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Hawksbill Mountain Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.4 (39) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This 2.7-mile loop takes you directly to the peak and then takes a less aggressive way back down.


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Map Key

2.7

Miles

4.3

KM

Loop

4,027' 1,227 m

High

3,390' 1,033 m

Low

608' 185 m

Up

649' 198 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

24%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This 2.7-mile loop takes you directly to the peak on the Hawksbill Summit Trail and then takes the less aggressive Salamander Trail back down to the AT for a return to the parking lot on the Hawksbill Gap Trail. The Hawksbill Mountain is the largest peak in the park and the 360° views at the top are some of the best to be found in the park.

Description

This loop starts with the Hawksbill Summit Trail that begins at the Lower Hawksbill Parking lot. The trailhead is a large white oak tree and from that point going forward this is an extremely steep 1.5-mile journey to the peak. At the top, you'll reach the day use shelter and the extremely photogenic "Byrds Nest" is just 50' past that.

After resting your legs at the top, you start descending for 300' on the Upper Hawksbill Trail until you reach the post marking the Salamander Trail that starts on the right. This trail leads back out to the ridge line for more magnificent views before dropping down into the valley. After about 0.8 miles, you'll reach the AT and follow that out of the forest and along a rocky ridge. There are a couple of spots where you are actually hiking on rocks so be careful with your footing.

After the rocky area, you'll go back into some forest until you reach a fork. Take a right onto the Hawksbill Gap Trail, which will lead you back to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Typical Shenandoah Park flora and fauna.

Contacts

Shared By:

Larry W. Brown

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 39 votes

#226

Overall
  4.4 from 39 votes
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4 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#9

in Virginia

#226

Overall
333 Views Last Month
9,970 Since Mar 9, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Panoramic from the top of Hawksbill Mtn.
Mar 13, 2016 near Stanley, VA
Views from the summit of Mt. Hawksbill.
Dec 10, 2015 near Stanley, VA
Let out a well-deserved celebration on Hawksbill Summit (4,050ft).
Mar 9, 2017 near Stanley, VA
The observation platform on Hawksbill Mountain, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park, elevation 4,050 feet.
Apr 2, 2016 near Stanley, VA
Hawksbill Summit looking north.
Jun 1, 2016 near Stanley, VA
Looking West from Hawksbill Summit.
Sep 23, 2016 near Stanley, VA

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Check-Ins

Sep 5, 2020
Cody K
2.7mi
Sep 5, 2020
Chris Stuard
2.7mi — 2h 00m
Aug 9, 2020
Leisa Yager Cave
Aug 8, 2020
Daniel McCloskey
Jul 28, 2020
Kyungmin K
Jul 23, 2020
Ryant L
Jul 19, 2020
Chris Ferrone
Jun 21, 2020
Caitlin Larsen
The loop starts with a pretty good incline, has great views about a third of the way, and then a nice winding trail back.