Hiking Project Logo

Combine the tumbling beauty of the Staunton River and the awesome view from Bear Church Rock in one 8-mile hike.

J H

Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

7.9

Miles

12.7

KM

Out and Back

2,875' 876 m

High

923' 281 m

Low

2,264' 690 m

Up

2,258' 688 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views

Overview

This out-and-back day hike starts from the Graves Mill Trail parking area, features the Staunton River Trail, and culminates at the Bear Church Rock viewpoint on the Jones Mountain Trail.

Need to Know

No restroom at Graves Mill Trail parking area. Good before/after hike stops are the Sheetz gas station at corner of SR 29 and SR 230, or the Wolftown Mercantile Country Store on SR 230 at 662. Follow 662 from Wolftown on Graves Mill Road, turn right on Graves Road over the one-lane bridge to stay on 662, follow to trailhead at the end of the road. Only 8-10 spaces, with a big mudhole in the middle after rain, usually overflowing on weekends, so a weekday is the best bet for this hike.

Description

This 8-mile out-and-back hike makes use of three trails to reach the Bear Church Rock viewpoint. Starting from the parking lot at the trailhead of the Graves Mill Trail at the edge of Shenandoah National Park, the first 0.5 miles along the Rapidan River is the easy warm-up portion. Turn left at the post on the Staunton River Trail, which begins going uphill in an earnest, although still moderate fashion.

Follow the trail for 2.3 miles, enjoying the several water features along the way. Several side tributaries are easily crossed, often dry or muddy, but possibly with one or two rock hops during the wet season. Arriving at the post, turn left on the Jones Mountain Trail, being sure to stop for a water break. To this point I would not rate the difficulty higher than Intermediate.

However, the final 1.2 miles to reach Bear Church Rock are much more difficult than the rest of the hike, following a steep uphill singletrack. Along this 1.2 mile stretch, turn left at the first post and bear right at the second post to stay on Jones Mountain Trail (go left at the second post to reach Jones Mountain Cabin). A short access path forks off to the right at 1.2 miles to the rocky viewpoint. The actual summit is 0.2 miles further, but there is no big view there, only a few more rocks.

Enjoy your snack and return the way you came. Allow 4-7 hours for this hike, depending on your uphill pace and fitness, and take plenty of water.

Flora & Fauna

Ferns, rhododendron tunnel

Contacts

Shared By:

J H

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2084

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
100%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#62

in Virginia

#2,084

Overall
15 Views Last Month
37 Since Oct 1, 2022
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
0%
100%
0%
0%

Photos

A creek crossing made up of large rocks and boulders.
Jun 10, 2016 near Madison, VA
View from Bear Church Rock with weather approaching.
Oct 1, 2022 near Madison, VA
Heading up the Staunton River Trail.
Jun 30, 2016 near Madison, VA
A relatively smooth trail surface.
Jun 30, 2016 near Madison, VA
A shaded stretch below the canopy.
Jun 30, 2016 near Madison, VA
Coming up on the rocky creek crossing.
Jun 10, 2016 near Madison, VA

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started.