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Hiker Comments for the Mount Pleasant Hike - 1 to 68 of 68   
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By: Ash Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 15, 2019
I really enjoyed the view at the summit of Mount Pleasant. That made the hike very enjoyable. Otherwise it’s typical GWNF stuff. I will definitely hike this again in the other seasons to gawk at those views with leaves on the trees.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 24, 2019
Headed up to Mount Pleasant in southwest Virginia on the evening of Oct 24 to check out the foliage this year. I saw plenty of yellow leaves in the process of changing while others have already fallen. There weren’t too many red and orange yet. This lead to a generally muted, but still good foliage. I would guess the peak is still to come, but soon. For the hike itself, the double summit viewpoint on Mount Pleasant was great. Otherwise, the hike was mostly on easy former fire roads in the woods. I personally would recommend to hike this clockwise, the ridge is a nice view to start and you'll go up the steepest portion to Pompey Mountain.

Here is my writeup on the full details of the hike:

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 27, 2019
Great hike, trail well marked. I combined this with Cold Mountain and camped at the meadow before the AT shelter. Make sure you pack all the water you'll need. The previous commenter who mentioned the drive to the parking area is 100% correct. Take a route from the west into the parking area. I accidentally took the eastern route out and it took FOREVER on a dirt road with deep trenches and no clearance.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 29, 2018
Really enjoyed this one. Here are a few notes:

- Even after all the rain this year and the recent rain, the road was fine. I drove a FWD 4-door sedan out there with no issue.
- Missed the view on Pompey Mtn (wasn't paying attention, walked past it). Can't confirm it's still there.
- The trees from Pompey Mtn to the Mt Pleasant summit are spaced far enough away to allow camping basically anywhere off the trail.
- Didn't think the climb on the spur trail to the summit was particularly hard. Excellent views at the top.
- Trail was not difficult to follow at all. There was no point where I was confused. Trail conditions were 5/5. Mostly wide trail and not rocky.
- There were three water sources along the loop. Two of them looked like they would have water most times of the year.
- Total measured distance was 6.1 miles. Did the loop clockwise instead of CCW. Other than that we followed the same path.
- Would recommend doing an overnighter connecting this with the Cole Mountain loop.

By: Doug Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 8, 2018
Great hike with beautiful views from the summit. However, with the exception of the 1/2 to the summit, I was a little underwhelmed by the forest and understory for most of the hike. I've noticed in recent years that the Blue Ridge looks unhealthy and under siege by a variety of environmental factors, and no exception here. I imagine there are exceptional vistas all along the ridge line in the winter months. Also, not sure I agree that the hike is suitable for most fitness levels, particularly the 1/2 mile to the summit. Overall, a good hike with summit views well worth the trip.

By: Goulash Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 1, 2018
If you do not have a car that is well-suited for rocky terrain and driving through lake-sized puddles, I suggest approaching the trailhead from the west if it is not too far out of your way to do so. We came in from the east and that portion of Wiggins Spring Road was very difficult for our little sedan to handle! After the hike we departed in the other direction (toward Route 60) and that drive was much more pleasant.

Once on the trail, this hike is great and very well-marked. The summit views are spectacular. We did the loop in reverse, which we found enjoyable as that meant most of the uphill legwork was taken care of early on. Definitely worth five stars out of five, but if there were six stars available it would still only get five.

By: HikeVa Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 13, 2018
Great hike, done as an overnight figure 8 along with Cold Mountain. Heads up, the water stop on the topo map on our trip was pretty low, plan accordingly.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 23, 2018
After being turned away by the thought of excessive snow in the Luray, VA area, Pennzoil and I decided to salvage our plans and instead do this day hike. This was our first snow hike... What follows are some thoughts to consider for those of you interested in making a hike on snow covered trails.

1) More snow is always present the higher the elevation. This seems obvious, yet it bears repeating that the snow height might be substantially different from the trailhead to the highest point of a hike. We thought there would be minimal amounts, yet we ended up pushing through drifts up to our knees at numerous points throughout the day. Also, the road to the trailhead was covered and I was grateful for the 4 wheel drive option on Pennzoil's CRV. The road from the main road crests and then falls before arriving at the trailhead leaving the potential of some to be left stranded should snow accumulate or those without an all wheel drive option. I suggest parking in the vicinity of where the Cold Mountain trail arrives at the entrance road... should this be the case (perhaps .2 from the trailhead).

2) The trail was not easy to follow as the snow that had fallen since the previous Wednesday had drifted -- someone had done the loop at some point since / during the last snowfall and faint footsteps could still be seen intermittently -- thanks to whoever that was as it really helped keep us on trail -- and return back to the trail when we incorrectly continued on what looked to be an old fire road. Blue blazes were most helpful as well but with no obvious trail in the deeper snow areas... these were at times too far apart for orientation from one blaze to the next.

3) 5.5 miles versus almost 10 on my iPhone? Had we had additional GPS, perhaps I could offer that the site's mileage was dead-on... regardless it took us 7 hours round trip with the occasional chat, snack and lunch at the top. Chalk it up to our age and fitness level versus the twenty-something crowd -- yet Pennzoil and I agree that 3.5 hours would have required a brisk walk -- the entire time. Keep this in mind as you ensure your pack contains a headlamp.

4) The area before making the final push toward the top looks to receive good wind (as well as the last mile -- before returning to the trailhead if going counter-clockwise as the map suggests). The area is the location of the tent sites so be prepared for changing wind conditions as evident from the snow drifts. It looks to be a beautiful spot as I know my Scout Troop routinely uses this hike to acclimate younger Scouts to backpacking.

