Tibbet Knob is the sister hike to Big Schloss. Starting from the same parking location at the Wolf Gap Campground the hike heads in the opposite direction along the Tibbet Knob Trail. Although shorter, this hike is not as family friendly because of two short, steep scrambles to the main Tibbet Knob summit.
Big Schloss is one of the most well known, and most panoramic hikes in the region, with an almost 270° vista from the main overlook. Tibbet Knob is nearly identical in distance to the Big Schloss hike, and is every bit as spectacular. Boasting a wider and more spectacular panorama to the north and west, a wonderful vista just below the high point to the east, and probably the most perfectly placed campsite in the whole Great North Mountain area!
Where the Big Schloss hike can draw many people on nicer days, the Tibbet Knob hike generally has a fraction the number of hikers. For vista after vista, without the crowds, this hike is hard to beat.
After crossing the small summit the trail descends, then veers right between the ridges, before turning back to the left steeply uphill. In 0.4 miles from starting up the main ridge, climb the first of two steep sections that may require hand over hand climbing. Both are only 20-30 yards in length.
At the top of the first steep section the trail passes through a flat area before you reach the second steep area. After reaching the top of this scramble follow the trail for the remaining 200 yards to the top of Tibbet Knob, and pass through a thicket to one of the most spectacular overlooks in the whole region. Twenty feet past the overlook there is a great campsite that could accommodate two small tents.
To return just follow the trail back to the Wolf Gap Campground.
The GPS seems to miss the last turn up Wolf Gap rd for some reason. Look for the Wolf Gap sign. Watch out for black ice on the roads near Wolf Gap. Those mountain roads get cold and are in the shade.
Trail was fogged out the entire time and a snow dusting on the trail. I thought this hike was a little more difficult than Big Schloss because the trail continually goes up and down. I didn't remember the path being so hilly. Wondering if the route got changed a little.
On the way back to the parking lot a couple asked us if we lost an axe they found on the trail. Not ours but it belonged to two backpackers who passed us on the way up. The Lee Ranger station has info on how to get the axe back. We believe the axe belongs to some backpackers with a black SUV.
Enjoyed this hike. Started early so we didnít have any parking problems. The view was beautiful at the top and not crowded going up or coming down. The trail was rocky enough Iím glad I had my hiking poles for better footing. The two scrambles across the larger rocks at the top were not bad since there was no waiting, but good to know they were there to have to climb over and then back down. Just before the first rock scramble, off through some brush to the right, is a cave opening. At the top, off to the left, someone had gathered some nice size rocks to make a fire pit and there were two primitive flat areas where tents had recently been set. We saw a beautiful deer near the overlook toward the east when we were coming back down and a yellow ringneck snake on the way up. No squirrels or other wildlife although there were lots of nuts in various places on the trail.
This is a nice little warm-up jaunt prior to hiking Big Schloss. Based on the description from this excellent website (which I support with an annual donation because it's so fantastic) I was planning to just hike Tibbet Knob, but honestly...it was a little disappointing. After knocking it out in 1.5 hours total (including sitting at the top for about 20 minutes) I decided to do Big Schloss as well. I'm going to have to disagree with the above description and state that the views were much, much better on Big Schloss, not just at the end but also all the views along the trail, much of which is ridgeline hiking. Fewer hikers on Tibbet Knob, sure--but if you time it so you arrive at the "top" about an hour before sunset, you'll maybe have the top to yourself like I did.
Hiked this trail in only 2 hours 15 minutes, and that was with many stops along the way to rest, take in the views, and snap lots of photos. The rock cliffs and mountain scenery were worth the climb and short stints of what felt more like rock scrambling. Would have hung out at the summit for the afternoon were the weather not so cold.
I hiked up there solo today. The weather was in the 70s, clear & perfect for hiking. I chose to hike up from the South end of the ridge. The distance that way is only abt. a half mile each way. Passed no hikers that had come my path. Right as I got to the top, I met two young men that were also arriving, but came from the North. during the last two hours I had the peak all to myself. I used that time to read part of The Pearl which I had brought. This afternoon was like a small peace of WV mountain heaven. As I got back to my car I met a nice couple that were camping near the road. They were in an RV, but had a covered hammock set out for sleeping. These folks were from Vermont and stopped by here on their way south. We exchanged pleasant conversation which was a fine end to the hike. Before I forget, if someone else heads up that path from the south, I was startled to find an Active Hornet's nest at head level, only a few feet off trail, half the way up from the south, on the right side. Please keep an eye out for this as it was fair sized. I did not notice it on the way up. On the hike I scared up a grouse or quail, which flew in front of my too fast to get a good look. Now comes the wow part of the day. Heading down the road, and I use that term loosely considering the erosion ditches, I stopped my car to watch a male Ruffled Grouse walk along the edge of the road. It seemed to be trying to find the perfect place to walk up across the hill. I did all I could not to spook it, and was rewarded with abt. three minutes of clear view of this amazing animal, including watching it ruff up its neck feathers several times. It finally tired of me and flew up the hill.
