Bearfence Mountain Trail

#4 of 140 trails in Shenandoah National Park

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Bearfence Mountain Trail is a 4 mile out and back trail located near Shenandoah, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking & walking and is accessible from April until October.

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 that to the summit of Bearfence Mountain. Blazes mark the best scramble climbing route. The view from the summit is well worth the climb and 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 (my eight year-old daughter handled it with ease), 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.

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

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

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3 Completed 1 Reviews

For folks looking for a your typical walking trail, this is not for you. However, if you're like my brother and I and you enjoy rock scrambles and jumping from boulder to boulder, definitely give this a try!

We packed breakfast and got there early morning as the sun was rising. We reached the summit right around the time that the sun was coming up and were the only ones on the entire trail. The view from the top was absolutely fantastic.

It was almost a full 360 degree view and it took us a good bit of time to absorb all of it. There was a bit of fog resting in the valley but didn't damper the view one bit. I would not do this hike if the weather was all foggy, though. The best part is definitely the views at the top and to lose those would be disappointing. Definitely a trek that I will do again.

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16 Completed 9 Reviews

I luuuurve Bearfence! Seriously. It's short, sweet, and full of fun. Can be crowded due to the length and ease of access in the park...plus the fun! The "trail" is really a bunch of blazes on rocks to maneuver among. This rock scrambling is what makes it so fun. Note: when it is wet either don't do it, or be reeeaaaaallly careful. There are some spots that have drop offs and the rocks get slippery when wet. The view from the rocks is beautiful, get there early for a sunrise hike. The summit boasts a lovely 360 degree view. If you are thinking of hiking Old Rag Mountain I highly suggest trying bearfence on for size. It's like a "baby" Old Rag.

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5 Completed 2 Reviews

Great little hike. Rock scrambles were alot of fun. Great views at the top.

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31 Completed 23 Reviews

Great as an introduction to rock scrambles :). Great views at the ridge and if you have kids there's endless places to explore on the rocks surrounding the trail. Definitely one of my more favorable trails in the park, despite it's short length . No pets allowed on this trail .

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3 Completed 3 Reviews

We did the 1.2 mile loop, took a little under an hour. It's a really fun, short hike. Gorgeous 360' views from the rocks. Scramble is fun, not too long but a bit tricky. Did it on a Monday afternoon in August and didn't see a single person, just a lonely deer that wouldn't move off the trail.

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2 Completed 2 Reviews

One of my favourites! A short hike, but what it lacks in distance it makes up for with a great rock scramble and breathtaking views. This is a good hike if you're looking for an adventure but are short on time. The whole family can probably do it, minus the young children. If there is even a chance of it being snowy or icy, don't go...unless you are up for quite a challenge. I highly recommend this hike.

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22 Completed 6 Reviews

One of my favorite shorter hikes, nice little rock scramble toward the top and a beautiful drive. The views of Massanutten fromt he top at sunset are priceless but be sure to bring a flashlight for the way down! If it isn't long enough for you, combine this with another one of the many hikes off Skyline:)

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19 Completed 17 Reviews

Think of this as Old Rag light. The hike isn't very long nor very strenuous, but the rock scramble is somewhat challenging and the views are absolutely incredible from the summit. It's listed at 4 miles here, but you can cut back after the scramble and make the trail about a mile and a quarter. Highly recommended!

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5 Completed 5 Reviews

We love this short hike. It has so much in a short span. The rock scramble is a great test for Old Rag. If you don't like bear fence don't try old rag. The view is beautiful from the top and the hike includes a short piece along the AT. Nice forest view along the way with flowers.

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28 Completed 33 Reviews

fantastic as always

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