5) Have shelter and warm weather gear should an unfortunate accident occur. While our feet were soaked (yet warm from exertion), had one of us slipped (and there was a lot of slipping) and been injured -- the cold, wind, sweat and wet snow would have quickly become a concern. A warm lunch that included coffee made a drastic difference in our comfort level as we returned down from the peak. Be prepared by taking a few more essentials -- just in case. 6) The views at the top are breathtaking. There are two views at the top. While the western peak looks to be higher, don't pass up the eastern peak for its 180 degrees across the valleys below. It's well worth the day's effort. Overall, another great hike as outlined by this site. Thanks to those that have created this resource as it has guided my friends and I toward some fantastic memories. Happy hiking all.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 7, 2017
After attempting to do this hike twice before I was finally able to complete it. You may be wondering why a hike that is described as suitable for most fitness levels would be such a problem. The first time I attempted this hike was a couple days after Thanksgiving in 2016. After driving four hours I arrived to find the area closed due to a forest fire. Serves me right for not checking ahead. Now I always check for any problems in a planned hiking area on before I make the trip. About a month later I attempted the hike again. No fire this time but there was obvious fire damage and many trees down from it. Like an earlier reviewer pointed out, in the fall and winter the trail is less obvious. This combined with the fact that several of the trees that had blazes on them were burnt and not visible, contributed to me making a wrong turn and hiking several miles off trail. By the time that I realized my error and backtracked it was too late to continue the hike and I had to abort. I'm happy to report now that new blazes have been added and the trail is much easier to follow. It's a very nice hike that starts off level and gradually starts climbing. The streams are listed as N/A on here but I made several stream crossings including a pretty big one that I missed last time when I went the wrong way. Maybe the streams are not there in the summer but they are certainly there during Fall and Winter. The east and west summits of Mount Pleasant are breath taking. It does get VERY windy at the summit. I lost my cap on the west summit. Also, be aware if you bring your dog that the rock scramble at the west summit will probably prevent them from going all the way up with you. My golden retriever could not make the climb and had to wait back at the little campsite below. Once we were done at the summit we took the trail on to Pompey Mountain summit which doesn't have much of a view but is still a nice hike. The trail does do a sneaky ascent after Pompey when you think it's all down hill but after that it descends back to the trailhead. Overall a very enjoyable hike and one I will do again when things get a little greener. BTW, when I got back to the trailhead, someone had placed a pair of hiking shoes (in fairly good condition) on either side of my jeep. Anyone know what that is all about? Is it a trail tradition that I am unaware of?

By: Ashley Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 11, 2017
FS road is in good shape right now. This is one of my favorites in this part of the state. Both viewpoints are spectacular. Keep an eye on the blue blazes, the trail is less obvious in wintertime without the foliage and I made a 2 mile boo boo. Minor fire damage visible.

By: Jeff S. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 29, 2016
We did this hike combined with the Cold Mountain loop to make an overnighter.  We parked at the Mt. Pleasant trail head, did that loop with only day packs, got back to the cars to get our full packs, and headed over to the Cold Mountain loop to hike to the campsite.  We saved the Cold Mountain meadows for last.  This hike starts out pleasantly flat before making a gradual ascent to the two summits.  Both of them are awesome.....and windy!!  Check them both out.  I loved seeing the Cold Mountain meadows from the west summit!  There are some sweet campsites up there, but it might be too windy for my liking.  The second half of the loop heading down to the cars was pretty boring to me, but those views were worth it.

By: scudder Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 29, 2016
I did this hike on a beautiful bluebird day to enjoy the fall foliage and it met all my high expectations. Unfortunately , that is not the reason I am posting this review. Mt Pleasant has been on fire for a week now and the scenic area is closed currently. Inciweb maps indicate that 11000 acres have burned including the Mt Pleasant summit and Cold Mt. So do a little research before heading out to this area for a hike in the future.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 8, 2016
GREAT hike and is a Virginia hiking highlight!!! Regarding mileage error. I carried my GPS and found the mileage was correct, matching the sign at the trail head. The loop is 5.2. If you take the .5 spur trail to East and West peak you will cover an additional 1 mile with a grand total of 6.2. I would rate this hike as easy to moderate. When you're at the West peak you can look over and see the hikers on Cole Mountain. Definitely pack a camera and binoculars. You can see FOREVER!!!!

The parking lot and the adjacent road can be crowded. The road leading to the trail head is rough but a 2WD drive car can make the trip up the mountainside. Would not suggest a car that doesn't have normal/reasonable ground clearance.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 8, 2016
I did this hike as part of a 2 day hike with Cole Mtn (Cold Mtn on this website). I started on Cole mtn and finished on Mt Pleasant summit where I set up camp. There are actually 3 camp sites on the summit, one on each end and the one in the middle that is on the map. Parts of the trail are very muddy. The trail going to the summit is a mudbog from the snow melt so be prepared for that going into the rainy season.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 20, 2016
This hike was spectacular though longer than the website suggests. The Henry Lanum Trail marker at the beginning of the hike states that Pompey mountain is 1.6 miles to the left and that Mt. Pleasant is 2.6 miles to the right with the entire loop being 5.2 miles. We began the trail by heading to the right. After some time(i'm a terrible judge of time while hiking) we reached a trail maker stating that the summit is .5 miles ahead. (And let me tell you it's the hardest half mile of the hike.) Also at this trail maker there is a split in the trail. You can follow it up to the summit or continue on left. Another trail maker suggests that you've walked 2.8 miles and continuing along the trail will take you another 3.5 miles. So added up the total loop would actually be 6.3 miles with another mile added to get to the Eastern and Western summits making this hike closer to 7.3 miles in total. There was some snow on the ground when we hiked even though the temperature peaked at 65° making this hike a little harder than it would be in spring or summertime while also making it much more comfortable then it would be in higher temperatures. Although it's longer than the website suggests I assure you that the summits are worth every step.

