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Hiker Comments for the Little Schloss Hike - 1 to 53 of 53   
Average Rating:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 22, 2019
The trail and scramble were awesome. No rattlesnakes this time. The view from the tops is spectacular and there is not too hard path up. There were a couple parts that were overgrown but that's expected on any trail over 5 miles in the area. Overall the trail was well marked and the directions here were spot on. There was some pooling of water, including a couple of puddles that had tadpoles they were so big but most of them were easily traversed. The last bit, the walk on the fire road back to the parking lot is even pleasant for hiking on a road with ample shade.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 8, 2018
Hiked this and the Mill Mountain trail over the weekend of Oct 6- 8, 2018.

Started up Little Sluice trail to Little Schloss (great view), turned left onto the Tuscarora Trail, turned left again onto Mill Mountain Trail, side hiked Big Schloss (all fogged in -- no view at all), then down the Big Schloss cutoff trail back to the car. All told about 15 miles over two nights.

Great hike. Trail was not crowded at all (saw maybe a half-dozen people all weekend). Great weather, nice trails, although parts of the Little Sluice trail were muddy and wet (due to recent rain? Hasn't been like that on past trips). Lovely area to hike in.

The spring on Little Sluice trail was running well (38.9573, -78.6200). Sandstone Spring (38.96901, -7864256) was running very strong with plenty of water.

(Posting this under the Mill Mountain hike also).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Overall, a really great one night backpacking trip close to DC. I knocked off one star because I could not for the life of me find the trail split to go to the Little Schloss overlook. It could be possible that the recent wind storm obscured the entrance with downed trees, but I didn't see any markings of any kind. I'll definitely keep a sharper eye out next time I do this loop. Even though I missed the official overlook, there were still plenty of nice views from the trail after passing Little Schloss.

Also important to note that FR88 was closed about a mile from the intersection with FR92, so that added an extra 1.5 miles each way to my hike to get to and from the Little Sluice trail head. The hiking was very easy, but it was irritating to finish the loop on 4 miles of fairly featureless forest road. Won't knock off a star for that though, since it's not really the trail's fault!

There is a great campsite just past the intersection with Little Stoney Creek Trail on the left, which is where I spent the night. The spring is marked with a wooden sign nailed to a tree a ways down the trail from the PATC cabin. It was running freely in mid-March, which was lucky as there weren't any water sources before that. Between my parking spot on FR88 and my campsite took me about 4.5 hours including breaks. The second day of hiking was much easier, as it was mostly downhill and about half on a forest road. Took me about 3.5 hours (including the 1.5 miles between the Little Sluice parking area and where I actually parked). There are some really beautiful campsites on Little Stoney Creek Trail too.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 4, 2017
We did the loop and it was a good hike but your on a fire road 50% of the time with four wheel drive vehicles trying to pass you. We didn't mind but the solitude factor was gone. Good views and great camping by the stream.

By: Tessa Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 1, 2017
Made a fairly last minute decision to go her for an overnight trip on Saturday. Gorgeous weather and I really enjoyed hiking up to the meadow with the campsites, in the last hour before sunset. I didn't realize I passed the 'split in the trail after the last switchback' as there was a log across the left trail that goes to the rock scramble, and I thought it was a false trail. I set up camp in the meadow and back tracked the next morning. Not early enough for sunrise, but it was still pretty.

Those first 2 miles have numerous great views and are good fun, but the rest of the hike is a tiny bit boring. I didn't even walk the last 2.5 miles of forest service road, as an fellow hiker gave me a ride. Overall, I really enjoyed the great weather and the wonderful views from the ridge before descending though, but next time I'd probably just do a short out-and-back.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 9, 2017
I took my girlfriend and her Adventure Dog on this hike for their first ever backpacking/camping trip on the first weekend of Fall weather for the year. We took the longer loop (hiking as instructed in directions, so going counter clockwise) and really enjoyed it but there were some things I wish I'd known before we went -

*Overlook:* Someone has very helpfully tied little blue ribbons to mark the trail up to the overlook, which isn't as intuitive as you might expect. The actual rock scramble itself isn't that bad - Adventure Dog was able to do most of it, but we carried him for parts because he has short legs. We did, however, trip over a rattlesnake sunning itself up at the top. The view was stunning. Be careful to note where you went in when you get up there - you can also go down the other side of the overlook, which is a significantly more dangerous and disorienting rock scramble.

*Difficulty and timing:* I usually feel the HikingUpward difficulty and timings are a little inflated, but this trail was spot on. The initial 1.8 miles up to the overlook is very steep and the trail never really levels off aside from some of the forestry road walking on the Little Sluice section. The blue blazed Tuscarora Trail section is a pretty grueling incline after you've already finished the switchbacks. With a stop for lunch and for extracurricular rock scrambling at the overlook, it took us 6 hours from start to get to the first campsite on the yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail. From there to the car, it was about 1.5 hours.

*Water:* There was no water source for us until we reached the first campsite on the yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail, 6 hours in. The "seasonal water spring" near the Sugar Knob Cabin would have marked about the 5 hour point, but it was dry for us in the Fall. There are campsites along the purple blazed Little Sluice, but if you plan to camp there make sure you pack in plenty of water.

*Campsites:* We camped at the first (northernmost) campsite along the yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail. The camp was massive, could have easily accommodated three or four tents, and had Creek access although you had to hike down a bit to get to it. Plenty of firewood. Had trouble finding a tree to hang the packs - eventually hung them on a downed tree. The next campsite south is in view of the first, so could have been annoying if someone was camped there. We checked out the other campsites on the way out, and the BEST CAMPSITE is probably the third one as you walk south (so second-to-last campsite as the hike is written/second campsite if you were walking from the Little Stoney Creek parking/trailhead). It's smaller but has easiest water access.

*Road walking:* Other reviewers have complained about the FDR92 road walking, which is fine it's just... boring. If I did this again, I would probably park one car at the Little Stoney Creek parking lot and another at the Little Sluice trailhead to just skip the road walking entirely.

*Brewery:* After we were done, we were dying for a beer and discovered a local farm brewery, Swover Creek Farms, about a 10 or 15 minute drive away from the car. Great pizza, decent beer, dog friendly. Looks like they're only open Thurs-Sun.

Overall, excellent hike for first-time backpackers as long as they're in good shape - this one definitely earns its 4-star difficulty rating.

