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Big Schloss - Columbia Furnace, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
4.1 mls NA
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
4 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,035 ft
George Washington National Forest
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e.g.. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Wolf Gap Recreation Area and parking area
The Mill mountain trail starts near campsite #9. 38.92404, -78.68949

Big Schloss is another treasure in the George Washington National Forest. Relatively easy at only 4.4 miles and 1,000 vertical feet, it's the sister hike to Tibbet Knob which heads to the south from the same parking location. Tibbet Knob has two short rock scrabbles, but a 10th of the hikers, and just as good views.

Big Schloss peak, named by German immigrants provides a wonderful view of the surrounding valleys. Make sure to bring a packed lunch because you will want to linger at the Big Schloss rock outcropping and soak in the view.

If you want to make a weekend out of it, the Wolf Gap recreation area has 9 well maintained campsites with bathroom facilities. If you have some extra hiking time consider hiking the Tibbet Knob route as well. The views are every bit as good.

Mile 0.0 - Leave the Wolf Gap Campground (near campsite #9) and start up the orange blazed Mill Mountain Trail to begin the steepest portion of the hike. The first mile has several switch backs before arriving at the ridge line of Mill Mountain.

Once getting to the ridge line, turn left and continue following the now narrower trail as it follows the ridge before arriving at the junction of the Big Schloss Trail in 1.9 miles.

Turn right onto the white blazed Big Schloss Trail for another 0.3 miles before crossing a wooden bridge that will take you to the overlook just 50 yards further along. Enjoy the view it's one of the best! To return, just retrace your route back to the Wolf gap Campground.
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Hiker Reviews For The Big Schloss Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Big Schloss hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: kesners Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 01, 2014
I took my family and some friends on this hike today. It was a real enjoyable hike for all of us. We really enjoyed the view from Big Schloss.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 07, 2014
Wow, the views are so beautiful! An easy trail, too. A lot of people along the way, but I can see why. Would love to camp this sometime and watch the sunset and sunrise from the end. Tibbet Knob (the other direction from the parking lot) is very much worth it, too.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Last time I did this hike was in the fall when the leaves were turning.....great time to get wonderful pics! But, I was not disappointed doing this hike in the middle of the summer. There were plenty of summer wildflowers along the ridge of the mountain. Spotted a Coal Skink on one of the rocks, which was nice. There were a lot of bees however, they did not bother you and were great for photo shots with the wildflowers! There were blackberries and blueberries along the trail. Since it was a weekday, there were few people around. I got to spend an hour on the rocks by myself, which was incredibly satisfying. Enjoyed the views as always!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 18, 2014
Although strenuous for the out-of-shape (like myself), Big Schloss is one of my favorite hikes! The view is as breathtaking as the hike itself. (Don't worry, there are plenty of rocks to sit and take a break on.) At the right time of year there are even blackberries and blueberries along the trail to munch on. I usually camp at the "base" of the trail in one of the well-maintained tent sites, and I've never had a problem there.
One small note: at least as of 7/18/14, the hand operated water pump was out of commission. I suggest bringing a few gallons of your own water if you plan to camp, or a purifier to use the spring water along the road in several locations.
Happy hiking!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 18, 2014
My wife and I love Big Schloss, and we had a great day hiking this visit. I also brought along my quadcopter (drone) and took some aerial video of the vista! It was a blast, and I look forward to doing the same on future hikes. Enjoy the video!

    View all 68 reviews for the Big Schloss hike
Early April - Photos - Courtesy of Julie A.
Late September - Photos courtesy of Tom H.
Late Spring
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