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Big Mountain
Mountain/Rock

Big Mountain

 
Big Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Virginia, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.60130°N / 78.6323°W

Object Title: Big Mountain

County: Page

Elevation: 2962 ft / 903 m

 

Page By: CheesySciFi

Created/Edited: Jul 8, 2012 / Nov 26, 2013

Object ID: 799253

Hits: 1016 

Page Score: 76.66%  - 7 Votes 

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Overview

The Massanutten Mountains are divided into two distinct sections by New Market Gap. The first peak south of New Market Gap is Big Mountain. It ranks as the fifth highest summit in the Massanutten range. The summit of Big Mountain is covered with TV towers and related buildings, but the journey is still worthwhile. There are opportunities to view the Shenandoah Valley and the Massanutten Mountains, gain 1,000 feet of elevation in one mile, and appreciate the wildflowers. As Summitpost member surgent pointed out, some mountaintops “have to 'take one for the team.'”

Getting There

 
Yellow Flower on Wildflower Trail
Yellow Flower

 
Pinxter Flowers
White and Pink Flowers

 
Butterfly on Wildflower Trail
Butterfly

 
Spring on Wildflower Trail
Flowering Branches


From Luray, go west on US 211; the road climbs toward New Market Gap. When you reach the crest of the ridge, you will see the Massanutten Visitors Center on the left. Turn into the Visitors Center lot and park here.

The Wildflower Trail starts at the end of the parking lot close to the Visitors Center. Hike on the white-blazed Wildflower Trail, which goes gently downhill for nearly 0.3 miles. Turn right at the intersection with the orange-blazed Massanutten South Trail, and hike steeply uphill for the next mile. On the right, there are side trails to an overlook with views to the west and north.

So far, you've gained 1,000 feet of elevation in one mile, taken in some good views of the Shenandoah Valley, and depending on the season, seen some beautiful autumn colors or wildflowers. If you're determined to bag the summit, continue on the Massanutten South Trail, which is mostly a level hike. After 2.1 miles, reach a forest road (FR 375) and make a left turn. Continue past the gate and hike up the road for 0.5 miles to the summit.

Round trip: 7.8 miles with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet.

 
White Flowers and Violet
White Flowers and Violet



Red Tape

Big Mountain and the entire route to its summit are on public land in the George Washington National Forest. There are no fees or permits required. Please respect private property near the trailhead and at a point before the overlook. The Massanutten Visitors Center is closed until further notice.

Camping

Free camping is permitted throughout the George Washington National Forest except in the immediate vicinity of picnic areas and a few other locations. It is unwise to camp outside of winter near any of the mounds of dirt that you will see on the ridgetop. While the Massanutten Mountains are too far north for fire ants, the ants that will crawl out of these mounds can cause plenty of annoyance.

When to Climb

Big Mountain can be climbed nearly all year round. Fall colors can be spectacular in mid to late October; there still may be foliage in lower elevations as late as mid-November. Summer is the worst time for mosquitoes and ticks, and undergrowth is at its thickest. The Wildflower Trail is particularly attractive in spring.

Hiking should be avoided in the National Forest during the period in late November when it is permissible to hunt deer with modern firearms.  In 2013, deer season runs from November 16 through November 30.

 
Yellow Flower Opening
Yellow Flower Opening

 
Iris on Wildflower Trail
Iris

 
White Flowers on Wildflower Trail
White Flowers

External Links

George Washington National Forest- Lee Ranger District

The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club maintains the trails in the Massanutten Mountains, and provides maps, guidebooks, and other information.

Images

Big Mountain from Duncan KnobPinxter FlowersButterfly on Wildflower TrailIris on Wildflower TrailYellow Flower OpeningWhite Flowers on Wildflower TrailWhite Flowers and Violet
Spring on Wildflower TrailShenandoah Valley from Big MountainYellow Flower on Wildflower Trail