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  • jcath1

Bearfence Mountain, Shenandoah NP

I love this hike. It's my new favorite hike in Shenandoah. I only found it a couple of years ago. I've been visiting the park for 50 years (not kidding.) We spent most of our time in the north half, this hike is south of Big Meadows which is where we usually stopped and headed north again. The parking lot is just a mile or two south of the Wayside. It's on the right if you're coming from the north headed south. Park the car, the trailhead is across the street. Be careful crossing, it's a busy road.

This is not a long hike, about a mile loop. Take the Bearfence trail up the mountain and the Appalachian Trail on the way back to your car. The first part is standard woods hiking. The trail is easy to follow, blue blazes. You'll come to a trail junction, keep going straight. You are crossing the Appalachian Trail and will need to pay attention to this junction on the way back down.

The rock scramble section is a lot of fun. It's not terribly hard, just keep an eye on your footing. You're almost there and the views are amazing.

Once you've made it to the top you have a 360 degree view! Sit down and enjoy for a while. Move from rock to rock for different viewpoints.

Over the past couple of years I've been there all four seasons. Fall is by far the prettiest.

Once done admiring the mountains keep going the same way you were headed. Climb down the rocks and follow the trail. When you come to a junction you've reached the Appalachian Trail. Turn right and head down the mountain.

When you reach the next trail junction turn left, you're almost back to the parking lot. Take care crossing the street on the way back to your car. Now for the best part!

If you came from Big Meadows my suggestion would be to head back there, it's not far! Go into the Wayside and order a black berry sundae with black berry ice cream and black berry syrup! Delicious! You deserve it!


What I'm drinking:

If you are ultimately heading south on the Blue Ridge Parkway there is a great local coffee roaster on Rt 151 three miles east of the south end of the park off of Rt 250. The coffee shop is called Trager Brothers coffee and it is located in an old elementary school which is now a community center in the town of Afton. If you buy a bound of coffee you get a free cup to go!

There are vineyards, breweries, BBQ, hard cider, and many other places to get craft spirits along that stretch of Rt151. Look on Google Maps to see what's there. It's all top notch - honestly!


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