Past Meetup

AT ‘Roller Coaster', Bears Den Rocks, Lookout Point, Buzzardl Hill! A Stren 9 Mi

This Meetup is past

10 people went

Price: $5.00 /per person

AT Hike (VA Out & Back): Roller Coaster & Buzzard Hill (Half of AT Coaster) with Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group! A Strenuous 9 Miles

Directions: Click the link under “Directions to the Trailhead” located near the end of the event listing. The linked page has location/direction details, driving/parking info, including where to Meetup after you arrive. · , VA

How to find us

Use the link provided under the paragraph heading “Directions to the Trailhead” located near the bottom of the event posting. It provides important information such as directions to the event, where we Meetup after you arrive, and other helpful info.

Location image of event venue


Hike Along the Appalachian Trail (AT): Featuring A Section of the Infamous AT “Roller Coaster,” Bears Den Rocks, Lookout Point, and Buzzard Hill! A Strenuous 9-Mile Hike with Optional Post Hike Meal

Take note that while this hike is in Virginia, it is ONLY 1.5 hours away from DC, making this hike 1.25 hours less of a drive than Skyline Drive and SNP.

This stretch of the AT seesaws in and out of a succession of hollows and over numerous side ridges as it crosses through an area once dominated by Confederate Col. John Singleton Mosby. During the Civil War, Mosby and his troops, the Confederate Rangers (also known as Mosby's Confederacy), lived in farmhouses throughout this area. Mosby's reputation for eluding Union soldiers earned him the nickname The Grey Ghost. The AT climbs to several high lookouts that make it easy to see how someone familiar with the terrain could keep an undetected eye on the enemy.

Several steep, rocky ascents make this one of the most difficult sections of the AT in the northern half of Virginia. There are excellent views of the Shenandoah Valley, from Bears Den Rocks, Lookout point, and Buzzard Hill, while the dark, cool Fent Wiley Hollow includes a great variety of mature timber and a chance to cool down before climbing the next hill.

The trail intersects several creeks throughout the section. At about mile four, the AT begins a 500-foot climb up to the summit of the spectacular Buzzard hill. As you climb, look, and, more importantly, listen, for passing owls, which are known to shelter in the dim hollow.

At the top of Buzzard Hill, a side trail on the right leads 40 yards to a rocky ledge. The mountainous view to the West makes a perfect backdrop for lunch or just a spot to rest for a bit as shown below…

Trail Information

Nearby City: Bluemont, VA
Length: 9 total miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Scenery: Mountain Woodlands, Buzzard Hill, AT Roller Coaster, steep slopes, farmland views
Exposure: Mostly shady, less so during wintertime
Trail Surface: Chiefly dirt and rocks (both loose and embedded); some grassy patches
Skill Level: Strenuous
Elevation: ~3,750 feet of total vertical gain
Natural History Features: Bears Den Rocks; Lookout Point; Buzzard Hill
Facilities: None
Spring Locations for Water: 0.6, 3.6, 5.6 Mile Points and then Return Trip

Hiker Note: At about Mile 4.0 is the Tomblin Hill Ant Hill – DO NOT STOP HERE

Park Entry Fee
There is no park entrance fee.

Gear Suggestions
Click Here ( for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.

Weather Information
We hike rain or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.

Hike Pace
The goal for this hike is to maintain an average moving pace of ~ 2.5 mph. This speed is frequently used in popular hiking publications to represent the pace of an average hiker. We welcome you to please sign up for another hike if you know that this is not a comfortable pace for you. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.

Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here ( to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.

Carpool Suggestions and Information

Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and places are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the 'Comments' section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and offerings.

Baltimore Area Carpool Suggestion - Savage Station
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore area, people can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click Here ( for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Savage Station location.

DC Area Carpool Suggestion - Centreville
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, people can arrange to meet at the Centreville Park and Ride. Click Here ( for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Centreville Park and Ride location.

If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here ( for a list of suggested carpool locations complete with directions and other details including other carpool information. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment — by just offering a ride!

Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions ( to Where We Meet for This Hike!

Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 9:45-9:55 a.m.

The Hike is at 10:00 a.m.

Carpool Time from Savage Station — 8:30 a.m.

Carpool Time from Centreville Park and Ride — 8:00 a.m.

Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette ( Leave No Trace ( principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer (!/) as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission ( Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, ( and donations ARE tax deductible ( Tax ID:[masked] (

Fido is Only Welcome with Prior Hike Leader Approval Due to the Hike Terrain and Overall Difficulty

Please take the hike leader(s) number with you and enjoy the hike!


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