Hawksbill Summit Trail is a 1.7 mile out and back trail located near Syria, VA that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Tallest peak in Shenandoah, nothing to see until summit, then 360 degree view. This trail is steep for nearly the entire hike. You are well inside the tree line for the entire hike, so there is not much to see. Once you reach the byrd shelter the views abound, and just another 100 feet or so, you reach the summit overlook, a beautiful 360 degree view. The NPS has a stone overlook built on the summit, so it's easy to know when you have gotten there. It's a tough walk but worth it. Within an hour you can bag the tallest peak in Shenandoah! There is an alternate version of this hike that is a loop. The hike described in this report is an out an back route.
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.
Definitely a great hike! 2 year old hiked up most of the way, while exploring every nook and cranny of the trail
We did this trail at the end of August. This trail is nothing but woods the entire way up and it goes up up up. There is no views on the way up just enclosed in forest really. Can be buggy in spots. But once you get to the summit wow 360 degree views over jutting rocks. pretty awesome. threw down a few yoga poses and enjoyed the breeze and views. loved. Wildflowers and butterflies where everywhere on the top. great hike would not miss if i was visiting Shenandoah.
Steep hike, but worth it to see the beautiful view at the top.
well worth the hike
Don't let the short distance fool you, for a non-athlete weekend hiker the ascent is definitely strenuous (steep) but the summit payoff wipes away the sweat immediately and is totally worth it. Lots of jutting rocks at the top make for great pics. Even on a crowded Labor Day weekend, there's plenty to see and plenty of room up there.
My family and I went to Shenandoah almost every year and this was my first major hike with them. I was 7 and still remember the amazing view. highly recommend making the time to hiking to the summit!!
steep up hill climb but worth the view. climb down the rocks at the top for a great pic
Awesome hike! Very steep but I enjoy the strenuous and advanced hikes! The view at the top was amazing!!
Check out the Cedar run trail across the street!!
Amazing! I kept on stopping every couple minutes to catch my breath because of the steep hike (it wasn't a bad hike, I was just out of shape). The view at the top was definitely worth it. Scared of heights but this was FUN! Loved the view.
Awesome hike. Payoff at the summit is amazing! One of the best views I've ever seen. Me and a friend did this yesterday, it was our last hike of the day. Right from the start it was up hill and tested our grit. Saw a bobcat about ten minutes in and it was only about 50 to 60 feet away!
We did this hike with our family and it was totally worth it once we got to the summit. We had a nice age range of people with us and this was very accessible for all of us. Overall a great hike.
This short hike take you to the tallest point in the shenandoah Nation park. Awesome views and the kids loved the rocks at the top. Check out my full review which includes directions and other things to look out for.
Great hike. Short but challenging at the end, and great spots to enjoy the view from.
This is a relatively quick and easy hike and the view is great. Start at the upper Hawksbill parking. Hike along the ridge for more spectacular views.
A great hike . I won't discredit the views at the top and the occasional chance to see a peregrine falcon or two cruising around in the up drafts. However, if you do not look at the trail map in the parking lot and do the straight up walk to the summit, then it's not worth it . In that case I would suggest another hike with less of a linear path from point a to b . But if you take the connection to the AT then the trail seems a lot better and like VIEWER said its a lot less gradual and certainly not linear line to the top.