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Little Schloss - Columbia Furnace, Virginia

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Little Schloss  -  May 2015video embed code by v3.1

Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
5.0 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
3.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,110 ft
13.2 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
7.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,220 ft
George Washington National Forest
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Park on FDR92 across from the trailhead. 38.90833, -78.64085

Little Schloss is just one of the many beautiful circuit hikes in the Great North Mountain area. Only 1.7 miles east of the more popular Big Schloss, the Little Schloss overlook is nearly all but forgotten. The panoramic vista from Little Schloss is spectacular, however the rock scramble to to the summit does require some skill. But this hike isn't just about the summit, 0.3 past the overlook there are several beautiful vistas on the trail, as well as a clearing with mature spruce. Little Stoney Creek is also a favorite with backpackers, and has many camping sites along its banks.

  • Mile 0.0 - From the parking area cross FDR92 and start up the purple blazed Little Sluice Mountain Trail. The trail will increase in steepness, then in 1.0 miles turn down its eastern side before heading steeply back towards the ridge. At this point, there are also several good views of Stultz Gap to the southeast. The trail will make switchbacks near the ridgeline and become increasingly steeper.
  • Mile 1.8 - After the last switchback the trail will split. Stay left to go to the overlook. The 70ft rock scramble to the Little Schloss overlook is a very steep, so if you decide to tackle the climb use caution as some of the rocks are loose.
  • Mile 1.9 - From the Little Schloss overlook Big Schloss is visible to the west, as well as the the ridge of Little Sluice Mountain to the north, and Woodstock to the east. Return back to the trail split from the overlook and head north on the purple blazed Little Sluice Mountain Trail passing several vistas. 0.3 miles along the ridge the trail will pass the first good campsite.
  • Mile 2.5 - Enter a high mountain meadow with a campsite and stand of mature spruce. On the east side of the clearing in the woodline is camping area with one of the largest backcountry fire rings we've seen.

    If you are doing the shorter out/back hike this is the turn around point.

    To continue on the 13.2 mile loop hike, the purple blazed Little Sluice Trail follows a wider seasonal forestry road (FR), then gradually descends before reaching the intersection of the orange blazed Bread Trail/FR in another 0.9 miles.

  • Mile 3.4 - Stay left along the purple blazed trail/FR for 2.5 miles, where the purple blazed trail ends at the intersection of the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail, and orange blazed Racer Camp Hollow Trail that continues straight.
  • Mile 5.9 - Turn left uphill on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail as it passes over Sugar Knob, then descends and arrives at the intersection of the yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail in another 1.0 mile.
  • Mile 6.9 - Turn left down the yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail, and in 100 yards pass the PATC Sugar Knob Cabin, then 70 yards further down the trail is a seasonal spring. The yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail will continue down the valley for 2.5 miles before reaching the next campsite along the banks of the creek. Pass several more campsites in the remaining 1.3 miles to FDR92, and the Little Stoney Creek parking area.
  • Mile 10.7 - Turn left and walk the remaining 2.5 miles along FDR92 back to the Little Sluice Trail parking area.
  • Mile 13.2 - Arrive back at the parking area on FDR92
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Hiker Reviews For The Little Schloss Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 14, 2017
This is a pretty good hike. Went out with a 40 lb pack for training purposes. The initial climb is quite challenging. Too foggy and icy to do the top scramble, so we kept going on. Did 10 miles the first day and set up camp next to the creek which was a FANTASTIC camping spot. A little too much fire road, but I usually don't mind that in the mornings for an easy out to the car. Did the last 3.5 ish miles in the morning. Overall, fairly good hike.

By: Alex P Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2016
My wife and I did this hike last weekend over two days. It was great! Relaxed, nice views, good trail conditions, nice camping options, and adequate water. It was a super windy weekend, clear and chilly overnight (41 degrees), but there were a good amount of people on the trail since it was sunny during the day. We dropped our packs at the Little Sluice Mtn parking lot, then drove up and parked at the bottom of Little Stoney Creek Trail, hiked back down the road, then up to the spruce meadow past Little Schloss to set up camp (counterclockwise). There were two other groups camping there for the night. The huge fire ring there is part of a deer camp. Some guys were there with their pickup splitting and stacking wood in preparation for rifle season, which is coming up in a couple two three weeks. The remaining eight miles on Sunday were a nice walk through the woods, with the sun lighting up the fall leaves. If you do this counterclockwise and stay up on the ridge make sure you bring enough water. We didn't see any until a trickle was coming out of a small pipe to the right of the trail somewhere about mile 4.5-5. Then a few hundred meters before you turn on to the blue trail there is a more substantial creek with a nice, clear flow. We started with 4 liters each and were fine. Overall a great overnight, nice people on the trail. For a two-day hike I'd give it a three for difficulty, and I'm not in great shape!

By: Gus W. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 25, 2016
After having day hiked this trail counter-clockwise in the Spring, our crew made a two-day backpacking trip this weekend going clockwise starting at the Little Stoney Creek parking lot. The weather this weekend was perfect for late June with temps around 80 with low humidity. Was surprised at how few hikers we encountered, maybe 12 over the entire circuit. Trail was in great shape up to our campsite on Little Sluice Trail at the intersection with Bread Trail fire road. That is a large site which accommodated our four tents easily with room for at least that many more. There are at least three fire rings. The spring on Little Sluice trail (about a mile before our site) was going strong.

We continued towards Little Schloss on the second day, but had a more difficult time. From the fireroad up through the meadow to Little Schloss, the trail is currently overgrown with tall grass and thorns. The view from Little Schloss was awesome. Once the Little Sluice trail descended under tall tree cover, the going became easy again. Little Sluice Trail could use a touch up on the purple blazes, many are fading fast. Also, we would have never found the side trail up to Little Schloss if we hadn't been there before the weeds started growing. Looks like a good place for a sign.

We were surprised at the lack of wildlife on this trip. An orange salamander, a chipmunk, and a whippoorwill that started signing loudly at 5am were all that we encountered.

Giving it 3 stars, would have gone 4 if it weren't for the overgrown section.

By: Y & M Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 08, 2016
We did this clockwise. We added a loop approx 6 miles following Tuscarora where it turns into three ponds trail to the old mailpath trail and back down racer camp hollow. That made a fun two nights out. There were quite a few people out on the Saturday. There were a lot of ticks at the campsite near little Schloss. There's also no water source as you approach little schloss so bring water up if you plan to camp up there. The view is great!

By: Chris P Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 23, 2016
Awesome hike! I went on this hike with my brother (who is not a veteran hiker) and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! We decided to go the non-traditional way (clockwise) and I'm glad we did. The trail never seemed to be overly challenging in terms of incline however, if we had gone counter-clockwise we would have had to struggle up a moderate to steep incline full of switchbacks for a few miles going up the Little Schloss. Going clockwise also afforded us the best camping spots towards the end of our hike and then a brief hike in the morning to get down the Little Schloss to where we parked our car. On the morning we hiked out, we scrambled to the top of the Little Schloss and got to look down on our entire hike from start to finish. It was definitely rewarding getting to look back at all the mileage we accomplished the day before.

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