Bearfence Mountain Trail [CLOSED]

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Shenandoah National Park

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.

Distance: 1.0 miles Elevation Gain: 242 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

closed

no dogs

Many trailheads in this park are closed due to COVID-19. Please check the park website for up to date info on which trails are accessible. 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.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
1 day ago

First scramble and it was great! But we saw a lady with a very young baby carried on the front... and this trail is absolutely NOT safe for people carrying babies you need your hands. Was very nervous the entire time behind them :(

hiking
scramble
3 days ago

Great trail! We did go while it was rainy, which did make the scramble a little more difficult but it was really fun!

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

I am an experienced hiker and I would rate this more as a difficult and not moderate. I would not recommend with kids since the scrambling can be quite dangerous or too hard for them still a great hike and spectacular view

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

love it! rock scrambling fun! short with great 360 view. great for a sunrise hike.

hiking
2 months ago

This was sketchier than I expected. There was one spot during the scramble that gave me pause, but otherwise it felt pretty secure. I did see a woman in front of me turn around, so I’d confirm this is not for those afraid of heights. I did feel exposed on top of the rock scramble, but it was a great photo opportunity! Absolutely beautiful and fun to look for the blazes on the rock.

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

Short and sweet. Went on a rainy day which definitely felt a bit dangerous on some of the scrambles but nothing too bad if you're a seasoned hiker.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

This trail’s highlight is the awesome rock scramble. Start by parking at the parking lot near mile 56.4. The trail starts across Skyline Drive (there’s a marked crosswalk). Climb the wooden/stone stairs for approximately 0.2 miles. There will be a trail marker on the left of the trail. Continue straight to go to the rock scramble, or turn right and follow the loop to the top. The rock scramble is not for anyone who is remotely scared of heights. There are sections were you are climbing beside a sheer rock face. Halfway through the rock scramble, you’ll ascend to the highest point (you’ll know when you are there). This is the best point of the entire hike with the best views, so enjoy it! The end of the rock scramble takes you to the overlook, which is very meh.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

This was a great hike! It was my first rock scramble and a great warm up for other hikes I plan to do. There was some icy spots, but nothing dangerous. View was spectacular even for winter. Would not recommend younger kids and any kids that do go must be able to listen to parents. I loved this hike!

hiking
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Summit wasn’t as great of a view as I was hoping, but the trail was nice and an easy cool down hike without the rock scrambling.

hiking
4 months ago

its got to be one of the best mile hikes. climbing over the rocks were so much fun and the views are spectacular. but if you have small kids or kids that just won't listen don't bring them on this trail. there is so many ways a kid could hurt themselves or even die. even if an adult is careless can end a good day quickly. there is so many different variations of the rocks you have to climb so be smart and take it slow and enjoy this wonderful trail.

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
4 months ago

Parents with littles do not attempt! Good grief. I hike at least once a month (usually more) with my kids (6 and 3.5 twins) so we’re fairly experienced. I figured a moderate rated trail only a mile loop would be perfect for us and the kids would love the rock climbing parts (that’s usually better than the actual walking part of hiking). This was an epic disaster. Slushy trail conditions definitely didn’t help, but even if it had been dry I don’t think they could have done it. We had to lift and haul them over most of the rocks and the summit was simply terrifying for kids— we end up just turning around. I think I could’ve made it with just the 6-year-old, but don’t bring your smaller ones. Even my fit brother and wife struggled. I’d definitely judge this as a hard trail. (Sorry to everyone on the trail today who had to listen to my kids and niece scream and cry their way down).

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Awesome trail for anybody looking for a rock scramble. Views are totally worth it. I’d think 3 or 4 times before bringing small kids or dogs.

hiking
icy
scramble
5 months ago

Did over the weekend and it was a short, but enjoyable hike with some rock scrambling. A little bit of ice in spots, but overall no issues. Great 360° views. We only saw one other group of people which was nice, but could see how it could get crowded and less enjoyable due to the scrambles being pretty narrow.

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