I was looking for another hike that would push my limits a little further, both physically and mentally. Little Schloss mountain is just one of the many hikes in the Great North Mountain area, George Washington National Forest. This hike can be part of a loop hike with Big Schloss, creating a strenuous hike (this is something I would love to do at some point). Today I would only hike Little Schloss. The hike typically starts at the FDR92 parking area, across the road from the trailhead. However, due to the seasonal road closure, it added an additional 4.14 miles to what is usually a 3.2-mile hike, making it a 7.34-mile round trip day.
It was about 10 am when I started my hike after parking in a spot by the gate. The road walk wasn't that bad, it reminded me a lot of the Lake Road walk which leads into some of the heartiest hikes in the Adirondack Mountains in New York. As I walked, I could understand why the road was gated off as I could feel the spongy softness of the road beneath my feet. The hike up to the start of the trail was uneventful as the road meandered and swerved back and forth as I gained elevation.
I finally reached the actual trailhead around 11 am. After a quick hydration break, we (Misty and I) were on our way up. The trail was well marked with a purple-blazed dot-dash pattern all the way up until you get to the ridge. The trail is a shared trail with both hikers, and mountain bikers, and I had even seen horse manure. As the trail winds its way up I passed several rocky erratics. Then, further along, the trail gets rockier the higher we got in elevation. The trail seems to be well-drained all along the way, with one small area just below the ridge. I found no water sources along the trail, so it was important that I brought enough water for me and Misty. This has been a very dry winter and the previous fall so I do not know if this trail is normally this dry. I would think this would pose to be a challenge for anyone doing the loop hike including Big Schloss mountain.
I finally reached the ridge junction around noon, where I found two sets of herd paths leading to the summit. I opted for the herd path that went to the right up to the ridge then went to the summit, reaching the summit around 12:15 pm where we enjoyed our lunch, enjoyed the views, and rested up.
The trail is entirely among mostly open hardwood forests, a few areas with varying forms of scrub brush. This made for a full day of sun, as there was no relief from the canopy yet as spring budding hasn't kicked in.
I had read of two campsites along the trail one around 2200 feet, the other on the ridge.
The panoramic view from Little Schloss is spectacular, however, the rock scramble to the summit does require some care.