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Mount Pleasant - Oronoco, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
5.5 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
3.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,350 ft
George Washington National Forest
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e.g.. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
From VA634/Coffey Town Rd: Right onto gravel VA755/Wiggins Spring Rd. following the Mount Pleasant Sign, In 1.3 miles VA755 enters the GWNF and becomes FS48, In 1.4 miles from entering the GWNF pass a small parking area on the left where the AT crosses the road, It may be necessary to park here if the seasonal gate is closed. Continue 0.2 miles turn right at the sign for the Mount Pleasant trailhead, park in 100 yards at the trailhead. 37.75891, -79.18876

A short day hike suitable for most fitness levels. Mount Pleasant has both an east and west summit, each with spectacular views. Designated by congress in 1994 as the Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area, the trails are kept in fantastic shape by the NBATC. For the campers, the ridge has several large campsites suitable for multiple tents.

At the parking area there are three trail heads. The two Henry Lanum Memorial trails pass through wooden horse gates. Take the right Henry Lanum Memorial Trail. You will return down the left one. Once passing through the gate the blue blazed trail is mostly flat for the first 1.1 miles. Make sure to follow the blue blazes at 1.1 miles as the trail turns off the old FS road to the right, then in 0.1 miles arrives at a trail junction.

Turn left uphill following the sign and blue blazed trail. This is the steepest section of the trail where it traverses up the mountain arriving at the ridge in 1.0 miles, and intersection of the Mount Pleasant Summit Trail. Stay straight on the blue blazed Mount Pleasant Summit Trail, and in 40 yards pass a trail marked 'Water' on the left that heads downhill to a seasonal spring. Continue on the Mount Pleasant Summit Trail as it winds its way up the mountain.

In 0.3 miles be alert to follow the trail back to the left, the old summit trail continues straight. In another 0.2 miles arrive at the saddle between the two peaks. Make sure to visit them both!

The westerly summit, turning right at the saddle, has two small campsites, the second just before the overlook. Keep in mind that because of its geology the Mount Pleasant summit can experience strong winds. Also, to reach the overlook at the westerly summit you have to scramble 7 feet up through a rock scree.

Return back down from the summit to the Henry Lanum Memorial Trail intersection. Turn right, along the ridge towards Pompey Mountain. There are two large campsites within the first 0.1 miles. In 0.8 miles, and at the high point of Pompey Mountain, take the unmarked trail to the right for 75 yards to a rock outcrop and views to the northeast.

Return to the Henry Lanum Memorial Trail, turn right, and now head downhill for 0.5 miles before the trail heads to the left along the ridge for another 0.4 miles, then descends the remaining 0.7 miles back to the parking area.
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Hiker Reviews For The Mount Pleasant Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Kate W Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 06, 2014
Keep walking when you think you missed the top. After the last trail intersection with the mount pleasant summit trail, just keep following the blue blazes continuing to ascend in a still very steep section. It seemed a little further than .5 miles as the directions said. WE were confused about following the trail back to the left and something about the old trail continuing straight. Just keep going up and following blue blaze. We talked to people in Lexington later and they say a lot of people turn around and give up. When you finally get to the top, we turned left to the Easterly summit first. All of a sudden you climb out of a bunch of mountain laurel and you open up into another world. My first words were "this is Heaven on earth". This was the most beautiful view I have seen in Virginia. I can't speak more highly of this hike. On the way down, we were surrounded by flowers on the trails and then it changes to ferns. It was beautiful!! The drive up was fine, just go slow, but we were in a Toyota highlander so had AWD.

By: Jansen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 02, 2014
Check out my blog to get a review on this hike and many others in central VA.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 20, 2014
Did this Mount Pleasant hike during the afternoon of 6/20/14, heading in direction as described on this site. Very easy first mile plus, slightly downhill, but a boring grassy trail with not much to see. Climb from that point becomes somewhat difficult, nearly 2 miles of moderate uphill, but the scenery gets much better. Last climb to the lookout points at the top is the toughest part, as it seemed much farther than the 0.5 miles as marked on the sign. Lots of steep switch-backs. Ran into a giant Box Turtle on the trail near the top! View from the lookout points at the top was probably nice, but unfortunately a thunderstorm rolled in right as I got to the top and it started raining.

I was surprised by how much of the second half of this hike seemed to be uphill. I expected to be traversing mostly down from the top but there was at least 2 or 3 difficult climbs heading back to the parking area. The rain and my water-logged feet were also probably factors. The parking area is free and has a decent amount of spaces for cars. There was only one other car there on that Friday, and I did not see anyone on the trails. Biggest drawback to this hike is how long and remote a drive it is to get there, especially the last 5 plus miles on the rocky dirt road. Even in my large 4-wheel drive truck it felt sketchy. I cannot imagine how impassable the road would be in bad winter weather.

Overall the Mount Pleasant hike was sort of how the name describes, nice and pleasant, but nothing spectacular. I would HIGHLY recommend the "sister" Cold Mountain hike over this one. It is slightly more difficult, but much more rewarding given how much a pain it is to drive to this general area.

By: Peggie Stinnette Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Loved backpacking up Mt. Pleasant and staying at the site near the top(near water, a bonus!). The west summit at sunset is spectacular! And, just a note to anyone who is interested in Mt. Pleasant & sister hike, Cold Mountain, the forest service is apparently scheduling a control burn anytime from now until May-ish. Call before heading out!

By: davew Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Yesterday was my second time hiking Mt. Pleasant. Both times I hiked the circuit clockwise, which I believe is opposite of the hiking upward directions, and is the more difficult route. Completed the hike in a little over 2.5 hours plus time at the summit for pictures, exploring, and lunch. The first half of the hike is pretty consistently up hill it is a narrow trail with few, brief areas of flat ground and no downhill. The hike carries along several ridges before your final .5 mile ascent up Mt. Pleasant. The views from atop the mountain are among the best I've seen in VA hiking. Once you summit the eastern outlook, you can descend a little and enjoy climbing some sizable rock outcroppings. It is a moderately challenging hike for the 3.5 mile ascent (when hiked clockwise). The 2.8 mile hike out is on a generally pretty broad, well-kept trail and is almost exclusively down hill - and the easiest hiking you can find. Both times I completed the Mt. Pleasant hike in tandem with the Cold/Cole Mountain Hike. It is a great weekend circuit, when you want to enjoy great views, some challenging moments, but for the most part have a nice relaxing time.

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