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Hiker Comments for the House Mountain Hike - 1 to 62 of 62   
Average Rating:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Really good hike with two great overlooks. The hike was steeper than I anticipated, but I am out of hiking shape. My friend and I first went up to Big House Mountain, taking a break at Goat Point. After that we followed the red-blazed trail past Tabletop Rock to bag the true summit and explored further north passing an old building on an old forest road. I think if we continued we may have found the cliffs on the northeast side easily accessible from the forest road, I could see a long series of cliffs from Little House that we never stumbled upon. Instead of backtracking we followed the forest road back to the trail making a loop, bypassing the rockiest section of the trail near Goat Point and Tabletop Rock.

If the trail up Little House has been rerouted, the original trail must have been brutal because the new trail is very steep despite the presence of switchbacks. Luckily it does not last long, and the trail follows the ridgeline seemingly forever until it ends at the northern point. For me this series of cliffs was not only superior to Goat Point, but ranks amongst my favorite viewpoints in Virginia. The hike back was a long slog, especially the continual descent on the approach trail and the access road. In total my hike was 10.7 miles. Although I did add a little extra with the Big House high point, I believe the hike listed here is around 10 miles instead of 8.2 miles. My friend was also tracking the hike and got 10.8 miles.

By: DrG Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 11, 2019
I had read and YouTube'd House Mtn and had it on my list of hikes. So on my way from DC to WV I stopped to hike it. It isn't far from I-64. The webpage says Big House is a 1.7 mile out/back. The Weather App said I had 90 minutes til storms approached. So from the parking lot I walked uphill 1.8 miles and was still deep in the woods with no Hump in site so I had to return to the car just beating a very heavy thunder storm by about 10 minutes. So I guess the 1.7 mile out/back is the distance from the Hump and not from the parking lot. I didn't reach the Hump. So I'll have to return another day.

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.

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.

By: Eric G Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 24, 2016
Hiked this on my first wedding anniversary with my wife. It was a Monday and we did not see one soul on the entire trail. First 2-ish miles are a bit hilly but the trail is nice and wide. We went up Big House first and though it's a short trip up, it's pretty steep (and no switchbacks!). We did not see the goat anywhere, perhaps he/she has left? The views at the top were spectacular! Hiked up Little House second, I personally thought this hike was easier with the switchbacks. The trail along the ridge can be pretty narrow at times between the mountain laurel (only one person wide through some sections). The views at the end are also fantastic, but they overlook I-66, so not at great at those on Big House IMO. Made it up and down both in 5 hours.

By: Jason Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 16, 2016
I've hiked little house mountain twice before, but today was the first time I went to the summit of Big House mountain. I took my 4 year old daughter and she loved it. Great views, secluded, and we'll marked with blue blazes.

By: Kristen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 23, 2016
My husband and I decided to stop and do this hike on our way back from western Virginia. We didn't have time to do both Big and Little House, so we went with Little House. The views were beautiful! We got to a point on the hike where we thought the end must be coming soon, but it took a little bit longer than we anticipated. We had the view to ourselves, which was nice because there's not a lot of space to share. We'll have to come back to do Big House Mountain in the future.

Also, it's worth mentioning that the trail was well shaded. It was a really hot day (and we still sweat like crazy!) but under the trees it wasn't so bad. The only time you're really in the sun is at the top.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 23, 2016
We camped at the bottom to the east of the saddle on private land. This is our 3rd trip to House Mountain with a Scout Troop from Richmond, VA. The drive is easy--around 2 hours. We love this location! It has become an annual trip, and one where Scouts can perform conservation projects. On the past two trips, we backpacked up to the saddle where we set up camp. This time, with many new scouts having joined the troop, we decided to camp at the bottom and day hike.

The hike up the Jeep trail from camp to the saddle was strenuous (for the adults). It was a beautiful day, and the leaves were not quite out on the trees yet, affording us some great views along the way. We took plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Once at the saddle, Scouts performed conservation work on the 8 new apple tree seedlings, cutting away all the undergrowth, brush, and volunteers that had grown up around them. Hopefully, these trees will thrive and grow, and when the Scouts are adults they can come back and eat apples from them!

