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.
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.
Interactive Hike Map BelowPrintable
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
Hike route in Drag the map with your mouse using the icon Zoom with the controls on the left Mouse-over the icons in the map below for location shots
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Big Schloss hike:
Reviews For The Big Schloss Hike (5 Most Recent)
This was a really great hike - the trail was well-marked and easy to follow, and the ridge-walk portion was especially beautiful. I was pleasantly surprised that the ridge walk included unobstructed views in both directions. The bulk of the effort comes at the beginning of the trail, but after you climb the switchbacks for about 20 minutes, it's a level 1 difficulty the rest of the way. You could easily do this with children or folks who aren't expert hikers.
As a bonus, you can bring your dog on this trail - we actually passed a whole group of dog owners.
The trail was well maintained and though we lucked out and had nice weather, I wouldn't be afraid to hike this trail even later into winter. The view from the rock outcropping was spectacular - I can second the trail guide's recommendation to plan to eat your lunch up there. I will say that the rock outcropping does require a little bit of climbing and there was a section where you had to be careful not to fall off the mountain.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 12, 2013
I hiked here for my birthday in the pouring down rain. The campground and parking lots are all open. This is because it is run as part of a national forest. as opposedto a National Park. All national forest land and their associated campgrounds and parking areas are not affected by the government shutdown. That said the trail was suprisingly overgrown. There were also a lot of hikers. In the past I usuall saw 2-3 people but on that day I saw about 50. I have nothing to say about views. The fog was extremely thick. It was just nice to be hiking on my birthday. :)
Date of Hike: Friday, October 11, 2013
We did this hike beginning at the trailhead off of Forest Road 92 where it intersects with Little Stony Creek (no closures or restrictions despite the government shutdown). Hiked up the Little Stony Creek drainage to the PATC Cabin and then on to Big Schloss. We did this hike in heavy rain, and it was still wonderful. Little Stony Creek is peaceful with plentiful backcountry camping options, and Big Schloss is an impressive rocky outcrop. Will be sure to try it again on a clear day with a more expansive view!
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 05, 2013
Had a nice hike to a wonderful overlook at Big Schloss. The Big Schloss overlook gives you the feeling of being on a large pillar. Also, I'm posting this info about Wolf Gap campground here since I can find it nowhere online: As of 10/5/2013, Wolf Gap campground and parking are closed due to the government shutdown. I got conflicting information from the sheriff personnel about parking near the entrance of Wolf Gap. Here is what I think the rules are: parking along Wolf Gap road is OK as long as all tires are off the road surface. Parking along the entrance to Wolf Gap campground (up to the yellow tape) is OK as long as NF vehicles can get by if they can't get by then the side that has fewer cars will be towed clear.
Date of Hike: Friday, June 14, 2013
We went on a weekday, and we saw literally three other people on the trail during the entirety of the hike, although when we got back to the campgrounds there were a lot of campers who had recently gotten there. The first half mile or so is a pretty good incline, but the rest is a nice hike along the ridge, which offered some very nice views east and west. The rocks along the trail made it more technical than others we have hiked, so there was that added challenge. When we got close to the end at the peak, the rock scrambles kept it interesting, considering I also had an 18 month old on my back! However, the views at the peak were outstanding! It was one of the better views I had seen from a peak hike, and it was a great day to do it. If you get caught in a rainstorm, there is a good outcropping of rocks that might keep you dry near the top.
On the way down, especially the descent, was also a special challenge with the small rocks on the trail. I think if I had to rate the difficulty, I would actually give this a "3" instead of a "2." It wasn't extremely challenging, but a "2" seemed a little low.
All in all, great hike, and I really enjoyed it, and I hope to do it again. It was a perfect length for an afternoon hike, a good challenge, and if you perservere, fantastic views from the peak.