The weather in DC has been crazy lately! We went from a 70 degree day on Friday to snow on Saturday and back to a mild day on Sunday. Rightly anticipating Skyline Drive would be closed, I headed out to hike Big Schloss in the George Washington National Forest (my go to area to hike in the winter). Big Schloss is a 4.4 mile out and back hike. The first mile is the steepest part of the hike and then the trail has a few ups and downs but mostly level. There’s a short rock scramble near the summit but you can easily end the hike on the bridge to the rock outcroppings and still enjoy the fantastic view of the mountains. Despite the short distance, this hike offers vista after vista that will not disappoint.
Head to the right out of the Wolf Gap Campground parking lot and the orange-blazed Mill Mountain trailhead will be on your left. Close to the two-mile mark, the trail will split. There’ll be signs to mark the split. To summit Big Schloss, head to the the right on the white-blazed trail. Shortly after, there’s a wooden bridge to boulders that lead to the summit.
I’ve done this hike over a dozen times, but this was the first time I hiked it in the snow. It was only an inch so enough to make the trail beautiful but not cause any other misadventures. On the way back, the temperature started to rise and the snow melted which made the trail slippery and muddy. The only issue I had was a an extremely muddy Sophie. It was also Sophie’s first time hiking the trail and she crushed it like a champ!
This hike is great for anyone new to hiking and looking for a little challenge. For experienced hikers looking for a longer trail, Big Schloss can be combined with the many trails in the area including the additional four miles to the summit of Mill Mountain or Tibbet Knob across from the Wolf Gap Campground.
LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Big Schloss is on the indigenous lands of the Monacan.