Great North Mountain is located on the border between Virginia and West Virginia. The highest point on Great North Mountain is Mill Mountain, which is about 5.5 miles north of Wolf Gap. The nearest neighbor of Mill Mountain is Sugar Knob, which is the fourth highest summit on Great North Mountain. There are no views from the summit of Sugar Knob, but the hike can be a pleasant walk through the woods, especially in autumn.
Although the summit of Sugar Knob does not seem to get nearly as much traffic as other nearby peaks on Great North Mountain such as Big Schloss and Tibbet Knob, it is well known for the aptly named Sugar Knob Cabin. The Sugar Knob Cabin was built in 1920 for use by rangers, and is now rented out by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
From Woodstock, go south on Route 42 until reaching SR 675. Turn right and follow SR 675 to FR 92. Turn right here and follow FR 92 for 3.7 miles to the Little Stony Creek Trail parking lot, which is on the right side. Park here and cross the road.
Hike for 3.6 miles north on the yellow-blazed Little Stony Creek Trail to the intersection with the blue-blazed Tuscarora Trail. Turn right, and follow the Tuscarora Trail for about 0.2 miles. At first, the bushes on the left side of the trail appear to be impenetrable, but there is an opening near the highest point on the trail. After the trail levels off, you will see a campsite with a fire ring on the left. Turn here and walk through the campsite to a narrow, unblazed trail. The trail, which is not on any maps and appears to be unofficial, makes a winding ascent for about 0.5 or 0.6 miles to the summit of Sugar Knob.
Round trip: Nearly 9 miles with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet.
Sugar Knob 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.
Sugar Knob Cabin is about 0.9 miles from the summit of Sugar Knob. It is on the Little Stony Creek Trail about 0.1 miles from its intersection with the Tuscarora Trail. There is a spring about 0.1 miles near the Little Stony Creek Trail about 0.1 miles south of the cabin. This little stone cabin will accommodate four guests. Contact the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for more information.
Numerous campsites are available near the Little Stony Creek Trail; the nearest to the summit is about 0.4 miles south of the Sugar Knob Cabin. Campsites are also available on the Tuscarora Trail just to the west of the intersection with the Little Stony Creek Trail, and at the beginning of the unblazed trail that leads to the summit of Sugar Knob. The latter campsite is about 0.5 or 0.6 miles away from the summit.
Sugar Knob Cabin
When to Climb
Sugar Knob can be climbed nearly all year round. The hike can be particularly delightful from mid-October through mid-November because of the autumn colors. Although the trees above 3,000 feet are bare by Veterans Day, there is likely to be substantial amounts of foliage remaining at lower elevations.
July and August are the worst months for heat, humidity, and hostile little critters like ticks, yellowjackets, and mosquitoes. The unofficial trail to the summit is likely to be particularly narrow at this time of year. 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 Virginia, the 2013-14 deer season runs from November 16 through November 30. In West Virginia, deer season runs from November 25 through December 7, from December 19 through December 21 and from December 28 through December 31.