Once at the top, the views were incredible. At the .65-mile mark, you’ll see a trail marker. Turn left here to pick up the southbound route. Should you be interested in only hiking Hawksbill Mountain, there is a short 2.6 mile loop also from Hawksbill Gap or you can just to the in and out to the summit . I started my hike just before sunrise and I had the trail to myself. In another few steps (.05-mile), there’s another opening to a viewing area on the left-hand side of the trail. Hawksbill can be easily hiked along Skyline Drive. From the Upper Hawksbill parking area (a much larger parking area than the Hawksbill Gap parking area, by the way), ascend along the shaded 2.1-mile out-and-back trail. Look to the right and you can see the mountains through the trees. Fees are $35 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. To return to the parking lot, re-trace your steps to the first trail marker and turn left to descend the steep and rocky Lower Hawksbill Trail. In a few more steps, the trail connects with the Lower Hawksbill Trail (the out-and-back trail for the Hawksbill Summit Hike). Make sure you don't confuse it with Upper Hawksbill on the way back. If you are coming from the North, you'll see that the trail starts on the right side of the road. #2: Hawksbill Loop Hike. Of course, the loop hike was longer both in distance and time hiked (it took me 1 hr, 20 mins to hike – the other two hikes each took me 50 minutes), but I liked that the elevation gains were more moderate and the scenery was more varied. Much like the loop hike, this dirt and gravel trail to the top has mild inclines, then flat sections. However, it’s worth noting that there are three routes to the top, and the shortest is not necessarily the least challenging. If you're short on time and still want to bag the 4,050ft Hawksbill summit, start the hike from the Hawksbill Gap parking area on Skyline Drive following the Lower Hawksbill Trail for a out and back 1.6 miles. This is a long and fairly rewarding hike to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain, the highest peak in the park, though I would recommend most visitors to do Hawksbill as a 2.5-mile loop hike starting at Hawksbill Gap. The boulder field is very cool and it’s nice to be able to see the mountains through the forest on the loop hike. This trail goes by Hawksbill and Hawksbill Spring. Shenandoah National Park is known for spectacular panoramic views along Skyline Drive, a 105-mile scenic byway that traverses the entire length of the park. Two repeats of this loop are an excellent prep for big western 100s. While there, look for the sundial built into the stone wall. By the third or fourth one you actually need to scramble across them to reach the dirt trail on the other side. This 2.8-mile loop hike shares a parking area with the Hawksbill Summit Hike. We took the Appalachian connector to the Salamander to the Lower loop. Again, you will encounter a mild incline, then a flat section, repeat. You can reach the summit in less than a mile, although you will be … The trail on the right is for the Hawksbill Loop Hike. I loved hiking this trail. For a shorter, but steeper, rockier route, from the Hawksbill Gap . You’ll also see a lot of yellow and purple wildflowers (in-season). Nearby Attractions: Luray-Hawksbill Greenway; Big Meadows Lodge; New Market Battlefield State Historical Park; Endless Caverns —STONY MAN LOOP— Length: 3.7-mile loop. This blue-blazed hike is more rocky to start and begins with a mild descent. 2.9 miles – Loop… You’ll also see a brown trail sign indicating that the summit (and an actual viewing platform) is 50 yards away. There are parking lots on both sides of the road, but many visitors make their own parking spot in the grass. Hawksbill mountain is the highest mountain in Shenandoah National Park, 4051' higher than the only other 4,000' mountain in the park, Stony Man 4,011'. We chose to do a 2.9 mile loop, recommended by the park website. ÖTp)¡ö²Ï9ù[÷ÑÂİõö×p³(úø"Ä=å®_«§ßpñø§Í§PÂÓğ¼ì|J{yÃËğ™Å¿/§Q(ò”�B+¶ÏQs¸z¿iêıÆxÖpH{oX±—. This route takes you along the Upper Hawksbill Trail to the Hawksbill Summit. Immediately, Byrds Nest Shelter #2 comes into view. The 2.6-mile Hawksbill Gap Loop begins with a 1.1-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail from the Hawksbill Gap Parking Area at Mile 45.6. The most popular hike (in my opinion, based on the number of hikers I saw on this trail) is the Hawksbill Summit Hike. Rte 1 is clockwise and called the Lower Hawksbill Trail or the Hawksbill Summit Hike. I noticed quite a few buzzing flies at the summit too, so be sure to bring along insect repellent. On the loop hike, I never felt out of breath on the way to the summit. 5. Hawksbill Gap Parking Area - Skyline Drive in Shenandoah. Upper Hawksbill to Hawksbill … Difficulty: Easy In a few more steps you’ll reach a second open boulder field, then a third section of mid-size rocks. From the Thornton Gap entrance, take Skyline Drive south for 15.2 miles to reach the parking area, on your right. Instead, you’ll notice a mild ascent, then a flat section, then a mild ascent (repeat, repeat). Hawksbill Gap Parking Area - Skyline Drive in Shenandoah. parking area at mile 45.5, take the Lower Hawksbill Trail to Byrds Nest 2 Shelter and then follow the trail to the viewing platform. Our first challenge was finding parking for this popular hike. From there, the loop ascends the summit of the mountain and returns along the same route as the Hawksbill Summit Trail. Turn left and Byrds Nest Shelter #2 comes into view. The trail out of the center of the parking lot