Hawksbill Trail/Byrds Nest #2 Road
ElevationAscent: 458' 140 m
Descent: -2' -1 m
High: 4,037' 1,230 m
Low: 3,579' 1,091 m
GradeAvg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 16% (9°)
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“This is the fire road for the Byrds Nest Shelter No. 2, located at the summit on Hawksbill Mountain.”— Larry W. Brown
Family Friendly A bit longer, though more mellow than some ascents to the Hawksbill Summit, this is a great way to observe a changing ecosystem as elevation is gained.
The fire road also intersects with the Upper Hawksbill Trail, which will be on the right. Keep going straight on the fire road.
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, the Lower Hawksbill Trail goes to Hawksbill Gap, at mile 45.6 along the Skyline Drive. Continue ahead 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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ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna
Land Manager: NPS - Shenandoah National Park