By: Jam H Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, January 1, 2016
This was a great day hike. It took us about 3 hours and change to complete the loop, stopping at the west summit for a few photos. The hike had some great views at the top and several small stream crossings at the beginning of the circuit. I kept thinking of how nice this hike would be in the spring and summer when everything is in bloom. We will definitely be doing this hike again once the weather warms up. The trail was very well marked and was not very difficult or technical in any area. It looked like there were some great places to camp as well. I plan on hiking the sister trail, Cold Mountain, and planning a backpacking trip for this spring and summer. Overall great hike to start off the new year. The hike was not super crowded but we did run into a few groups of people near the summit. I would highly recommend this hike because of the views, variation of terrane, and it was a nice distance (not too long, not too short).

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 1, 2015
Great hike. Went with four other people and the weather turned out to be great. Did the whole loop and went to both summits on Mt Pleasant. I would like to point out that there seems to be some discrepancies with the mileage. the sign at the trailhead says the loop is 5.2mi, but when you get to the middle where it splits off to the summit, there's another sign that says 2.8mi back one way and 3.5mi the other, equaling 6.3mi. Then it's about .5mi up to the summit and then another .5mi back (plus the distance between East and West summit). So thats about 7.5 miles total. My group made the mistake of parking at the upper lot which was about .4 miles from the trailhead, adding .8mi overall to our excursion. Grand total equaling 8.1mi for us, by far the biggest hike i've done, but well worth it. We took the north half first, which was pretty intense hill wise, but that knocked out Pompey on the way to Pleasant. Taking the southern route on the way back was a great plan. You're rewarded with great rock formations, many creeks (i ended up with wet feet), and the trial is nice and gradual for the most part. I didnt go, but there's a water source at the mid-point where you can refill. Overall a great way to spend a day.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 12, 2015
This is a great hike. If you want a more strenuous start, take the loop to the left for the upward climb. The incline is greater there than if you take the right loop to ascend. Great views from the top. You must visit both overlooks, east and west, and if its windy hold onto your hat. One small warning is needed. At the west over look, a 5 foot timber rattler was encountered crossing the path just below the rocks you climb to get to the great views. So be aware of your surroundings! Also if you make the entire loop, the return trip to the right, 3.4 loop, at times is confusing as blue blazes were not readily available, again just be aware of what's around you.

By: Shawn R. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 16, 2015
This is a phenomenal hike, primarily because of the incredible views.  The views at the two outlooks are by far the best I have seen, and it is not a very popular hike.  I would give the solitude a 3, as there were people camped at the top and we did run into a few hikers along the way, but an overwhelming majority of the hike was quiet (especially for a Saturday with nice weather).  Also, there are a couple of small creeks at the beginning of the hike (even though streams was listed as N/A).  It was neither a very difficult hike nor an easy hike and it took a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes with extensive breaks for the breathtaking, panoramic views.   It was a fairly easy trail to follow due to the blue blazes the entire way and very few other trails in the area.  I highly recommend this hike to others!

By: Kate W Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 6, 2014
Keep walking when you think you missed the top. After the last trail intersection with the mount pleasant summit trail, just keep following the blue blazes continuing to ascend in a still very steep section. It seemed a little further than .5 miles as the directions said. WE were confused about following the trail back to the left and something about the old trail continuing straight. Just keep going up and following blue blaze. We talked to people in Lexington later and they say a lot of people turn around and give up. When you finally get to the top, we turned left to the Easterly summit first. All of a sudden you climb out of a bunch of mountain laurel and you open up into another world. My first words were "this is Heaven on earth". This was the most beautiful view I have seen in Virginia. I can't speak more highly of this hike. On the way down, we were surrounded by flowers on the trails and then it changes to ferns. It was beautiful!! The drive up was fine, just go slow, but we were in a Toyota highlander so had AWD.

By: Jansen Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Check out my blog to get a review on this hike and many others in central VA.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 20, 2014
Did this Mount Pleasant hike during the afternoon of 6/20/14, heading in direction as described on this site. Very easy first mile plus, slightly downhill, but a boring grassy trail with not much to see. Climb from that point becomes somewhat difficult, nearly 2 miles of moderate uphill, but the scenery gets much better. Last climb to the lookout points at the top is the toughest part, as it seemed much farther than the 0.5 miles as marked on the sign. Lots of steep switch-backs. Ran into a giant Box Turtle on the trail near the top! View from the lookout points at the top was probably nice, but unfortunately a thunderstorm rolled in right as I got to the top and it started raining.

I was surprised by how much of the second half of this hike seemed to be uphill. I expected to be traversing mostly down from the top but there was at least 2 or 3 difficult climbs heading back to the parking area. The rain and my water-logged feet were also probably factors. The parking area is free and has a decent amount of spaces for cars. There was only one other car there on that Friday, and I did not see anyone on the trails. Biggest drawback to this hike is how long and remote a drive it is to get there, especially the last 5 plus miles on the rocky dirt road. Even in my large 4-wheel drive truck it felt sketchy. I cannot imagine how impassable the road would be in bad winter weather.

Overall the Mount Pleasant hike was sort of how the name describes, nice and pleasant, but nothing spectacular. I would HIGHLY recommend the "sister" Cold Mountain hike over this one. It is slightly more difficult, but much more rewarding given how much a pain it is to drive to this general area.

By: Peggie Stinnette Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Loved backpacking up Mt. Pleasant and staying at the site near the top(near water, a bonus!). The west summit at sunset is spectacular! And, just a note to anyone who is interested in Mt. Pleasant & sister hike, Cold Mountain, the forest service is apparently scheduling a control burn anytime from now until May-ish. Call before heading out!

