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House Mountain - Lexington, Virginia

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

5.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,850 ft
Lexington Virginia
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
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e.g. 12000 Government Center Parkway 22035 or Fairfax VA
The parking area on Saddle Ridge Rd/VA643 is located between the parking signs befoir eht einformation 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, and Little House Mountain, with its punishing direct climb to the ridge, and spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley to the northeast.

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.

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), pass the last house in 0.2 miles. 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 1.1 miles 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 Little 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 on Little 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 - 2.4mls - 940ft gain - Strenuous

Although the Little House Mountain out/back is shorter than Big House Mountain, it's significantly more strenuous because the blue blazed Little House Mountain Trail heads directly uphill to the ridge without any switchbacks.

From the saddle pass into the meadow where the road splits. Turn right uphill before leaving the meadow and head into the treeline. Once in the treeline look for the blue blazes.

At this point the trail is almost indiscernible. Follow the blue blazes as the trail starts uphill towards the ridge and in 0.2 miles pass through a rock slide. From this point to the ridge the Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron becomes more dense.

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: Keith Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Excellent hike to superb views.  The trail from the saddle to Big House was very steep, but the blue blazed trail to the top of Little House is insanely steep.  There are viewpoints on both mountains that make the climbs well worth it.  This is a hike that I will surely do again! 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 05, 2013
This was a great weekend campsite/hike. we did this hike because the the national forest was closed to gov shut down. What we read and what we got, were different but still had fun.

Hiked in, in the dark friday night to the shelter and made base camp.

 Saturday morning we hiked up the big house trail, which i thought was the tougher of the two. Turn right at the split, marked by a big karen. This has great views a long the way and an awsome campsite at the end of the trail. To the left of the Karen is a nice niec little incline, 180 degree plus view towards the left and the tabletop is to the right, bush wack it a bit to a really cool rock formation.

Saturday Afternoon we did the little house trail. We searched and bushwacked but couldnt find the blue blazed trail, so we did the  red/orange trail. his is an easy trail with switchbacks and not on the "Strenuous" level at all. Once up the trail we found the "Blue" blaze trail on the way back. It seemed like it wouldn't be that fun hiking up.

Sunday packed out back to the car. Great guys weekend. Ran into about 25 other people the entire weekend.

By: Lauren Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 02, 2013

To hike Little House Mt, take the red blazed trail from the saddle.  Once you're near the top, THEN follow the blue blazes to read the panoramic view.  This is a great hike - the schlep to the saddle is a little long, but it's superb from there.  We ran into the couple that just built the green house near the trailhead and they're wonderful as well.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 19, 2013
Awesome Views!

So me and a couple of friends decided to do this hike on the drive down to the Triple Crown.   The hike itself is meh, pretty good, but I though the views were some of the best I've seen in the Mid-Atlantic.

A note though, there's a new blazed and well maintained trail up to Little House.  It runs southeast from the junction, and heads up the hill via switchbacks.  We took the old trail straight up as described here up (had no idea where this trail went until we saw the other end at the top) and took the new trail back down.  I don't think the old trail is closed, but it is very, very overgrown (with thorny overgrowth, I suggest long pants and sleeves).  I have a gpx file with the track data if you are interested in updating your map.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 06, 2013
Awesome hike!  Video review here:

    View all 30 reviews for the House Mountain hike
Early July
Mid November (Photos courtesy of Steve Martin)
Early March
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