By: Beth Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 19, 2017
I came back to do the loop as an overnight trip (Friday - Saturday) with a friend! We decided to hike CW (backwards from written), and parked at the Little Sluice trailhead in order to get the road walking out of the way. We set out around 2:30pm and arrived at the intersection of Tuscarora and Little Sluice trails around 8pm (including a couple of breaks). The creek was lovely and there were plenty of water sources up until the Little Sluice Mountain trail. It had recently rained so there were lots of puddles and mud in spots on the trail, but if you're careful it's still possible to keep your feet dry.

We didn't encounter many people on Friday, just at the Stoney Creek trailhead and the first camp along the creek. Nobody near our campsite all night, just lots of frogs and birds. We even got woken up in the middle of the night by a pair of barred owls calling to each other right outside our tent, which was awesome. Saturday we crossed paths with 6 or so more hikers along the Little Sluice trail, but still had Little Schloss to ourselves.

The side trail to Little Schloss is way more obscured now that the greenery has grown up - if I hadn't just been there a couple months earlier we might have missed it! If you're hiking CW like us - where the side trail branches off is where you have the first switchback going downhill on the main trail. It's kind of faint but the grass is flattened just enough to make out. The grass is pretty tall in parts of the trail, so be vigilant for ticks. With liberal bug spray and frequent checks, we didn't find any.. did get a few mosquito bites though.

I'm glad we did the road section first, and felt the uphills CW were less difficult. Plus, we had the rock scramble to look forward to the next day! Overall a fun hike with good amounts of solitude.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 9, 2017
Was looking for a quick backpacking trip close to DC last weekend, so chose this one because we could do a short hike in Saturday, camp at the creek, and then do most of the hike Sunday (couldn't get out to the mountains until late afternoon).
We parked at the Little Stoney Creek trailhead, and at first went the wrong way (took the trail toward the reservoir - which leaves out of the parking lot instead of the correct trail across FR92). We went about a half mile before figuring out this wasn't the right way (although the trail is nice!).
After correcting ourselves, we were able to grab one of the really nice camp sites along the creek, about a mile in. It was a really nice site with plenty of firewood, space, and the creek near by.
Got up at dawn and packed up by around 0830. The hike up to Sugar Knob Cabin was pretty rocky, but never steep so it wasn't too bad (although we were passed by some mountain bikers who biked up it - crazy). The next couple of hours were spent on the forest roads. Most of it was actually nice, although after awhile it became a bit tedious and boring. By the time we reached the Bread Road intersection, the sun was fully up and there was no shade this time of year with the leaves not yet out.
The area around Little Schloss is really nice, I think I may come back and camp up there some day. The scramble was kind of tricky but short - we got up it with our dog and full packs, so really not bad. Only a couple people up there, but one was flying a drone so that was rather annoying. The views were great.
From here to the parking lot was the worst part of the hike - the sun was warm, there was no shade, and it was incredibly dry on this side of the mountain. The 2.5 miles on the gravel road was terrible as well...just because of that I don't think I'll ever do this loop again. But it was nice to dip our feet in the creek back at the parking lot!

Overall, it was a good backpack - some nice parts (the creek, Little Schloss, and the area around Sugar Knob) but also some boring to tedious parts.

By: Beth Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 4, 2017
I did the short version of this as a day hike, but instead of doubling back I decided to take Bread Road Trail (orange blazes) downhill and then follow Johnstown Rd back out to my car. Johnstown was closed maybe half a mile before the intersection, so I had to park there instead of FS 92. I do not recommend my loop version though, unless you enjoy trudging along a forest road for the last two hours of your hike.. lesson learned! I still gave this five stars because when I was following directions it was great :) The forecast was 40 degrees and sunny, and I'm very glad I wore layers + windbreaker. On the uphills when it was calm and the sun was beaming down I got toasty, but up by Little Schloss it was very windy and cold, still some snow on ground. The view was awesome!! So cool to be able to pick out Big Schloss and Little North Mountain. The rock scramble wasn't that hard, just take your time with your footing. Also glad I wore hiking boots as the trail is very rocky. Loved the meadow campsite with spruce, a nice place to eat lunch. I only ran into four people all afternoon: two guys with a dog who thought they were going to Big Schloss, and a couple up on top of the ridge. Already planning to go back and do an overnight version!

By: Cole Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 18, 2017
My friends and I (a group of three) along with our intrepid dog decided to tackle Little Schloss during what we anticipated would be the best February weather we'd ever seen. Traveling from Maryland, we did the hike as a one night backpack forecast called for temperatures in the high 60s with partial cloud cover day 1, a possible passing shower overnight, sunshine and warm temps for day 2.

We did this hike as directed (counterclockwise).

The access gate along Johnstown Road was closed and there were three vehicles parked at the small pull-off right before the gate. Other vehicles can park along the opposite side of Johnstown road without much problem -so don't be discouraged if you see a small handful of cars at the gate. From the gate it's a 1.6 mile hike to the trail head -take your first left onto FDR 92. The purple trail blaze is visible on your right, across from a small grassy area (the parking "area" in the directions -which, as previously noted, is little more than a camp site sized grassy area).

Follow the purple blazes (you will make short descents while traversing the side of Little Schloss -don't be fooled, you haven't missed the rock scramble to the summit). Eventually you will come to the last switchback and the left leads to the scramble and the trail continues to the right. You may be confused as to whether this is actually the "left to the summit" -as my group was. You can quickly confirm this by continuing on the trail and eventually finding yourself near the false summit -realizing you missed the rock scramble, and arguing amongst yourselves whether to double back or not. We were hiking in February without any brush or tree cover -and we still had difficulty finding the best route to the scramble due to several other rough bushwack trails toward the rocks (until we passed it entirely).

It didn't matter. The views, both while doing the push up Little Schloss and while on the ridge of Little Sluice Mountain trail were awesome. In the late spring, summer and early fall, many of these views would not exist. The brush and tree cover along this route would easily render most of the views nonexistent during warmer months.

Something no reviewer has mentioned as of yet is that the the "uphill turn" on the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail which passes over Sugar Knob is arduous. After the elongated ascent to Little Schloss this felt like a rather unexpected challenge. Additionally, the yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail required good footwork over very rocky downhill terrain. Our party was tiring after a long drive, a longer than expected hike, a second unknown uphill segment -and we didn't really anticipate these rock skips along what was essentially a goat trail. Very fun for sure, but also not where you want to find yourself loosing energy, concentration and daylight.

We pushed it the first day and made it to a camp along Stoney Creek thus covering 11-12 miles. This was not an easy or pain-free trek. However, we were rewarded with a truly stunning camp. Beautifully secluded despite being close to the trail, the camp sites along the second half of this hike are, without a doubt, wonderful.

