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)
After attempting to do this hike twice before I was finally able to complete it. You may be wondering why a hike that is described as suitable for most fitness levels would be such a problem. The first time I attempted this hike was a couple days after Thanksgiving in 2016. After driving four hours I arrived to find the area closed due to a forest fire. Serves me right for not checking ahead. Now I always check for any problems in a planned hiking area on https://inciweb.nwcg.gov before I make the trip. About a month later I attempted the hike again. No fire this time but there was obvious fire damage and many trees down from it. Like an earlier reviewer pointed out, in the fall and winter the trail is less obvious. This combined with the fact that several of the trees that had blazes on them were burnt and not visible, contributed to me making a wrong turn and hiking several miles off trail. By the time that I realized my error and backtracked it was too late to continue the hike and I had to abort. I'm happy to report now that new blazes have been added and the trail is much easier to follow. It's a very nice hike that starts off level and gradually starts climbing. The streams are listed as N/A on here but I made several stream crossings including a pretty big one that I missed last time when I went the wrong way. Maybe the streams are not there in the summer but they are certainly there during Fall and Winter. The east and west summits of Mount Pleasant are breath taking. It does get VERY windy at the summit. I lost my cap on the west summit. Also, be aware if you bring your dog that the rock scramble at the west summit will probably prevent them from going all the way up with you. My golden retriever could not make the climb and had to wait back at the little campsite below. Once we were done at the summit we took the trail on to Pompey Mountain summit which doesn't have much of a view but is still a nice hike. The trail does do a sneaky ascent after Pompey when you think it's all down hill but after that it descends back to the trailhead. Overall a very enjoyable hike and one I will do again when things get a little greener.
BTW, when I got back to the trailhead, someone had placed a pair of hiking shoes (in fairly good condition) on either side of my jeep. Anyone know what that is all about? Is it a trail tradition that I am unaware of?
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 11, 2017
FS road is in good shape right now. This is one of my favorites in this part of the state. Both viewpoints are spectacular. Keep an eye on the blue blazes, the trail is less obvious in wintertime without the foliage and I made a 2 mile boo boo. Minor fire damage visible.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 29, 2016
We did this hike combined with the Cold Mountain loop to make an overnighter. We parked at the Mt. Pleasant trail head, did that loop with only day packs, got back to the cars to get our full packs, and headed over to the Cold Mountain loop to hike to the campsite. We saved the Cold Mountain meadows for last. This hike starts out pleasantly flat before making a gradual ascent to the two summits. Both of them are awesome.....and windy!! Check them both out. I loved seeing the Cold Mountain meadows from the west summit! There are some sweet campsites up there, but it might be too windy for my liking. The second half of the loop heading down to the cars was pretty boring to me, but those views were worth it.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 29, 2016
I did this hike on a beautiful bluebird day to enjoy the fall foliage and it met all my high expectations. Unfortunately , that is not the reason I am posting this review. Mt Pleasant has been on fire for a week now and the scenic area is closed currently. Inciweb maps indicate that 11000 acres have burned including the Mt Pleasant summit and Cold Mt. So do a little research before heading out to this area for a hike in the future.
Date of Hike: Sunday, May 08, 2016
GREAT hike and is a Virginia hiking highlight!!! Regarding mileage error. I carried my GPS and found the mileage was correct, matching the sign at the trail head. The loop is 5.2. If you take the .5 spur trail to East and West peak you will cover an additional 1 mile with a grand total of 6.2. I would rate this hike as easy to moderate. When you're at the West peak you can look over and see the hikers on Cole Mountain. Definitely pack a camera and binoculars. You can see FOREVER!!!!
The parking lot and the adjacent road can be crowded. The road leading to the trail head is rough but a 2WD drive car can make the trip up the mountainside. Would not suggest a car that doesn't have normal/reasonable ground clearance.