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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: 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!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 03, 2014
this was a really fun hike... we hiked in the day before up the Tuscarora Pond Trail and camped near the Sugar Knob Cabin on top of Mill Mountain. Saturday we hiked back and down 4 miles on the Mill Mt Trail to the Schloss. This provides an amazing view of the Schloss from the North as you approach it. The hike off the trail up was an easy 1/4 mile and the views on top were impressive. Great spot to sit and eat lunch.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 05, 2014
This was an amazing hike. We started at Wolf Gap and hiked slightly over two miles to the Big Schloss. We then decided to continue another 3 1/2 miles to the natural springs. If you have the chance I wouldn't miss it. Previous posters stated there was good camping down near Stoney Creek but the camping was amazing near the springs. Flat ground, no widow makers, out of the wind, and lots of privacy even with other backpackers near by. We ran into several scout troops on the trip. All in all this is one of my all time favorite hikes. The beginning of the trail might be a little tough for a beginner but after the first half mile it really is a level 2 trail. I know the reviews say the views are really amazing but that is an understatement. Bring plenty water with you. You may have to travel 4-5 miles before you come across a water source. Iím doing this one again in the late spring. To see a video review of the hike you can visit

By: Jessie L Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 16, 2013
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.

By: Peter Rating: 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. :)

    View all 62 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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