Big Schloss, coolest overlook in the Appalachian mountains

Park at Wolf Gap Recreation Area
GPS: 38.92455,-78.68890
Main attraction: Hike, great rocky overlook
Length: 4 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy
Map and Directions

Sunset at Big Schloss, Virginia - West Virginia border


Last weekend we visited Big Schloss (or big castle) a rocky peak in the Virginia - West Virginia border with an awesome view of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. The impressive scenery from its tall cliffs, the easy hike, and the proximity to big urban areas like Washington, DC are some reasons for its big popularity all year round.

We planned the trip as a 1-day hike and not to camp due to the low temperatures, and also because we already camped one week before in Tibbet Knob, the sister hike of Big Schloss.

Walk in the Ridge

We parked at the Wolf Gap Recreation Area and took the Mill mountain trail northbound. The first half mile is very steep, but after 20 minutes we reached the top and started to enjoy the easy ridge promenade. 

Surprisingly, the forest was covered with snow! It was a very cold day, but we didn't expect to see snow in April. Can't wait for the warmer days!

Summiting Big Schloss in West Virginia

Summit & Views from the top

Once at the top, there are a couple of overlooks and places to rest protected from the wind. After crossing a wood bridge you will reach the summit.

This is one of the top 5 best overlooks we have ever been, with an amazing 360-degree panoramic view: To the West side, you can see the shapes of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. To the East, the Massanutten and Shenandoah mountains. South is the Trout Run valley and Tibbet Knob (a cone shaped peak that remembers the Asian mountains, we guess), and North the Little Schloss.

It was only 2pm and we had in mind to watch the sunset from the summit. So we spend a couple of hours fooling ourselves around, taking a nap on the rocks, sunbathing, reading, eating and taking pictures.


At 5pm it was already cold and windy and we thought about giving up the sunset and going down. But a couple of stretches, jumps and the few places still getting sunshine warmed us up enough to resist. As 7:20pm the spectacle started and we were at the summit ready for it.

Southern sunset colors in Big Schloss

Mon trying to reach the sun

What we did last weekend? We had fun in nature!

This trip is featured on the book 20 Weekend Trips Close to Washington DC.