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Buzzard Hill - Bluemont Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
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5.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
3,020 ft
Bears Den Trail Center
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Turn right at the first drive way marked Bears Den, follow the gravel road to parking area. $3 parking fee. 39.10961, -77.84903

This hike is the the sister hike of Raven Rocks. Starting at Bears Den it heads south on The Appalachian Trail for 4.5 miles to the top of Buzzard Hill. Although the length is only 9.0 miles the vertical ascents over the ridge spurs add up to over 3000 feet of vertical gain by the time you get back.

From the parking area head up the dirt road towards the house where you turn left on the blue blazed nature trail just before the stone gates. In 50 yards pass a small nature trail on your left and in another 50 yards turn left at the intersection where a 20 foot trail connects to the Appalachian Trail (AT).

Turn left onto the white blazed AT and start your descent where in 0.6 miles you cross a stream over a old wooden foot bridge. Continue on the AT and in 1.0 miles cross the first fork of Spout Run. Begin another ascent as you cross another spur before descending and arriving at the Sawmill Spring/Moore Shelter blue blazed trail that heads left uphill.

Stay straight on the AT and shortly cross the second fork of Spout Run and and intersection of the other end of the Moore Shelter trail. The trail connects with the trail you just passed and is a small loop to the shelter. You can see the shelter through the trees in the winter.

Turn right remaining on the AT for another 1.6 miles as it crosses another spur before passing a short flat area and beginning your final ascent up Buzzard Hill.

At the top of Buzzard Hill the AT heads slightly left, turn right on a short side trail that goes to a lookout area and great spot for lunch. To return just retrace your route.

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Hiker Reviews For The Buzzard Hill Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: scott Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2016
Somehow, this was the first time we've done this section of the AT. Nice hike, though a bit monotonous with all the up and down and up and down. Nice streams, nice view at Bear's Den, fair view and nice lunch spot at Buzzard's Hill (and, true to name, lots of buzzards!!). I mostly write to warn the casual hikers that this is indeed a very challenging hike (should be a 5 in my opinion, relative to most of the other hikes on this site. We are older guys in very good shape, but we were pretty whipped by the end). Trail is very rough throughout, so expect the added difficulty/challenge of constant rock hopping and numerous stream crossings. Also, we did this on a warmish winter day, and, though I always double the amount of H2O that I think I'll need, ended up draining the last drops at the final ascent. So, don't underestimate the difficulty and bring lots and lots of water, particularly if you try this during warmer months. Finally, on a pretty weekend, the first section near Route 7/Bear's Den was an absolute mob scene by mid-day. if you want any level of solitude, go very early to get ahead of the crowd or pick a weekday.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, January 10, 2016
I hike this on a regular basis an this is one of my favorite trails. I usually hike with 2 vehicles an go from bears den to morgans mill rd. Id like to remind hikers to respect the land an to pack there trash out as i picked up a bag full of trash near morgans mill rd on my last outing.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 26, 2015
I did this hike and went a little longer past Buzzard Hill and got in a total of 14 miles. The elevation wasn't easy especially on a hot humid afternoon and went through 4 liters of water over almost 5 hours with one 15 minute break. It ranks up there on difficulty but my hardest hike by far for the elevation has been Old Rag and Robertson in one day which is the same distant but tougher climb.

By: Dukkar Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 18, 2015
Had no idea it was called "the Roller Coaster" until after the fact! This should be a level 5 so people set the right expectations and MOST IMPORTANTLY, carry enough water if it's going to be a hot, humid day. Great hike to get a great workout or to simply find out your endurance level and try harder. Will be going back again in a couple of weeks.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 06, 2015
With all respect to Roadie below (and I do respect her immensely, since she describes herself as "a fat chick who runs about a 12-minute mile" but managed to ace this challenging hike), this hike IS TOUGH. I also don't want to put off people afraid to try it, because it's definitely doable, but I would say it's harder than Old Rag. Know why? Because when you're halfway through hiking Old Rag, all the hard part's over. When you're halfway through this hike, you have exactly as much difficulty heading back.

The ascents and descents are simply no joke, I'd call them the toughest of the Roller Coaster (Google it with "AT").

Unfortunately, I did it on a day when my muscles were recovering from the original P90X Plyometrics workout, which I hadn't done for months before that, so that fact doubled the agony of the last few miles, coming back up to Bear's Den. I'm amazed Roadie extended this one. She's in much better shape than she thought she was. :)

I love this hike despite (or maybe because of) its difficulty, though. It's beautiful, interesting, challenging, and fun.


    View all 34 reviews for the Buzzard Hill hike
Mid March

Good thing we had a nice cool day for this hike. The total elevation gain is over 3000 ft and by the time we were on the last ascent back to Bears Den our legs had just about had enough.

This was the first time we have hiked to Buzzard Hill and as we expected on this out and back hike the few people we did see were Appalachian Trail thru-hikers.

The one great vista is right at Bears Den, instead of turning south on the AT go north for just 100 yards and the view to the west is great. The hike itself had the streams full with melt water and Buzzard Peak itself has a nice south west view.

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