Interestingly enough, we found plenty of water all along this trial. Long before the first noted spring, we found two additional natural springs putting flowing water into the divots of Little Sluice Mountain Trail. We must have skipped over two water overflows along Tuscarora Trail, and an additional five small water runs/springs along Stoney Creek Trail before reaching the campsites near the actual stream.

The fire access road to finish this hike is easy. For us, it was very enjoyable. This was entirely due to the fact that there was no tree cover at this time of year. There were several picturesque spots even along this road.

My evaluation of the hike overall:

Difficulty: 4 -The difficulty of this hike is a four under the circumstances in which we found ourselves. Namely, an additional 1.6 mile hike-in to the trail head, the carrying of 30+ pound packs and having done this trail counterclockwise as the directions indicate. If you do this as a day hike with a light pack, don't have to park 1.6 miles out, and/or are in exceptional shape (we're not newbs/kooks by any stretch of the imagination) perhaps the difficulty may vary.

Streams: 3 -At least. We found lots of good water sources throughout, although I imagine some of these sources, if not most, are dry for considerable periods as noted by others.

Views: 4-5 -We had many great views that have hardly been noted by others. Go during winter. Even walking along FDR92 back to the parking area is enjoyable when you can see the surrounding mountains.

Solitude: 4 -The weather this February weekend was spectacular, we would have been disappointed in humanity (but somewhat stoked) if we hadn't seen others along this beautiful trail. That being said, we ran into a couple out-and-back hikers at Little Schloss. We passed a couple at the Sugar Knob Cabin (an absolutely amazing spot by the way), a group of four mountain bikers, a couple day-hiking along Stony Creek and a group occupying one of the campsites along Stoney Creek Trail. We were alone and unaware of any other persons for 85% of this hike or more.

Camping: 5 -It's just that good. There are several campsites along the ridge area of The Little Sluice Mountain Trail (purple blazes) that are great. You can camp among the impressive spruce tree stand or get closer to the ridge. And the spots get better from there. Our chosen spot along Stoney Creek was, well, basically perfect.

IN SUM: I strongly suggest doing this as an overnight backpack in the winter and in the way the directions suggest. It would be difficult to enjoy this trail as a one day route in my opinion. Perhaps it's as easy as others suggest when you're not carrying weight, or when you're doing it backwards. For us, it was challenging and quite rewarding.

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 8, 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2015
This was my first time on this loop and it was a great fall hike. My buddy and I hit this trail as a day hike but hauled our overnight gear for training purposes and options if desired. With a few breaks and chats along the way we were at the car within 6 hours. I've read most of the reviews and will try not to overlap common points but focus on what I found the most helpful and or best advice. The trails are in great shape, blazes everywhere, maps at intersections, work has been done, thumbs up.

First off if you plan to hike the full loop counter clockwise (normal) I highly recommend parking at the lot where 92 crosses Little Stony Creek (38.937598,-78.645731). It was well worth getting that 2.5 mile road hike out of the way first and was also a perfect warm-up before the climb to Little Schloss. The climb to Little Schloss is easily the hardest part of the loop. Take your time, it's not too bad, toss your pack in the bushes and rock scramble to the top, the view is GREAT. As mentioned the Little Sluice Trail is mainly an access road which happened to be open and in great shape for most trucks/SUV's. After talking with a Jeep crew who said bread trail was in good shape too we contemplated car camping at the meadows past Little Schloss, my Forester would have had zero issues getting there (based on their advice, don't take my word!). Moving on, before and after the Sugar Knob Camp there are some great sites that would be perfect for a relaxing two day. The spring below the camp also has a newly looking built in spout that was running like a champ.

All I can say other than that it's a great day or overnight hike, offers a bit of everything.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 9, 2015
First off this is my first review on HikingUpward so let me say thank you. This is a great resource. My fiance and I recently moved to Eastern part of our state and I appreciate the work put into this site. Sadly it doesn't have much information for where we came from (Charleston, WV) all the way to the Mon. I'd love to see more info for the Western part of our state including areas like the NRG, etc. After this review I'll see if there is a way I can contribute. But, regardless I'll be using this site a lot and appreciate it.

The Nitty Gritty

Difficulty - 3 is accurate but on the high end. If you're a regular hiker you won't encounter much strenuous work

Views- 5 is stretching it in my opinion. It is a pretty hike though but there are definitely a lot nicer ones in the view department

Solitude- On my trip a 4 would be way to high of a rating. Little Sluice was full of hunting trucks and equestrians. I wasn't alone for more than 30minutes at a time max. Then Little Stony was full of day hikers. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the HU solitude standards but if you're looking for some alone time this is not the place to find it.

Camping- 4 is totally accurate. If you have any experience camping you will be rewarded with plenty of easy to access decent sites with firerings. (see below for important safety reminder)

So it's been a while since I've done any solo backpacking and last week I was feeling restless and needing to get out. I pulled up HU and narrowed down what I was looking for and nearby and settled on Little Schloss. My fiance wasn't feeling doing an overnight so she took me to the trail-head and hiked up Little Schloss with me before returning to the car as planned. The trail-head was much busier than I expected for a trail that HU lists as often forgotten but an AWD Subie can park anywhere. We immediately noticed bear hunting trucks, one with a fresh kill on top which made the parking even harder. We found a spot to wedge the car in and took off up the trail.

The climb up Little Schloss is moderate but not at all horrible. I was purposefully overpacked (shaking down for an upcoming 4 day trip) and she was just carrying a small daypack. We started in late afternoon and reached the summit quickly enjoying the fall leaves as we went and only passed a couple hunters on the trail. The scramble at the top was pretty easy (of course we are climbers also) just watch your step and move confidently. It was easy enough that my 40lb hound mix scaled it easily. The false summit was gorgeous looking west at Big Schloss, and warmer out of the brisk wind it is a great spot to . Scramble on up to the true summit for your real reward. The view in the early fall was worth it with bright blasts of red and yellow stretching out in each direction surrounded by green pines. I enjoyed seeing the valley I'd be coming back down and could trace the creek in the trees.

After we had a nice break we scrambled down and I kissed my fiance goodbye (side note- kisses are always better in the forest) as she headed back to the car and home I turned up the ridge on little Sluice trail. Little Sluice trail was the least interesting part of the weekend. This was largely in part due to hunting season. At the first meadow there was a large encampment of hunters that were using weed eaters to clear out the meadow which seriously disappointed me. There are some nice vistas through the trees and some really good campsites if you don't mind looking over villages. You won't have a problem finding a camping spot on this section. It was pretty busy so I made the decision to hike on through the evening and camp on Sugar Knob. This was all fire road which I do not mind. But, I spent a good deal of time dodging bear trucks and equestrians. The blazes are few and far between and can make you wonder if you missed something. But, it eventually ends in a pretty campsite.

