Thing to Do

Bearfence Rock Scramble

A rock cliff overlooking a valley below bathed in yellow fall colors.

Pets are not allowed on this hike. Bearfence is an exhilarating rock scramble that leads to a magnificent 360-degree view of the Virginia Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley. If you have a fear of heights, it’s not for you. And if it’s wet or icy, it’s not safe!

Distance: 1.4-mile round trip hike
Difficulty: Moderate (explanation of our hiking difficulty scale)
Hiking Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 311 feet

Hike Description

  1. From the Bearfence parking area (mile 56.4), cross Skyline Drive and climb the stairs up the bank.
  2. At the trail post, continue straight ahead on Bearfence Loop Trail to the top of the rock scramble.
  3. After the rock scramble, turn right onto the connector trail.
  4. Go right on the Appalachian Trail north.
  5. At the intersection, turn left and return to the parking lot.
The average hiking duration does not take into consideration fitness, exploration, rest, contemplation, etc.

Pets are not allowed on this hike.

An entrance fee is required to get into Shenandoah National Park.

The trailhead for this hike is located at the Bearfence parking area.

Year Round
Accessibility Information

Although pets are not allowed on Bearfence Loop Trail, service animals are welcome. This trail does not meet ADA accessibility guidelines.

Shenandoah National Park

Map and descriptions for Bearfence rock scramble and viewpoint hikes

Download the trail map
Click the image to download the trail map. Print it out at home or save it to your phone to take with you on your hike.

Last updated: February 9, 2021