House Mountain is an iconic landmark in Rockbridge County comprising two peaks known as Big House and Little House Mountains. Convenient to downtown Lexington, the House Mountain hikes begin in a rural residential neighborhood seven miles from downtown.
The trail follows an old Forest Service road leading to the saddle (about two miles). This portion is moderate, passing a few private residences and offering glimpses of downtown Lexington and the surrounding countryside.
From the saddle, there are two steeper and more strenuous trails ascending to the peaks. There is a shelter, and a kiosk provides information about House Mountain. Some hikers make the saddle their out-and-back destination, resulting in four miles of hiking. Others choose to conquer one peak or both, the latter resulting in an all-day mountain experience.
From the saddle, the path to Big House Mountain is to the left. The Little House Mountain trail ascends to the right. Both trails include a steep forty-five degree incline for about three-quarters of a mile with a less strenuous hike along the ridge at the top. Big House Mountain is 200 feet higher than Little House but the views from both are inspiring. The paths are easy to follow. Watch for blue blazes on the Little House trail (both ways), and blue blazes toward the top of Big House, which lead you in the correct direction of the overlook.
From the Lexington Visitor Center, drive west on Washington Street and continue through two stoplights. Turn right at the stop sign onto East Nelson Street (US-60). Drive 2.5 miles and turn left onto Jacktown Road (Route 641) and drive approximately 3.5 miles to a right onto Saddle Ridge Road (Route 643). In about one-quarter mile you will reach the House Mountain trailhead parking area on your left. This is a dedicated parking lot with an information kiosk.
- Check the weather forecast prior to setting out; you will be exposed to the elements. Due to its elevation and terrain, House Mountain is not a favorable place to ride out a storm.
- There are no water sources. Carry enough with you, especially during the hot and humid summer months.
- This hike is dog friendly. Clean up after your pets and bring water for them, too.
- Plan a picnic by shopping the Wednesday morning farmers market on North Jefferson Street on the way out of town. There are nice spots to take a break at the saddle and at the summit of each peak.
- Experienced hikers will enjoy this trail for an impeccable sunset view. Begin around 6 p.m. during the summer and carry a flashlight for the hike back.
- Toast your day with a round of craft beer at Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery and Tap Room on N. Lee Highway.