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)
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, September 23, 2015
The house mountain hike was fantastic. My wife and I did it and found it was more than we expected. The elevation gain was the biggest challenge. At the saddle location where the trail splits, one to Big House and the other to Little House, it warned that the trail to Little House was not for the faint of heart...we did Big House first and thought that was a challenge due to the elevation gain, but the rock formations of Little House were quite challenging. This is one trip you can not miss. Doing both in one day for seniors like us also made it more challenging, but the views and solitude was well worth the effort. A big high five to Rockbridge County and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation for a great trail!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
We hiked in on Saturday around noon to the saddle. There was 13 backpackers in our group out to camp for 2 nights. We all carried 1.5 gallons of water. There is a spring but its not dependable. There was water flowing from it but it took 5 minutes to fill a gallon. This is a beautiful little known place that has alot to offer for day or overnight trip. The rhododendron's were in bloom on top of Little house trail. The views on top Big and Little House Mtn. are AMAZING!! If you never been to this magical place, you won't be disapointed. The trails are well maintained and well blazed.

By: Mike and Raylan Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 04, 2015
Hiked both little house and big house mountain on a nice Spring day. Excellent hike with quite a few breath taking vistas. Brought the dog, Raylan, and he did really well on this hike. I will say, ascending both Little House and Big House is a work out! Not the longest hike I've done, but the trail up is very steep for a decently extended period of time. In terms of difficulty, overall it's not that bad, but for those 20-30 minutes you're walking straight up hill it's pretty brutal. Definitely a must-do if you are in the Lexington Area. Being one of the first nice days in Spring we saw ~6 different groups of people. Everyone was nice and friendly, but parking was tight and the solitude factor wasn't quite there. Other than that, a great work out with a rewarding view at the end. Enjoy!

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.

    View all 43 reviews for the House Mountain hike
Early July
Mid November (Photos courtesy of Steve Martin)
Early March
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