I turned up Tuscarora and hiked all the way over Sugar Knob to the cabin on Little Stony. I kept passing up campsites wanting something nicer and that was a mistake. I was surprised to find everything near Little Stony taken and some nice people at the cabin informed me most of the sites down the creek were taken. So I backtracked over Sugar Knob in the dark to a small unused site I had seen earlier. I was a bit annoyed at first because in the dark it seemed like a site I didn't want to stay in. I built a small fire and threw up my hammock. I was happy that I knew I was at least 1mi from any other hiker. But, if you're any closer to stony creek one would be just a few yards away. In the morning my dog and I were rewarded though with an amazing sunrise. I recommend pitching in such a way you can see sunrise it's wonderful to watch without getting out of your bag.

We headed back over Sugar Knoll and down Stony Creek. The spring was overflowing and provided great cool water. Linger for a moment enjoy the natural filtering. The hike down Stony Creek was very rewarding. The mixture of trees kept the sun out still while shading the whole trail in a bright yellow glow. It was unremarkable other than just calming views over nice small boulder fields while being serenaded with the babbles and tumbles of stony creek always to our left. We took our time and got to the end within a couple hours. My fiance was waiting in the car with hiker treats (fudge rounds and cantaloupes).

Overall this is a pretty good 2 day gentle walk in the woods. It could be done in one day with the right motivation, but why rush when youd on't have to? It gave me what I needed and the directions from were spot on. The trails were very professionally maintained. While I won't likely repeat this hike it was a great intro to the area for me and has made me want to return and explore some of the more remote areas of this forest.

SAFETY NOTE 1- Black bears are VERY active in the area. Plan accordingly.

Hunters that hound aren't as much a threat to your safety as deer hunters because they're usually following their dogs and thus you have amble space between you and an encounter to make yourself known. You will usually know their around by the baying of their dogs and you can plan accordingly. Still being visible was important. Growing up in hunting country I don't know why I didn't consider this and bring blaze orange. But, I did have a whistle and bright clothing. The fall foliage makes this area a pretty place to spend some time but please be sure you are aware of local hunting times, regulations, and safety practices. Also consider personal security. I am in no way insinuating anything about ALL hunters most hunters are extremely nice people (insert more disclaimers here). But, when you grow up as I did in such an area and see trucks loaded with beer being driven by armed men...just think about that with how you act and where you choose to sleep.

By: Brycer Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 15, 2015
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that there is a natural spring between the 3.4 and 5.9 mile section and is a nice place to get water. Also, the view from the top of the rock scramble is awesome but the most picturesque view is along the 2.5 mile stretch on FDR 92.

By: Michael R Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 25, 2015
Did this hike solo starting at 8 am. Even before the forestry road to get there, another road was closed due to arson the night before. Added about 1.5 miles each way which turned out to be quite nice. The hike to the top of Little Schloss overlook is not too difficult in steepness. The trail for most of the way is pretty overgrown, and it felt like I was constantly being hit with spiderwebs.I would HIGHLY recommend doing this hike in pants and long sleeves (which I did not). Little dicey, and not much markation getting to the Little Schloss overlook. However, the rock scramble was really fun and the view at the top was completely worth getting my legs scratched up. Didn't end up going to the meadows. Started at 8, took 3 hours, and only passed two groups both on their way up on the forestry road. Not my favorite hike, but the views from the overlook were quite spectacular.

By: max Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Great hike - many more campsites available than depicted. Definitely catch the view at the Little Schloss.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
The rock scramble to the overlook was a lot of fun. We hiked it with 4 middle school kids and they had a great time. The weather was perfect and there was almost no one else on the trail.

By: Kiehl Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Great hike. Scramble to the knob and view at the top are both excellent.

Pros: great view, excellent camping along ridge line.

Con: final 2 miles are uphill on gravel road.

Worth a go.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 11, 2014
Overall this was an enjoyable hike.  We made it a one night backpacking trip, following the trail as described and camping along the creek.  The weather starting out was very foggy, so we didn't get to experience any views, and didn't bother taking the side trail (a little overgrown with briars) to the overlook.  The first section of the little sluice trail was constantly uphill, but not overly steep.  Switchbacks really wouldn't have been necessary.  After passing the high meadow, you basically follow a fire road until you turn down the Little Stoney Creek Trail.  We were passed by a few jeeps while walking the fire road, and passed numerous hunting trucks with dogs.  Once you turn onto the Little Stoney Creek Trail, you will pass the rental cabin which is right along the trail, and then continue down the most enjoyable section of trail on the hike (probably besides the many vistas at the peak of Little Schloss, but we were in the clouds).  You can hear the creek at some points, but you don't really see the creek until you get to the campsites.  We hammock camped at the second campsite you get to on the left.  It was one of the nicest campsites I've stayed in, as it was near the trail yet secluded, had a stone fire pit, no litter, and right next to the creek.  There was a lot of good firewood to be found, but it was much too wet for us to start a fire.  Plenty of trees for hammock-hangers, and plenty of space for ground-dwellers.  Awesome campsite.  The hike out in the morning was easy.  The trail continued for about a quarter mile before widening into a dirt access road.  There were a couple good views on the way back up to the first parking lot.

One thing to be aware of is that there is another parking area about halfway between the two on the map.  This parking area isn't used for the hike, and should probably be marked on the map to eliminate futher confusion.

I'd rate this hike as a 2-3 for difficulty, 3 for streams, can't comment on the views due to weather, 3 for solitude, and 5 for camping.  Not sure that I'd do it again over trying a new hike, but I might try again when the weather is clear.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

By: Mike G Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 14, 2014
Fantastic views from the top of Little Schloss and a pretty fun rock scramble to get up there. A couple of points that keep it from being a five star hike however:

- The Little Schloss Trail is somewhat overgrown from a little before the cutoff to the overlook to where it meets the forest road meadow, despite the good work of the Venture Crew and PATC to maintain it. Some of it may simply be the late summer growth, but there are a few points where it is easy to lose the trail, especially when coming down from Little Schloss itself. A lot of the overgrowth is raspberry brambles, stickers, and other thorny plant life that made me glad I wore long pants and gaiters.
- Be sure to note your route when taking the cutoff up to the Little Schloss overlook, as there are several misleading rock chutes and traces that can throw you off on the descent. With the work put in to clear the unofficial cutoff trail it would help if the route was officially blazed and added to the GWNF trail network.
- Once you get onto the fire roads there's not a lot else to see for the rest of the ~10 miles of the hike.

