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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:
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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: VaHiker Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, January 01, 2018
New Years day hike. 10 degrees at the trailhead, who knows up top. I solo'ed this time expecting to see no one but I saw 2 more solos and 2 couples. The snow was under 1 inch so there was no trouble hiking. Great day hike. it took me 1 hour up and 50 min back. One of my favorites!

By: Arjun Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 15, 2017
I would highly recommend this hike for someone looking for easy to moderate 4 mile hike. We hiked this one on this past Sunday afternoon and the trail was mostly empty for most of the hike, We did meet a few other people at the summit. So if you looking for peaceful empty trail , this is the one and the views from the top are incredible. Started around 2:30 and were back to the parking lot at 5:30 after spending quite a good amount at the top.

By: Phil S. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 08, 2017
This is a fantastic hike! Starts out with a moderate climb, followed by a mostly level breathtaking walk along the ridge. Along the ridge you have a clear view towards the south east almost the whole time. There are many points were you can sit and enjoy the view in relative solitude even though the trail is popular. The bridge and the cliffs at the summit are really striking, and provide dramatic views to the north west. This a really great climax to the trail.

I've hiked most of the Shenandoah trails on here and this is in my top three. Very surprised that it only scored a 5 in the view category. This hike has better views than Sky Meadows and you can see them for a much greater percent of the hike. I can't wait to do Big Schloss again, I'm going to try it in all the seasons.

I did Tibbet Knob as, which was a great little hike. If you arrive early enough you could probably do both in the same day.


By: Bret Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 23, 2017
Wonderful hike with amazing views. After reading the other reviews I decided to hike Big Schloss and wish I had done it sooner. After the initial climb it's an easy hike along the ridgeline with plenty of places to stop and take in the view. The views from Big Schloss were wonderful and the breeze was welcome on a humid overcast day. I hiked this on a Friday and was surprised to only pass 4 other hikers with none at the overlook. Only surprise was a timber rattlesnake that was more interested in the sun than me as I passed. I have hiked many trails in Shenandoah NP and the views here were better than most of them. This will now be a go to when want a easy day with good views. Also hiked Tibbet Knob on the same day, great views and a new favorite as well

By: Julie Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 21, 2017
My husband and I hiked Big Schloss on this weekend before Memorial Day in order to avoid what we assumed would be larger crowds Memorial Day weekend. There were still ~8 other cars in the Wolf Gap lot, but it wasn't overflowing. The weather was damp but not raining and it was a little foggy at the overlook. The trail is wide and clear so you can see the roots/rocks in the trail. It is steep the first mile as others have said, but not too bad. I'm 6 months pregnant and I did it without feeling overwhelmed. We stopped on the incline a few times for me/us to rest, but beyond that main climb, it was not too challenging. The bridge at the overlook is pretty awesome and the overlook itself had beautiful views! We saw some birds, chipmunks, frogs, and salamanders. It was a nice hike, not too many people the day we chose to go. We hiked Tibbet Knob last season and that was a more difficult hike. As we were hiking down we passed a few groups who were asking if they had much further to go. I said "if I can do it 6 months pregnant, than you certainly can!" Hopefully they continued on. Certainly once you finish the first incline and get to the ridge, the rest is nice!

    View all 97 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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