As mentioned in comments below, the meadow is cut and would make a great place to camp. It is beautiful in the saddle, and there is a nice privy/toilet and shelter nearby. The apple trees were blooming. There were many folks at the saddle, and we enjoyed stopping and chatting. There also seemed to be some sort of VMI reunion going on.

After we completed the conservation work, Scouts hiked up to the western top of Big House Mountain. That hike was also strenuous (for the adults). We came upon friendly neighbors on ATVs near the top where the trail forks (we took the left fork to the west). They pointed out the names of places and showed the Scouts various landmarks. We learned a lot of local names.

The view from the western edge of Big House was breathtaking! We could see for miles.

Overall, another successful trip to House Mountain. We will be back next year for sure! The Scouts love this place (as do the adult leaders).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 16, 2016
I have been working on the saddle for about a month off and on and the majority of it is now mowed for the first time in about six years. This might be a good year for the apple trees up there. There is wood stacked near the fire ring in the saddle as well as under the shelter lip. Enjoy the hiking and camping and remember to take your trash down the hill. Thanks.

By: Karen Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 20, 2015
Great hike on a well-marked trail. I'm not a hiker, and I finished both in about 4 hours (plus time for pictures and food). I did Little House first, and despite warnings that it would be difficult, I didn't find it to be too bad. I actually thought it was a little harder to climb Big House, but that may be because I was tired at that point. I didn't see the goat, but it was a lovely day nonetheless.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 14, 2015
With 3 friends, we hiked the Big House Mt trail yesterday, it was a glorious November day. Started with a light rain jacket, but had to take it off. But was glad to not have the rain encountered on July 4, 2015, but on the earlier occasion we saw the goat, not this time. Got some great pix of my friends at both Goat Point Overlook, & at "The Guardian of the Mountain" formation. Climbing the last 50 yards up to the Summit Ridge was a real challenge for this 70 year old and reminded us of our caving days with the Girl Scouts of Hampton Roads. On the return, walking thru deep leaves, we had to be very alert not to slip. All in all, we got our moneys worth even for our friend who had driven up from Charlotte, North Carolina.

By: TwoDachshunds Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 24, 2015
We did this hike with our two dachshunds as an overnight trip and really enjoyed it! We started in the afternoon and opted to set up camp near the shelter before we tackled Big House Mountain on day one and then saved Little House Mountain for day two. Before setting out on Big House trail we were warned by a gentleman from trail maintenance that there is a goat who wanders around the summit who, though very friendly, has a tendency to head-butt people. Needless to say he told us to make sure we kept a safe distance from the edge if the goat was nearby.

While there were no goat encounters, the views were spectacular! We hit the foliage peak in the area so all of the leaves were gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and orange. Both trails were pretty steep in portions but the short distance made them very manageable.

Some notes about the campsites: (1) There is a mid-size campsite when you reach the fork in the trail. You can fit approximately 4-5 tents in this area. When we got there a group was already set up so we had to look elsewhere. (2) If you continue down the left trail (towards Big House Mountain) you will come across a shelter which offers another camp site. This is smaller, allowing for only 1-2 tents. This is where we camped for the night and found it to be wonderful! (3)There is a beautiful campsite at the top of Big House Mountain which allows for one tent. If you are up for the challenge of lugging all of our gear up there the pay-off is definitely worth it! The downside is if someone has already occupied that spot you must then lug your gear back down the mountain. (4)The map shows a camp site near the top of Little House Mountain. This site is very rocky and sloped. I would only recommend this for someone planning to spend the night in a hammock. (5) If all of the established campsites are full, there is a lot of level-ground at the beginning of the Small House trail to set up camp.