The full length is good for a nice overnight trip, but for a day hike I would recommend limiting it to an out-and-back to the Little Schloss Overlook during the winter months to get the most out of the trip.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 12, 2014
I hiked this on a hot, humid Saturday. I had a hard time finding the trailhead, there is a sharp left on the gravel forest road that looks like it is a turn off, but in reality is the main road one needs to follow. Once there, the hike was pretty good. The initial climb is unrelenting until the meadow, but after that it's not so bad. Summer leaf cover probably downgrades the hike, since the views on most of the trail aren't much to write home about. The meadow was overgrown, I followed a game trail and had to backtrack to find the blazes and the correct path out of the meadow and to the fire road. The hike out, along Stoney Creek, is very pleasant. The final couple of miles on the gravel road are just awful. It might be worth locking a mountain bike at the upper parking lot where the yellow blazes come out of the woods and riding back down the road to the car. Again, in the winter, when one could see more, this part might not be so bad.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 31, 2014
The trail to the peak on Little Schloss is now clear due to the work of Venture Crew 711 from Purcellville, VA. We registered with the Forest Service as volunteers so that we could do this. Over our 2 day backpacking trip, we cleared thorns from several sections of trail where it parallels the stream, cleaned up broken glass from one campsite, cleared at least 7 downed trees that were across the trails, and cut back thorny vegetation from the trails leading to the peak of Little Schloss.

We did the loop backwards relative to how it is described on Hiking Upward, and we parked in the other parking lot. Our direction set us up well to camp along the ridge where we could side hike to Little Schloss. We ended up eating both dinner and breakfast on top of the peak. This also gave us more time near Little Schloss to work on that trail. The only disadvantage of this direction is that the ridge campsites are dry, so you need to plan your water and haul it in from the spring near the cabin.

Looking back, I think I would do it this direction again. It means that you spread your uphill across many hours, rather than having to do it all in one intense push at the start.

There are 2 trails to the peak of Little Schloss that merge and go to the top together. One works better if you are coming from the south, and the other works better if you are coming from the north. In either case, the second part of the trail, where they combine, is home to a lot of fast growing berry bushes. I would encourage hikers going up Little Schloss to pick up a large stick that they can use to push the thorns back out of their way. We only cut the ones that were actually blocking the path. I would also encourage others to volunteer with the Forest Service to do trail work on this trail. We found it to be a rewarding experience.

Before this trip, I had last visited Little Schloss in the mid-80's when I was a scout. It was great to be able to return with my son. The top of the peak has more trees than I remember, but it still has great 180 degree views to the west, north, and east.

For a much shorter day hike, you could park at the lot at the base of Little Schloss, hike up, and hike back down the way you came.

There are at least 2 printed maps of the area. The National Geographic map is OK, but the PATC map is better because it shows more detail of a smaller area.

By: aldikuma Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 10, 2014
Under threat of thunderstorms, my husband and I with two friends did this hike on a nice spring weekend. It did rain on us at the beginning of the hike, but cleared out after that. The views from Little Schloss were amazing. Not many people on the trail, which was nice. SO many ticks, though. I spent a lot of time picking them off me and my husband and feeling creepy crawly all night! Ugh. But the campsites are great this was overall a really nice hike. I would like to go back in the cooler weather.

By: JVasta Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 19, 2013
My wife and I hiked this trail because we value great views, camping, and solitude. The views were awesome, camping was great, the solitude was not what we were expecting but did not take away from the expierence. It could have been due to the government shutdown or just because it may be one of the last awesome weekends before winter, but there was a boyscout troop of 25 boys and their Dads, which were very nice and great hikers. There was also a Greyhound bus full of day hikers from a hiking club, 3 single hikers, and another duo. Like I said, this could just be the timing due to all of the surrounding circumstances. The funniest part was that most were carrying maps and were reciting reviews from the site.

The views were incredible from on top of the Little Schloss Overlook. You can see for miles in every direction, and if you wanted, you could hang out up there and eat lunch. The rest of the hike went great. They must have bushwacked the trail recently, because after reading some of the reviews, I thought we were going to have to jump over downed trees and push through briers, but that was far from the case. The camp site we had was awesome, right by the river and off the trail. Wood was plentiful for fire.

I can see how some would not like the fireroad, but there were some great views off to the right side along the entire road. You could ditch your packs (like others have said in other reviews) but, we spent too much money on gear to have someone pick it up. I think the fireroad seems longer because you are expecting it to be easier than the trail and it is the end of a "longer" hike.

I didn't comment if the trail was easy or hard because that varies from person to person, physical condition, how much stuff you have, etc. etc.

By: Steve Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 31, 2013

I didn't think this was quite a 4, so I rounded down.

Google says the destination is on the right, but the parking lot is on the left.  If you get to a big parking area, you've gone too far.  It's a very small lot, and looks more like a grassy campsite.  Trailhead is marked with purple directly across the road.  The hike up was pretty tough with overnight packs (my fault for overpacking by ~7lbs).  I was conserving, but still easily went through 2 liters of water before getting to the spring.  There were lots of bugs, unphased by bug spray, the entire way.  The switchbacks up to the overlook just kinda of stop, and it is unmarked from there to the rock scramble.. head uphill kind of to the left at first, and then you'll figure it out from there.  We dropped our packs at the end of the switchbacks and just took a water bottle and lunch. The view was great, but it was really the only good one of the entire hike.  There's some ok views up the trail where it levels off, but nothing wide open.  So there was very little to look at for 95% of the hike.  Got some very cool pictures from the overlook though.

We did ~10 miles and stopped at the 2nd campsite along the creek.  I was very surprised that I did not see a single deer or anything else along the way besides squirrels.  Please note: There are indeed RATTLESNAKES though!  There was a Timber Rattler that crawled out from under my rainfly not 10 seconds before I was about to reach down and unzip it.  So be mindful of where you are stepping, especially if you are wearing sandals at the campsite, after hiking boots all day.  It's all downhill (gradual) from the creek/campsites to the road, but then almost all uphill back to the first lot.  Having fresh legs though the next morning, the walk back on the road was cake.  BOTTOMLINE: The views from the overlook were really great, but I just wish there were more along the way.  Lots of bugs.  Watch for rattlesnakes.  Solitude was great though.  Only saw 5 people along the way and 3 of those were going the opposite direction.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 20, 2013
This is a very cool hike. It is hard to find the start as the Google Maps directions do not take you to the right place. Use these coordinates to put in Google Maps if you want the right location for the Parking Area: 38.908369,-78.640877.

