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Big Schloss - Columbia Furnace, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
4.1 mls NA
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4 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,035 ft
George Washington National Forest
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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: Richard W et al. Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, March 30, 2016
We did this as a part of 2 day hike, with the first day at Strickler knob trail about 40 min drive away. We camped at Wolf Gap campgrounds overnight at late March and it was fairly cold so dress accordingly.

The first part of the trail is steep uphill that goes on for about half a mile. Then the trail rides the ridge until it reaches a sign that either lets us continue to Mill Mountain or turn right to head up Big Schloss. the Big Schloss portion that followed is rather rocky but still pretty easy as it goes all the way to the wooden manmade bridge that stretches across two large rocks. About 20 feet past the bridge there are lots of large rocks at the tip of this valley that offers wide view over the entire ridge. Big Schloss' views are on par with Old Rag's and slightly below Strickler Knob's in my opinion. But since it's so short and easy comparatively, I'd say it gives the fastest reward.

One thing my group kind of regretted not doing was camping at the top of Big Schloss instead of the Wolf Gap campgrounds. Near the wooden bridge at the summit there are at least 2-3 spots that can easily serve as great camping sites (one of them is inside a half cave, which can shelter campers from strong night winds). We say this because at a cloudless night, we saw basically the entire milky way from Wolf Gap but the views were obstructed by the trees. If we camped up at the top, the star views would have been even greater. Overall a great hike with fast returns on time and energy investment.


By: T. Heinz Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 27, 2016
Combined this with a hike up Tibbet knob. Most people were doing Big Schloss, so we did it after Tibbet. The combined total for the two trails is around 7 miles, so it's a good way to do two trails with different characteristics, and both with great views without needing to log a huge amount of miles or time. Once you get past the first 1/2 mile on this trail, which is pretty much all-up hill, the trail becomes much more moderate. This time of the year you have great views for a good chunk of the hike since a fair bit is spent walking along the ridge line and there's no foliage to block your views. Some fun rock scrambling and good views of Little Schloss and Tibbet Knob from Big Schloss.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 24, 2015
My wife and I only had a few hours to get away before a family dinner. Had hiked the Big Schloss for the first and last time one cloudy cool June day about 22 years ago. Ironically, the weather on this Christmas Eve was exactly the same as then. While not typical for December, the warm weather made for a great hike. We captured many good photos along the trail and on the rocky cliffs. The trail itself was quite technical, but not overly strenuous. Heard and saw Ravens on the way out, which was a nice find. Other than the one family camping near the entrance and the young couple we passed on the way back, we had the mountain to ourselves.

Highly recommend this hike if you're short on time and want the most bang for the effort!


By: Barb Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 01, 2015
Absolutely beautiful views. Walking the ridge of Virginia for a good mile and the West Virginia / Va views _ WOW. The first .7 as everyone said was the toughest part but even then as long as you take your time it isn't too bad. I've done many more challenging lately such as Raven rock and White Oak/ Cedar Run. Big Schloss is now very near the top of my favorite list just behind Dragon tooth!

By: Barb Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 01, 2015
Absolutely beautiful views. Walking the ridge of Virginia for a good mile and the West Virginia / Va views _ WOW. The first .7 as everyone said was the toughest part but even then as long as you take your time it isn't too bad. I've done many more challenging lately such as Raven rock and White Oak/ Cedar Run. Big Schloss is now very near the top of my favorite list just behind Dragon tooth!

    View all 89 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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