On top of Big Schloss with the Trout Run Valley of West Virginia in the background.
Big Schloss is located along the ridge of the Great North Mountain range in the George Washington Forest of Virginia, along the border of Virginia and West Virginia.
The ascent to Big Schloss peak is a moderate 2.2-mile (one-way) climb along a ridge; and the rewards of this climb are the panoramic views into Trout Run Valley in West Virginia and views of Little Schloss Mountain in Virginia.
Interestingly, Big Schloss was named by German settlers and the word "schloss" is German for castle.
Some people consider Big Schloss to be a rock outcropping on the Great North Mountain, whereas others consider it to be its own peak. The confusion is due partly to the fact that Great North Mountain is actually a mountain range, and not a mountain.
Since Big Schloss lines along the border between Virginia and West Virginia there can also be uncertainty as to which state it belongs to (or if indeed it belongs partly to both). Wolf Gap recreation area, where the climb described on this page begins, is in Virginia, and the maps I have seen mark Big Schloss on the Virginia side of the line. Also note, that there may be other access points to Big Schloss, which begin in West Virginia.
Please note that the Latitude and Longitude numbers above are from topozone.com which also shows Big Schloss to be on the Virginia side of the VA/WV border.
Click here to see a panoramic shot of the views from Big Schloss.
From Edinburg VA, drive 11 miles west on VA 675 to Wolf Gap campground. (see mapquest for the location of Edinburg relavite to your location)
- 0.0 mile. Start the hike at Wolf Gap Camp Ground. At camp site 9, take orange blazed trail north.
- 0.25 mile. Begin switch backs as trail becomes steeper.
- 0.75mile. Arrive at ridge, bear left onto narrower ridge trail.
- 1.9 mile. Leave the orange blazed trail by bearing right on white blazed trail. Make certain you are on the white blazed trail as the orange blazed trail, from this point on, will take you past, but not to Big Schloss.
- 2.2 mile. Arrive at Big Schloss.
There are 9 or 10 free camp spots at the Wolf Gap recreation area, from where you can start the ascent to Big Schloss. Each camp spot is complete with tent pad, picnic table and fire ring. Water is available from a hand-pumped. There is a pit toilet near the camp spots.
For more information on Wolf gap please see the Lee Ranger District site.
Big Schloss enjoys four distinct seasons, marked by a wide range of temperatures. In January the normal high of the neighboring area is 41 °F, and the normal low is 22 °F, and on average there are 10 hours of daylight and about 2.8 inches of rain. By April the average high is 66 °F, and the average low is 41 °F accompanied by 13 hours of daylight and 3 inches of rain. Moving into the summer month of July the Big Schloss neighborhood warm up to typical highs of 88°F, and typical lows of 65°F, with about 15 hours of sun, but with nearly 4 inches of rain. By October normal high temperatures drop to 68°F and normal low temperature hover around 43°F; daylight hours drop to only 8 and the rain slows down to just over 3 inches.