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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)
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By: Dwhitten Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 18, 2015
Third time up to one of best views in northern Shenandoah valley. Took my 3 year old and 6 month old and no issues until little rock scrambling at the top if u want to explore. Not a bad uphill to the ridge line and great views year round along most of the ridge line.

By: Craig C. Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 07, 2015
I did this hike with my two teen daughters and we had a great Labor Day hike to the rocks. Everyone said the first mile is really steep, but we didn't think it was so bad. The views were great and we loved rocks. We took about an hour to eat lunch and were finished in 3 hrs total, and we were casually hiking and enjoying the views. Can't wait to go back.

By: John M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Nice, pleasant hike.

The hard part is at the beginning of the trail which is really not too hard, just a steady up hill. Hiked this with my 6 year old son and while he wasn't a fan up the first part, enjoyed the view and climbing around at the top.

Also hiked to Tibbet's knob and camped there for the night.

Next time I do this it will only be to the Big Schloss to just enjoy the rocks and surroundings longer. Enjoyed exploring around Tibbets knob, but Big Schloss has more rocks. I noted several camp sights near the top and a lot of possibilities along the long flat area along the mostly flat ridge of the trail that would also afford very nice fall views for camping.

By: Jack Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 16, 2015
Great hike. Talk about turn on investment, left Washington DC on Sunday at 3:45pm, hit the trail at 6:00Pm with overnight packs, and made it to the summit by 7:30, just in time for the sunset at the knob. The view from the rock outcropping is incredible, more than a 270 degree panorama. Later that night the stars came out and the entire milky way was visibile. Camped right by the Knob and had a great sunrise to wake up to.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 15, 2015
At trailhead/parking lot, look for signs to Mill Mountain as sign for Big Schloss summit only appears at final 1/4 mile of hike. Views at the summit spectacular - exceeded my expectations. It was a hot afternoon so the hike up was sweaty.

Passed about a dozen people and half as many dogs. Trail gets very narrow and overgrown when it flattens out, so I'd recommend bug spray. Coming down very fast and easy.

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Early April - Photos - Courtesy of Julie A.
Late September - Photos courtesy of Tom H.
Late Spring
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