By: David Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 18, 2015
After looking at reviews on this site we decided to take a hike today. This was a fantastic hike and I agree with others that it is a moderate- plus difficulty level. We ran into Brian, Brenda, and their family today at the fork where you can go left to Big House Mountain and right to Little House Mountain. They were a wealth of knowledge and extremely friendly people! After a rest in the saddle and eating a couple of apples we picked from one of the apple trees, we headed up to big house mountain. The view from the overlook was exceptional. We stayed for about an hour at the top, taking pictures and hanging out. I decided to chill for a few minutes and read a book. Without warning, the neighborhood goat bounded past me and headed for my wife for a handout. (My wife may tell you that I jumped 4 feet in the air but don't believe her. She was busy looking at the view and did not have a good eye on things). The goat was extremely friendly and has a deep affection for chicken sandwiches and apples! We are fairly experienced hikers but this was a spur of the moment hike for us and we did not pack our hiking boots. Tennis shoes were adequate but the downhill trek would have been safer and more pleasant if we had more stable shoes. As usual, bring plenty of water and some snacks. The last part of the hike to big house mountain involves a scramble up some rocks. Pay attention to the blue blazes marked on the trees going up and coming down the rock scramble. This part of the hike is not for people with orthopedic problems or who are not in adequate physical shape. We are from Florida and were very impressed with how friendly and helpful Brian and Brenda were and the other hikers we met on the trail. Unless you have an aversion to incredible views and crazy goats, this is a great hike! We'll be back!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Getting to the trail: The directions and GPS coordinates are spot on. The gravel road, Road 643, is well maintained and easy for any type of car to get to the parking area. We parked between the signs near the power line crossing.

Route: The Saddle Ridge Trail was well maintained jeep trail. There are a few white signs that say “Trails” with an arrow to help navigation. About a mile or so into the hike, the trail forks, but both trails go to the same place (37.820816, -79.538699 to 37.821644, -79.539144). And then another half-mile or so, the trail appears to fork again, and the logical choice was to go to the right more uphill, rather than left, more downhill. The trail has a few loose rocks which can be slippery with the leaves, but overall, the hike up to the Saddle took about an hour and 10 minutes for my wife and me. At the saddle, there are some nice signs talking about the history of the area. We even got to meet Brian & Brenda who were out doing some trail maintenance.

We decided to do Big House Mountain first since the distance was a little shorter in case it was too strenuous and we couldn’t do both. The Big House Mountain trail is well maintained double-track, and only took us about 50 minutes to get to the top. The views were expansive and beautiful. This time of the year was very near peak for autumn color, and next weekend may be good too. We wandered around the ridge of Big House and bouldered around Tabletop Rock. We tried to find some overlooks in this area, but really couldn’t find anything safe and easy to get to. Also, there were no resident goats to be found. The return back to saddle was really quick, taking only 25 minutes.

We ate lunch at the saddle and decided to hike Little House Mountain too. The trail is well maintained and manicured, with easy to follow blue blazes. The trail is easier for the first half, but the walk along the ridge does seem long while navigating through the mountain laurel. And then the trail descends down through some interesting rock formations, some requiring some tight squeezes and stable footing. It was a little more technical than I expected, and definitely took longer than I expected as well. I think the elevation gain is correct as you descend quite a ways to get to the overlook. The views aren’t quite as impressive as Big House, but it is definitely a beautiful 180 panorama. It took us about an hour and 20 minutes to get to the overlook from the saddle, and about 50 minutes to get back. And then the hike back down from the saddle to the parking area was about an hour for us, going slower from being tired.

Overall, this hike was definitely a 5 on the difficulty. The views were great though. I would definitely recommend working your way up to this hike with some shorter, lower climbing hikes before trying this one. I went with my hiking boots, but I think my hiking shoes would have been fine, too. I definitely recommend some hiking sticks/trekking poles to assist in balance and getting uphill and for going downhill, as there are some steep sections. The total hike took us about 6 hours, plus an extra 30 minutes for lunch and sightseeing. Thanks to Brian & Brenda for taking care of the trail!

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 4, 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 1, 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 8, 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 8, 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 8, 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.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I hiked this with a friend yesterday and started around 2:10pm (when we got to the gate) and finished around 5:45pm. -Side Note**I'm a collegiate athlete**

But this was one hard hike I must admit, going at the speed we did, I could help but keep strutting. This hike had more straight uphill than any other trail I've endured. It was a GREAT workout, and the reward was mightingly! Which I was very satisfied with, it was a beautiful fall day, maybe the last one of the season, but it was tough due to lots of leaves ontop of rocks, which is where I had to spend more energy onto myself. (I now have boots, haha!)

Just be aware when climbing, near summiting, you will have to stay left, and you will hopefully spot the blue blaze on that one rock which will set the ret of the trail. Me and my friend went right and became confused, as we were near tabletop rock, but it was a gorgeous day for hiking!

