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Halfmoon Mountain - Wardensville, West Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.5 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,120 ft
George Washington National Forest
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Turn onto the FS gravel road and park at the top of the loop. 39.01431, -78.66388

Halfmoon Mountain with spectacular views of Trout Run Valley, Big Schloss and Tibbet Knob as well as a great stream hike up Halfmoon Run this is another hidden gem in the Great North Mountain area. The only real challenging section is the short but steep climb up the German Wilson Trail.

Start up the orange blazed forestry service (FS) road and begin your assent up the Bucktail Trail. Shortly veer left passing the pink blazed Bucktail Connector Trail on your right which you will be returning on later.

Remain on the orange blazed Bucktail Trail for 2.4 miles passing several side FS roads (marked on the map here as gray dots) before gently descending and arriving at a foot bridge and the junction of the purple blazed Capon Furnace Trail. DO NOT cross the bridge over Halfmoon Run but stay on the orange blazed Bucktail Trail for another 1.3 miles, crossing the run five times before reaching a closed gate, clearing and the end of the Bucktail Trail.

At the gate turn right immediately passing another closed gate and heading up the pink blazed FS road. There will be a side FS trail on the left in 150 yards, pass this, and in 0.1 miles cross a small stream before the FS Road/Trail splits; bear left then immediately turn left heading uphill staying on the pink blazed German Wilson Trail as it climbs the ravine. The trail becomes very rocky, makes two quick switchbacks and becomes very steep for the remaining climb to the ridge and intersection of the white blazed Halfmoon Lookout Spur Trail.

Turn right climbing the white blazed Halfmoon Lookout Spur Trail for 0.3 miles. Just before the summit the trail splits to two vantage points. Turn right where the trail becomes very steep for 100 yards before arriving at the summit and foundation of an old lookout tower with the best view of the hike.

Return down the white blazed trail passing the pink blazed German Wilson Trail you climbed earlier and arrive at the junction of the yellow blazed Halfmoon Trail in 0.9 miles from the top.

Turn right downhill on the yellow blazed Halfmoon Trail, descending the mountain for 1.1 miles until you reach a stream crossing and the intersection of the pink blazed Bucktail Connector Trail.

DO NOT cross the stream but turn right on the pink blazed Bucktail Connector Trail for 2.5 miles where the pink blazed trail ends at the orange blazed FS road you ascended at the beginning of the hike.

Turn left downhill on the orange blazed FS road and shortly arrive back at the parking area.

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Hiker Reviews For The Halfmoon Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Halfmoon Mountain hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 15, 2016
I really enjoyed this hike. Normally I'm not a fan of walking forest roads but the sections of this hike that were on the forest road were really nice. The view at the top was great and had lots of nice outcroppings to sit on. The trail markers are faded and can be a little hard to see in some spots. Tons of nice camping spots but I did this as a day hike and it took me just under four hours.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 20, 2016
Second time on this hike (first time was a day hike) and I returned with my husband and dog to make it an easy one night backpacking trip. This is such a great hike with a little of everything. We camped at the summit (there are two campsites) and though it was pretty cold and windy, we were treated to an amazing sunset, bright full moon, and beautiful sunrise from the top. We saw no one on both days, though saw many bike tracks in the mud. The difficulty rating is accurate.

By: Tom & Suzy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Clear,cool sunny day.  Followed the trail as recommended. Directions very clear. Easy walk up the forest road.  The German Wilson trail is very steep near the top but then it is an easy walk up to the peak.  Short scramble at the top.  Campsite and fire rings at the top. Nice view of Trout Run valley. Beautiful streams, lots of mountain laurel (want to go back in the spring).  Only saw 4 people all day. The Bucktail trail was fairly rocky on return down and covered with leaves.

By: Andrew Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Mid-Atlantic Backpackers were here November 21 - 22. This is an easy hike with one big climb that is steep and rocky. With only one view, I don't think we will be back, but it was nice to tick this off the list of Trout Run Valley area hikes. We camped at the site near the intersection of the yellow and pink trails. It was a very nice wide open, flat, site, near water. We had five tents. I think one could fit five more.

By: Andrew Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2014
My brother-in-law and I decided on this trail as a nice day hike. After a lengthy drive from Richmond, we found the loop at the beginning of the trail. It was a very foggy morning, so there was plenty of parking available. As it had rained the night before and the season being Autumn, portions of the path had slick leaves. Aside from the occasional loose wet rock on the steep ascent, the trail was very nice. The fog provided an awesomely eerie tone that felt like a scene from a scary movie. We took many pictures, but none of them portrayed the atmosphere well. The only disappointment from the hike was the fact that the vantage point was enveloped by dense fog. This hampered what we could only imagine would have been a great view. Overall, the trail was easy to navigate as there were many marked trees, especially towards the end. I would recommend the hike to others, as long as they are physically able.

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Early April
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