Great North Mountain runs along the border between Virginia and West Virginia. The most popular destination for hikers on Great North Mountain is Big Schloss
, which is on the north side of Wolf Gap. On the south side of Wolf Gap, Tibbet Knob gets respectable amounts of traffic because of the views from near its summit. It is a good peak to visit to avoid the crowds and still enjoy the scenery. From Tibbet Knob, it is possible to see numerous peaks such as Long Mountain, Mill Mountain, and Sugar Knob. Tibbet Knob is also the only summit on Great North Mountain that has Class 2 scrambles on the way to the top.
From Woodstock, go south on Route 42 until reaching SR 675. Turn right and follow SR 675 to Wolf Gap, which is on the border between Virginia and West Virginia. Turn right at the Wolf Gap Recreation Area and find a parking spot.
Cross SR-675 and start hiking up the yellow-blazed Tibbet Knob Trail. After 1.5 miles, there are a couple of Class 2 scrambles. Continue for 0.1 miles, and go over the true summit of Tibbet Knob. Just beyond the summit is an overlook with fine views to the north and west.
Starting at the far right, you will see the ridge of Great North Mountain going to the north. The rocky summit on the ridge is Big Schloss. In the background directly behind Big Schloss is Sugar Knob and to the left of Sugar Knob is Mill Mountain. As you continue turning slowly counterclockwise, you will see Halfmoon Mountain at the end of a valley. To the left of Halfmoon Mountain is Long Mountain.
Eventually, you will see a ridge in the foreground that runs perpendicular; there is a sharp turn in the Great North Mountain ridge at this point. After the turn, there will be three peaks from right to left: Devils Hole Mountain, Devils Benchmark, and Point 3219. As you reach the far left of the vista, you will see Great North Mountain continuing to the south.
Round trip: 3.2 miles with an elevation gain of about 900 feet.
From Woodstock, go south on Route 42 until reaching SR 675. Turn right and follow SR 675 to SR 789, where you make a left. After 0.3 miles, turn right onto SR 691, and follow it for 1.6 miles. The Tibbet Knob trailhead and parking will be on your right.
Hike for 0.8 miles on the Tibbet Knob trail to the overlook. Just beyond the overlook is the summit.
Round trip: 1.6 miles with an elevation gain of about 400 feet.
Tibbet 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.
Free camping is permitted throughout the George Washington National Forest except in the immediate vicinity of picnic areas and a few other locations. There is a campground at the Wolf Gap parking lot, where there are nine campsites available. Other good campsites include the trailhead at SR 691 and the summit of Tibbet Knob.
When to Climb
Tibbet 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. 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 2017, deer season runs from November 18 through December 2. 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.
External LinksGeorge Washington National Forest- Lee Ranger District
Potomac Appalachian Trail Club maintains the trails on Great North Mountain, and provides maps, guidebooks, and other information.