plus a half hour for lunch
Washington National Forest
Topo Hike Trails Map (PDF)
Wardensville Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), Gaia/Trails App (GPX) (What's
View of Route
The Long Mountain circuit has a 2.0 mile bushwhacking portion that connects the Long Mountain Trail with the Halfmoon Trail in the next valley. With several great campsites, and views, this hike has both solitude and beautiful scenery. If you want to do some bushwhacking, this is a great hike in the spring and fall.
Important Bushwhacking Notes:
- Only experienced hikers who are comfortable hiking off-trail, using a compass, map, and GPS should do this hike.
- Sections of the bushwhack have heavy, thorny undergrowth. Wear long pants, or you will feel like you've invited the neighborhood cats over to use your legs as a scratching post by the end of the day.
- Long Mountain has loose rock covered by a thin layer of leaves making it easy to twist an ankle. Use a hiking stick or poles, and good quality hiking boots for support.
- Timber Rattlesnakes are extremely hard to detect in the underbrush. Take extreme care.
- Don't hike this alone. Let someone know where you are hiking, and when you expect to return. If you twist an ankle, or worse, you're on your own out here.
From the Bucktail parking area, walk back down the gravel road to Trout Run Road. On the opposite side of the road is the yellow blazed Long Mountain Trail. Start down the yellow blazed trail and shortly cross a small stream. In 75 yards there is a great campsite on the banks of Trout Run. Also notice the memorial plaque to David J. Opstad, an avid local hiker, attached to the cliff face on the opposite side of the run.
Continue on the yellow blazed trail and shortly cross Trout Run. The trail now heads upward, and in 0.5 miles turns left heading up Cherry Ridge. As the trail makes a right along the spur there are several good view points of Halfmoon Mountain and Trout Run Valley. The trail passes around Cherry Ridge, and will arrive at a large clearing. Turn right remaining on the yellow blazed trail as is descends for another 0.3 miles, then arrives at a four way intersection.
Turn left at the intersection, and in 10 yards turn left again into the dense underbrush and bushwhacking portion of the hike. The map here has the bushwhack marked as dashed light-red, but there is no trail. This is a proposed new trail, and was originally marked with white/blue ribbon in 2005. The ribbon is UV biodegradable and there's no guarantee that it is still there. If you decide this isn't for you, just retrace your route back to the parking area. If you continue, make sure to use the GPS file supplied here.
Climb the mountain for 0.7 miles at 167° mag. using the GPS route, then cross the ridge at a low point at N38 59.287 W78 40.670. The other side of the ridge is very steep on either side of this waypoint.
After crossing the ridge follow the GPS route as it descends the mountain at 87° mag. for 0.2 miles before heading more steeply downhill. Near to the valley floor the route turns more to the north paralleling Trout Run Road, and levels out on an old woods road. Make sure to stay on the uphill side of the GPS route as you will pass close to private property. Cross Trout Run Road at the entrance to the Halfmoon Trail parking area.
Follow the gravel road for 100 yards, pass a closed gate, then cross Trout Run over a small bridge where the yellow blazed Halfmoon Trail begins. Follow the yellow blazed trail (old FS road) as it heads uphill, switches back to the left, then passes through a pine stand. Continue following the trail for 1.3 miles, cross a small stream, and arrive at the junction of the pink blazed Bucktail Connector Trail.
Turn left downhill on the pink trail as it winds around Halfmoon Mountain for 2.5 miles then ends at the orange blazed Bucktail Trail (FS road). Turn left downward on the orange blazed trail for the remaining 0.1 miles back to the parking area.