dogs on leash
Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the state of Virginia. This national park is long and narrow, with the broad Shenandoah River and valley on the west side, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont on the east. Shenandoah's Blue Ridge Mountains are covered by hardwood forests that are home to tens of thousands of animals. The Skyline Drive and Appalachian Trail run the entire length of this narrow park that has more than 500 miles (800 km) of hiking trails along scenic overlooks and waterfalls of the Shenandoah River. The highest peak is Hawksbill Mountain at 4,051 feet (1,235 m).
Recommendation: Park at the Hawks Summit parking area on the west side of the road. When you see the large map at the trailhead, look to the right and hook up with the AT trail and take it up and around. Much easier grade, fewer people, prettier views. Make sure to break off to the left onto the Salamander trail. There is an AT cement marker with a metal band that points out the way to Hawks Summit. Head all the way up to the summit (past Byrd's nest #2), enjoy the rocky outlooks, and then take the Summit trail back down the steeper grade to the parking area. Makes for a great loop and bigger payoff.
Lauren L. on Fox Hollow Trail
Quick loop that will kick your glutes in gear with the incline that "doesn't stop!" Kidding! Not bad, just some uphill that keeps you working to close the loop!
Lauren L. on Sugarloaf Loop Trail
Easy trail, lovely at this time of year! The leaves were vibrant and contrasted amazingly with the bright blue sky. We started where these directions had us drive to at Rattlesnake point overlook. From there we started on the Appalachian trail and then turned left onto Piney trail, then left on pole bridge link trail, left onto Sugarloaf trail which looped us back to the Appalachian trail and back to our starting point. The trail is pretty clearly marked you just have to remember to keep turning left, therefore completing the loop. But we passed many people so I think others start from another way but we enjoyed this way which brought us downhill and then up to the top of the ridge on the Appalachian trail. The slope is very gradual making this a very simple hike.