Hikes in VA, WV, MD and PA

Bucktail Trail-Halfmoon Lookout Loop*

More Sierra Club Photos

Description: 9.7 mile, moderate circuit hike to an outstanding view of Trout Run Valley, Mill Mountain w/Big Schloss, Tibbet Knob, the Great North Mountain and Long Mountain. One very steep but short climb (See elevation profile.).

Directions to Bucktail Trailhead from I-81: 

  1. Take US 55 West.
  2. Travel approximately 20 miles. Turn left at the junction with Rt 259, remaining on US 55.
  3. Turn left onto Trout Run Road. In 5.8 miles, just past Trout Pond Rd, on your right, come to a forest service road on the left with 521 painted on the back of its stop sign. There will be yellow blazes on trees going along the right side of Trout Run Road and Orange blazes on trees going up the forest service road. Park on the right shoulder of Trout Run Road. You have arrived.

Printable/Downloadable Map

Printable/Downloadable Map

View 3-D Maps!

Trail Notes:
From the intersection walk up the service road following the orange blazes through the gate on the right to the official trailhead of the Bucktail Trail. As you climb, the trail/forest road will bear to the left and soon pass pink-blazed Bucktail Connector Trail (your return route) on the right. As you reach the crest of the hill, Rocky Ridge to your left and the hills surrounding Waite's Run at your front will come into view.
Descend quickly to a bridge crossing Halfmoon Run. (This marks the terminus of purple-blazed Capon Furnace Trail.) DO NOT CROSS THE BRIDGE!!! Turn right, remaining on Bucktail trail, crossing the stream several times before leaving it and reaching its terminus (yellow forest gate). 
Turn right on to a forest road,  passing through another gate and on to purple-blazed German-Wilson Trail. In a short distance the forest road splits. Bear left and almost immediately turn left off of the road onto a steep and rocky foot path. This is the steepest part of the hike and is littered with blow-downs. Fortunately it is short- lived. This marks the last of the major elevation gains. Reach the intersection with white-blazed Halfmoon Lookout spur trail.
 Turn right on  to Halfmoon Lookout trail. There will be a pink-blazed trail to your left. Pass it and soon climb steeply to the ruins of and old forest tower for a grand view.
Return along the Halfmoon Lookout spur trail, passing the German-Wilson Trail on your left. Turn right onto yellow-blazed Halfmoon Trail and descend to a stream crossing. DO NOT CROSS!!!
Turn right and follow pink-blazed Bucktail Connector trail for about 3 miles as it weaves in and out, up and over the coves at the end of Halfmoon Mountain.
 Turn left at the intersection of the orange-blazed Bucktail Trail and return back to your car. 

Get Printable/Downloadable Directions and Trail Notes