Bearfence Mountain is a short 1-mile rock scramble located off of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. What the hike lacks in length, it makes up for in challenging terrain. For most of the trail hikers must use both hands and feet to climb over large sections of rock. Formed by lava millions of years ago, the greenstone provides a challenging path to the summit.
Follow the blue-blaze markings across Skyline Drive and up the stairs. Not far into the trail, hikers reach their first rock scramble. Crawl up the rock faces for the majority of the 311-foot elevation gain it takes to reach the summit. At the top enjoy the 360-degree views over the beautiful Shenandoah National Park. This is a great place to bring a picnic lunch or relax and take in the views. When you are ready to return, continue following the blue-blaze markings in the same direction as you merge onto the Appalachian Trail and back to the trailhead.
Although short, this is a strenuous hike due to the amount of time spent rock scrambling. For those afraid of heights, this may not be the best trail due to some exposure close to the summit. Otherwise, this is a great opportunity to get out there for those short on time or just looking for something a little different than your average hike.