is a VERY steep and the most direct trail to the summit called the "Lower Hawksbill Trail". This is a day-use shelter with a picnic table inside. At the 1.75-mile mark, the trail opens up on the left-hand side to a small, rocky viewpoint that is quite beautiful. These are the perfect place to stop and catch your breath on the way to the summit. Park at the Hawksbill Gap parking area (this is not the same as the Upper Hawksbill lot, which is just south). For post-hike refreshments and restrooms, Big Meadows Wayside is at mile marker 51. The hike. Directions. They were short, but you will need to catch your breath, no matter how fit you are. This hike begins from a higher elevation point, nearly 300 feet higher than the start of the previous two hikes to the summit. One of the best mountain drives in America. The viewing platform is at the 1.05-mile mark. Hiking | Shenandoah National Park: Hawksbill Summit Loop (WP414 - 453) | This *2.8-mile loop swings past talus fields, wildflowers, and a falcon nesting area, capping them off with a gob-smacking view from Shenandoah's highest peak. In 0.2 miles, take a left on the Cedar Run Trail and climb for 3 miles. Hawksbill Mountain: Nice, moderate, relatively short hike - See 142 traveler reviews, 136 candid photos, and great deals for Shenandoah National Park, VA, at Tripadvisor. This 2.1-mile out-and-back hike begins at the Upper Hawksbill parking area at mile marker 46.7. In late-fall, I imagine you can see the mountains much more clearly with less foliage. The hike to Hawksbill Summit at Shenandoah National Park is among the most popular in the park thanks to the relatively short distance to reach the park’s highest point (elevation 4,051 feet). From the Hawksbill Gap parking area, select the trail that leads off to the right for the 2.8-mile loop hike. Take the trail on the left-hand side, the Salamander Trail, which leads you to the summit. Here are three ways to get to the top: #1: Hawksbill Summit Hike. I recently had the chance to hike all three back to back to back. At the one-mile mark, you’ll see one more trail marker. From the Hawksbill Gap parking lot, one could simply hike uphill one fairly strenuous mile to reach the Byrd's Nest and reach the same climax as the full circuit however, doing the hike this way would cut out the views along the Franklin Cliffs part of the trail. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. Hawksbill Gap Parking is at the trailhead between mileposts... Read more. 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. In summer, it’s quite green, with lots of low-growth plants and ferns along either side of the trail. Both are good warm-ups for the main attraction. You can also reach the summit from the 1.7 mile Lower Hawksbill Trail or the 2.1 mile Upper Hawksbill Trail. The trailhead is located at mile marker 45.5 on Skyline Drive. At the top, there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the views. 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. Shortly, a trail marker appears as the trail intersection with the Appalachian Trail. Certainly, there are pros and cons to each route to the Hawksbill Summit. So unique, so many rocks. It is steeper and more strenuous than the Turn left here to pick up the southbound route. Shenandoah Overlook. It’s a very short drive from both parking areas. Hawksbill Loop Hike. Shortly, a trail marker appears as the trail intersection with the Appalachian Trail. In a few more steps, you are at a flat northwest-facing viewpoint. Hawksbill Mountain: Hike to Hawksbill - See 142 traveller reviews, 136 candid photos, and great deals for Shenandoah National Park, VA, at Tripadvisor. As a bonus, I had four bars with AT&T at the summit (I had no service on the hike to the top). Two starts at Hawksbill Gap parking area at mm 45.5. This is where the trail connects with the Lower Hawksbill Trail for the final ascent to the summit. In another .2-mile, you’ll see a couple of large, flat rocks on either side of the trail. Hawksbill Gap parking area on Skyline Drive: A Shenandoah National Park entry fee of $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, or $15 per person is valid for seven consecutive days. In fact, the 1.6-mile out-and-back Hawksbill Summit Hike is quite a steep trek up to the Hawksbill Viewing Platform. 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. It is 1.7 mi and 690' in gain. At the .7-mile mark, you’ll see a trail marker, but stay to the right to continue on to the summit. 1. 11/15/2017 Robin G. Robin G. This review is for Upper Hawksbill trail - the start of the trail is at mile marker 46.7 on Skyline Drive and it has its' own parking lot! Re-trace your steps to the return to the parking lot, turning right at the first trail marker, then veering left at the second trail marker to descend the relatively steep hill. At the .45-mile mark, you’ll notice a steep and massive boulder field on the left-hand side of the trail. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. Continue to the right to stay on the path to the summit. Hawksbill Gap Parking is at the trailhead between mileposts 45 and 46. If you've got hiking poles in the car, you may want to grab them. Re-trace your steps to the parking lot but watch your footing since the trail is quite steep and it can be easy to slide on small gravel rocks on the way down. The Lower Hawksbill Trail climbs straight up the mountain, and you ascend 800 feet in 0.85 miles. In some sections, you can definitely feel the burn. Retrace your steps to return to starting point. 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