mid-October through mid-November because of the autumn colors. July and August are the worst months for heat, humidity, haze that limits views, and hostile little critters like ticks, yellowjackets, and mosquitoes. The best time for a summer hike is early in the morning.
Hiking should be avoided in the National Forest when it is permissible to hunt deer with modern firearms. In West Virginia, the 2013-14 deer season runs from November 25 through December 7, from December 19 through December 21 and from December 28 through December 31.
External LinksGeorge Washington National Forest- Lee Ranger District
The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club maintains the Sugar Knob Cabin and the trails on Great North Mountain, and provides maps, guidebooks, and other information.