Hike Hawksbill Mountain

Hawksbill Mountain Parking Area

Distance

1.7 Miles

Elevation Gain

800 Feet

Activities

Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Elyse Clark

Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

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.

Laila G

over 2 years 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!!

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.

Distance

1.7 Miles

Elevation Gain

800 Feet

Activities

Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Elyse Clark

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