Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,050.00 ft (320.04 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Tibbet’s Knob Trail is one of those trails you just might want to do on a quick getaway from the crowded suburbs of Washington and Baltimore when you don’t want to deal with the entrance fees and crowds at Shenandoah National Park. It is only a 3.2-mile out and back hike with 670 feet of elevation gain. The hike passes through a second-growth mixed forest above the Wolf Gap Recreation Area (WGRA) in George Washington National Forest. Tibbet’s Knob, the namesake of the trail, offers 180-degree views looking west into West Virginia and the small, quaint, farming valley of Trout Run. The view is densely forested with rocky cliffs on several of the surrounding mountain ridges that can provide idyllic views of fall colors interspersed with periodic small farms. The climb up offers two viewpoints to the east that look across the Shenandoah River Valley to Green and Massanutten Mountains. These viewpoints provide a good visualization of the ridge and valley physical geography of the region and the barriers it presented to the country’s early westward expansion. 

Most people turn around and return at Tibbet’s Knob, but the hike can be extended an additional mile (2 additional miles round trip) by hiking to the end of Tibbets Knob Trail at state route 691. To make a weekend of this, stay at the WGRA’s small campground and hike the short 4-mile out-and-back to the top of the Big Schloss. This is even more stunning than Tibbet’s Knob, but it is also much more popular and crowded. 

This is an easy to moderate hike. It is easy because of its short distance and moderate due to the steepness. The trail tread to Tibbet’s Knob is good because of the great work of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club’s (PATC) host of volunteers. But the trail climbs steadily, and two short sections of easy scrambling are required where you might need to use your hands to maintain balance. The best map for the area is PATC’s Map F: Great North Mountain-North Half.

The route is easy to follow. There are no trail junctions, and the yellow blazes are clearly visible. From WGRA parking lot, cross VA 675 and start up the trail on the far side of the road. Pass through some walk-in unofficial campsites and continue along the trail. In less than a mile you will see the two rocky outcrops that provide the views to the east. The trail will then descend a bit, cross to the west side of the broad ridge line of Great North Mountain, and start to climb again. Near the top are the two short and easy scrambles. Shortly after them you will crest Tibbet’s Knob with its exposed cliffs and commanding views over the tops of the tress. Please watch your kids. 

Many people turn around here, but continuing 1 more mile will get you to the end of the trail on VA 691. The trail tread is a bit rougher for the first several hundred yards past the top, but it is not as steep as what you just climbed. The forest is pretty, so if you aren’t in a rush, it is worth the extra length.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Short hike with great views along the ridge of Great North Mountain. Easy access from the city.

Cons

Can be crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

2,250.00 ft (685.80 m)

Highest point

2,910.00 ft (886.97 m)

Net Elevation Gain

590.00 ft (179.83 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Family friendly
Historically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Shenandoah Mountains + Valleys, Virginia
Shenandoah Mountains + Valleys, Virginia
Shenandoah Mountains + Valleys, Virginia

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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