House Mountain
5 Star Views from Both Peaks
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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
Printable Topo Hike Map (PDF)

Lexington Weather Forecast
Garmin (GDB), GPS eXchange (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route

The parking area on Saddle Ridge Rd is on the left where the information kiosk and trail map is located. DO NOT park on the side of the road. 37.81124, -79.53057
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 owned, and managed by the by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. Volunteers contribute to the upkeep of the trails and parking area.

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.
Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the House Mountain hike:

Hiker Reviews For The House Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Jonny E Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 21, 2019
Beautiful spring day - trees just starting to bloom so views were still really good going up the mountain. Nary a cloud in the sky - vistas were big and gorgeous with riot of spring colors--every shade of green in the valley. Best time of year to hike House Mtn. Big House is steep climb the last mile, but no tricky footing. Little House is a bit less grade, but does have a few tricky steps here and there no showstoppers. Big House overall has better vistas - more on top of a mountain looking toward valleys Little House is more being enveloped in the mountain, laurel everywhere. Have done this hike prob 10 times, still haven't gotten to see the goat!

By: PghTom Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 9, 2019
Great hike. Great lean to. Nice hikes. But we spent the entire weekend in fog and had zero views. Oh well, nice night hike in Friday w headlamps. Had the entire lean to to ourselves and pretty much the mountain. Saw 2 day hikers, that's it. Guess the snow kept everyone away.

We met one of the care takers on the way out. He explained they changed the parking on Saturday. You can NO LONGER park on the road. The signs were removed. All parking is in the new lot. A little extra hump up the road. But a nice big lot to park in.

Will return on a clear weekend. Definitely a worthwhile hike.

By: Bryant Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 27, 2017
The only reason I give it four stars is for the long road walk you do from the parking to the trail head given the number of private landowners now on that section, it is understandable (and make sure you park where indicated or you WILL be towed). It was a great hike up Little House Mountain, and the "new" trail is well graded, scenic (speaking as someone who last hiked Little House in 2005). Beautiful stone arch at the top. Was accompanied most of the way by three hunters and their 12 dogs (very entertaining. The groups managing the area have done a wonderful job - kudos!

Excellent description of the hike - HikingUpward is my go-to source when looking for hikes in the South.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Less of a review and more of an updated trail status for the Little House side. Over last weekend and this one, I have trimmed the length of the Little House trail especially along the ridge where the growth was touching both sides of the hikers. Take advantage of the changing leaves coming into full color around the end of the month. If you have suggestions for the House Mountain trail, please contact me and we’ll see what we can do to make a more enjoyable trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 21, 2017
House Mountain is a great overnight hike. This is my third year on House Mountain and we typically hike up to the saddle between Big House and Little House. We'll then drop our packs and set up camp before day hiking one or both peaks. Big House is a steeper climb, although shorter distance. It has a great view to the south with an unusual rock formation further up the mountain. Little House starts off steep but most of the hike is along the ridge line once you get past that first section. The end of Little House trail rewards you with great views on the opposite side of what Big House gives you. The caretaker of the trails here does a fantastic job. The trail on top of Little House was recently trimmed back. There's also a great fire pit on the saddle where people typically set up camp. Highly recommended for an easier backpack trip with options for more hiking once you get to the saddle.

    View all 60 reviews for the House Mountain hike
Early July
Mid November (Photos courtesy of Steve Martin)
Early March
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