George Washington National Forest! Big Schloss: Our Shorter 12 Mile Version

  • July 6, 2013 · 9:00 AM
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George Washington National Forest!

Big Schloss

(Our Shorter 12.3 Mile Version)

In German, schloss means “castle.” In Virginian-speak, schloss can only refer to one geologic wonder, a towering outcrop of sandstone on Mill Mountain.

On this 12.3 mile hike, the scenery is national-park caliber (Shenandoah NP is 10 miles east) and the views are all yours (GWNF has 90% fewer visitors than SNP). The Pond Run/Tuscarora Trail near Wardensville, WV (two hours west of D.C.), climbs to the top of Big Schloss, a towering, castle-shaped outcrop of Tuscarora sandstone. Starting in a forest of old growth hemlocks, you’ll gain altitude steadily but easily, eventually wading through waist-high ferns. Past Gap Hill and Half Moon Mountain, you’ll encounter open scenes of the sloping Great North and Long Mountains, all showcasing brilliant red-orange maples, maroon tupelos, and golden oaks. After the deep, unvaried greens of summer, it’s almost sensory overload.

Trail Information
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Wardensville
Length: 12.3 total miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: About 5 hours
Season: Year round
Trailhead Elev: 1500 feet
Top Elev: 3200 feet
Local Contacts: George Washington National Forest, Lee Ranger District

Weather Information
While we hike rain, snow, or shine.

Carpool Information

There are 2 carpools for this hike!

Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan with the hike leader from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.

DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride. Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location.

If you can drive or want to carpool from an additional location, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click here for suggested carpool locations complete with directions. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!

Directions to the Trailhead

Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for This Hike

Hike is at 9:00 a.m.

Carpool meetup time at Savage is 6:30 a.m.

Carpool meetup time at Centerville is 7:30 a.m.

Fido is not welcome on this hike without leader approval

See you there and please take my number with you just in case...

Bill:[masked]

Mike C:[masked]

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  • Bill P.

    This is always a good hike. It was. Blazing hot (mid 90s) in the city, but cooler on Mill Mountain. The long uphill was done first thing before it was too hot and there was good leaf cover shading us for The entire ascent. One complaint -- a serious one -- is about trail maintainence for a 1/4 mile stretch of Mill Mountain Trail just south of the Big Schloss Cutoff Trailhead. It is AWFUL. Face high with blackberry brambles, stinging nettles and itchy Canadian Thistles. If no one gets on it in the next couple of weeks, the trail will BECOME IMPASSABLE for the rest of the summer.

    1 · July 6, 2013

    • Mike

      Bill's right about the state of the trail leading to Big Schloss; it would make for a good volunteer project. It was interesting because the trail back down to the road had clearly had recent maintenance.

      July 7, 2013

    • Kellie C.

      Thanks for the info. If they have a sign of who is responsible then that is probably who I should contact so I don't step on any toes. Certainly don't want to cause any sort of "trail turf wars" -wink. Seriously, it would be nice if we could get a group together to take care of this real quick and to help take care of the trails we enjoy so much ...

      July 9, 2013

  • Mike

    I really enjoyed this hike and meeting everyone. It was a bit warm, but we all got through it nicely.

    1 · July 7, 2013

  • Kellie C.

    Thanks Mike and Bill for volunteering to lead this hike for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group!

    1 · July 6, 2013

  • Kathryn

    Fabulous day today - so happy to have interesting fellow hikers to enjoy a walk in the woods away from the steamy heat of the city. Thanks Mike and Bill for organizing and to the rest for rallying. Great fun....your company was almost as exciting as seeing a big fat rattler ;)

    2 · July 6, 2013

  • David C.

    Thanks Mike and Bill! Great hike and a good group of hikers to enjoy the day with.

    1 · July 6, 2013

  • Paul A

    Mike, Bill
    Thanks for leading the hike. It was fun.

    1 · July 6, 2013

  • David C.

    Looks like everyone has a ride, so I'll meet up with the group at the trail-head :)

    1 · July 5, 2013

  • Kathryn

    Hello - I will be plan to be at WFC at 7am and will greatly appreciate carpool - Looking forward to a day out of the city and amidst nature!

