A short, but extremely scenic and exhilarating scramble over boulders and cliffs to the rocky ridgeline of Bearfence Mountain at 3,545 feet.
From the Bearfence Parking area on Skyline Drive (Mile 55.5), take the blue-blazed Bearfence trail up and over the cliffs. Keep your hands free, and be ready to climb. The view on top is worth the minor effort, with 360-degree views.
At the end of the rocks, you can either turn right on a spur to connect with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and return to the parking lot, or continue to a cliff and bonus view south overlooking Lewis Mountain before doubling back to the AT.
The basic loop without the extra view is only a mile long, but the going is fairly slow over the rocks. The added view adds another 0.3 miles or so.
Trailhead: Bearfence Mountain, Skyline Drive mile 55.5 (38.45242, -78.46696)
Mileage: 1.0, or 1.3 with optional view
Elevation Gain: +400 ft, – 400 ft
GPS Data: Find it here
The pictures only give a slight taste – see my video here for a better sampling of what the rock scramble entails!