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

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

Hiker Reviews For The House Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the House Mountain hike here!   Average Rating:   Share 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 18, 2017
We hiked in the middle of February and had an usually warm spring-like day to hike! We warmed up throughout the hike and only got chilly again when we got to the top. Seven women from our Her Hike Collective group hiked from the parking area to Little House Mountain peak. This was a challenging hike but I liked that the hike into the valley, about two and a half miles, was fairly easy. This allowed some of our newer hikers to get use to hiking before it got challenging. Which I think helped them get their confidence up before they got to the more difficult switch backs and rock scrambles. I love rock scrambles but they were a bit of a surprise because the description of the hike does not mention them on this site. Just be cautious of this and help each other, especially if you are shorter.

The views are extremely worth it on top of Little House Mountain. We ate lunch at the top and were the only ones there for a little while. It is a long hike so we did have to speed it up on our hike back to ensure we had enough sunlight left to get to our cars. I would have started a little earlier on this hike if I did it again in the winter. We started at about 11am. Hiking boots are definitely a good idea for this hike!

All in all our women's hiking group loved adding this hike to our list and it was a great day to hike together. You can find our womens hiking group on social media under #herhikecollective

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, February 6, 2017
Our hiking group tackled Little House Mountain today - we felt that doing both (rated here as 5-star difficulty) was probably a stretch for a group of 60-somethings.

We were right! Little House by itself was challenging enough for us - but well worth it. 7.8 miles RT on my GPS.

The GPS coordinates on the parking area were spot on. As was the route that I had downloaded from HU to my eTrex20...until we reached the meadow and discovered that I had downloaded the file a few years back which did not include the new trail. Fortunately, the trail was extremely well-blazed in blue. We found the ascent challenging enough (and wondered just how hard the old trail was to climb!). 4-star difficulty in our view.

The overlook was really something - reminded us of the views from nearby Jump Mountain (which we consider a slightly more difficult hike than Little House). 5-star views.

Unfortunately, we started the hike after lunch and couldn't hang around the overlook too long else we risk hiking down in the dark.

But we'll do this one again perhaps in May when the rhododendron is blooming.

    View all 58 reviews for the House Mountain hike
Early July
Mid November (Photos courtesy of Steve Martin)
Early March
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