By: Bob Nelson Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 5, 2014
The superlatives in the reviews are well-deserved. Hiked up to the saddle and then up to Little House summit and down the ridge line to the overlook. The pink rhododenren were spectacular, fully in bloom and also some blossoms along the level trail. Magical. Returned to the saddle, found the spring about 3-4 minutes hike from the shelter which was just a trickle thru the pipe. Definitely a spring, possibly early summer, seasonal water source, as it took 35 minutes to get three liters. Then hiked to the summit of Big House to camp for the night. Yes, only one fire ring and obvious campsite, although there was a grassy area which may allow another tent or two. The views and sunset to the west were amazing from multiple vantage points, and I enjoyed them all. Easy hike down and back the next day. This is a great hike.

By: Brian and Brenda Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 31, 2014
It was a beautiful day on the saddle! Brian and I cleared and marked the path from the shelter to the spring. We had lots of help from our very energetic, bouncy dog. At one time, a pipe was laid from the spring to somewhere, but that is no longer intact. The spring house in in poor needs cleaning and a bit of work so the cover fits properly. Even so, it is possible to refill a water bottle for a thirsty hiker (or his/her faithful dog companion). All in all, it was a rewarding day spent in the woods improving an area we love!

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 24, 2014
This was an incredible hike! There is little to look at from the parking area to the saddle. It is an old road, a bit rocky, but wide and well defined. The road is a constant incline, but not bad. Once at the saddle you get a feel for the views about. There is a small meadow with a camps site, a lean to, and a latrine. From this point I climbed Big House. It is at a constant steep incline. It is not far (a half mile or so), but there are no switchbacks. The train here is wide enough for an ATV. Once at the top, the views are amazing. A small scramble over some rocks and you find the cliff, from which you can see for miles. I read that Little House was the more difficult climb. The stewards have redesigned the Little House Trail. Is it narrow with several swithbacks but far more pleasant than Big House. Once atop Little House, you'll need to walk almost the entire length of the mountain before you find the views. The are some boulder fields which are fun in and of themselves. The mile or so to the cliffs on Little House are worth the extra mile of walking. Bring sturdy boots, a camera, and determination. I meet only a couple of people on the trail, mostly on the road to the saddle. A great day of hiking.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 24, 2014
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. The trail is well defined and was trimmed up after I painted the new blazes. This trail is not mountain bike/horse friendly. The single track trail meanders with many turns under the canopy just up from the saddle then starts a diagonal trek up the saddle side of the mountain. One of the blessings of this new trail are a number of switchbacks that make the climb bearable. As some before have said, good shoes are important and walking sticks are always nice to have. Once you make it to the top of the ridge, just keep following the blue blazes with plenty of turns and some ups and downs till you reach the rock outcropping overlook to enjoy your visual reward. I've found that it is worth the weight of a set of binoculars to lug up with you to enjoy this view. Most people I meet on the trail have been on this site to review the trails and make their decisions on which trail to take (like you). Please take time to include your comments once you have made your hike. Hope to see you on the trail.

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 5, 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 2, 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 6, 2013
Awesome hike!  Video review here:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 2, 2013
The big fire pit was emptied and rebuilt in front of the shelter. There are several cords of stacked wood knocked down by last Junes wind storm to provide campers for the next year. There is also plenty of dead wood, both cut and uncut to warm your bones on these cold winter nights. I repaired the hole in the roof to the shelter and much of the storm debris has been pushed out of the immediate camping area. I'll be seeding it with some grass seed soon. If there is anyone who would like to help clear the Little House mountain side trail on a week-end day, please email me at I have accommodations at the base of the trail if you want to make week-end trip out of it.

By: Daniel Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 9, 2013
This was an awesome hike! We hiked Big Mountain first and the views from the overlook were awesome. The hike up wasn't too bad and pretty enjoyable for a steady incline the whole way. There were still patches of snow here and there as well. We camped on Little House and the hike up was a monster! The hike up was slow moving, especially with our packs, but the challenge made it very rewarding when we reached the top. Awesome hike and I would definitely do it again. Note to first time hikers- Take your time up little house. There are a lot of spots that are tricky and using the trees on the side of the trail definitely help you get up easier.

