Hike Hawksbill Mountain
Virginia › Hawksbill Mountain Parking Area
Added by Elyse Clark
Tallest point in Shenandoah National Park270 degree viewsGreat 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.
- Hiking shoes
- A light jacket
- $20 for entrance fee
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
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
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.
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!
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.
More Adventures Nearby
Photograph Great Falls of the Potomac
Virginia / Great Falls of the Potomac
Viewing Great Falls is easy which makes this adventure great for all levels of adventurers. There is a ~$10 entrance fee, there you will receive a map of the park.
Hike Bear Church Rock via the Graves Mill Trail
Virginia / Graves Mill Parking Area
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.