Trail is a bit hard to follow. I would recommend a map and/or hiking gps (you can upload the trail using Hiking Upward to make sure you stay on track) I know that helped us a lot.

Also beware that part of the trail is fairly overgrown and you will have to push your way through a good deal of thorns.

Camping areas here are fantastic. Our group stopped about 1/4 mile too short for to the best camping spot on the trail. You want to get to Little Stony Creek (you will see a sign that points left to the spring). Go to the first campsite after Little Stony Creek (it will be on your left). That, in my opinion is the best site on the whole trail.

Also know that the last 1.8-2 miles are on the gravel road you came in on. If you are doing an overnight I would recommend dropping your bags somewhere, walk up to the car and pick up your pack on the way out.

This is a great hike with very few people and awesome camping spots. Highly recommended.

By: Nate Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 25, 2013
This was a really great hike! Great views and a very nice trail in most spots, although due to recent rain some of the trails were essentially streams themselves. My only complaint is that no matter how you hike it, you're going to be walking on a road for a few miles... although the views were nice even from the road, I don't think many people are a huge fan of walking on gravel after hiking 10ish miles. This might be a good circuit to do in reverse of the directions, but as written it was a great experience.

We ran into the same issue as the last reviewer, Johnstown road is a RIGHT turn.

By: Laura W. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Overall a really nice hike. Error in Google Maps directions, though, coming from Cap Hill area of DC-- they said turn LEFT onto Johnstown Rd/608, when in fact it was a RIGHT turn. As well, FR 92 was not labelled or marked in any way, so we had a heck of a time finding the trailhead at first (thankfully I'd printed out the reviews here to bring along, and they allowed us to piece together the correct route).

We did this as a two-day, but finished the first day at the creek-side (beautiful!) campsite at Little Stoney Creek Trail with plenty of time to spare, so it's easily done as one full day. It was great to hear the creek all night from our tent, though there is an adjacent campsite that had it been occupied would have been a little too close for my preference in terms of privacy and noise.

I'd actually rate the views on this as 3-star, not 4. There are some great views at the beginning, but they really are only for about 1 mile of the whole route-- the rest is mostly in the woods. Still lovely, just not really a view-filled hike. We actually came across a fair amount of other hikers-- at least 4 groups of day hikers, and one other group of overnighters.

By: Adam and Sara Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 20, 2013
The gate was closed on Johnstown Rd, about a mile south of its junction with FDR92, but there was parking for two cars so we parked there and walked in. We did the route backwards, taking the first campsite we saw in the valley. It was dark by the time we pitched our tent, but we could hear the constant roar of the nearby stream, and when we woke up we saw the campsite was much prettier than we had appreciated the previous night.

The trails were generally infrequently blazed between junctions, but clearly blazed near junctions. Some sections were somewhat overgrown, and there was a small pond or downed tree (more often the former) every 200 yards or so in the doubletrack section (blue and the northern half of purple), but these obstacles were just small challenges and kept things interesting.

There was plenty of water along the valley side of the trail, but very little along the southern 2/3rds of the purple trail. The campsites on the ridge on the purple trail were almost as pretty as the ones in the valley, though much bigger and more appropriate for large groups, but we were glad to have camped in the valley where it was less windy.

Aside from a couple walking their dogs along FDR92 when we first started out, we didn't see anyone else at all over the two days.

The views along the ridge were spectacular, so much that we didn't even bother to climb the final push to the summit, to save energy for the extra walk back to our car.

Overall, a pretty good hike!

By: Aussie Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 18, 2012
First, the directions provided say 2.4mi to the parking lot, but that is not accurate. As other posters have noted, it is really just a campsite-looking place, and not like the large parking lot just up the road (per the directions). This really is a challenging hike, and though I did attempt all 13 miles, I thought the path to little Schloss itself was hard to find. On the day I attempted this hike, I was surprised how many fallen trees were obscuring the trail. I wish I had brought a chainsaw to clear all the trees on the path, because it was a shame to see an otherwise nice trail in such ill-repair. The trail itself is well-marked, and easy to follow, and it is quite secluded. No issues with a lot of foot-traffic (I saw no one during the three-hour jaunt), but I do wish I had camped out, because I feel it might have been a more enjoyable experience to complete the circuit.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Lovely hike with spectacular views. The trail is slightly overgrown in sections right before Little Schloss (pants or gaiters recommended for the blackberry), and the side trail up Little Schloss is not easy to find (we bushwhacked.) No water until a spring (Camp Spring?) along the Little Sluice Trail / forest road and then again at Sugar Knob Camp spring and along Stony Creek. We camped at a tent site just past Sugar Knob cabin that is not marked on the PDF map (note the cabin can also be rented if you call ahead.) Not enough water in Stony Creek to swim, but it makes a lovely hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I did this loop to continue my conditioning for backpacking.  The Little Sluice Trail climbs steeply in places from the parking area to the Little Schloss overlook.  It challenged me, carrying 35 pounds.  Just past the overlook I had my first close encounter with a bear.  This was a full size bear!  The bear was just as startled as I was, and it took off up the grade.  These guys are noisy, snorting and crashing thru the woods.  About 100 yards further down the trail I had my first close encounter with a timber rattlesnake.  It paused on the trail and then went up the hill, no big deal.  The ridge walk from Little Schloss is the nicest part of the hike, with some grassy areas and some nice views.  The rest of the hike went well, there is some elevation gain along the Tuscorora segment and then a steady, gadual descent along the Stony Creek Trail.  About 2 miles down the Sony Creek I saw another bear, this one much smaller and very skinny.  It took off like a scalded cat as soon as it saw me.  The last section along the gravel road wasn't much fun, a 2-1/2 mile slog in the sun.  Not as many blow downs as I had expected, given the severe storms during the past two weeks.  Could step over most of them.  Overall a nice hike, I'd like to camp here (after bear and rattlesnake season).

By: Camp David Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 15, 2012
The beginning of the hike, i.e., up Little Schloss, is not well marked and is not across from the big parking lot on FDR92 rather, it is across from a much smaller lot that looks like it could be used as a camp site. 

The beginning of the hike is very challenging (especially if you have a heavy pack), but the rest is fairly flat except for the approach to Sugar Knob.

The map omits a nice, small camping site just past the cabin and spring at Sugar Knob.  Note: the spring does not produce much water so if you are relying on that as a water source keep in mind that it is barely more than a trickle.  You will be better off going a few miles farther to the campsites down Stoney Creek Trail.  The creek was a much better water source in terms of volume (just make sure to purify the water first).

There was very little traffic on the trail.  We did it over two days, saw two people the first day and only six people on the second.

