Bearfence Mountain Trail, Shenandoah National Park

Bearfence Mountain is a short but challenging rock scramble, at times a bare ridge line with a cliff falling away on one or both sides, with echoes of Piatra Mica in Romania. Hike the Piatra Craiului Mountains without a passport or an airplane or an international layover! Who knows how we’re supposed to get anywhere in Europe now that Britain has Brexited and Heathrow-to-Europe is an international border crossing?

Total distance: 1.27 mi
Max elevation: 3555 ft
Min elevation: 3298 ft
Total climbing: 448 ft
Total descent: -453 ft
Average speed: 1.93 mi/h
Total time: 01:17:00

We arrived at 9am on a Monday and saw no one until we got back to the bottom around 10:15am, at which point three families were converging on the trail.

It begins with pinchy climbs over pointy rocks, and equally pinchy descents.

Then the vista opens up.

I tried and failed to capture the scale.

So Dar will illustrate.

The ridge dropped off to each side, forming a rock bridge.

It’s a fairly lengthy bridge.

After which you get to go down again!

There are domains to be surveyed as if we were the first to ever see them.

This is part of the KOTOW photo series.

We survived!

You could reverse-scramble back to the beginning, but we had an additional hike on our agenda for the day, so we took the non-scrambly path back through the woods.


Distance1.26 miles
Elevation Gain448 feet
Moving Time54 hours, 23 minutes
Total Time1 hours, 17 minutes
Average Pace61 minutes per mile / 1.4 mph


PackCamelBak Aventura hydration pack
NavigationPhone 6 with AllTrails Pro
ShoesHoka One One Challenger ATR 5 trail running shoes
Used Poles?Yes
ClothesSocks: Injinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew Toesocks
Bottom: quick dry running shorts
Shirt: short sleeve wicking tee


See my current gear, clothing, and thoughts about it on the Hiking Gear page.