Hawksbill Gap Loop is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Syria, VA that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and birding and is accessible from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Definitely a big difference in steepness depending on which way you go. I didn't see as many views on the loop as I'd read about. Maybe too many leaves still on the trees. Great view at the top though for sure.
Its is pretty up there. We took the longer hike than the short but stiff... We had a great time...
The loop made it more interesting including some of the A.T.. I even think the loop was easier due to the fact that the other route has the biggest incline on the way up. When you do the loop you are going down that incline on the way out. At the summit there are some neat compasses that show you which mountains you are looking at. For the loop... take the trail on the right from the parking place. That trail will lead you to the A.T. head south which will be your left. Then you'll see a fork in the trails. Take the one on the left to salamander trail, and it will take you to the summit.
Beautiful view from the peak. Well worth the hike. We did this in the clockwise route, getting the steep ascent out of the way first thing. This is how I would recommend doing this trail. Watch your step when you get to the rock crossings, some will teeter totter when you step on them. We also went the extra .4 mi on the AT to Rock Spring Hut, this is a nice quiet place to take a break. The trail is well maintained and highly used. Get there early if you want a parking spot!
Gorgeous views for a fairly quick hike! Loved the rocky top
100% incline (100% of the time). nice view
Good hike, but not a ton to see. If you want a steeper climb up and a more gradual way down, start up the trail immediately behind the trailhead sign (Hawksbill Gap parking area) - it will go up about .8 miles to the summit (pretty steep), then take the Salamander trail around the back side of the mountain, connect to the AT, and come back via the spur to the parking area. For a more gradual climb up (approx 2 miles up to summit, then .8 down), start counter-clockwise on the spur to the AT, then up Salamander, and down the main Hawksbill trail. I thought the rock slide areas on the AT were pretty neat, and I enjoyed seeing the succulents grow in that area. The Salamander trail is also the only area of the park where you may be able to see a Shenandoah Salamander, a species only found in SNP.
Very small trail and easy best with family, even 3, 4 years old kids enjoy.
Beautiful view from the top of the peak and around the trail.
We did the A.T.-Hawksbill Loop (see the NPS-Shenandoah page), and it was a good time. Nice, steady ascent throughout the hike, but nothing too complicated. The trail was quiet, well maintained, and offered scenic views on the way. Definitely a nice, moderate trail that is good for family-hikes.
Beautiful view at the top but a boring and not so challenging hike up. Didn't feel earned or a "we made it and it was worth it" sensation.
Views are fantastic, still no bear sightings......
Took the AT to Salamander trail on the way in, and it was beautiful the whole way. A few good views on the way up with nice & quiet forest in between, and the elevation change was pretty gradual. The summit itself had great views and was a worthy payoff. There was a day use shelter with a picnic table near the summit, perfect spot to break for lunch.
Taking the recommended (short 1 mi.) route to the top was a mistake. We were at the summit in no time and it didn't feel like we had earned it... too quick! The views at the summit were very nice, and we took the Salamander Trail down, which was much more scenic. I would recommend taking the Salamander Trail up to the summit rather than the shorter A Trail recommended on the sign at the trailhead.
Nice trail with good/hard climb at the beginning when doing the loop clockwise. Great views at top.
Great trail with a destination. I'd definitely recommend going up via the loop per the sign at the trailhead. Amazing views up there.