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greenBlue Upper Hawksbill Ascent

  4.3 ( 15 ) Favorite


2.2 mile 3.5 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 412' 126 m
Descent: -411' -125 m
High: 4,036' 1,230 m
Low: 3,661' 1,116 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)


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Trail shared by Larry W. Brown

A fairly easy trail to a fire road which leads to great views at the highest point in Shenandoah.

Larry W. Brown

Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Kids will love the great views from the highest point in the park.


This trail to the Hawksbill Summit involves less climbing than any of the other trails to Hawksbill, and is intermediate in distance.


From the Upper Hawksbill parking area, located at mile 46.7 along the Skyline Drive, the trail goes into the woods from the bulletin board. After a short steep stretch you have a steady, easy climb through a young oak forest. Two-thirds of a mile from the start, the trail dead-ends and intersects with a fire road (the Hawksbill Trail/Byrds Nest #2 Road). Turn right; (to the left, the fire road goes about half a mile back to the Skyline Drive at mile 47.1).

After another quarter of a mile, the blue-blazed Salamander Trail on the left goes about 0.8 mile to the Appalachian Trail; to the right, Lower Hawksbill Trail goes to Hawksbill Gap, at mile 45.6 along the Skyline Drive. Continue on the fire road to the Byrds Nest shelter, then go another 75 yards to the observation platform on the summit.

The summit on Hawksbill is at elevation 4,050 feet, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park. There's a broad view here. At the far left is the town of Stanley; just to the right of it, and much closer, is the rounded crest of Nakedtop, with cliffs on its right-hand slope. To the right of Nakedtop is Buracker Hollow, with the town of Ida at its mouth. From Ida, a ridge rises toward the right to the angle at Millers Head, then to the rounded summit of Bushytop. The high point, with rocky cliffs on its left face, is Stony Man. Further right and closer, down below you, is Crescent Rock. Still farther right, in the distance, is the rocky summit of Old Rag.

Please note that camping is not permitted on or near Hawksbill summit.

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Jul 6, 2019
Kris Schwambach
great trail to the highest point it was great 2.2mi
Jun 20, 2019
Jonathan Zalewski
2.1mi — 1h 01m
May 2, 2019
Jesse Daniels
Apr 29, 2019
J Taylor
Apr 29, 2019
Alicia Crain
Worth it for the view on a clear day! 2.2mi
Feb 9, 2019
Rodrigo Fass
Nov 10, 2018
Daniel Roberts
Oct 27, 2018
Julia DeVito
Cloudy 2.2mi

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 15 votes


  4.3 from 15 votes
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