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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.

Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Buzzard Hill hike:

Hiker Reviews For The Buzzard Hill Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Buzzard Hill hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Ubikwity Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 30, 2018
I know this trail well.  It's best enjoyed by those doing training work, for the steep hills and rocky terrain present an excellent challenge.  For those infrequent/ casual hikers just out for a walk in the woods, I'd say it'd be very difficult and not all that enjoyable.  There really are no views (the one at Buzzard Hill is okay, not spectacular) and really you'll be looking down the majority of the time as foot placement is critical.  The trail can be icy and covered with leaves in the winter, so be careful.  FYI, for a bonus 1.5 mile and 400 ft elevation gain, you can also start at the lot on route 7, immediately on the right before driving up to the lot at Bears Den.

By: Stephanie Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 8, 2018
My husband and I chose to do this hike for training purposes - we needed hills and elevation gain and this definitely delivered. The trail is very well marked and you're on the AT pretty much the whole way, except the very beginning (the short walk from the parking area), and the side trail to the overlook.

Luckily, we had a break from the heat wave this weekend, which made it a perfect day to get this hike in (I would NOT complete it on a hot and humid day if I ever had a choice). There was plenty of shade and a nice breeze the whole time. We passed about 10-15 people hiking throughout the day, mostly in the afternoon (a mix of day hikers and some AT section or thru-hikers). We started at 8am and walked off trail at 2:30pm - so it took us 6.5 hours (including the ~30 minutes for lunch at the overlook). For reference, we are both in our early 30s and in good physical condition.

Don't let this hike scare you into not doing it. Just do your research and come prepared - and know/be honest about your limits. Personal opinion - slow and steady wins the race on this one...especially in the areas where it is rockier (ankles injuries won't get you a speed record). Trekking poles will help both with ascending and descending (which you'll do plenty of). Take breaks, bring 2-3 liters of water like others have mentioned (we drank 1.5 gallons between the two of us), and be sure to reward yourself at the end. There's a bunch of wineries in the area off of route 7 (or do what we did - we stopped at the Hill Hill Market and grabbed two slices of pie from Mom's Apple Pie).

Finally, a shout out to the ATC, PATC and Bear's Den Lodge - what a beautiful property. We didn't go inside the lodge or use anything but the parking area...but man, it was impressive anyway. We hope to return sometime soon for an overnight on the trail that will involve a return to this beautiful spot.

Happy hiking!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 12, 2018
This is my home section of trail. I do Morgans mill road to Bears Den frequently. I have twice in the last month had to give rides to hikers that thought they had the fitness for the roller coaster but bailed out half way through. This hike is not easy and if you do not have a way to filter water, you better bring 2 -3 liters for each person when the weather is hot. It's called the roller coaster for a reason.

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.

    View all 46 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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