By: davew Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Yesterday was my second time hiking Mt. Pleasant. Both times I hiked the circuit clockwise, which I believe is opposite of the hiking upward directions, and is the more difficult route. Completed the hike in a little over 2.5 hours plus time at the summit for pictures, exploring, and lunch. The first half of the hike is pretty consistently up hill it is a narrow trail with few, brief areas of flat ground and no downhill. The hike carries along several ridges before your final .5 mile ascent up Mt. Pleasant. The views from atop the mountain are among the best I've seen in VA hiking. Once you summit the eastern outlook, you can descend a little and enjoy climbing some sizable rock outcroppings. It is a moderately challenging hike for the 3.5 mile ascent (when hiked clockwise). The 2.8 mile hike out is on a generally pretty broad, well-kept trail and is almost exclusively down hill - and the easiest hiking you can find. Both times I completed the Mt. Pleasant hike in tandem with the Cold/Cole Mountain Hike. It is a great weekend circuit, when you want to enjoy great views, some challenging moments, but for the most part have a nice relaxing time.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 28, 2013
A very nice hike with a wonderful reward.  After all the time in the woods, it is quite spectacular to come into the clear at the west summit into a amphitheater-like view.  Nice to see the Cold Mountain meadow across the valley.   Ate lunch at the east summit.  The streams were not running.  I never did see the "unmarked trail to the right" for the view from Pompey - maybe it was covered by fresh leaves.

By: Pat and Will Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 1, 2013
We are mid-forties in decent shape and this hike was not a big challenge.  The scenery was wonderful and we saw only one other party during the entire hike.  It took us about 2 hours each way, with plenty of stops for photos and snacks.  The view from the top is spectacular:  be sure to do both the eastern and the western viewpoints, not too far apart.  Had to run the final mile back to the parking area because it was thunder- and lightning-ing.  Gosh, I guess we'll have to go back!  Loved it, loved it, loved it.  (If you are a mycologist, you are in luck.  I saw fungi of all kinds, colors and varieties.)  Also saw a timber rattler but I saw him first and took evasive maneuvers. :)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 29, 2013
One of my favorite places in VA.  Thanks for watching video review here:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 21, 2013

This is a wonderful hike, great for beginners and experienced hikers alike.  I did the loop as described here, then used the AT to go up to the meadows on nearby Cole/Cold Mountain.   Check out my photo slideshow of this hike here:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 21, 2013

This is a wonderful hike!  Great for beginners or experienced hikers.  I did the loop as described here on Hiking Upward, then used to the AT to go up to the meadows on nearby Cold Mountain!  See my photo slideshow here:

By: Suzanne M. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 2, 2013
The forecast for Amherst, VA yesterday was highs in low 40s..... However, at the trail head for Mt. Pleasant our car suggested it was 24 degrees out.  We started with the entrance on the left and had a good climb right from the start getting us warmed up.   There were many icy patches to navigate on  the path up to the summit.   It was beautiful, but very cold.  

By: Brian Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Getting to the trail: Like my review of Cole Mtn last year, I would recommend a vehicle with higher ground clearance, or AWD vehicle since the unpaved road to the trail is narrow and there are some bumpy spots. Be sure to drive past the Cole Mtn parking area and go to the Mount Pleasant trailhead area. Route: I forgot my HU trail map so I just hit the left trailhead and thought we would go clockwise. This is different than the HU suggested route, but it makes the first half of the hike slower and more difficult and makes the return trip nice and easy. The trails are marked well. I visited the east summit first and explored around it some. The rock climb up to the west summit isn't that difficult. The wind was definitely stronger at that height. The views are amazing. And since we went in the afternoon, we passed quite a few people on the way back, but there was only one person at the summit 2 hours before sunset. I had hoped that the fall foliage would be better, but the trees on the surrounding mountains and valleys were still in greens and yellows. A lot of leaves had fallen on the trail, in some places the trail was slick and the rocks covered up, so it's definitely something to watch out for. For this year, the weekend of the 20th or 27th might be peak for fall color. If you've done Cole Mtn, this is a very similar hike in time and difficulty. The views are different, so each hike has something to offer.

By: Bob Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 4, 2012
My friend and I hiked the Mt. Pleasant loop, along with the Cold Mountain loop, as part of a two day trip. We stayed at the summit of Mt. Pleasant, exploring all available campsites. We noted multiple (4-5) campsites near the east overlook and stayed there. To find this area, just before the east overlook, you will see a fire pit off to your left. If you follow a path which runs from there back due west (u-turn and parallel to the blue blazed trail in), you will find great, FLAT campsites under the laurel and out of the wind. The location was ideal with superb views east and south and night views of Amherst in the distance. Couldn't have been better! In our view, this is the best place to camp at the summit.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 29, 2012
I proposed at the top. She said Yes!

Great Hike! Beautiful views. Moderately easy trail. Either route from the parking lot will prove a good hike. Then take the other route on the way down for different views.

Dual summit is cool. If you camp at/near the top, you get the effect of a summit for the sunrise and another great view for sunset.

I've done the hike 8 times now, and will continue to visit it a few times a year.

By: Rob B Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 7, 2012
Took my 12 year old son on this hike. It was my fourth time there but his first. This has always been one of my favorite hikes and I couldn't wait to share it with him. Great day for hiking except that the wind was so strong at the top that our knit caps were nearly blown off our heads.

By: Ryan Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 6, 2011
I really love this Hike! I hike it at least twice a year! I also love to link up with the Cold Mountain trail if your really up for some beautiful views.

