• Activities:

    Swimming, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    8.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2250 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

A lesser-known, eight mile hike that will wind you along a gorgeous mountain river and then up to the summit of Bear Church Rock.

Starting at the Graves Mill Parking area, head up the yellow blazed trail that is marked by a big cement marker. The trail will follow closely beside the gorgeous Rapidan River. Hike for half a mile until you come to the intersection of the Staunton River Trail. Turn left (do not cross the river) and follow the trail for a little over two and a half miles to the intersection of the Jones Mountain Trail. Turn left on this trail and hike up a steep incline for half a mile to the next trail junction. Here, stay left on the Jones Mountain Trail. Keep hiking and you'll come to an amazing thicket of old mountain laurel that creates a canopy over your heads. 

After this you will come to an intersection where a side trail heads towards the Jones Mountain Cabin. This trail is a little over half a mile out and back. I did not do this trail but I've heard it's a cool area to see. 

If you choose to forgo the mountain cabin trail, keep hiking straight for another half a mile to the Bear Church Rock overlook. From this point, retrace your steps back down the mountain.

Another route to Bear Church Rock is via Bootens Gap

* Note: the Rapidan River is also one of the best rivers to catch native Brook Trout. If you fly fish be sure to bring your fly rod for the first half of the hike that winds beside the Rapidan River. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Water shoes & bathing suit if you plan to swim in the river
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Jess Fischer Explorer

A little adventurer with a big love for the great outdoors.

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