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Bearfence Mountain Trail is a 1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Elkton, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Length 1.0 mi Elevation gain 242 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

After parking in the Bearfence Mountain parking lot, cross Skyline Drive and follow the blue blazes of the Bearfence Trail. The Bearfence Trail leads up a steep slope that eventually turns into a scramble climb to the summit of Bearfence Mountain. Blazes mark the best scramble climbing route. The view from the summit is well worth the climb as it is one of only three summits in the park that has a 360-degree view. Getting down from the summit requires a short scramble climb, after which the Bearfence Trail returns to a normal hiking surface. The Appalachian trail can be accessed from either one of two right turns from the Bearfence Trail. The second right turn should be followed to complete the one-mile loop. The Appalachian Trail leads back down the mountain to Skyline Drive. The scramble climb makes this trail a unique hike to a great view. Anyone who is reasonably fit and flexible should be able to handle the scramble climb, but hikers who have issues with heights may want to skip this trail. Near the summit, the climbing path occasionally passes within eighteen inches or so of sheer drops. This is also definitely not the trail for families with kids small enough that they have to be carried, and older children may also find the climb difficult.

Parking is available. The trailhead is about five miles from the Byrd Visitor Center, which has restrooms and information. A camp store with a snack bar is adjacent to the visitor center. Campsites and lodging are available in several locations in Shenandoah National Park.

Park Information (540) 999-3500

From Washington DC follow I-66 West and exit onto US 29 at Gainesville. Follow to Warrenton, and take 211 West. Take 211 to Sperryville until you reach Skyline Drive. Take Skyline Drive south towards Big Meadows. Pass the big meadowns and drive down to either Bootens Gap (mp 55.1) or the Bearfence M

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (757)
Photos (509)
Recordings (491)
Completed (1533)
Andra Vercauteren
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HikingBugsMuddyOver grownRockyScramble
Matthew R Boyd
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Hiking

Absolutely beautiful view of the valley!

View Matthew R's Recording
Eric Brown
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HikingRocky

Absolutely phenomenal views from the top of the mountain. Note that the trail seems longer than the stated mileage due to slow going over the rock scramble. However, the scramble is absolutely worth it…it’s loads of fun. Also, at the top, there are a few very large drop offs to either side of the rocks you are on. Would not recommend bringing children under six years old. Even then, it can be quite nerve-racking (even for a parent who usually allows his kids to take risks). If you are a worrier or are afraid of heights, you may want to avoid this trail.

Jonathan Elam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
HikingScramble
View Jonathan's Recording
Leyna Tobey
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HikingBugsRockyScramble

This trail provides amazing 360-degree views of the park and was definitely worth the hike. The trail is a gradual incline until the rock scramble, which had some difficult sections with steep drop offs on either side. The trail was pretty buggy as well!

Karen Wallace
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
HikingScramble

Delightful scramble up what is at times a bare ridge line with a cliff falling away on one or both sides. It’s the most Romania-esque trail I’ve been on in the US. We arrived at 9am on a Monday and saw no one until we got back to the bottom around 10:15am, at which point three families were converging on the trail.

View Karen's Recording
Sammi Cummings
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020

Loved it! The rock scramble was super unique and a little daunting with dropoffs here and there. We took our children along and they did really well as they are used to hiking with us and staying close but I would not recommend this trail for young children. The view at the summit is gorgeous!

John Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingRockyScramble
View John's Recording
Shelby Ballou
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyRockyScramble

Super short, fun trail with a challenging rock scramble before and after the summit. Steep at first, but the incline is subtle afterwards. The trail is mostly shaded from the sun, and the view from the top is incredible. If you take the rock scramble path, keep going past the summit to loop back around to the parking lot. Lots of bugs, so I’d recommend bug spray during the summer.

Stephanie Bloss
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Mountain bikingRockyScramble

Super fun hike with the kids, 11 and 9.

View Stephanie's Recording
Isabel Day
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HikingRockyScramble
Ashley Blankenship
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HikingRockyScramble

My husband and I did this hike yesterday with our 8 and 12 year old kids. They really enjoyed it, but my husband is terrified of heights and struggled through a few spots at the summit. There were a few spots where I shimmied along the outside ledge with my 8 year old between me and the mountain as she is not super sure footed. The view at the top is incredible and the hike is not terribly difficult if you are in decent shape, but I would advise against taking anyone who is terribly afraid of heights.

Christopher Jones
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Hiking

Nice challenge

Maggie Bach
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Hiking

Super fun scramble. Not sure it should be rated moderate though. There were some technical parts that were challenging. You need both hand, sturdy hiking shoes and be relatively fit.

Nik Gherardini
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HikingScramble

Rock scramble is a blast! Awesome 360 degree view towards the top. Certainly recommend if you're visting Shenandoah!

Jeanne Haws
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HikingBugsScramble

We took the Appalachian Trail north from the Lewis Mountain campground - about 1 mile (basically paralleling Skyline Drive) and then hooked up with the trail up to the view point and the scramble. Made it a nice 5 mile hike and took us about 2.5 hours. Lots of shade so never really hot even though it was 90 degrees in Charlottesville! I did NOT do the scramble but my husband did and the views he said were great. We are over 60 (in pretty good shape and hike a lot) and this was a nice pretty easy hike - a few ups and downs but nothing too tough except that scramble.

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