By: Alex Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 4, 2011
I arrived at the trailhead at 5:00 on Thursday and had intended to take the Cold/Cole Mountain Loop but went the wrong way by accident.  I had envisioned hiking the 1.4 miles to the big, open campsite with large oak trees and set up camp.  I started the hike and thought, "hmmm, this seems different than when I first did it 4 years ago" and as I kept going it looked more and more unusual.  However, I had taken my dog and he seemed to love it, so we treked on.  We continued all the way to the where the trail turns off for the summit.  We hiked up o the summit and arrived just after 6, went over to the west summit and saw some amazing views.  I was pleasantly surprised and happy that I had gone the wrong direction (I had known that Mount Pleasant was the sister hike to Cold Mountain, and hence was the reason i wasn't overly worried).  I took some pictures and tried not to get blown over by the intense wind.  I found a small campsite closest to the East/West summit split and set up camp.  There was already a firepit and seemed to be an abunance of sticks/twigs/logs for a fire.  Set up camp and relaxed for the evening.  It wasn't overly windy until about 6-7 am the next morning.  Woke up to beautiful sunrise/cloudless sky and as I heated my breakfast and started to packup the clouds rolled in.  The temperature dropped and the wind was blowing about 15-20 mph and I headed out.  I felt rushed/worried since I didn't know what to expect weatherwise, and I didn't see a single soul until I reached the parking lot.  I would definately say that for a Thursday afternoon/Friday Morning in early November that I would rate this as an extremely secluded hike, almost too secluded.  It was a nice hike, but I have to say that I feel Cold Mountain is a better hike IMHO.  I did see some thru-hikers crossing Rt. 60 on my way in, they were hitch-hiking to Buena Vista and were from Britian.  I would have given them a ride but I wouldnt have made it back by nightfall.  All in all it was a nice hike, would have been really nice a few weeks earlier before all the leaves had fallen on the mountain and the temperatures had really begun to drop.

By: Rob H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 30, 2011
We arrived at the trailhead at about 7:15am.  The temperature was a pleasant 70 degrees with low humidity and a slight breeze -- almost ideal hiking weather.  There are no facilities at the trailhead, so I recommend a pit stop at the local McDonald's in nearby Amherst.

The Henry Lanum Trail is a loop trail.  We chose to take the trail to the left towards Pompey Mountain.  Taking this route involves hiking up three relatively short ascents.  The first uphill is to a false summit, then down and up to Pompey Mountain, and down again and finally up to Mt. Pleasant.  Coming down from Mt Pleasant is mostly all downhill, except near the end of the trail which is a very easy gradual incline back to the trailhead.

My wife found the uphill portions of the trail to be a challenge.  However, she is not at all an avid hiker.  Most hikers I think will find this trail to be an easy outing.  The trail is well marked and on a clear day would have some fantastic views at the top.  We did encounter some wildlife along the way including a Timber Rattlesnake right smack in the middle of the trail! 

My trip photos are posted at my hiking blog:

By: Darby Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 23, 2011
Started out at the trailhead in the late afternoon and planned on camping overnight near the summit. I did the loop the opposite way from which is shown here. Saw two other hikers around 6pm or so. Covered in fog or a cloud all night but awoke to a gorgeous view. Lots of places to camp near the east summit. Thats where I stayed and it was awesome. Definitely would go again. Not much wildlife except for a lot of insects in the bushes around the east summit. I enjoyed the east summit more, the west summit seemed to have a lot more wind.

By: Tim Driver Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 30, 2011
Just hiked the loop. Lots of streams..not expecting that. Great hike though, camped on top of mountain, saw a boy scout troop camping about .7 from the top other than than pretty quiet. Strange to see the city lights from the top of the of the best hikes in VA

By: Chris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 30, 2011
Tim, that Scout Troop was us, out of Richmond! This is a great hike to introduce backpacking skills to new hikers. It offers some great views, difficulty that is just enough to know you got a pretty good work out, especially with packs. I've personally done this a few times as an overnighter, staying at the lower camp which is large enough for multi groups. We made two trips up to the summits from "base camp", one during the day and one at night. It was a clear, crisp and a new moon so the night sky was amazing. (kids from the city don't usally get to see a sky like that!) Last time when I was up there in the fall we saw lots of wildlife, however this time we saw very little wildlife. The trees were just starting to leave and the wildflowers just starting to bloom. Great hike but I would rate this closer to a 4 than a 3 in difficulty, especilly if you do it in reverse of what is described. Also, the dirt road to the parking lot hasn't been graded in quite some time and may be a bit questionable if driving a smaller low riding car. Trail markers have just been redone so the trail is very easy to follow. Thanks to the volenteers!

Susan, I've never seen the streams "raging". You must have caught it when we had lots of spring rain and lots of ground water from the winter melt.

By: Suzanne M. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 12, 2011
Just got back from a day up at Mount Pleasant.  We did the circuit opposite of the description above.  To my surprise on the way down, (after  taking the side trail back down from the summit) we encountered 4-5 rushing stream crossings!  I had been up there a month ago - zero streams.  It was amazing to see the difference and made the trip a little more exciting.  If you head up there in the next few weeks, please post if a comment to tell if there are still streams.  Maybe it was just due to the heavy rains this past week.  It was a great day! 

By: Bajan Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 5, 2011
I hiked this with two friends and it was a great hike. The weather was great for hiking but not for views. Visibility was about 50-100 feet! No rain just covered in cloud. So we made it to the peak and just saw a wall of white! The hike is a good loop. Trails in good condition and well marked. We followed the loop as shown above. Will try to go back in better weather. Lots of great hikes nearby, well worth it.

By: BrianB Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I did this hike a few years ago in combination with several others in the same area, and I just had to come back. As the other reviews indicate, the western view from Mt. Pleasant is the best of any vista I have visited in the eastern US (on a clear day), made even better by the solitude. It was cold but oh so clear yesterday. I could see others' tracks in the snow patches, but I think they were a few days old. The trail criss-crosses  a nice flowing creek and there were plenty of patches of remnant snow and iced spring water to enjoy. In late August, three of us had slept under the stars on one of the Western rock outcrops. Probably wouldn't in January, but I'm sure it would be beautiful nonetheless.