By: James N. Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 30, 2012
What a hike up. Slow moving and constant but not too tiring. Snow was still very much present and was the icing on this hike not to mention a great moral booster. On this particular trip I only got to do Big House Mountain not Little House.The ice and snow presented huge challenges on Big House let alone that huge steep monster. I was hiking alone and wasnt gonna become a cliche statistic. The directions are on point and great. Taking care on the ridge wary of the traps and pitfalls the snow could be hiding I saw the best snow views I've experienced. From the Peaks of Otter, the Priest, to Douthat State park neck of the woods you could see it all. I definitely will do a camping trip to combine the two. Wonderful. Try to catch them next time we get a 3-4 inch dusting.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2012
I cleared the entrance to the shelter last Saturday. After 3 hours of cutting and stacking, the path is now accessible from the main trail and there is a large amount of firewood that will be seasoned enough to burn next spring. I drug over a large log near the shelter to be used for sitting around the fire pit. I plan on rebuilding the fire pit this coming weekend to make it useable again. Presently the ash build up is level with the surrounding rocks so there is not much shelter from the wind.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 9, 2012
After several days of work by volunteers, the trail has been cleared up to the saddle. There is still work to be done on the new Little House trail, but that will take more time as the area is too steep for machinery. With all the rain we have had up here this summer, the leaves should be really colorful this fall.

By: James Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 5, 2012
The House Mountain Trail is closed due to all the storm damage this summer in Virigina, it may require bushwhacking but the management group made it apparent it was dangerous. I dont and didnt risk it on mountains Ive never hiked before but if you do, hike safely. I will be back to finish though, preferably in fall.

By: Matt Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 2, 2012
I've hiked both these two peaks twice.  While I haven't hiked Old Rag or any of the peaks in Shenandoah, I have hiked plenty in southwestern Virginia.  If there is one hike for those 'whoaaaaa' moments when you see the overlook you've come for it's this one.  The perspectives you get from both Big and Little House are incredible and even more impressive than the much more popular overlook at McAfee Knob.  Planning to head up the weekend of Oct 20 to catch the fall colors.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 28, 2012
  After hiking up to Little House on Monday we realized just how bad the erosion is getting to be on several sections on this trail. We are planning to install some water bars accross the trail and would welcome any help you and your group may be willing to provide. I have a tractor with a backhoe with other saws, shovels etc. so most of the heavy lifting and digging will not be an issue.  Please contact me via my email or leave a post.

By: The Blue Ridge Berserkers Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Our group of two couples did this as an overnight backpack. The weather called for passing showers, but it turned out to be a fairly steady drizzle all the way up to the saddle. No wories, the little orange newts were everywhere. (Fire newts?) We met Brian from the Virginia Outdoor Foundation on the way up. He gave us a quick overview of the area.

We set up camp at the shelter on the saddle, and the weather cleared. Brian popped up and let us know the weather would hold for the afternoon and suggested the side trail/scramble to the incredible vista on the south end of Big House's summit ridge. From the trail up Big House, look for the blue blazes where the trail takes the right-hand switchback. You will be continuing straight at the switchback. The scramble isn't more than 70-100yds of class II.

For pics I took from the vista go to :

try not to snicker too much at my two self shots... :)

We collected a good amount of deadfall, so we only had to use a few logs from the firewood Brian cut. Someone left a broom head in the firepit, so we pulled it out, cleaned it up and it now is on the shelf in the shelter, along with a fresh can of ravioli. Enjoy!

Thanks again to Brian for the hospitality and advice! We will definitely be back a couple times this season.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 14, 2012
My wife and I installed a sign made for the Virginia Outdoor Foundation in the saddle on April 14. A pair of endangered peregrine falcons has made their home along the cliffs of Big House Mountain. When hiking the trail up Big House from the saddle, please remain on the trail so as not to disturb these nesting falcons. While we were up there with the tractor, we took the liberty of cleaning up the saddle fire ring of years of ash build up laced with broken glass and tin can debris. The rocks were replaced and there is cut wood nearby to enjoy once the ban on burning is lifted. Please be careful with fires in the saddle. The hike up Little House Mountain is in the process of changing. Right now there are red and white ribbons marking a suggested new route up this strenuous hike from the saddle. The new route will take advantage of actual switchbacks and great vistas that have been missing from the original steep, straight line trail.

