Shenandoah National Park: Bear Church Rock Part 1

This weekend we went hiking to Bear Church Rock in Shenandoah National Park’s Central District. It is a shuttle trail, and including a detour to Jones Mountain Cabin, was 11 miles.

Staunton River

The trail starts at Graves Mill parking lot and follows Graves Mill Trail alongside Rapidan River for 0.5 miles. You then turn left onto Staunton River Trail, which winds by Staunton River for 1.7 miles.

Staunton River

The river features a series of cascades as well as pools that you can swim or fish in. We saw a couple people fly fishing. These first 2.3 miles are relatively flat and easy to hike and also appear to be popular for walking dogs, trail running, and horseback riding.

There were a few flowers by the Staunton River Trail.


Fall Phlox

Fall Phlox, Garden Phlox, or Phlox paniculata, is a member of the Phlox family (Polemoniaceae) and blooms July to October. It can be found in the eastern and central United States in open woods and thickets. See the pink version of this flower last week. They bloom white to pink, or lavender.

Spotted St. John's Wort

Spotted St. John’s Wort

Spotted St. John’s Wort, or Hypericum punctatum, is a member of the St. John’s Wort family (Hypericaceae) and blooms June to August. A native wildflower, if grows in eastern North America. It is particularly attractive to bees.

They can either be pale yellow, as seen here, or bright yellow.


Sensitive Partridge Pea

Sensitive Partridge Pea, or Chamaecrista nictitans, is a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae) and blooms July to September. A native plant, it grows throughout the eastern and southern U.S. near rivers or ponds, in thickets, prairies, and along roadsides. The peas are eaten by several types of birds and the flower attracts bugs, spiders, and pollinators.

Continue to Part 2

One Reply to “Shenandoah National Park: Bear Church Rock Part 1”

  1. […] 7 miles. You start from the Graves Mill parking lot, the same place you start when going to Bear Church Rock, but instead of turning up the hill, you just continue walking along the river. On this sunny warm […]

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