Outbound Collective logo

Hike Big Schloss

Wardensville, West Virginia

5.0/5
based on 8 reviews

Details

Distance

4.2 miles

Elevation Gain

1000 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Sarah Giek

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!

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app

Features

Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Reviews

This hike is consistently recommended as one of the best in the area, for good reason. Lots of amazing views, popular, and good campsites as well.

This is a popular hike, you will likely not be alone. The beginning of the hike is a bit of a burner as it is fairly steep but once you're on the ridge, it is fairly simple. There are great views out into Virginia too. Once you get to Big Schloss, you can move about in a fairly spacious area with awesome views into West Virginia and Virginia. This can be a good hike for just about anyone and is a good option to avoid Shenandoah on some of those free entrance days.

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.

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.

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.

I LOVE this hike. I am always looking for a great place to catch a sunrise that requires not too much effort in the dark. This trail is it. You can camp at the base of the trail head or you can drive there in the early hours of the am. We left DC around 2:30 am, drove out and hiked up in the dark. The first mile (or a little less) is rather steep but then everything flattens. The trail is easy to follow in the dark. And the sunrise... WORTH IT. We brought a blanket, coffee and bagels. Sat with our dog and watched the sun come up. Perfect start to the day.

The first 3/4 mile is steep and challenging but it soon levels off to the ridge line with beautiful mountain views. There are tons of great, almost private, campsites near the summit and a perfect beginner's backpacking trip.

Great details for driving there, I almost got lost on my way. The beginning of the hike is a pretty straight shot uphill but then walking a ridge line for the remainder of the hike was a real treat with views every couple hundred feet. If you do this hike again you can also add Tibbet Knob with starts from the same parking lot but just goes south. The hike is much more secluded with just as great views and there are a few rock scrambles! Great hike, great directions. Thanks Sarah :)

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Tibbett Knob

Camp at Wolf Gap

Hike to Tibbet Knob

Hike Laurel Run

Backpack White Rocks, George Washington NF

Hike Cranny Crow to Millers Rock Loop