By: MaryB Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 30, 2010
This was amazing!  We didn't do the whole loop (were worried about daylight), so we did the counterclockwise route to the peaks, and then just back to the car, which shaved off about a mile.  OH.MY.GOSH. I don't have the words for how amazing the view from the Western peak is!  We called the moment of walking up that final path (just past the big flat rock where we then ate lunch) "a religious experience."  It was ... well, words fail me.  We didn't find the hike -- at least the half that we did -- all that hard.  The path is rocky but one of us was in sneakers and had no problem.  IT was well, and recently, marked with blue paint.  Do this hike!  The best view I've yet seen in the whole Commonwealth!

By: Ghostrider Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 8, 2010
I did this after first hiking the Cold Mountain loop. This is a VERY rocky trail, and you need good hiking boots/shoes. I can't imagine doing this in a pair of running/athletic shoes. Coming back down from the peak you walk down a lot of rock-strewn trail. The views from the top of Mt. Pleasant are definitely worth the effort, though. The western view is one of the best I've seen in Virginia.

By: Marissa A Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, September 24, 2010
I did this hike with my boyfriend and we brought along two dogs.   The hike was not difficult to start out with.  Passing a few streams was nice for the dogs.  There was a seasonal spring off of a trail before the final ascent to the overlook.  The final climb was a little difficult.  There were two seperate camping spots with fire pits at the top of the climb covered by trees, but I bet it gets windy up there.  Seemed like a fun place to camp and a great place to watch the sun set and rise.  The view was almost 360, but there were two seperate areas to step out onto a rock and look.  The hike down was simple and once we were down we stopped at our car and grabbed camping gear and got on another trail nearby to camp and finish in the morning.  Great hike.  Was not very secluded when I went, but as usual there was a friendly crowd.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, September 2, 2010
Great day hike in Central Virginia! Had Mounts Pleasant and Pompey to myself for the day. Views were great on both the east and west summit of Mount Pleasant. I hiked the trail in a counter-clockwise fashion as recommended. The trail is not marked very well coming down from Mount Pompey to the trail head but, common sense will keep you on the correct trail with an occasional blue blaze to guide you. The road to the trail head was okay and probably should not be attempted during bad weather unless you have a 4W Drive vehicle. Overall, outstanding day hike and well worth the effort.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 5, 2010
I had the entire mountain to myself on this Thursday morning hike which was unexpected, but much enjoyed.  I thoroughly enjoyed the hike...the summit was amazing and made the hike well worth it!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 1, 2010
I very much enjoyed this hike and am looking forward to doing it again. Very secluded (I didn't encounter a soul), the only thing I could possibly complain about is that it was incredibly foggy on the day I did this hike, which meant my views were limited (I literally couldn't see five feet away from me when I was on the summit). But, while I didn't get the views I expected, I was very appreciative of the other-worldly, ethereal environment I found myself in. A good work out, a relaxing trek, and an experience I can't wait to repeat.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 3, 2010
Highly recommend.  Definitely one of my favorites.  Not a bad climb, nice trails and awesome views.  Views are as good and as panoramic as Old Rag.  Lovely forest, too.  Long, rough road to get to trailhead, though.  Only negative was coming off the summits is very confusing because of all the little side trails to campsites.  Nice campsites for those wishing to camp, though.  I bet the sunset at the west summit is something special.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 14, 2010
If you are a mountain biker with good skills and conditioning, this is a must visit. Even though it is a bit short, there are many very technical sections that will challenge the best. Ride to the summit that is great! There are plenty of ridable uphill grades, some pushing and carying, and some really perfect single track sections and if you take the recommended loop, the downhill is fantastic.

If you need more saddle time after this one, head over to white tail at Arcadia or any of the numerous short MTB loops.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 6, 2010
Absolutely spectacular hike. The road up is a bit rough but our VW Jetta made it with a little coaxing. It is hard to pick a favorite part – the East summit was outstanding, but the forest understory on the way up was truly special. Ferns and soft grasses as far as you can see, with the sunlight filtering through the trees and winds rustling the ferns. We only saw one person on the way up, but two groups at the West summit. (Had the east summit to ourselves for the better part of an hour). What a great way to spend a Sunday.

By: Graham Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 15, 2010
We combined this hike with the Cold Mountain hike as a two-day trip. It was possibly the best camping experience I've ever had. The weather was perfect and the views from Mount Pleasant are stunning. The directions were very accurate, but I would warn anyone travelling from the West (through Buena Vista) that the sign marking Coffeytown Road (rt 634) is overgrown and not visible when travelling eastbound on Rt. 60. Obviously this is only an issue in the spring/summer.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 16, 2010
This is probably the 4th or 5th time I've hiked Mount Pleasant, this time with my brother. We hiked up to the main camp site on Friday afternoon in warm, sunny weather -- it took just over an hour to walk the 2 miles or so. The bugs are starting to come out - we had gnats all over us until evening. After we set up camp, we hiked to the top of the trail and visited each overlook. The eastern overlook was fairly clear and you could easily see to the other side of the valley. We had fun scrambling around the rocks on the western overlook. Steaks and potatoes over the fire were dinner. :-) The night was cool but we slept in the open by the fire until a brief rain shower started and we moved inside the tent. We had a lazy morning until hiking out the longer way. We ran into a few other hikers on Friday, and group of bikers coming up the long way from the parking lot on Saturday but overall everything was very quiet and peaceful. If we had another day to spend, we'd have walked the sister hike of Cold Mountain as well, which I've done twice in combination with Mount Pleasant.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, April 15, 2010
My wife, clients, friends and I did this beautiful hike as a two-day backpacking circuit along with the Cold Mountain loop.   The Mt. Pleasant portion of the hike is a fairly easy hike, but I'd give it a moderate rating with packs on.  Make sure you investigate both the East and West summit areas for some great little vistas from hidden rock outcrops.  We camped just down from the East summit and enjoyed an incredible sunset and views on a windy afternoon.  The campsites are small and mostly uneven, but not bad.  Finishing the Mt. Pleasant loop is nice, but fairly uneventul as far as big payoffs.  After back down to the parking area, we headed over to the AT to do the Cold Mountain loop (reverse route of the one described on HU).  The first mile is uphill, but quickly forgotten when you reach the beautiful and rare sight of a meandering meadow and 360 degree views.  Great pics here, then another couple of miles with a couple of decent payoffs until you reach the stream and shelter area.  From that area, the most demanding part of the hike (again, with packs) begins via an uphill struggle for a half mile or so.  Not long after that, we reached the large campsite/meadow and enjoyed a great night of camping and camaraderie.  The next day's portion was only a mile or so through a nice pine-canopied trail and back to the parking area.  I'd give the Cold Mountain loop a slightly more difficult rating than Mt. Pleasant if you're backpacking.  Overall, a great time/trip and is suitable for even moderately fit participants.  Another option for those less fit is to camp at the large area near the Cold Mountain parking lot and do both loops as dayhikes as it seemed many were doing.

