This hike in George Washington National Forest provides expansive views to both the east and west. The trailhead and summit are both convenient places to camp for overnight trips.

Big Schloss (the German word for “palace”) is a popular hike in the George Washington National Forest.  The trailhead is conveniently located at the Wolf Gap Campground.  To begin, follow the path behind the restrooms at the parking lot.  Cross the paved road where you will find a trail map with other information about the area.  You will also see the first of many orange blazes that will guide you along the Mill Mountain Trail, though you probably won’t need them as the trail is easy to follow. 

The trail starts off on a wide and slightly rocky path.  This first section is the steepest of the entire hike and lasts for roughly 0.75 miles.  Once you reach the ridge line, the trail begins to narrow.  There will be many breaks in the trees that will allow for views to the east, but these pale in comparison to the final viewpoint.  Continue on until you reach the junction with the Big Schloss Trail.  The signs for this trail are obvious, so there’s little chance of getting lost.  After 0.25 miles, you will reach the final viewpoint, which features a wooden walkway that leads to a large rock outcrop.  This would be a great place to break for lunch before retracing your steps back to the parking lot.  

A few things worth noting: during both my drives out to this hike, my GPS lost connection and I missed an important turn.  With about 3.5 miles left in the drive, Route 675 veers to the right, while the main road appears to continue straight.  There are signs to indicate this, but if you’re not looking for them, they’re easy to miss!  Also, there are several good spots to pitch a tent near the summit.  This might be worth checking out, especially for some star-gazing or sunrise photography!

Pack List

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Water
  • Lunch to enjoy at the summit
  • Camera
  • Camping gear for an overnight trip
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RT Distance 4.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 1000 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Spend the Night, do some star gazing!

This is a rather simple hike and it offers great views. I backpacked and spent the night. There is a great primitive site. I went out star gazing once it got dark. Amazing views at night.

Big Schloss at Sunset

Great hike. First 3/4 of a mile is quite steep on rocky trail, gain of over 600 feet in that stretch. The rest of the hike is flatter. Did at sunset and had amazing 360 views. Left when sun was still a little above the horizon, so light was gone when I reached the steep descent at the end and had to use flashlight. Was one of best hikes I have done.

about 1 year ago

Great view!

Great hike right off wolfgap- the initial elevation climb is a little hard but so brief and worth it for the views. There are several good campsites near the summit that I will definitely be back to camp at. You can also extend this trail along the Mill Mountain trail to other nearby hikes.


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