Hike Hawksbill Mountain

Virginia Hawksbill Mountain Parking Area

Added by Elyse Clark

  • Tallest point in Shenandoah National Park
  • 270 degree views
  • Great for sunset photography

A hike to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain will not only put you at the highest point in Shenandoah National Park (4050'), but you'll have a 270 degree view perfect for a sunset.

This moderate hike is located at MP 45.6 on the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, so you'll have to pay a $20 entrance fee (valid for 7 days) per car to enter the park if you don't have an annual pass. There is a helpful trail map at the parking lot to assist you in choosing your ascent route.

This link will also help: nps.gov

The trail on the right of the parking lot is a moderate, but very scenic hike along the Appalachian Trail to the summit (via the Salamander Trail). The trail out of the center of the parking lot is a VERY steep and the most direct trail to the summit called the "Lower Hawksbill Trail".

The Lower Hawksbill Trail climbs straight up the mountain, and you ascend 800 feet in 0.85 miles. The trail emerges from the woods at the summit, and the Byrds Nest Shelter (day use) will be on your right. Continue past the shelter to the stone platform on the summit of the mountain.

Views to the west are of Massanutten Mountain, to the north is Stony Man Mountain and northern Shenandoah, and the rocky peak to the east is Old Rag Mountain. Find a perch on the rocky outcrop and have a picnic or watch the sunset. Once done admiring the view, simply retrace your steps back down to the car to complete the 1.7 mile round trip hike.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hiking shoes
  • Camera
  • A light jacket
  • $20 for entrance fee
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Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

1.7 Miles

Elev. Gain:

800 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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How to Get There

19 days ago

Great View!

This is the tallest mountain in Shenandoah National Park and has a great west facing view, which makes it ideal for watching the sunset (just remember to bring your head lamp). This is also a great place to view and photography birds riding the thermals.

19 days ago

2 months ago

Worth The Uphill Hike

Hike is incredibly uphill, so if you have bad knees forewarning. That said, the view is so worth it so keep pushing!!

2 months ago

3 months ago

Twice as Nice!

I went there twice this past summer. I did both the Appalachian Trail/Salamander Trail and the short uphill hike straight from the parking lot. Both are amazing. The views are gorgeous for both sunrise and sunset.

3 months ago

4 months ago

Best view in Shenandoah!

The hike is short and sweet -- my go to day hike when I'm short on time but want to get in a breathtaking view. As the highest accessible point in Shenandoah National Park, the view never fails -- whether in the summer with blue skies, green and flowery in the spring, bright with autumn colors in the fall, or snow covered in the winter!

4 months ago

5 months ago

Easy and Wonderful

Very easy short trail that leads to an incredible view! Great for families with little kids too.

5 months ago

10 months ago

Great sunset spot in Shenandoah

This is a great hike for viewing the sunset in Shenandoah. You can take the 3 mile loop hike (via the Appalachian Trail - to the right at the parking lot) counterclockwise - getting to the summit for sunset and then taking the steeper and shorter Lower Hawksbill trail on the way down in the dark.

10 months ago

10 months ago

One of the best hikes in the park

Always enjoy this one (except for the steep part right before the end) - the views are hard to beat! It's also nice to connect this with the Upper Hawksbill loop for a longer hike :)

10 months ago

12 months ago

Hike To The Peak Of SNP!

Very rewarding hike! Watch for bears if you're doing a sunrise/sunset hike. We ran into a momma and a couple Cubs on our hike back following the sunset.

12 months ago

Added by Elyse Clark

Explorer. Hiker. Photographer.

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