gem icon Hawksbill Mountain Summit

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Getting to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain will require some effort, but for the intrepid explorers who make the journey, the rewards are one of a kind. The summit is the highest point in the park, and from the top, unobstructed views of the Shenandoah Valley abound, though, on some summer days, smog and air pollution from neighboring cities may limit the visibility from the peak.

Take your time to take in the views from here, and enjoy a picnic in Byrd’s Nest #2, one of the many shelters constructed by senator Harry Byrd. The stone shelter is a scenic spot, and visitors won’t want to miss having a snack, or taking a short rest in or around the structure. Take in the scenery, enjoy the northern forests, and keep a look out for the Shenandoah Salamander, a unique and fiery orange inhabitant of the summit!

While on the summit, visitors will enter a unique ecosystem. Boreal forests cover the top of the peak, and the balsam fir and red spruce inhabiting the area are uniquely suited for cool, wet environments such as those found in New England. These species have adapted specially to this summit and are therefore fragile. Please treat them with respect!

A picnic at the Byrd's Nest in conjunction with the views from the summit make a visit to Hawksbill an unforgettable experience for everyone from day trippers to AT through-hikers. You're not likely to enjoy a better view of the Shenandoah Valley anywhere else!

Short Hike: Visitors have many options to reach the summit, all of which involve a bit of hiking. A mile-long trip is possible via the Hawksbill Trail/Byrds Nest #2 Road, or the more strenuous Salamander Trail. Visitors looking for a longer journey can take the Upper Hawksbill Trail, or can start from the Hawksbill Gap, and ascend via the Lower Hawksbill Trail.

Family Friendly: Kids will love the sense of achievement they gain from hiking to the highest point in the park. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the top!

Gem Type: Viewpoint

Shared by:
Mikhaila Redovian


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4.0 from 2 votes

Your Check-Ins


Mar 15, 2017
Adara Hotaling
Mar 10, 2017
Nicole Crisp
Mar 5, 2017
Chris McCloud
Did as part of loop on all Hawksbill trails (AT-Salamander-Upper Hawksbill-Lower Hawksbill)
Feb 8, 2017
Hillary W
Nov 5, 2016
Lindsie Wilson
Go at sunset
Oct 28, 2016
James Rathkopf
Sep 25, 2016
Frank Kuzminski
Linked with the White Oak Canyon-Cedar Ridge loop through Lower Hawksbill parking lot
Aug 12, 2016
Juan Valencia

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Shared by Mikhaila Redovian on May 18, 2016. All Page Views: 401. Last Month: 64.