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.