Fall colors are beginning to pop here in the mid-Atlantic. What better way to enjoy them than from atop Big Schloss, one of my favorite viewpoints in the region.
I left Pittsburgh at 2:30am on the dot. The long drive had me pulling up at the trailhead for Little Stony Creek, on the eastern side 0f Mill Mountain, at 6:10am. 10min later I was on my way. It was more than an hour to sunrise, so still dark.
The light from my headlamp led me 0.5mi back up the road to the trailhead for the Big Schloss Cutoff Trail. I took this up for 1.8mi to Mill Mountain’s spine. I turned left towards Big Schloss, a large rocky block studding Mill Mountain’s southern end. A mile later I took a left to head up to the summit. In total I would spend 2hrs there, taking pictures and modeling for ‘selfies’. Overcast conditions meant that fall colors were more muted than I’d hoped for, but it was still great.
1- Big Schloss appears (selfie)
5- Looking at my remaining hike (selfie)
6- This was a pretty difficult selfie to take. After setting up the camera near the top of a steep rocky gully below the summit, I continued down. The downclimb culminated in two 6ft vertical cliff sections with a tiny ledge in the middle. The rock finger I'm standing on lay at the base of the cliff.
7- The setup for the selfie taken above (photo taken later on)
10- Strike a pose (selfie)
I retraced my steps to the junction with the Big Schloss Cutoff Trail, but continued along the Mill Mountain Trail. This was mostly a pretty forested walk, with one overlook hosting a nice view of the Trout Run Valley to the west. I rolled over the treed summit of Mill Mountain to intersect the Tuscarora Trail.
12- Parting shot of Big Schloss
14- Enjoying the fall colors (selfie)
I took a right on the Tuscarora Trail for 0.6mi and then another right on the Little Stony Creek Trail. A rocky 3.8mi down this one brought me back to the car.
Stats: 12.2mi, 2400ft gain, 7.5hrs (including 2hr at the Big Schloss summit)
Looks great out there! Thanks for the diagram. As I was going through the pictures I was like, how did he get that shot? It looked like it was from a drone, but now I know! I'm jealous of the incredible fall colors out your way. It seems fall is a bit behind here in the lowlands, but totally over in the high country.
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