By: 4 girls and a Dad Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 23, 2011
The hike up to the saddle of House Mountain is fairly average/normal for a Virginia hike, but the rest of the hike is fantastic!  We (Mom and Dad, and three girls 12, 10, 6)  backpacked up to the saddle on Saturday afternoon on a nice cool autumn day.  This was the first backpacking trip for the girls, so being around 2 miles with lots of stops, it took a while.  We decided not to push our luck and set up camp at the outstanding shelter just up the Big House trail from the saddle.  I cannot relate enough how nice it was to have a latrine for three little girls.  The kids have camped and hiked before in back country conditions, but this was a nice perk.  We decided to hike up Little House on Sunday morning, so we could linger to climb rocks and enjoy the vista - and we were not disappointed.  The trail is indeed steep, tough to follow at times, and rugged - but it shouldn't chase off anyone with outdoor experience.  I wouldn't recommend going up there with a full pack as the trip down, especially with fresh leaves is just asking for a bad fall.  We all slipped at some point on the way down, with only some nicks and bruises to count for it.  The payoff at the vista is unreal - these are some of the best views I've seen up and down the east coast and certainly in the top 5 for Virginia.  We hope to return at different seasons to see the rhododendron in bloom in June, snow in the winter, and pick apples - we just missed them by about 2 or 3 weeks.

By: Tom S. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 8, 2011
This hike is definitely a challenge if you have packs wife and I did this and camped at the saddle at a beautiful and flat spot in between the two peaks....make sure you scramble up the side trail at the first switchback close to the Big House summit to get the better views....there are no signs or markers showing this.....great weather and views....Little House is a bear due to straight vertical gain....I'd take off the packs and just go H20 and trekking poles...

overall, nice, the only drawback was the first couple of miles being somewhat dull with basically trekking up a rutted road with little or no payoff.... I'd do it again.... tom

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 30, 2011
We trekked up little house mountain at about 9:30 am. After reaching the view shed that looks over interstate 64 we hung out for a brief snack, we headed to the saddle and regrouped for the final view of the day on big house. We started up the trail with muscles reminding us of our recent trip up little house, but the journey progressed with thoughts of 270 degree views of the valley. After hitting the view on big house, we headed up to the table rock and checked out the small cave before heading down to the sound of thunder from heat lightning, first from further away and then as the front moved in dropping some well deserved light showers before reaching the bottom. all in all a really good hike for the day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 30, 2011
Set out from the base of the trail around 10:30 with a mission to complete both Little House Mountain and Big House Mountain in one day. Next time I will pick one. The trek up Little House Mountain is definitely much more strenuous than Big House but by no means is it impossible. The straight up climb to the ridge is my favorite part. The hike along the ridge to the look out point feels much longer than it is. It's a nice relief though, once you get there. And when you do get there, it was worth every step. I highly recommend sitting on the edge with your feet dangling! It's a crazy feeling. Very humbling. We retraced our steps back, took a break in the saddle, and headed up Big House Mountain. The hike up is much easier than Little House but was really hard after having completed Little House just minutes before. We were struggling on the way up but pushed on. All 8 of us made it to the top, had lunch, enjoyed the boulders in what I call "Boulder City" and then walked all the way back down the trail with the thunder clapping over head and just a nice light trickle of rain coming through the trees. It was about 2:30 when we set back for camp and we arrived around 3:30 feeling very tired but very proud of ourselves for what we had achieved. I highly recommend these trails to anyone considering them. I do not recommend doing both in one day with out long breaks in between. Enjoy the hike!

