Monday, January 26, 2009

Winter hiking

Little House Mountain and Brushy Hill from the east, on Shenandoah Rd.

Rockbridge County is full of excellent hikes (I think I read somewhere that it has the highest percentage of publicly-owned land in the state), some of which are only a few minutes' drive outside of town. The above photo shows two of the most popular spots.

In the background is the best-known mountain in the county: House Mountain. (There are actually two House Mountains, Little and Big; you see Little on the right, and I believe on the left is some of Big behind it. Little House seems to be the one everyone calls simply "House Mountain.")

In front of both, with the towers on top (click photo to enlarge), is Brushy Hill, where the City of Lexington owns 600 acres as Brushy Hill Preserve. Only three miles outside of town, it's a beautiful place for a not-too-strenuous hike in the woods.

If you are looking for something a little more challenging, there's a trail around the southeast shoulder of Little House Mountain that begins at the end of Saddle Ridge Rd. The first mile-and-a-half is an easy to moderate climb on a lovely old jeep trail through stands of mountain laurel and past boulders and rock falls. At the saddle between the two peaks (Little and Big) is a campfire spot with a satisfying view to Hogback Mt., and a lean-to for overnighters.

Those looking for a more heart-pounding experience can continue the last 3/4 mile up (it feels like straight-up!) to the top of Big House for spectacular views over the valley.


Marc said...

I can't see the towers, maybe because it doesn't enlarge very much, but it is a beautiful view.

arctic dreamer said...

Never mind hiking - I like the view from where you took the photo! Gorgeous!

Peter said...

Sounds like a nice walk! You describe it, so I suppose you did it. Did you? :-)

D said...

What an amazing view!