Life Outside Fall 2017 - 5

From the Editor

BIG HOUSE,
LITTLE HOUSE

The "twin" mountains just west of Lexington make for a
great walk (or two) and also for two great viewpoints toward
things not generally seen from Virginia-mountain hikes.

THE VIEW FROM BIG HOUSE
The vantage point is at 3,645 feet and looks south into Rockbridge County.
WE'D HAD THE HOUSE MOUNTAIN PEAKS on our hiking

to-do list for too many years.
Lexington's home-town mountains (well, just to
the west) are perhaps to that town what McAfee and
Tinker Cliffs are to Roanoke: not far away for good
strong climbs to signature viewpoints.
And a bit more demanding than a look at the trail
map and a consideration of the distance suggests.
We'd initially planned to do them both in one hike,
but the combination of our late start and the length
of the trail up Little House-not to mention the lunch
spot once we got there-made us save Big House for
another day.
That rocky viewpoint is the payoff for Little House:
the first time in hundreds of Virginia mountain hikes
that we ever looked down on I-64 (as it heads toward
West Virginia), and the first time we've looked across
the Shenandoah Valley from the west. The Little House
summit went immediately onto the list of top 10

Virginia mountain lunch spots.
A few weeks later, we set out the gravel road again-
the hikes begin along a rocky road amid a few houses
and their surrounding lands-to go up Big House. The
trail to this peak-at 3,645 feet about 300 feet taller
than Little House-is shorter and steeper. After the
saddle where the trails split, you get about two tenths
of easy, then about six tenths of up-the-gut old forest
road, and then two more tenths of rock scramble to
the top.
The view here was also new to us: south into beautiful,
rural Rockbridge County-on this day in mid-August
as green and Virginia-looking as could be.
We're largely weekend hikers, and on neither such
visit were there more than three or four cars at the
parking area at the trailhead. Nor did we share the rocks
at either vista. The House Mountain peaks appear to
remain a largely undiscovered treasure.

-KURT RHEINHEIMER

LifeOutsideMag.com // Fall 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Fall 2017

Life Outside Fall 2017 - 1
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