By: Lyssa Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Very nice hike.  The entire loop (including lunch) took about 4.5 hours, but we had our 7-year-old with us, which slowed us down considerably.  Trails are very well-maintained and for the most part well-marked, although there is one spot about a mile in, not far after a stream crossing, where the trail appears to go left but you actually need to bear up and right to stay on the trail.  Views at the top (be sure to visit both overlooks) are truly spectacular, and best of all we saw *no one* on the trail the entire time.  We picnicked at the west overlook, but the east is flatter and larger and would be a better spot if you want to spread out. 

One word of warning: the access road, which is about 3 miles long, is not in great condition - very rutted and filled with potholes.  Some sort of SUV or truck is useful, although you could probably make it with a smaller sedan if you went very slowly and carefully.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hiked this on Sat 6/6/09. Arrived at 7am and wasn't a single car in the lot. The morning was cool and damp from the rains we had during the week. Three of us set out with the maps and directions from the site. We're noobies too hiking with a few previous hikes under our belt before doing this one. The first mile or so is exactly as it describes here. Pretty flat but beautiful. A nice start I thought. Then the ascent began. As stated, it's about a mile before getting to a break, this was spot on. What we didn't know or is that the trail becomes very rocky when you start the ascent. It wasn't bad and also to note, the mile ascent is a great warm up to the rest of the trail. It's not to steep but will get your blood going.

Reached the sign that said "Trail Head" to the left. We continued straight as the directions said. Saw the sign for the spring and kept going. As you start the ascent again, the trail becomes rocky. For people who are not experienced, be prepared for some tricky stepping as you climb to the top. In the directions it says to be "alert" and follow the trail to the left. This is spot on. If you hike this trail for the first time, keep your eyes open for the left turn (sharp switchback) that takes you to the sign. We missed it and continued up the part that continued to go straight. It's not a big deal, because the straight trail just takes you to the West Summit with the rock scramble. Just follow the trail to the sign in the middle and continue to the East Summit.

After that, make sure to head back down past the spring to the "Trail Head" sign. We made the mistake of looking for another intersection and not knowing that "Trail Head 3.5 -->" was the way to Pompey nor the Henry Lanum Memorial Trail. We ended up circling back up the summit and down again until running into a nice hiker who explained that's where we should be heading. The trek to Pompey was decent but we had lost a lot of energy on that extra circle. There are a couple more ascents and the downhill are full of lose rocks. So again, tricky stepping.

This hike was wonderful through and through. Given our novice status - we were happy. Felt as though we accomplished a good hike, saw some amazing views and pushed ourselves. If you haven't done this trail before, we highly recommend doing it. Its majestic rocks and thick canopy is wonderful. Thanks to the people who maintain this site and the work you all have put into it. Its outstanding!!! Thank you!

By: Mike T. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 30, 2009
Hiked the Mt. Pleasant loop described on the site. Had a great day. Beautiful weather. The western overlook was definitely windy, but what a view. Also stopped by Mount Pompey on the way back. The view there is obscured by trees quite a bit. Overall the description was pretty accurate. The trail starts out fairly easy, then ramps up in difficulty as you climb to the top of the ridge. A decent workout. We had lunch on the eastern overlook. Nice and warm in the sun, with very little wind. Glad we took the suggested trail up, because following the loop on the way back you could tell it would be a pretty tough ascent to come in that way. All in all, a very nice trail to hike with incredible views.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 29, 2009
Got a late start just past 1PM the access road to the parking lot was deeply rutted but passable, and the lot was open. My first hike in 20 years, and Mt. Pleasant was the perfect choice. Starts with a walk in the woods, and gets tougher as you near the peak. Watch for the blue blazes when you turn right to cross the creek, and avoid the temptation to follow the forest trail . . . the many fallen trees are a clear sign to turn back! I wasted over an hour wandering around trying to find my way. The views from the top were spectacular with a circling carnivore flying overhead. It is windy at the top, so pack a jacket. With Mt. Pleasant as a warm up, I'm now hooked on hiking the big peaks . . . Hardscrabble and Elliot's are next up!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 28, 2008

I thought this hike was fantastic. Being a backpacker/hiker that enjoys mountain hikes to vistas, I thought this one was especially rewarding. The views were tremendous, and the two vistas were unique in their own way. The east vista was about 180°, and offers an excellent view of the sunrise the west view was about 270° and offers an excellent view of the sunset.