Dazzling brilliance! Seven of us walked this hike today in breezy, cloudy weather. Magical moss covered the rocky earth. Took us about an hour and a half to complete the whole trail. It was a challenge to walk up to the top, but the view made it worth it. I have completed this trail and Big Schloss and would recommend both.
We did this hike as a Friday-Saturday overnight backpack on May 5-6. The weather was cool and intermittently sunny and rainy both days. Neither mud nor bugs ended up being much of a problem. There was a fair amount of poison ivy along the trail, but the trail was wide enough that the poison ivy could be easily avoided. We camped at the campsite at the summit of Tibbet Knob - it was a fantastic site, with a robust fire ring, some logs and stones set up for benches, and ample space for the two small tents we had. There was no water available on the way up or at the campsite - we had to carry all our water in. We stargazed after dinner - the moon was very bright and washed out the stars, so I would recommend going when the moon is less full. The next day, we ended up descending the two short climbs after it had rained, when the rocks were wet and slippery. It was very manageable, even as backpacking novices with large, cumbersome packs, since we were careful and took our time. The entire time, we saw only a few other hikers. This was a relatively easy hike with a fantastic view at the end - I would definitely recommend it!
The effort-to-reward ratio on this hike should put it on anyone's list. You get great views barely a tenth of a mile in with nary a climb, and less than an hour later you're at a truly stunning summit. If you're trying to get someone into camping that hasn't done it before, you could do worse than this to try to hook them.
Definitely a strenuous hike, as much of it is uphill. My Garmin tells me there's 798 feet of elevation gain. The trail itself is pretty rocky, but has long stretches of dirt path. The two rock scrambles aren't technical at all you don't need any special skills besides coordination and leg strength. Coming down is always a bit harder though, remember. :) There is a good campsite - with firepit and a view - that comes before either of the rock scrambles, FWIW.
I did this hike as a quick overnight, and as the description points out, the campsite at the summit is just about perfect. Plus, being midweek, I saw exactly one person, if you don't count the guy sitting in his car drinking an adult beverage at the Wolf Gap parking lot. :)
We "took advantage" of the 30-40mph winds and snow squalls yesterday to go see both Tibbet Knob and Big Schloss. We had been promising ourselves to revisit Big Schloss ever since our last visit when there were close to 50 people up top forcing us to leave before we were ready. The vicious wind kept people away letting us have both peaks to ourselves, something that probably pretty much never happens on a weekend at one of the most visited locations in GWNF.
For us, Tibbet Knob is a really short hike, but one we like a lot. Bang for the buck is huge. A short walk to amazing vistas. Our initial views off the east side of the ridge before starting the climb up the knob had us looking down on clouds snowing on the valley below, a pretty awesome sight. [I might add that we have never been up to Big Schloss from Wolf Gap, always coming in from the north, but the bang for the buck is great too. Despite a pretty steep initial half mile climbing to the ridge line, it's a mere two miles to the stunning views at the Schloss.]
Trail is well marked with yellow blazes every few feet, EXCEPT one place. As you start to climb the knob, you will go up and around the northern flank headed due west. Then suddenly, there is 180-degree switchback taking you back due east before you get into the steeper part of the climb. Unfortunately, there seems to be a pretty wide game trail headed west out of the back of the switchback and we ended up on that, going 75 yards without seeing a blaze and finding that the mountain laurels were starting to encroach on the trail. We weren't only ones fooled here: a very large guy with huge boots left his tracks in the snow both coming and going on this part of the trail. I did my best to pile up some brush at the end of the switchback blocking this trail (not high enough to stop the deer, but it should give humans pause). Long story short, the yellow blazes are really close together and if you go more than 50 yards without seeing a blaze, backtrack until you find a blaze.
If you are looking for a place to camp, the site up top may be the finest camp site in all of GWNF. There's no water source though.
My 9 year old and I hiked Tibbet Knob and loved it. We hit the trail around 12:40, only saw 5 people coming down, there were 5 people at the top, but we eventually had the summit to ourselves and saw no one on the way back down. Great hike, my 9 year old keep saying the steep sections were not "family friendly", because of someones review here. :)