Hawksbill Summit Trail

MODERATE 94 reviews
#15 of 140 trails in

Hawksbill Summit Trail is a 1.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Syria, Virginia that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
1.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
672 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

views

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.

hiking
53 minutes ago

Stunning views !!

hiking
22 days ago

Nice hike through the woods until the very top. Not too strenuous or difficult. Can't comment on the view, as everything was in fog when we visited.

hiking
1 month ago

Decent hike. It can be 1.7 miles or 2.7 depending on wether you make it a loop down the Appalachian Trail. Otherwise, just walk up to the summit and back.

Good short moderate trail for leashed dogs and kids.

I’ll visit again.

hiking
1 month ago

Rewarding and intense quick hike. Awesome views anytime of the day. Have seen both the sunrise (in October) & the sunset (in April) here - both experiences invigorating. Would absolutely do it again and again.

3 months ago

Great little trail, nice incline to a beautiful summit. Took about an hour round trip! Worth the climb for the beautiful view.

4 months ago

Short hike but the view is awesome!

5 months ago

Great short hike.

7 months ago

Daniel Andorsky: this summit will probably have a decent number of people there if the weather is nice. It's a fairly easy trail with a great view, which will probably equal a number of families, and hikers looking for a good lunch spot. It is however a GREAT hike to watch the sunset. Get there a little early stake out a space to watch it, and hit your knee as the sunset gets going. Neither one of you will care who is around, and it's not a proposal she'll forget. I will also be at the park that weekend. I'll be thinking of you ☺️

hiking
7 months ago

How crowded does the summit get? I am looking to go on October 22nd (Sunday) in the early afternoon to propose to my fiance. I just don't want it to be too crowded. Is there are more secluded area with the views? Any help is appreciated!

7 months ago

Amazing view! Stayed there for 30 minutes and enjoyed the view.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice climb. Nothing but fog at summit with only one or two peaks visible in distance. Waited 20 min and it blew out leavening spectacular views.

hiking
7 months ago

So crowded. The hike is straight up and short. If you're coming from DC, it's a 3 hour drive for a half hour hike. Once you get to the top it's as crowded as a mall food court. It was loud and not peaceful at all.

This was listed as one of the best hikes in VA. I beg to differ.

hiking
7 months ago

worth all the incline. started at big meadows and took the AT to salamander trail up to the summit and back for a total of 10 miles. Took about 5 hours with water breaks and stumbled across 3 bears on the way back.

hiking
8 months ago

Great short hike with awesome views. It's a pretty straight uphill incline the entire way with little to no switchbacks so that can be challenging. We did it in probably about an hour, stopping for breaks.

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome views for not a lot of effort. We headed right at the trailhead and went around the loop the long way. Though it's longer, the steepness of the trail (in our opinion) makes it a lot easier to do. On the way back from the summit, however, is a different story (filled with aching knees and ankles). The summit itself was gorgeous, and the views were impeccable. There is another off-shoot summit that you can visit as well that might not be as populated (the views were actually better there, imo).

hiking
9 months ago

The hike is an easy walk with a couple steep sections but it's all about the view! Stunning. Saw crows, hawks and turkey vultures. Great view of old rag and several other peaks. Easy for dogs and kids

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful overlook, but definitely steep going up the shorter length. Next time I'll take the longer route for a more gradual climb. View is worth it though.

hiking
10 months ago

Nice hike, 1.1 mile each way. It took us a grand total of 48 minutes up and back. We did linger at the summit for a while. Nice viewing area at the summit. Well worth the hike up. It's steep in places. The trail is wide, but covered with big gravel. So don't wear sandals!

11 months ago

It was a short hike, but fairly steep. really enjoyed it and the view was absolute perfection. We got engaged overlooking the vista and it was the best day of my life in the most perfect place I can imagine.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Short hike for awesome panoramic views.

hiking
Monday, May 08, 2017

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.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/hawksbill

hiking
Friday, March 10, 2017

We took the longer loop to the right (2.9 miles). Definitely enjoyed the gradual ascent and it had better views along the way.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

It was definitely difficult.

hiking
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Great day hiking straight up from the Hawksbilll parking area. Definite rocky moderate. Great views up too. Will try the more gradual ascent in the fall.

hiking
Friday, December 30, 2016

We ascended via the AT to Salamander Trail to the Summit, and descended by the Lower Hawksbill Trail (see NPS map). Overall, was a nice hike with some cool views along the way... the views from Byrd's Nest 2 and the Observation Platform are amazing - with a great view of Old Rag in the background (off to the right). Agree with the moderate rating - steady incline in the beginning, but nothing intense. Definitely will be returning in the future.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Make this worthwhile by starting at the trailhead base of White oak Canyon Trail. It's a 3000 foot elevation gain.

hiking
Monday, October 31, 2016

We did Stoney Man and hawksbill back to back as two quick, easy, rewarding hikes as we wanted to see the two highest peaks in the park in the same day. These two are very close to one another (10 minutes by car). We chose this way to the top of hawksbill because it is the shortest. It's also steep but not crazy. A steady pace will get you there and yes... It s WORTH IT. Little less than a mile up this way.

hiking
Monday, October 24, 2016

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.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Definitely a great hike! 2 year old hiked up most of the way, while exploring every nook and cranny of the trail

hiking
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

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.

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