By: Mike K & Josh M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 2, 2012
We hiked Little Schloss on June 2nd with a friend.  We started at the FDR 92 starting point and hiked the full loop back to our parking spot.  It was a wonderful hike and would recommend it to anyone looking for a 4-5 hour hike.  We encountered 5 people all day and saw a couple of camping sites along the yellow blazed Little Stoney Creek Trail (the creek was nice and full with water on Saturday).
A few comments for future hikers' awareness: (1) the first portion of the hike starting from FDR 92 does not appear to be frequently used (a feature we welcome) so keep your eyes open for the blazes (2) if you go to the Little Schloss overlook (a great view) be wary of rattlesnakes - we encountered one around 9am in the morning - we suspect by midday there may be a few more (3) the purple blazed trail - referred to as a wider seasonal forestry road - is very poorly blazed and there are a number of forks that are not blazed at all (you can generally choose the option that seems to be straight ahead) (4) if you're looking for a rugged hike, we would not recommend Little Schloss - with the exception of the Little Schloss overlook and portion leading up to the overlook, this is a fairly easy hike (especially along the forestry road).

By: Nick Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 31, 2012
This is a terrific early-Spring hike. We did the quick sidetrip up to the top of Little Schloss for lunch - great views on a sunny day. Walking the ridge was one of my favorite parts, with nice looking campsites among mature spruce trees. The hike over to the Stony Creek Trail was uneventful but a rather nice walk in the woods. After cutting left down the trail past the PATC cabin, the trail is a bit rocky but led us 2 miles down to the perfect campsite along the creek.

Next time I plan to do the circuit in reverse and camp on the ridge for some views! Cool fact - from the top of Little Schloss you can actually scout out exactly where the trail is going to take you around the hollow.

Highly recommended. This trip has views, streams, varying terrain and fabulous camping.

By: beth Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2011
Did this hike last weekend as an overnight.  Overall a great hike. Nice views, not too difficult but still challenging enough that I felt like i got a good hike in.  Some nice camping spots, mostly on the creek side of the hike.  There are several more  established sites than are listed on the map. The creek is running pretty full right now so made for fabulous sleeping noise!  Didn't have any of the problems that other reviewers mentioned--i.e. overgrown trails, etc. The trails were in good condition and easy to follow.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 22, 2011
Late July 2011, thorns weren't too bad on the trail itself, but in spots you do need to pay attention to avoid running into them.

Friday after work, I headed out for a camp-overnight, counter-clockwise circuit.  I saw 3 black bears (a mother and two cubs) near the peak of Little Schloss on the way in.

The view on the ridge is impeded by heavy plant growth in a lot of places, but there are still several spots you can  get some great views.

I camped at the spring/camp on the ridge about 4 miles in.  Shortly after falling asleep I was awakened by a bear walking around in the woods and grunting outside the camp area.  I made some noise to let it know I was there and didn't hear anything for a while.

As I started to doze off again, I heard it chuffing and sniffing about 20 feet away and repeated the process of making noise, this time whistling very loudly.  I heard it retreat so didn't think much of the encounter.

Around midnight either that bear or another one woke me up with a bump against my a-sym hammock  rope and constant sniffing and chuffing around the head end of my rain fly.  My guess is some of the smell from my food (my food bag was hung hung about 50 feet away) had rubbed off on something I had in the hammock.  The bear froze when I started to shift around so I whistled again (I can do an ear shatteringly loud whistle).  It left peacefully enough, but it sounded like it stopped 30 or 40 feet away.

Figuring I wasn't going to get any more sleep that night because the bear would keep coming back and having enough adrenaline in me to keep me awake for a couple of hours even if it didn't, I broke camp uneventfully and continued my hike.

After a 110 degree day, the night hike was actually really pleasant and the views overlooking the lights in the valley to the east were really nice.

After leaving my car at the south parking lot, I didn't see another human (or pass another encampment) this entire hike.  I'm sure the temperature and it being a Friday contributed to that though.

By: Robert Swart Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 2, 2011
Did this hike as an overnight trip. Hiked down to Stony Creek and camped beside it. Beautiful views from the top of Little Schloss. Back end of trail in a couple of sections was very narrow due to brush. Saw a few deer, and an owl.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 12, 2011
I thought the temperature was supposed to be in the upper 30s on this day, but it never got out of the 20s--and there was a significant wind chill effect.  The google map directions to the trail were good, but Johnson road was closed (with the gate shut) right after entering the National forest boundary.  However, there was a place on the LH side of the road where 3 vehicles could park.  There was one vehicle parked there when I arrived.  After I secured my vehicle, I crossed the gate and proceeded down the road approximately 1 miles when I encountered the FR92 road on my left.  I followed FR92 to the trailhead which was easily discernible by the purple blaze and the parking area right across from the trailhead.  The trail itself was easy to follow I was unsure where the trail leading to the Little Schloss overlook started, and mistakenly tried to scale it by bushwacking through the dense brush on the southeastern approach.  Once I got back on the trail, I found the "unoffiicial" trail right in the saddle of the ridge after you go through all the ascending switchbacks.  It was cold and windy on the overlook, but the view made the effort worth it.  I ran into two hikers who were doing an overnight hike on the Racer Camp Hollow trail their car was evidently the one that I parked next to at the gate entrance.  Again, following the blue and then the yellow trails were not a problem.  Towards the end of the yellow trail I ran into 2 hikers with a dog one of them was frantically trying to control the dog (what I would describe as a dirty white colored schnauzer mutt), which bit me on my left hamstring.  I didn't think anything of it at the time because there were no perforations on my jeans, but I later discovered that there was a bleeding wound caused by the dog bite (from the blood caking up on the inside of my jeans0.   When I got back to the parking area near the gate, I noticed a different vehicle parked next to mine, and I jotted down the license plate--which I furnished to the Shenadoah Sheriff's department when I reported the dog bite.  Otherwise, it was a great hike.

By: Wayne Taylor Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 7, 2010
We did not take the proscribed counter clockwise path. Good thing too, or we would have quit! The purple trail leading up was unmanageable! Overgrown with brambles and every other kind of undergrowth. We couldn't even find the correct parking lot! Last year it seems, they installed an equestrian parking lot that we confused for the "lower parking area". It was not on the above map. We couldn't find the trail head, so we gave up and left from the lot across from Little Stony Creek.  The little stony creek trail was beautiful. There were a few campsite that were not shown on the map above. My brother and I camped 5 minutes from the Spring near Sugar Knob cabin. The trail leading to Little Schloss was crummy. There was no view since all the underbrush has grown up. There was no "trail magic". The majority of the Little Schloss trail is a fire road. Most of the campsites were trashy too. Filthy people!! The last campsite before we could bail off the purple blaze had a "Brenda" floor mat and glass beer bottles thrown in the fire pit. The trail from there to Little Schloss was almost impassable. We got lost three times. We had to double back and search for the blazes (that were not always present). We couldn't even reach Little Schloss. That trail was completely covered with briars! I do not recommend this trail AT ALL.

