Upper Hawksbill Trail is a 2.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Syria, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
The Upper Hawksbill Trail is the easiest route to the summit of Hawksbill, which is the tallest mountain in Shenandoah National Park. From the parking lot, begin hiking from the Upper Hawksbill Trailhead. Like all park trails, the trail has blue blazes. The lower portion of the trail is very wide and well maintained and follows a gradual slope that makes for relatively easy hiking. The trail is heavily wooded, so no views are available, but wildlife sightings are possible. About three-fourths of the way up, the trail levels off and turns northwest for a few hundred yards. The trail actually goes slightly downhill before intersecting the Hawksbill fire road. Turn right on fire road, which heads northeast to the summit. The park fire road is steeper and rockier than the rest of the trail, so the hiking is more difficult. The first sign that you have reached the summit is a Byrd's Nest shelter. From the Byrd's nest, follow the signs to the summit, which has a stone observation platform. The views from the summit are well worth the hike, and include commanding views of Betty's Rock to the northeast, Old Rag Mountain to the east, and the Shenandoah Valley to the west. One could easily spend thirty to sixty minutes at the summit, so allow time to enjoy the view. To return to the parking lot, retrace your steps. We hiked this trail first thing in the morning on the Tuesday after Memorial Day and saw only two other groups of hikers on the trail and at the summit. The parking lot for the trail is fairly large, though, so traffic is probably heavier at other times.
I'd rate it a little more than moderate. The trail is steep and if you go the gravel way it's slippery- especially going back down. But the view at the top is lovely and the rocks are sturdy so you can rest on them and really enjoy your view and accomplishment. Will definitely be tackling again!
Steep hike, but worth it to see the beautiful view at the top.
Only hike where we allowed dogs. Views are better than any that you drive by on highway
Nice 1 hour hike with a beautiful view payoff.
Nice 1 hour hike with a good view payoff.
Nice, wide trail to the highest point in Shenandoah NP. Views are nice, but not the best in the park.