    July 5, 2013

  • Jim P.

    Hey all, I can provide wheels from Centerville or WFC as well, if needed. I'll plan to be at WFC at 7am just in case. It doesn't sound like too many people are meeting at Centerville.

    July 5, 2013

    • Paul A

      I'll be at WFC at 7am.

      July 5, 2013

  • Douglas

    Bill, what time would you like to meet at the Vienna Metro?
    For those thinking of carpooling from Vienna, please keep in mind that the Metro doesn't open until 7:00 a.m., so you'd have to get there by car. I'd like to meet at the Vienna Metro Kiss and Ride *north* of Interstate 66. Directions are as follows:
    1. Take I-495 WEST/SOUTH towards Silver Spring/Bethesda, *not* towards Richmond.
    2. Soon after entering Virginia,
    take Rt. 66 WEST
    3. Exit for Vienna Metro (Nutley Street).
    4. Go north on Nutley St.
    5. Go LEFT at Virginia Center
    Blvd.
    6. Go to Kiss & Ride (not Park &
    Ride)
    (If you are following these directions properly, you will *not* cross I-66 after you exit).

    2 · July 2, 2013

    • Douglas

      That works for me. I'll see you at the south side of the West Falls Church Metro.

      July 4, 2013

    • Bill

      Does anyone have room for one more from West Falls Church? Glad to help pay for gas. Thanks.

      July 5, 2013

  • Mark E.

    Can't make it at 9. Sorry!

    July 5, 2013

  • Natalia

    Is anyone coming from Silver Spring or somewhere close to Silver Spring, I would like to carpool with you. I'll chip in for gas. Thank you

    July 3, 2013

    • Edward S.

      Natalia - If you get no takers, how about meeting the rest of us at West Falls Church Metro? I-495 west/south into VA. Then take Rt. 7 East past I-66. At the second light after passing under I-66 (where the first one is for a ramp from I-66), turn left onto Haycock Rd. Two blocks up, turn left into the WFC Metro area, and look for parking near the Kiss-and-Ride.

      July 4, 2013

    • Natalia

      o.k

      July 5, 2013

  • David C.

    I'll be at Centreville, if anyone needs a ride from there. However, we need to leave a by 7:15 to make it to the trail-head by 9AM.

    July 4, 2013

  • Leslie

    Or maybe I could just drive into silver spring or dc and car pool from there. I'm coming from Laurel, so either place is close.

    July 4, 2013

  • Edward S.

    I live in Falls Church, and am happy to carpool from either Vienna Metro or Centreville.

    July 2, 2013

    • Bill P.

      Glad you can come aboard this hike Edward.

      July 3, 2013

    • Edward S.

      OK. I'll meet you all there.

      July 4, 2013

  • Bill P.

    Thanks Steve. The second paragraph of the hike description above mentions Big Pond Run, but I figured out on Tuesday that we will need to go up Little Stoney Creek (easier) based on where the trailhead is. There's really good super cold water in the spring by Sugar Knob Cabin, but it should be treated.

    July 4, 2013

  • Kathryn

    Happy to drive to WFC and meet there if that is best option.

    July 3, 2013

    • Paul A

      WFC at 7am is where several people are meeting.

      July 3, 2013

  • Kathryn

    Hello - Would love to join in the hike and carpool. Life in DC/Capitol Hill. Any seat in a carpool close by?

    July 3, 2013

  • Monica S.

    Is there room for two in any carpool?

    July 2, 2013

    • Douglas

      Monica, probably yes. It looks like we're going to meet at the West Falls Church Metro.

      July 3, 2013

  • Douglas

    Would anyone like to carpool from Centerville or even the Vienna Metro?

    June 30, 2013

    • Bill P.

      Douglas, I am in need of a ride frm Vienna Metro

      July 1, 2013

    • Paul A

      Likewise.

      July 2, 2013

  • Monica S.

    Very excited!

    1 · June 24, 2013

8 went

Your organizer's refund policy for George Washington National Forest! Big Schloss: Our Shorter 12 Mile Version

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
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Additional notes: If your RSVP is changed to no PRIOR to 48 hours before hike time!

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