Bearfence Mountain Trail

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia 22835

Elevation Gain461ft
Trailhead Elevation3,294ft
Elevation Min/Max3294/3592ft
Elevation Start/End3294/3294ft

Bearfence Mountain Trail

Bearfence Mountain Trail is a hiking trail in Page County and Greene County, Virginia. It is within Shenandoah National Park. It is 0.5 miles long and begins at 3,294 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 461 feet. The Bearfence Mountain parking is near the trailhead. Bearfence Mountain (elevation 3,553 feet) can be seen along the trail. There are also viewpoints along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Appalachian Trail.

Bearfence Mountain Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Top Trails Shenandoah National Park (Wilderness Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"The name Bearfence Mountain Rock Scramble is not only an intriguing moniker; it also conjures up images of scaling dangerous boulders on the side of a cliff. Yes, this is an exciting trek that requires the use of hands and feet in a few places, but it is neither dangerous nor difficult and can be done by all but the youngest and oldest of Shenandoah trail trekkers. Just go when the rock is dry, take your time, and be willing to give or ask for help from your fellow hikers if a spot or two seems tough, although one can easily execute the scramble without aid."
Best Easy Day Hikes Shenandoah National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bert and Jane Gildart
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"This short hike offers a 360-degree view and a real rock scramble toward the summit."
Hiking Shenandoah National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bert & Jane Gildart
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"This short hike features a 360-degree view and a real rock scramble toward the summit. Bearfence Mountain (3,620 feet) is one of several summits in the park that command a complete panoramic view. Once you have reached the top, you are able to see Massanutten Mountain and the Shenandoah Valley to the west and Laurel Gap, Fork Mountain, and Bluff Mountain to the east. In the short hike from the parking lot to the summit, you pass through the sandstone of the Swift Run Formation, capped by Catoctin basalt. Hiking to the summit requires some degree of coordination. Though expertise in rock climbing is not necessary, you need some dexterity to maneuver through jumbled rocks. In some cases, you may find yourself scooting along on your bottom."
Best Hikes with Kids: Washington, DC, the Beltway & Beyond (The Mountaineers Books)
Jennifer Chambers
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"The Bearfence Trail loop offers a challenging and engaging hike with a rock scramble to 360-degree views on its ridge. On a clear day, you can see the Shenandoah peaks from north to south and east to west, in addition to the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the Piedmont Plateau to the east."
Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes (Menasha Ridge Press)
Leonard M. Adkins & Victoria and Frank Logue
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"This short hike is not a true loop but rather a figure eight. You will hike over a very rough section of trail to the rocky top of Bearfence Mountain, which offers fine views of Skyline Drive, the surrounding mountains, and the valley. The Bearfence Mountain Loop is listed as a moderate hike because it is short, but the climbs involve using your hands, as well as your feet, to scramble over the rocks. In the summer, naturalist-led hikes leave from the parking area. If you are interested in going on one, check with the park for times and dates."

Bearfence Mountain Trail Trip Reports

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Lewis Mountain River Falls
The park ranger at Thoroughfare Gap said her sister really enjoyed this particular waterfall because of its 81-foot height and relative seclusion. The Big Meadows area where I parked was still cloaked in snow, even though most of the mountains on Skyline Drive were relatively snow free.

I “skied” out to the top of the falls, watching the relatively small stream drop out into nothingness. The view from the top of the falls of the valley below is quite nice. Most persons stop here and don’t quite make it to the base of the falls, which is the whole point of seeing any waterfall. One has a sense of power and majesty in a waterfall if one looks at it from the base up.

So I followed the rustic trail (in other words, not as well maintained as the main trail) down to the base. The slippery-at-times trail effort was well rewarded with what I thought to be the most beautiful of the three waterfalls I was to encounter today. It’s 81 feet were mostly vertical, a straight drop with a few small ledges here and there to create an interesting cascade. Now I understood why the ranger''s sister loved that waterfall. I encourage all to come and see it for yourself, especially when the spring melt is underway.

Bearfence Mountain Trail Photos

Trail Information

Shenandoah National Park
Nearby City
Shenandoah National Park
Skill Level
Shenandoah National Park (540) 999-3500.
Local Contacts
Available at the park entrance station
Local Maps

Trail Log