Hawksbill Gap Loop via Appalachian Trail

MODERATE 287 reviews
#4 of 166 trails in

Hawksbill Gap Loop via Appalachian Trail is a 2.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Syria, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
2.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
751 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful overlook area. Not easy, should be moderate. It starts with a very sharp uphill. Super rocky in spots. Once we got on the AT it was lush with moss and ferns. Took us about 1 hour 15 mins

hiking
16 days ago

Gorgeous views!!

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful lookouts along the way. Summit at top was a great place to stop and eat lunch!

hiking
2 months ago

Logged 3.5 miles from the Upper to the Lower Parking areas. Very nice views along this loop. The Appalachian Trail was very icy in spots.

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely amazing views. Very windy in mid October. Wore my baby and didn’t have many issues. The incline on the way up is enough to get your heart going. There were 2 rock scrambles along the salamander trail on the way back down that were a bit of a challenge. With babies and dogs. Wish we would’ve packed a picnic for the top. Lots of space to relax at the summit.

hiking
4 months ago

This was a really easy hike with gorgeous views. We did this trail in the opposite direction as the map suggests here, which I recommend because the incline is much more gradual that way. It was moderately crowded on the trail and very hard to find parking, so I suggest doing this earlier in the day if possible.

hiking
4 months ago

hiked this on a very windy day so made it a tad chilly on the summit, but over all this hike is beautiful the views along side the mountains ridge hiking up are amazing although the wind was a bit more prevalent on that side so would recommend a good windbreaker/puffer on a windy fall day but this hike was pretty easy and the summit views are a bit crowded on the weekend but still something to be seen as it is the highest point in the park!

4 months ago

Excellent hike! We met up with Ranger Nate S a few times and he was so amazing.

hiking
4 months ago

If you want a quick morning hike with great views this is a good one. It is also kid and dog friendly. I would certainly rate this hike as Easy and not Moderate. Views from the peak are amazing, though it can be very crowded on weekends.
As people have stated get there early as parking fills up fast. Also with parking limited don't be a tool and take up 2 parking spots. Someone today slammed their car door into mine leaving a nice big scratch, thanks.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a really great loop for when you want to get out into nature, but maybe aren't looking for a full day 6-7 mile, or many hour trek. The 2.6 mile loop is well shaded, and has a gradual incline but is never too steep (if you go counter clockwise). The views from the top are beautiful, and there are a few more lookout points with equally as beautiful, but even less populated, along the way. A bit rocky on the trail, but if you watch your step you should be good to go. Not too crowded anywhere on the trail except for at the summit itself, but well worth the trip nevertheless.

6 months ago

awesome trail

6 months ago

Great hike, even though it downpours on our return. Amazing views, beautiful flowers, somewhat challenging terrain on the salamander trail coming back to the parking lot. Be sure to return on Salamander Trail or you will end up at the wrong parking lot and have to walk a mile on skyline drive. We caught the error before we had gone too far and climbed back up.Dog friendly hike.

6 months ago

One of my favorite hikes! Went counterclockwise, (AT | Salamander | peak | Lower Hawksbill Trail). Perfect balance of great terrain, elevation and some of the best panoramic views. On the trail, you’ll cross over rock fields in the middle of the trail. To note... From this direction, you’ll come to a fork in the road. There is a wooden pole with an arrow spray-painted on it that points right. Going that way will continue on Appalachian Trail to Rock Spring Hut. To complete the loop (to Salamander), go left (opposite of the arrow). I went about .5 miles before realizing and having to backtrack. On course... great climb to the highest peak in SNP!

hiking
6 months ago

Hiking to the tallest point in SNP is a great experience! The trail is lovely and features some beautiful talus slopes. We went counter-clockwise, which left the view towards the end but went down the steeper trail. Overall, the elevation gain is not too strenuous and the trail is well maintained. The peak, even when crowded, has plenary of outcropping to sit and enjoy the view, including the built up observation deck. Look for Old Rag in the distance! This is such a great, quick hike. Highly recommend!

7 months ago

Great, quick hike. Hiked trail clockwise --very steep at first, very gradual after the summit
Cloudy day, still had glimpses of beautiful vistas

hiking
7 months ago

Was there today, did the trail clockwise, it starts with a steep climb, had to take several breaks on my way to the summit, but it was ok, and the summit wasn’t that far. The rest of the trail was mostly downhill so it was pretty easy too. It took me around 2,5 hours or so. I expect the trail to be a little harder counter clockwise, will be doing it that way next time. Definitely can recommend it. The summit view is amazing!

hiking
7 months ago

This was our first hike in Shenandoah, and it certainly has set the bar high!! We followed the advice of other posts below to ascend on the Salamander Trail which connects to Hawksbill. About a quarter mile from the summit, there is a pile of rocks on your left, we climbed up and saw some amazing views!! Don’t miss it! I took my 8 month old Irish Setter, and he did great. The descent on the Hawksbill gap is somewhat steep, but not anything to worry about. As others mentioned, the parking lot does fill up quickly. We started our hike at 8:00 AM, and there were only a few cars parked. When we returned at 10:00 AM, it was nearly full with people everywhere. Also, there was no line to get into the park, but by time we left there were 10+ vehicles waiting to get in. One thing to note, the description says the entrance fee is $20 - it’s actually $30! Have a great hike!!

8 months ago

Did it today visa the Lower Hawsksbill parking lot and Salamander trail. Lots of amazing views! The rocky outcropping at the summit is a fun (optional) scramble. This one seemed to be a popular one for families

8 months ago

Loved it! Spectacular views. I have arthritis in my knees, hips and lower back. It was easier going up than coming down. The slope coming down put a lot of pressure on my hips and back. My 5 year old niece handled it no problem.

8 months ago

Loved this hike! Several smaller overlooks to stop at before hitting the summit and neat changes in landscape. This might be a new Shenandoah favorite. Took three pups and they all did well.

hiking
8 months ago

well worth the effort saw bear and cubs, beautiful wildflowers, and an amazing veiw to finish it off.

9 months ago

Loved this hike!!

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome hike- breathtaking views. Was pretty busy when we went. Lot of family’s bringing kids. There was a strenuous hill and it was rocky on other side. Overall loved it!

hiking
10 months ago

Incredible views worth every step of the steep hike to the highest summit in the park!

10 months ago

Went with my wife and two dogs. Beautiful short moderate hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike that rewards with some great views at end. Pretty steep at points but a good leg stretcher. This was our first hike in Shenandoah and offered a good glimpse of what the park has to offer.

10 months ago

Beautiful Snow Hike. Icy, but safe if you watch your step.

hiking
11 months ago

Pretty easy hike, but a nice view and payoff. The earlier in the day you go the better since the view is westerly facing and afternoon sun will limit the quality of your photos.

hiking
11 months ago

Starting at the trailhead, go right— this path will put you on the AT and it is a much smoother climb to the summit. If you loop it this way, it’s just short of 3 miles around.

Summit has great views around the valley. A little crowded on the weekend but not too terrible.

Well worth the hike. Will do it again when the weather is warmer.

hiking
Friday, January 26, 2018

Great little hike. We went in October and saw a large deer with huge antlers. The views are beautiful!

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