Wed, December 11, 2013 • Cloudy, and 23 ° F.
Bear Rock Trail
Highlights: stunning views, hawks and other raptors
Length: 0.5 miles (round trip)
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Trailhead: To reach the Bear Rock trailhead from Dungannon, follow Rte 72 north for 7.7 miles, then turn left onto Retford Rd (Rte 664.) After 0.4 miles, take a slight left at Corder Town Rd/Quartertown Rd. Follow Corder Town Rd. for 0.8 miles, then turn left onto Forest Road (Rte 700). Follow Forest Rd. for 1.3 miles, then take a slight left onto Rte 701. The trailhead is about a quarter mile down the road on the left.
View a larger version of the trail map (524 kb, jpg).
This short but stunning hike gives you sweeping views across Little Stony Creek Gorge. At the peak of fall colors, the view can take your breath away, and if you watch for a few minutes you're bound to see a circling Turkey Vulture or hawk.
From the parking area, hike through Mountain Laurel and short, windswept pines to the overlook --- Bear Rock. The hike is level and easy, but at the end care should be taken not to trip on deep fissures between the rocks. Visitors with children or dogs should be aware that the sheer rock cliff at the overlook has no guard rails or signs.
Bear Rock was originally named "Dan Ramey Bear Cliff" after a trapper who caught two bear cubs on this spot. The new, shortened name is a more accurate representation of the wildness of spot, a favorite for romantic getaways. The last time I walked the trail, I stumbled across a man on bended knee proposing to his wife-to-be!
If you have time, consider driving an addiitonal half mile down Rte 701 to see Little Stony Falls.