Make sure you don't confuse it with Upper Hawksbill on the way back. Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Hiking up was tiring because it is steep. It goes to the peak of Hawksbill Mountain, and the views are beautiful from there. Saved by Andr é. This trail starts in the parking lot at milepost 45.6. Though you could opt for an out-and-back to the overlook, this loop links the Lower Hawksbill and Salamander Trails with the Appalachian Trail - an excellent option for the entire family. Required fields are marked *. Wear hiking boots and bring some water as well as a camera. Bird’s Nest Shelter #2 | 38.5552654, -78.3965896, Maps: We’ve explored Shenandoah quite a bit, but there are many hikes we haven’t made it to.  The southern district springs to mind, as we usually frequent the closer north and central districts.  There are hikes that we haven’t done that are (according to popular opinion) some of the best the park has to offer.  If you search for best hikes in Shenandoah, Hawksbill is usually on the list. Other hikers dotted the summit. Hawksbill Franklin Cliffs - SNP, Virginia Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping 9.2 mls Hiking Time: Elev. Go south three miles on Highway 181 to Gingercake Road (the second intersection with Gingercake Rd.). We will begin by hiking up the Upper Hawksbill Trail, enjoy exploring the summit, and make our way down using the Salamander Trail to the AT. Hawksbill Map (NPS) Rose River Loop Trail - 4 mile circuit from Fishers Gap, moderate, shady trail with streams, cascades, and a waterfall. Hawksbill Gap trail. From the north end of the Hawksbill Gap parking area at mile . Note: Round trip hikes proceed to a destination and return by the same 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 . Only word of caution is to watch the edge closely as some parts of the area are quite steep. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. If you've got hiking poles in the car, you may want to grab them. 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. Hawksbill is very popular spot, at the trailhead it's hard to find regular parking spot, just park at road side; plan to spend 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours on the trail and reserve 10-20 minutes at the peak to enjoy the view at the highest point of Shenandoah mountain-4051 feet. 2.9 miles – Loop… The first 2 can be combined. As we hiked on the trail, we saw various salamander testing “stations.”  We wondered how the park service was conducting their research.  I scanned the trail for salamanders as we hiked, but didn’t manage to find any.  This brought back great childhood memories of finding salamanders in the Great Smokey Mountains with my dad.  We’d explore creeks and flip over rocks to find them, admire them, and then let them on their way. When you trek the outside of the mountain you get views of the toward the valley. See this Tour and others like it, or plan your own with komoot! Hawksbill Gap Loop. A 2.6 mile moderate trail in Shenandoah National Park: Hawksbill Gap Loop with segments on the Appalachian Trail, Salamander Trail and Hawksbill Trails. your own Pins on Pinterest 45.5, take the short connector trail to the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). The 3rd starts at the Upper Hawksbill parking lot at mm 46.5 and is 1.7 mi round trip and 520' gain.All of them end at the viewing Platform. Elevation Gain: 860 feet / 262 meters It is 1.7 mi and 690' in gain. Short and sweet, this run packs a punch with an average ascent of over 300 feet per mile, with spectacular waterfalls along much of the route. Circuit hikes begin and end at the same point without retracing steps. Your email address will not be published. At this point, our solitude abruptly came to an end.  Other hikers dotted the summit.  We knew all the traffic we’d seen at the parking lot would catch up to us eventually.  Expect it to be crowded in the summer and on the weekend, especially for a relatively easy hike with big payoff. A hike to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain will not only put you at the highest point in Shenandoah National Park (4050'), but you'll have a 270 degree view perfect for a sunset. 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 return from the summit is more mellow and covers a nice section of the Appalachian Trail. The rocky parts are fun and tempt scramblers but don't be reckless. This blue-blazed hike is more rocky to start and begins with a mild descent. I recommend this hike. It’s always invigorating leaving DC and entering Shenandoah.  Somehow the mountains simultaneously relax and energize me, and make me want to live closer to the park.  Hasn’t happened yet though. We hiked the Hawksbill Gap Loop via the Appalachian Trail from the Hawksbill gap parking area. When returning from the summit, after you pass the shelter bear right rather than return the way you came. Saturday, March 7: Hawksbill Loop, 4.3 miles moderate. Meet at the Verona Park and Ride at 8:30 or Massanutten Presbyterian Church on Rt 33 at 9:00 Hawksbill Gap Loop . Hawksbill Loop Hike. Discover (and save!) From there, the loop ascends the summit of the mountain and returns along the same route as the Hawksbill Summit Trail. The view at the top was nice but you have to want to do this harder hike. This trail is very rocky in places, and the descent from the summit is steep. 38.55562, -78.38655 Hike Trails Map The first half of this circuit is a forest walk that passes 2 feeder streams for Rose River, and the second is vista after vista from both the Appalachian Trail and Hawksbill Summit. We turned left onto the AT, and started a slow ascent.  It was pretty easy going – in fact, most of this trail was easy, despite the fact that it leads to the highest point in the park.  Soon the trail reached one of our favorite features: Talus Fields.  There are three talus slopes (also called boulder fields) that feature rocks covering the hillside.  All the fields come in succession, with only a bit of forest in between.  We stopped and admired them, and thought of the effort it probably was to create a trail going through the boulder field.  We wondered what natural processes had created these features. The elevation gain. 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. Hemlock Springs … Water: No water features Directions to Parking at Hawksbill Gap (Mile 45.5 on Skyline Drive): Google Maps … Additionally, word has it that sunrises and sunsets over the Linville Gorge are spectacular. 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. Hawksbill viewed from Big Meadows . The hike was tough but rewarding with great views. Just stick with the blue trail. The ascent was steep and slippery in the snow, making its way quickly to the Hawksbill summit. At 4,050 feet, Hawksbill Mountain is the highest peak in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. Crowds: A ton at the top, and on the descent, but not a lot on the AT or Salamander Trail. Hawksbill Summit Loop Trail Distance: 2.8 miles / 4.5 kilometers roundtrip Time: 2 hours, including a snack break at the top Type: Loop Elevation Gain: 860 feet / 262 meters Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Crowds: A ton at the top, and on the descent, but not a lot on the AT or Salamander Trail. After getting our fill, we grabbed a snack while fighting off pesky insects, and then headed back on the Lower Hawksbill Trail.  This is the trail that the majority of people take, so it was much more crowded than our ascent on the AT.  We ran into quite a few people who aren’t regular hikers, so be patient.  Otherwise, the trail itself was nothing special, beyond some columbine we found on the way down.  After a quick mile, we were back at the trailhead. Hawksbill Loop Hike. Hawksbill Map (KTNP) 2.9 miles – Loop; 850′ gain; Moderate We parked at Hawksbill Gap parking and headed up Lower Hawksbill Trail. 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