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.
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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Reviews For The Mount Pleasant Hike (5 Most Recent)
This is a great hike. If you want a more strenuous start, take the loop to the left for the upward climb. The incline is greater there than if you take the right loop to ascend. Great views from the top. You must visit both overlooks, east and west, and if its windy hold onto your hat. One small warning is needed. At the west over look, a 5 foot timber rattler was encountered crossing the path just below the rocks you climb to get to the great views. So be aware of your surroundings! Also if you make the entire loop, the return trip to the right, 3.4 loop, at times is confusing as blue blazes were not readily available, again just be aware of what's around you.
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 16, 2015
This is a phenomenal hike, primarily because of the incredible views. The views at the two outlooks are by far the best I have seen, and it is not a very popular hike. I would give the solitude a 3, as there were people camped at the top and we did run into a few hikers along the way, but an overwhelming majority of the hike was quiet (especially for a Saturday with nice weather). Also, there are a couple of small creeks at the beginning of the hike (even though streams was listed as N/A). It was neither a very difficult hike nor an easy hike and it took a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes with extensive breaks for the breathtaking, panoramic views. It was a fairly easy trail to follow due to the blue blazes the entire way and very few other trails in the area. I highly recommend this hike to others!
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.
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 02, 2014
Check out my blog to get a review on this hike and many others in central VA. www.summitsofva.blogspot.com
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.