By: Mike Dragon Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 30, 2011
I've hiked some other trails in the Appalachians before. This one is one to see for sure. We started out very eager and ready to hike in the morning. It was about 8 of us all together. The hike up to the saddle isn't bad at all. We rested a short while once we reached the saddle. We decided to hike up Little House first. It's a shorter hike but much more difficult. Be ready for your legs to be hurting after the hike. From the saddle you start off hiking into the woods. Once in the woods in the distance all you see getting closer and closer is a wall of mountain. Once you get to the wall up you go. Using trees and strategically stepping on rocks to not loose our footing. It is a good ways up but when you get to the top. It's worth it. There are a few little look out areas with amazing views. Some great rock formations to climb in, on , and around. We spent some time at the end of the trail which opens up to some big rocks that you can perch over and feel like you're flying. Please don't attempt to fly! Some of the guys ate lunch there. I was way too hot to eat. After a while we headed back down. Taking a group picture under a small rock bridge- you can't miss it... The hike down is much easier and faster. We then rested again. One guy was so tired he wanted to go back. After a little persuasion we assured him it would be worth it. So we hiked up and up and up. The trail up to Big House is slightly easier. However it's a constant incline all the way to the top. Just keep telling yourself that it is very much worth the leg pain. Once at the top of the mountain it became apparent why we had all hiked ourselves to death that day. It's just a breath taking view, simply put. Several different places to sit and just soak it all in and to think about how tiny we all really are. Unfortunately- yet fortunately- a thunderstorm rolled through so we decided it would be best to retreat back to our mountain campsite. Don't be fooled, the hike down is still tough on the knees. I will tell you though. I had a great night sleep after.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 19, 2011
Be sure to visit the lookout described in the post below. One of the best viewpoints not only in Rockbridge County, but the state. The trail is easy to follow and orange tape tied to a few trees lets you know where to climb uphill.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 7, 2010
We hiked up Sunday morning (No hunting day) and headed for the Big House Mountain look-out point. Most people who hike the Big House side are unaware of its existence and others who say they have heard of it tell us they've never found it. I will be contacting the president of the RACC to volunteer my services to mark this little known trail that branches off the main trail near the top. While I'm waiting for his response, let me clue you in on this visual treasure. After leaving the saddle area and headed up the Big House trail, it is a steady grueling climb to the first real switchback to the right. At this point, head straight (not taking the switchback) and follow parallel to the rock face on your right hand side. The trail is mostly rocks with spaces between them large enough to swallow a boot and twist an ankle so stick to the rocks for about 60 - 75 feet then turn uphill for about a thirty foot climb/scramble up the rock face. At the top of this short climb, take a moment to catch your breath and get a visual bearing on the spot where you came up so you can safely climb down the same way when you leave. OK, you're 99% of the way so at the top of this climb, take a left and follow the path down to one of the most impressive vistas in Rockbridge County. PLEASE, take only pictures and leave only foot prints.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 1, 2010
We see hikers on this trail just  about every week-end as we have land down near the white gate. After hearing about trees blown down accross the trail up to the  saddle and on to Big House, I contacted the President of the RACC and informed him I would take my tractor up the hill and clear  any trees blocking the trail. It only took  a few hours and I was glad to help with the trail maintenance. While I was up on the saddle at the campsite, I cut up numerous nearby dead limbs for use in the fire ring. The trail is clear again and I was very happy to see no litter along the trail 90% of the way up Big House.

By: Katherine J Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 12, 2009

We were a bit hesitant about where the "parking area" is- multiple private property signs posted all over and a bit of construction on private residences at the moment.

From Lexington take Jacktown Road to Saddle Ridge Road (local name for 643). Make the right and drive back until you see the "State Maintenance Ends" sign. That's where you park, room for perhaps 4 cars.

We only did the easier Big House portion to scope out the potential campsites. It's nice up there, but no water. You will need to carry your own if you camp. The campsite/pasture area has been pretty well respected. I only observed one broken bottle near a fire ring, otherwise reasonably free of debris. The shelter and privy were also in good condition, and the trail was clear with the exception of a few downed trees and the usual rocks. Very little poison oak/sumac/poison ivy. Raspberries, blackberries and still green blueberries were there for the taking.

I'm a slow hiker because I take breaks and like to look around...out and back took us the better part of 5 hours. I enjoyed it, it was a nice moderate hike and we only saw one other couple the whole afternoon. Decent views from the summit but I echo the sentiments of previous reviewers...that concrete thing at the top is ugly!

