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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

2.6

Miles

4.2

KM

Loop

4,025' 1,227 m

High

3,391' 1,034 m

Low

600' 183 m

Up

644' 196 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

24%

Max Grade (13°)

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 with improvements by J H

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 62 votes

#161

Overall
  4.4 from 62 votes
5 Star
48%
4 Star
45%
3 Star
5%
2 Star
2%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#7

in Virginia

#161

Overall
60 Views Last Month
13,406 Since Mar 9, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

View from Hawksbill Peak
Jun 3, 2022 near Stanley, VA
Let out a well-deserved celebration on Hawksbill Summit (4,050ft).
Mar 9, 2017 near Stanley, VA
View from the trail.
Jun 3, 2022 near Stanley, VA
Views from the summit of Mt. Hawksbill.
Dec 10, 2015 near Stanley, VA
Hawksbille summit view.
Oct 6, 2020 near Stanley, VA
Panoramic from the top of Hawksbill Mtn.
Mar 13, 2016 near Stanley, VA
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 26 days ago
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

May 14, 2024
graham elliott
Mar 16, 2024
Tom Muldowney
July 2023
Mar 5, 2024
Jacob Ayriss
Feb 18, 2024
Kari Edwards
Cold! 1 inch snow. Snow packed trail. Bluebird sky day
Nov 19, 2023
Ashley Zagari
Nov 4, 2023
Crystal Pierce
I'm hiking with Susan Norwood. — 9h 46m
Oct 21, 2023
Colleen Gebauer
Steep intro with gradual after main gem. Highest point is very busy — 1h 15m
Oct 21, 2023
Brooke Walczak
Steep start. There was a lot of people for the first part. Take the loop.
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