The area around Stony Creek in the Lee Ranger District of George Washington National Forest is an go to for car camping or semi-car camping ever since we moved to D.C. Typically, we’d make the mile long hike up Little Stony Creek for our own isolated spot, but there are plenty along Forest Road 92 itself. We decided to grab one of those this time around on a last minute trip
with a new mix of friends now that we’ve all had the jab. Hopefully this is the first of many more excursions.
While here, we explored a couple of the smaller hikes. The first being Tibbet Knob, the lesser known outcrop on the same ridge as the popular Big Schloss.
- Tibbet Knob via Wolf Gap
- type: in & out
- distance: 3.4 miles
- elevation change: 974 ft
- time: 2:47 hours (1:48 moving)
- location: Wolf Gap in the Lee Ranger District, George Washington National Forest near Woodstock, VA (directions to trailhead)
We started our hike from the popular Wolf Gap campgrounds. There are 10 fee free first come first serve camping spots here (USDA Forest Services).
However, the reason for this parking area’s popularity isn’t the campgrounds but for the trailhead with the easiest access to Big Schloss (alltrails), though I prefered the view of Big Schloss from the cutoff. Due to the popularity, parking maybe scarce on a night weekend day.
As part the trail that follows the ridge, you can also access Tibbet Knob from Judge Rye Road (alltrails).
After setting up our camp, along Forest Road 92, we reached Wolf Gap just before 1:30 pm. It was busy, but we were able to find a couple parking spots. The trail for Tibbet Knob crosses back over Wolf Gap Road. While not part of the campground, there were plenty of disperse campsites here around the trailhead.
Immediately we were greeted with plenty of flowering wild azaleas (wikipedia) in peak bloom.
We were too early for blueberries or huckleberries also in the area.
After 0.2 miles from the trailhead, we had our first uphill over the next quarter mile at roughly 13.7% grade. This brought up up onto the ridge for a couple of outlooks down toward the east toward Woodstock, the Green Mountain and Massanutten Mountain Ranges behind it. Immediately in front of us from the right, we could see Three Mile Mountain, Bowers Mountain (in front), Irwin Knob, High Head, Sugar Hill, and Little Schloss.
The second outcrop has a nice boulder you can scramble up.
For the next half mile, the trail drops off the ridge and rounds a gully and gets a bit rocky.
Then the real uphill begins as the trail gains the ridge again. For the initial third of a mile, we had a switchback along some ferns with a grade of 14.5% incline.
Then the trail headed straight up for the next third at an average of 21.7% grade incline.
At the steepest and most technical, the grade was at 35.9% grade involving some minor scrambling.
The trail flattens out at the top bringing us to an open view to the northwest into West Virginia. From the Right, the view is of Long Mountain and its ridge, Halfmoon Mountain at the end of the valley, Mill Mountain, and Big Schloss. What impressed me with the different layering of green at different elevations from the new spring leaves coming in at different paces.
Looking toward the southwest, we could see the Church Mountain ridge.
We were the only group here for a good hour a so before another group came up from the other direction. This is very different than Big Schloss. There are also a couple different outcrops so you can pretty much have one for yourself.
Should you want to hull some water up here, there are some establish campsites here are well.
The trail continues along the ridge toward Judge Rye Road, the other trailhead access, but we returned the same way after hanging out here for about an hour.
The rating below are based on an unevenly distributed scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). For full description of the ratings and the categories, see the explanation here.
view: 2. The views on Tibbet Knob and the outlooks on the way up are as good, if not better than the most popular hike in the are, Big Schloss. It may even be a better valley view than Big Schloss all together as your viewpoint is down the valley than across it. Add in a little scrambling fun and less people, this might be a nice alternative peak should you be looking for a hike in the area. Outside of the viewpoint, most of the hike is in a tunnel of green typical of Virginia hikes.
difficulty: 1. This is a nice and short hike, though there are a couple steps of steep uphill and on boulders that maybe more difficult in the rain.
technical: 2. The trail is clear but there are a few sections of small scrambling sections that makes this hike more than a walk.
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