If you do camp, and if you are superstitious, you can find information about the murders that took place in the saddle...that's correct, I said murders. It's a nice site but that may detract from the experience for you. Or enhance it! That depends on you -)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Hiked up House Mountain today.  It was a bit hot but with the leaves still down, the views were great.  When I was in law school, I used to live off of Tuckaway Ridge and bike from Beatty Hollow to Jacktown Road to Saddle Ridge and then ride up House Mountain trail on my mountain bike.  I could get all the way to the final switchback that goes dead right before having to walk the rest of the way up.  Coming down was a different challenge as it was so bumpy that it became a forearm workout with all the squeezing of the brakes.  Although I did do the ride once with a downhill skier who threw caution to the wind and flew down the mountain.  It would be nice to try that descent with a full suspension bike of the modern era.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 14, 2008
I'm the same reviewer who hiked Little House Mountain on a cold and rainy day back in July.  This time we went up with a small group to do Big House Mountain. The beginning portion of the hike, from the parking spots to the saddle, was obviously identical so I'll just comment on the Big House Mountain portion. 

From the saddle the trail ascends fairly steeply and becomes rockier most of the way to the top.  It's quite strenuous for about 3/4 of a mile until you reach the peak.  Unfortunately there are no views from the highest point (aside from a cinder block shack) and you have to press onward and downhill to find some rocky outcroppings. 

The first spot has a decent view of Little House Mountain and the surrounding countryside but if you press on and climb down a bit further you'll come to the more exposed and much larger outcropping.  The view from there is dominated by the other mountain but you can see much of the area off to the north and south.  You are even able to see the saddle clearing far below. 

Both House Mountain hikes are very nice and the proximity to the Lexington makes them ideal if you just need to get out of town and up a mountain every now and then. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 31, 2008
We tested ourselves on the Little House Mountain hike on a dreary day in July.  The weather looked as if it was going to hold off, and it did until we passed the saddle, but then the clouds opened up and soaked us for the latter half of our hike. 

The hike itself was fine, if a little boring, on the way up to the saddle.  Past the saddle the trail gets hard to follow and the rain make the rocks slippery and difficult to navigate.  At this point you're climbing as much as you are hiking.  I'd highly recommend a trekking pole or just a good stick for this part of the hike, it gives a bit of peace of mind. 

The sections near the ridge are very hard to push through as the trail is overgrown and unmarked.  We made it to the top, but due to the pouring rain, our soaking wet clothes, and dense fog, we didn't even bother to find the overlook and just headed back down. 

On a better day it could have been a beautiful, but it easily qualifies as the hardest hike I've ever been on. 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, July 4, 2008
My wife and I hiked the Big House trail during the holiday week-end. We never saw anyone up there the whole time so we had the mountain to ourselves. The saddle area is pretty overgrown with field grasses now and we removed numerous ticks in the saddle area. The outhouse is barely used and there was next to no smell at all. There is a large covered shelter similar to the A.T. with an intact fire ring. Be careful not to build a large fire as the wind blowing through the saddle in the early evening could easily start the grasses on fire when it is dry. There is plenty of dead wood on the trail just before reaching the saddle on either side. We did not see the spring, but we did not spend too much time looking for it either. The sights going up to Big house was spotty due to the foliage but an occasional view of the valley towards the top were great. The old block house built by the gas company is a real eye sore with all the fencing beside the beat up building. We would really like to see them take responsibility for this mess and remove it as it serves no purpose. For the most part, it was a great hike. Once it cools down a bit we plan on checking out the Little House’s challenging trail. Please remember to bring back all your trash and on your way up from the parking down below, take a load off and enjoy the view of Lexington from the concrete bench on our property. Have a great hike!

By: B. Gordon Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 1, 2008
I hooked up with Tony from HIKINGUPWARD.COM for this hike. This is a tough hike and not for the faint-hearted, although somehow I survived. If you do both hikes you will be tired at the end of the day. I highly recommend hiking poles of some sort for either of these hikes, especially on some places coming down.  We had some snow on parts of the hike and the extra help with the poles came in very handy, especially in the rocky portions of the trail.  Good hiking boots would also be recommended.  If you can endure some of the harder parts of the trails you will be rewarded with great views.  This could be done as an over-night camping trip, setting up camp in the saddle and then doing each of the hikes without all your gear. It is great getting together with Tony on occasion and seeing his enthusiasm in putting together these hiking trips on his website, thanks Tony!!!

By: Jay Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 11, 2000

This is a 5 star hike in my book, especially in the fall.  Going up there again today!

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