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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:
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: Ginger Ninja Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 30, 2017
This is a great hike to build endurance - lots of elevation gain! It is nearly all on the AT - this is something to keep in mind if you think you're lost.

I noted Whitney's review below, and I think I know where she went wrong. Right before the first stream crossing (not the foot bridge, but the actual stream) there is a small trail down to a campsite by the stream. If you take that, there is no crossing - there is just brush and then a dry stream bed beyond that. Go back up to the main trail and look for the chainsaw cut log - a good sign of a trail, and then you'll see the white blazes again. The real crossing is about 30 ft up from the campsite.

The end point is also not really marked - I shot past it. If you end up at a series of small waterfalls and a large rock (about a mile after Buzzard Hill), then enjoy the atmosphere before heading back. :) The top of Buzzard Hill has a campsite with a really nice rock chair to enjoy the view!

By: Somewhere Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 19, 2017
I have to admit that this trail was more challenging than we expected. The day was in the 80s with moderate humidity. My husband and I drank all 3 liter of water before the final 0.6 mile uphill hike back to the car. We hiked many trails based on the suggestion of this website (thank you very much for all the detailed descriptions and topo maps) This is the first trail that took us longer time to finish than the suggested time. We'd like to point out that unlike the previous review by Whitney, this whole trail is very well maintained and marked. Whitney must have unknowly gone off trail at certain point.

By: Whitney Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 30, 2017
The AT is well marked from the Bear Den side for about 1.2 miles. At that point the AT goes right and the well marked trail goes left up to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, the AT from that point on is not marked very well and very difficult to traverse. Hundreds of large trees have fallen across the path and pricker bushes have grown everywhere. There is no real path - you are effectively trailblazing in the direction you think you are suppose to go. Do not wear short pants on this part of the AT. Finally, once you hit the lowest point (about 2 miles in), the land spreads out and you are crossing a bog type area (your boots will get wet). The path completely disappears, the markings stop (in both directions), and you must rely on either GPS or your compass in order to continue on the AT. This is not a casual hike for a day trip. And, a lousy hike if you just want to hike. We spent most of our time trying to find the trail. Not a trip we will repeat.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 09, 2017
After reading reviews from previous hikers, I was nervous about hiking this section of the AT. While the Roller Coaster is not the hardest part of the AT, its known for its ups and downs and elevation changes. While there was close to 3,200 feet of elevation gain during this hike, a person who’s moderately fit will find it challenging, but easily doable. Most of the climbs are 300 – 400 feet over a distance of .5 miles or more. The hardest part was about an hour into the hike, where you climb about 550 feet in about 20 minutes.

I left around 6:30 AM, and only saw some campers beside one of the water crossings. Coming back, I ran into about 15 people who were going in the opposite direction. I had the good fortune of coming across a couple of wild turkeys and a dear. At this time of year, the foliage is dense, so don’t expect to get any sun, which makes this a nice hike on a hot day.

By: Brian M Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 02, 2017
As others have stated bring extra water. Definitely wouldn't recommend this hike if you're looking for views as the main overlook is pretty underwhelming. Very challenging hike and was a great workout though. Didn't run into many people, mostly thru-hikers, but that may have been partially due to the 90+ degree temp and humidity.

    View all 43 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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