Halfmoon Mountain Trail is a 10.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Wardensville, West Virginia that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and trail running.
The directions on the site are accurate but the mileage is off. My phone died on the pink blazed buck tail connector trail just after I hit 10 miles. I was still nearly 2 miles from the end of the loop.
Mileage discrepancy aside, this was a great hike. I didn't see a single person, saw deer and turkey, coyote and bobcat scat and lots of animal tracks.
The view from the lookout tower is great and well worth the 4 hours of hiking.
We followed the same trail as outlined by Dan below. Good workout, and I would say 1400' climb on German Wilson trail piece was intense. I am not in the best physical condition and this took us 4.5 hours, the last hour of which was in the dark. Bring a canteen per person on this hike.
Halfmoon Mountain has spectacular views of Trout Run Valley, Big Schloss and Tibbet Knob as well as a great stream hike up Halfmoon Run this is another hidden gem in the Great North Mountain area. The only real challenging section is the short but steep climb up the German Wilson Trail.
I took the orange blazed forestry service (FS) road and begin our assent up the Bucktail Trail. Shortly veer left passing the pink blazed Bucktail Connector Trail on your right which you will be returning on later. Remain on the orange blazed Bucktail Trail for 2.4 miles passing several side FS roads before gently descending and arriving at a foot bridge and the junction of the purple blazed Capon Furnace Trail. This section of the trail was wide and nice for walking with rolling hills.
We did not cross the bridge over Halfmoon Run but stayed on the orange blazed Bucktail Trail for another 1.3 miles, crossing the stream five times before reaching a closed gate, clearing and the end of the Bucktail Trail.) This section was rocky and if the river is high then crossing can be hard not to get wet.
At the gate we turn right immediately passing another closed gate and heading up the pink blazed FS road. There was a side FS trail on the left in 150 yards, we passed this, and in 0.1 miles cross a small stream before the FS Road/Trail splits; we turn left heading uphill staying on the pink blazed German Wilson Trail as it climbs the ravine. The trail becomes very rocky, makes two quick switchbacks and becomes very steep for the remaining climb to the ridge and intersection of the white blazed Halfmoon Lookout Spur Trail. This climb was about 1,400 ft.
We turned right climbing the white blazed Halfmoon Lookout Spur Trail for 0.3 miles. Just before the summit the trail splits to two vantage points. We went right where the trail became very steep for 100 yards before arriving at the summit and foundation of an old lookout tower with the best view of the hike.
We return down the white blazed trail passing the pink blazed German Wilson Trail we climbed earlier and arrived at the junction of the yellow blazed Halfmoon Trail in 0.9 miles from the top. This section is not as steep as the climb up. Paths were more rocky then when we started.
We Turn right downhill on the yellow blazed Halfmoon Trail, descending the mountain for 1.1 miles until we reach a stream crossing and the intersection of the pink blazed Bucktail Connector Trail.
We did not cross the stream but turn right on the pink blazed Bucktail Connector Trail for 2.5 miles where the pink blazed trail ends at the orange blazed FS road we ascended at the beginning of the hike.
To finish we turn left downhill on the orange blazed FS road and shortly arrive back at the parking area.
This is a pretty decent work out. The trail is about 7 miles from Wolf Gap. So, it can be done with Tibbet Knob and/or Big Schloss if you are in the area. To get there follow Trout Run Rd down from the Big Schloss/Tibbet area. Around 6.5miles, you'll pass a old iron ore furnace ruin on your right. Just after this is a small bridge and few hundred yards from the bridge is the gravel road on the right to take you the trail head.
You may miss the gravel road. If you do and get to Trout Pond Rd you've gone too far. Turn around and take the first left.
The first part of the trail is pretty easy. You start on the Buck Tail Trail on a fire road. Follow the orange trail blazes. There are moderate inclines. After about 2-3miles you'll see a wooden bridge on your left. Continue on the trail following the orange blazes. You'll cross Halfmoon run a few times. Be prepared to get your feet wet. [Next time I may do this in reverse so I don't hike with wet feet til the end.]
After about 5 crossings, you're done and go up a steep hill. At the top of the hill, there are two gates. Pass the first gate, hang a right and pass the second. Follow the trail up further. Pass a small stream then immediately after the stream, veer left. You'll see a trail marker for Halfmoon & Germain Wilson trails. Follow this trail. It gets steeper. After a few switchbacks you may have a hard time seeing the trail blazes, now pink. Some of the markings have faded so you need to pay attention.
At the top of the hill the trail intersects with Halfmoon. There is cairn in the trail. The trail blaze is white. To go to the summit, hang a right and continue up for another half mile. At the summit you have great views east towards Big Schloss and Tibbets. Once you've rested, turn around and follow the white blazes, pass the German Wilson trail you previously were on.
A bit less than a mile, you'll come across the trail marker to take you back to Buck Tail Trail, about 2.5 miles. The blazes from here are yellow. Follow this trail until you get to the bottom of the hill. At the bottom of the trail splits. Hang a right and follow the pink blaze for another mile or two. This eventually connects back to the Buck Tail Trail. Hang a left here and follow the fire road back to the trail head.