House Mountain - Lexington VA
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House Mountain - Lexington, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
8.2 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

5.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,850 ft
Lexington Virginia
Rockbridge Area Conservation Council
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
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e.g. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
Please Note: Carpool if possible as parking space is very limited. Park in the designated parking area ONLY. The parking area on Saddle Ridge Rd/VA643 is located between the parking signs before the information kiosk. 37.8116, -79.53266
Note: The 0.5 miles to the trail head is located on private property, and no vehicle traffic of any kind is allowed on the that portion of the road. Please respect private property.

The House Mountain hike near Lexington Virginia is really two out-and-back hikes in one. Big House Mountain, with great views to the west from Goat Point Overlook, and Little House Mountain, with its spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley to the northeast. A major draw to Big House Mountain over the last several years is to spend time with the friendly goat. She took up residence on the ridge of Big House Mountain around 2011, and is known to join hikers up the last section to Goat Point Overlook, then asks for a toll tax of food ... which she normally receives.

Little House and Big House Mountains appear to tower out of the plains as they stand by themselves, separate from any other mountain range. The 950 acre House Mountain Preserve was purchased in 1989 through the efforts of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and many local residents, including Bill Stubbs a leader in conservation causes in the Rockbridge area for many years. The area is now owned by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, and managed locally by the House Mountain Management Committee representing RACC, W&L University, VMI, and VOF.

The saddle between Big House and Little House Mountains was originally a homestead, and more recently a orchard and pasture. With camping space for multiple tents, as well as a seasonal spring just past the shelter on Big House Mountain, this is a perfect place to take an overnight backpack.

From the parking area continue up unpaved VA643 and in 50 yards stay right uphill (private drive is left). Continue up VA643 for another 0.3 miles (please respect private property) to the closed gate and trailhead.

From the trailhead and closed gate, start up the unblazed House Mountain Trail. The trail passes private property on the left for the first 0.5 miles. The remaining hike to the saddle becomes steeper and more rutted.

Big House Mountain
Out/Back - 1.7mls - 740ft gain - Moderate+

Continue to the west uphill on the unblazed Big House Mountain trail and in 100 yards pass a shelter and privy on the right. Just past the shelter the trail will split, remain right uphill as it becomes steeper then makes a hairpin turn to the right in 0.5 miles. At the hairpin turn, stay straight on the blue blazed trail where it becomes narrow, steep and rocky for the short 90 yard climb to the Big House Mountain ridgeline. Turn left at the ridge line following the faint trail for 30 yards to passing a small campsite, then arriving at the first vista to the west. Continue for another 25 yards to the main panoramic view at Goat Point Overlook on Big House Mountain.

Return along the ridge to where the trail begins to descend, but continue to bushwack along the ridgeline for 100 yards where there is a boulder canyon. Just inside the boulders is Tabletop Rock. Return to the intersection down with the blue blazed trail and retrace your steps back to the saddle between Big House and Little House Mountains.

Return to the saddle by retracing your route.

Little House Mountain
Out/Back - 2.6mls - 940ft gain - Moderate

The new Little House Mountain trail is now fully marked with standard vertical blue blazes from the saddle (just behind the two signs) all the way to the incredible overlook. This new trail was the solution to the very strenuous, straight up trail before. This trail is not mountain bike/horse friendly.

From the saddle the Little House Mountain trail starts from behind the signs. Follow the blue blazes as it gradually ascends the south-west side of the ridge, before making several switchbacks and climbing the last half mile to the ridgeline.

At the ridge follow the trail through a thick section of Mountain Laurel before turning left back to the north. In 0.2 miles the trail passes to the left of the main summit before beginning its descent to the overlook in another 0.7 miles.

Once passing around the main summit, the trail descends passing through a rock scree, then shortly afterward reach a small campsite. The blue blazed trail continues downwards and ends at the panoramic Little House Mountain overlook. Return to the saddle by retracing your route.
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Hiker Reviews For The House Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the House Mountain hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Jonny E Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 01, 2015
Especially pretty hike in winter, when all of the leaves are off, affording great views. The goat was nowhere in site, but the peregrine falcon that nests on the cliff bands swooped into sight - beautiful display. The trail notes here say that Little House Mountain is a ~900 ft gain from the saddle, while Big House is only ~700 ft. I think these might be swapped, as Big tops out around 3600 ft, Little around 3300 ft. At any rate, Big House is a slog up a steep jeep road, but great views on top. Little House feels a bit more rugged - a bit iced over today - and "hidden", but views aren't quite as spectacular. Do both - best of both worlds!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 21, 2014
The path off the main trail of Big House Mountain that leads to the overlook has been blazed with the standard blue 2" x 6"blazes. Once you get to the top of the scramble, the path that leads to the view onthe left is obvious and there is now a blazed trail over to Picnic rock. As always, please remember to bring your trash back down the hill and keep this area pristine.

By: Central Va Trailblazers Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 08, 2014
Hello, we are a hiking group from Richmond planning to come in mid-Nov to backpack this trail (1 night). Wondering if anyone had some info: is the spring at the saddle reliable or do we need to bring all of our water with us. Any other good advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 08, 2014
Hidden Jew for sure! This is a great day hike or one day backpacking trip for late fall or early spring. Great beginner backpacking trip as you can camp at the saddle and base hike off the camp. The views are amazing and you have two summits on both hikes! With experience doing trail work, I appreciate the work that has been completed on Little House, building trails is not easy work. When I return, I would like to see the sunrise on Little House and sunset on Big House. I didn't find this hike too challenging due to the short length. It is a bit rugged on the downhill so hiking poles would help. Also, these mountains have a different feel then SNP, mostly due to the higher elevation. This hike reminds me of hiking in WV. You just need to experience this hike for yourself, words can't explain to true beauty of this place.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 08, 2014
We started out this adventure emailing Brian and Brenda (trail maintainers), asking how reliable the spring was for a group of 13 backpackers. Brian replied immediately informing us that the spring wasn't very reliable, which was very valuable information for us (as the spring was completely dry). This is a great backpacking trip with very well maintained trails that is attractive to all levels of hikers. We walked up the 2.5 miles to the saddle, set up camp, and day packed to Little House from there. The hike up was fairly steep initially but it rewards you with a great view at the end of the ridge walk. A few in the group did Big House/Table Rock after the Little House hike, but it's kind of a lot for one day, time-wise, unless you arrive early. This is an extraordinary place, with exceptional views, that creates a magical feel, thanks to the hard work of Brian and Brenda.

    View all 40 reviews for the House Mountain hike
Early July
Mid November (Photos courtesy of Steve Martin)
Early March
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