I would highly suggest doing this hike as an overnight, the camping at the top is INCREDIBLE. There were four fantastic campsites, each with their own firepit. There were two near the west vista and two near the east vista. We stayed just below the east vista, and each campsite had enough room for a 2/3 person tent + fly. I would rate the camping as a 5 not a 3 as rated on here! Camping at the summit can be rare anywhere in the east without all the rules and regulations of each particular national park, so it was very nice to be able to do so here - especially since the views were so incredible. This hike took us 1.75 hours to get to the top view the Mt. Pompey route, and about 55 minutes to hike down view the direct route to Mt. Plesant. I highly suggest doing this hike in this fashion, as the direct route up Mt. Pleasant is fairly steep and strenuous. It is not Peaks of Otter strenuous, but at least the Pompey Mt. route splits the gains in altitude with small descents. If vistas are you're thing, this is YOUR hike!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 31, 2008

We hiked this trail on Labor Day weekend. Started out at 10:30am and no one else was there. Didn't see a single person until we returned back to the parking lot. The day was really cloudy and foggy so we saw absolutely nothing from the summit but still loved the hike. One strange thing did happen on our hike. About 20% into the hike, a lone dog with a radio collar came upon us.  The dog had some tags on it. One said "leave this dog alone."  We tried to do that but it stayed with us the whole hike. Our dog was OK with him, though, so we weren't too concerned. When we returned to the parking lot (which was full by 3pm), there were some men in a pick-up truck with other dogs. They said they were waiting for our hiking buddy for a few hours. I'm not sure what else they said because the men had no teeth and had a very heavy southern accent. So, I'm still not sure what the story was with this radio collar dog. Is it legal to let your dog run around a national forest unattended? Does anybody know anything about these dogs?

A few notes of caution: The road leading up to the trail head can be a little dodgey. It's very narrow in places with no shoulder so pray that you don't have to squeeze past an oncoming car. Second, the hiking distances listed in the above description are a little off. The second half of the loop does have some significant uphill sections and is a total of 3.5 miles long according to the signs on the trail.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 8, 2008

Mount Pleasant is one my favorites so far. The distance and difficulty were perfect for intermediate-level dayhikers like us, the views are insanely beautiful, and there were enough scattered hikers on the trail to remind us that we weren't alone, but we never felt crowded. I hate a trail where you can't pee in peace!

We were right in line with the three-to-four hour time listed on this site, but we really had to move it on the final leg to make it back to the car before dark. As a side note - there are (as noted below) some discrepancies between the trail markers and this website as to distance.

To the genius behind this website - THANK YOU!

By: B. Love Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 26, 2008
Spectacular westerly summit view makes this hike a must do! I made this the first loop in the figure 8 with Cold Mountain. The trail started off so easy to follow that I lost focus and got a little lost. Starting at the sign pointing the trail to the left. Pay attention and make certain to look for the blue blazes for the next .5 mile or so.  There is a network of trails in that area and it's easy to get turned around (as I did).  Your safe when the trail itself becomes rocky and still spot the blue blazes. Clear afternoon and around 70 degrees. At the westerly summit, once I laid eyes on the 7 ft. rock scree I knew that one of life's glories was about to present itself. I hit the hike time right on and lingered longer than I normally do because the panoramic views demanded it. Plenty of camping sites from the trailhead all the way through the trail if that's your plan.

By: BP Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 15, 2007
Great hike... did the figure 8 with Cole Mountain. First real fall day of the year and a beautiful day for a hike. Question though... the trail listing here says 5.5 miles, however at the trail junction near the summit, it says 2.8 miles back to the trailhead how we came, 3.5 miles to complete the loop, and .5 miles to the summit each way. Adding this all up gives 7.3 miles. We did not feel the 2nd part was 3.5 miles as we did it in like 50 minutes. Feels more like hikingupward is correct. Does anybody know anything about this discrepancy?

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 22, 2007

What a fantastic view from the ridge at Mt. Pleasant. We had just completed the three-ridges hike a little ways down the parkway, and then did a figure eight starting with the Cold Mountain loop and finishing with the Mount Pleasant climb. We reached the ridge about 2pm, and the weather was sunny and in the 60-70 degree range. We just sat out on the rock all afternoon with excellent visibility and decided, 'what the heck, let's sleep out here.' So we slept under the stars on the rock ledge and headed out about 7 Saturday morning. We didn't see another soul the whole time we were up there, except for a few small animals and winged predators. -- Thanks for this site - I wouldn't have had such a great time without it!

By: B. Gordon Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 30, 2006
The views at the top of Mt. Pleasant are some of the best I have seen in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Of course, a clear blue sky, temperatures in the low 60's, and the company of my wife, my daughter, and my friend only made this one of the more enjoyable hikes I have been on. Just before you get on the Spur Trail to the summits , we found an Apple Tree and proceeded to knock down a few apples, they were pretty good!! Depending on your fitness level, you may consider going back down the way you came up as the trail past Pompey Mountain does have a few places where you are gaining elevation again. This is certainly a worthwhile hike, do it in the Fall or Spring before the Summer haze sets in and restricts how far you can see.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 21, 2006
Great hike for the with the novice wife and the energetic dog! Was a little crowded at the summit, but it was such a gorgeous day--  was to be expected.  We could not find the campsite that was said to be on the return trail (according to Hiking VA Falcon book) but found a campsite about a mile down the Hotel Trail, in a clearing looking out on Cold Mountain.  Wonderful place to stay, but no water. 

A wonderful day hike turned into an overnighter.  If I was to do it again there are some great sites just at the bottom of the summit trail, as well as ONE campsite at the top of the summit... but you got to get there early!

Great website!  Has inspired me to get back into backpacking!

By: Joseph Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 1, 2006
This is a moderate hike that the entire family can take.  The last half mile to the summit is the most strenuous section but well worth the effort.  The view from the top is absolutely fantastic with nearly 360 degree views overlooking Amherst to the east and the Blue Ridge to the west.  At the top, there is a massive rock that you can sit on and enjoy the views while you have lunch.  Near the trailhead is the Appalachian Trail and a few short hiking trails along with some jeep roads for exploring by 4-wheel drive vehicle.  I highly recommend it.

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