The hike posted here also does a short 0.6 mile out and back detour to the magnificent Jones Mountain Cabin. The cabin sits next to a stream that runs most times of the year, and is maintained and available for rent from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
From the Graves Mill parking area on VA662 start up the yellow blazed Graves Mill Trail as is stays on the left of the Rapidan River for 0.5 miles to the intersection of the Staunton River Trail.
Turn left on the blue blazed Staunton River Trail, and in 0.5 miles look for a small side trail to a set of falls and pool. Continue along the Staunton River Trail another 1.7 miles to the intersection of the Jones Mountain Trail. Turn left on the steeper Jones Mountain Trail for 0.5 miles to the next junction, where the Jones Mountain Trail turns left, and the McDaniel Hollow Trail turns right.
Turn left staying on the Jones Mountain Trail as it winds around the mountain and passes through a canopy of Mountain Laurel before reaching an intersection where a side trail leads down to the Jones Mountain Cabin. The side trip to the cabin is 0.6 miles out and back, and well worth the extra distance.
After returning from the side hike to the cabin turn left uphill on the Jones Mountain Trail as it heads around the eastern side of the ridge for another 0.5 miles to the Bear Church Rock rock overlook. The Jones Mountain Trail continues past Bear Church Rock, so make sure not to miss the unmarked short side trail to Bear Church Rock on the right.
From high point of the hike retrace your steps back down Jones Mountain to the starting point and parking area.
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Reviews For The Bear Church Rock Hike (5 Most Recent)
Started the hike around noon. At this time of the day the parking area was completely full. As we made our way up the Staunton river trail we noticed that most of the trail as well as the surrounding wooded areas were covered with with snow. This made navigating the trail, which was a gradual incline, more of a feat than usual. It was beautiful! The trail followed the river and the sun was beaming off of the snow which made for a great start. As we made our way onto the blue blazed "Jones Mountain Trail" we began a much steeper incline on ice and snow. We began to see a lot of other hikers heading down from the top of the mountain saying "the top is great". We made it to the top of the mountain in roughly 3hrs. The hike was well worth the view. We pretty much ice skated the entire way down. This was a great hike and I highly recommend it. You will cross many streams while following a river for most of the hike.
Date of Hike: Saturday, January 25, 2014
Since Syline Drive was closed, I decided to try this not so well known SNP hike. Me and my hiking partner arrived at the trailhead at 9:45am and the parking lot was almost full. Their were probably a couple of more spaces for people to park, but it would have been a tight squeeze. It was 18 degrees when we started the hike with 2-3 inches of snow on the ground. Overall, the hike was wonderful. It was super quiet, and even though their were plenty of vehicles in the lot we met only one person on the hike. The snow was beautiful and the overlook was well worth the hike. The trudge up is slow, it took about three hours for us. But, after stopping for lunch at the overlook, it took us 1 hr and 15 minutes to make it back to our vehicle. I hope to return to hike this trail again in the spring or summer, but I have a feeling I will need to arrive around 6 or 7 in the morning to be able to park.
Date of Hike: Monday, January 20, 2014
One of the most pleasant hikes I've done recently. The rivers were flowing well with a lot of white water and the trail alongside was in good shape and easy. The turn up Jones Mountain Trail was snow covered in spots and the portion of the trail that runs under the Mountain Laurels is probably something we'll come back to see when it's time to bloom. The side trip to the cabin was well worth it (great for a snack) but the final .8 from there to the rock was the toughest part of the hike. If I bring my wife we'll probably stop at the cabin on the way down from the summit just to catch a break from the vertical. We also noted the vista just down the cabin trail and it was worth the stop for a picture. The views from the top were much better than I expected. Well worth the effort to get there. The walk back down to the car was cake. This is one of those rare trails with good water AND a great view from the top. Perfect.
Date of Hike: Sunday, October 27, 2013
I hiked this yesterday. It was beautiful. The first 2.8 miles are very gradual with a well maintained trail. The trail is really easy to follow. This is one of the best views and mountain tops in the area. I would agree that the hike down to the Jones cabin is worth it. There is a great overlook about .1 miles down that side trip. Then the cabin itself is nestled down in the valley. It is a nice place to grab a snack or a break. The foliage was perfect up on top. I think next weekend will still give some great colors.
Date of Hike: Sunday, October 20, 2013
I hiked this trail yesterday for the first time. It is a fairly challenging hike and very secluded. We only saw a couple other hikers on this trip and they appeared to be come down from an overnight camp. The trail is very well maintained and dog friendly - we brought three! The streams are extremely nice on this hike. The only let down I had was the summit. I believe I was just expecting a more astonishing view - as I have been on several hikes in the area with breathtaking views. I think that the view rating is a little too highly rated. Otherwise, a great hike. We kept passed the peak at Bear Church Rock and turned a 8.5 mile hike into a 13 miler. A great workout! Highly recommended.