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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Reviews For The Buzzard Hill Hike (5 Most Recent)
Pretty tough 6.25 miles. I started at Hollow Brook (Rt. 605) and went straight through to Bears Den. Rocky trail only made the roller coaster tougher. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a hiking stick or two. Weather was spotty drizzle with partly cloudy skies. Windy and cold on the ridge tops despite the sun. Arrive early as parking is limited to 3-4 cars.
Date of Hike: Saturday, March 02, 2013
Great hike and just as hard as reviewers note here. This is not a hike for folks who are just getting started and want to try hiking. We (females, one early 30's, one early 40's) did this hike as a challenge to see how we're coming along in getting fit and gearing up for longer hikes. We're in average shape currently and hike 10-11 miles most Saturdays for the past few months. This is the first time we were really exhausted after 10 miles. We were surprised by the number of folks we saw out as we got farther along, especially on a blustery March day with random brief snow flurries. We saw 3 other pairs of hikers, one set of 4 guys doing an overnight, another solo hiker doing this as a challenge as we were, and a boy scout troop of about 10 kids and 3 adults. A couple items we found when hiking this one:
- It's actually 10.5ish miles if you start at the parking lots on Rt7. We verified with GPS, AT maps and pedometers.
- We seriously regretted not having trek poles with us. You really needed them on this one. It's hell on the knees, esp. on the steep descent on the middle hill on the return route, without them.
- Not recommended after a heavy storm in the winter. What doesn't show in the pics or the description is the length of the stream crossings. You end up rock hopping across 15-20 feet of stream a couple of times. We had no trouble but if the streams had been swollen with rain, too many of the rocks would have been submerged to make this doable in cold weather as you'd have to wade in.
- As others have noted, watch the rocks, esp on steep descents. Very easy to twist an ankle here, good shoes or not.
Overall, a great challenge hike. We'd hoped to try to hike to the waterfall past Buzzard Hill but we started out too late and it would have left us doing the last ascent/descent combo to the parking lot in the dusk and dark. Too rocky a trail to want to do that, even w/headlamps and lights.
Roscoe P. Coltrane
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Love this hike for a solid workout. Nothing much to see except nature itself. Today I decided to go as fast as possible to see how quickly I could do it. Only took a couple short breaks (including on the hill) and wrapped it up in just under 3.5 hours. Normally this is a pretty secluded part of the trail but just before I finished I passed a group of about 25 teenagers. Whew -- so glad I wasn't anywhere near them until the end. :-)
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 25, 2012
My friend and I needed a training hike and started from Bear Den Hostel to Rod Hollow (past Rt 607) - 19-20 miles round trip. This was my toughest hike ever!! It was a gut check hike that really shows where you are at when it comes to conditioning and the last 5 miles going back to the hostel I struggled at a slower pace. Numerous ups and downs made this hike my most challenging and started to wear me down mentally. Friend coasted a mile ahead of me. Not much from a stand point of views but if you want a hike that will test your mettle, do this one!!!
Date of Hike: Sunday, October 30, 2011
Long out and back hike, with one really nice veiw of the Valley and not much else. I was hoping to see some fall color, but a fluke snow-storm the night before had stripped the leaves and buried the trail. Raven Rocks across Rt. 7 was a much more enjoyable hike.
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.