By: snowman Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 5, 2010
Great hike except- if you go in the winter plan for an extra three - four miles (round trip). there is a gate that closes off the forest road. if you park right before the gate and hike up the road to the trail head it works but leave extra time. we hiked in to the spuce stand campsite -very cold/high wind- then hiked the long way out, lots of snow. took us a bit over the 6 hours becouse of the snow. lots of great views.  would definitly do it again but maybe in the summer next time

By: Retired boyscout Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 11, 2009
We did the reverse direction of this hike, and it was awesome. The elevation gain was barely noticeable, which made for a nice long comfortable hike, and the rock scramble at the end was a great reward for the rest of the journey. The trail gets VERY difficult near the Little Schloss peak, the other reviews are not kidding when they suggest wearing long pants (and long sleeves!). It was uncomfortable to push through the thorn patches to get to the rock scramble summit, but it was well worth it. If we had had more time I would have tried to get around the peak as the part that you face out on the summit is the ridgeline behind the hill.

By: Jeef Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 10, 2009
I did this hike by parking at the 1st parking lot and then walking to the 2nd parking lot so that I'd come out at my car.  The way in was "okayish" i wasn't that impressed.  I hiked about 7 miles the 1st day and camped at a very nice campsite just off the junciton of the purple blue and orange blazes.

Scenery wise the 2nd day was quite wonderful.  Very deserted feeling walking through waist high grass.  I didn't heed the advice as well as i should have about wearing strong long pants because you are walking through neck high thorns at some points. 

An aisde: I spent all night puking because i got food poisioning so that was not so good.  But a nice hike -> VERY overgrown.  I'd reccomend a GPS so you dont get off trail. 

I did not find the descent from little schlos too steep. 

By: Pete Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 25, 2009
This was a nice hike that had a little bit of everything: views, forests, streams, steep and flat.  It seems to be very infrequently traveled and it was nice to get away from the crowds.  It is a good idea to wear long pants - since few people are on the trail, you do have to walk through a bit of brush.  Don't miss the rock scramble at the top it's fun and there is a great view.  Total, it took us a bit over 5 hours, including a brief stop for lunch.

A tip: bring a change of clothes/sandals/towel for a dip in the swimming hole.  It's located very near the second parking lot. The water is crystal clear and feels great.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 17, 2008
Great hike!  I made an overnight trip of it leaving on a Friday afternoon.  I read the reviews and noticed that the trail had been cut recently so that the thorns on the Little Sluice trail upward from the parking area weren't as bad as some had seen earlier in the year.  The trail is still kind of tight in the undergrowth and there were some downed trees that had been cut. There were also some fresh blazes.  The blazers must have been using a small can of paint though.  You can go 200ft or more between some so you have to pay attention.  Getting to the summit of Little Schloss is the hardest uphill on the trip but Sugar Knob is longer.  The trail opens up per the directions once you pass the first couple of campsites near Little Schloss.  The colors are coming in and the weather was cool.  Some of the first campsites have a nice view of the valley that's interesting as the lights come on in the evening.  Didn't see a soul until Racer Camp Hollow on Saturday.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 23, 2008
I have not seen many but out of three we had tried in this area this one is the best.  Some great views from the top of of big schloss rock.  The trail  is hard to find after the rock, stay close to the ridge.   Have not seen any ticks, nor any other bad bugs for that matter.  Camped at the spot where trails meet.   Well marked and  maintained spring with great water  on yellow trail near the cabin.  A bit thorny the first few miles, wear long pants and sleeves.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 22, 2008

If you plan on completing this entire hike from start to finish bring a machete. The trail in the beginning mile or so is quite overgrown with brush and was slow going at first. Long, tear resistant pants are a must. At times the trail became a tad difficult to follow, particularly the closer your get to Little Schloss. Be prepared to pick off more ticks than you have ever seen before. I picked off at least five. We stopped a couple of times just to take ticks off of us. Also, there are two parking lots on the to the trail...park in the first. Be aware, after you get off the trail there is at least a two mile walk on the fire road (not the 1.3 miles mentioned in the directions) back to the parking lot.

All that being said the rock climb up onto Little Schloss overlook is well worth the effort and is fairly easy. Once you find the trail from after Little Schloss along the ridgeline this trail becomes significantly easier. Moutain laurel was in full bloom and beautiful. The spring was a nice cool refresher halfway through the hike.  A pleasant albiet long hike. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 26, 2008
Great hike for kids and pets.  Easy access to water 1 mile past meadow for duration.  This is a great trail to train young hikers.   Be alert for ticks.   Never seen so many.  Recent fire or logging means very dense undergrowth. not wear light clothing on first leg of this trip.  Significant thorns that are impossible to avoid will tear any light fabric.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 24, 2008
We did this hike in reverse as a 2-day backpack and it turned out to be a GREAT trip.  We opted to go in reverse so we wouldn't be carrying all our water up the much steeper Little Schloss Trail the first day.  Our campsite the first night along the stream was excellent and was one mentioned above.  Stopping here let us rest before our push to the cabin and Sugar Knob.  We filled our bladders at the spring near the cabin for the rest of the trip because we didn't know if water was flowing along Little Sluice Mtn (turned out it was due to recent rains).  We camped under the mature spruce noted above the second night, with the open meadow affording a great view of the stars and city lights below.   We went to Little Schloss to watch the sun go down and to take in the views, which were amazing!  Hiking back down to the car at the Little Sluice Mtn trailhead parking area was not easy the next morning.  Had it not been for a group of mountain bikers the day before clearing a path we would have had a VERY difficult time finding the trail.  The purple blazes were very faint, the trail is very overgrown with grasses and thorny bushes, and there were many downed trees, some of which contained blazes, thus making findng and staying on the trail very difficult at times.  Recent logging or fire opened up the area and there is a lot of undergrowth so there is not much to look at until you get much further on down the mountain where there is more treecover.  I highly recommend this in the direction we went but suggest leaving a little more time for the hike down from Little Schloss.  If the trail hasn't been hiked recently, it will take longer to work your way down.  There is an option to hike down to Woodstock Reservoir if one wanted to increase mileage the first day.

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