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House Mountain is a dominant Rockbridge County landmark. It is located 5 miles west of Lexington. Actually the mountain has two peaks with a gentle meadowland between known as “the saddle.” Once a pasture and apple orchard, the saddle sits at the base of the cliffs of Big House Mountain (3,645 feet) to the west and the laurel thickets of Little House Mountain (3,386 feet) to the east.

A number of homesteads once stood high on the mountain and in the saddle. (See House Mountain Tragedy of 1846.) But in recent years wild turkey, deer, and other animals are the only inhabitants who drink from the mountain’s many springs. There are large stands of scarlet and chestnut oak, tulip poplar, and table mountain pine and many saplings of American chestnut sprouting from stumps of this once dominant tree. The House Mountain sandstones were deposited over 350 million years ago when seas covered the region. See  “A Wild Garden” by Royster Lyle for more on the flora of House Mountain, and the history of efforts to protect it for the future.

The story of the House Mountain Preserve

Directions to House Mountain Trailhead from Lexington

Go west on Route 60 (Midland Trail) about 2 miles, then turn left on Jacktown Road (Route 641). Go about 3.5 miles, then turn right on Saddle Ridge Road (Route. 643). Go to the end of state maintenance to park. Please park only in designated spaces and do not block driveways or mail boxes.  See further information and maps at the sites linked below.

The Trail to the Saddle

The two-mile trail to the saddle is a mountain road heading west from the end of the state road. It goes through private property in the first mile so please stay on the trail. The final mile of trail is through the public lands managed RACC. There is a camping shelter, camping sites, and spring in the saddle. Visitors may access the top of Big House Mountain via a trail that begins near the shelter. Little House Mountain is accessed via a new blue blazed trail that also starts in the saddle at the information sign.

Please be respectful of the land. Leave only footprints!

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