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Hawksbill Summit Trail is a 1.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Syria, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 1.5 mi Elevation gain 672 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Forest

Views

Wildlife

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Note: This trailhead is currently closed by SNP and the County for the foreseeable future due to community health concerns— NO parking or road access is available. Please check with the park page for more information. 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.

National Park Service

The trailhead is actually a small parking area on the side of the Skyline drive, near mile marker 45.6. There is a typical NPS trailhead sign with a map on the edge of the lot, which holds only 4-5 cars.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (426)
Photos (772)
Recordings (280)
Completed (1767)
Neen Maria
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Walking

Steep climb up but worth it

View Neen's Recording
Cory Beard
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Hiking
View Cory's Recording
D B
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Hiking

Got too busy as the day went on. But still a good hike.

View D's Recording
Shannon Phillips
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HikingRocky

Trail was great today! Arrived on a Thursday around 10 am and found immediate parking. Decided to do the longer Hawksbill Gap Loop where you hop off the AT on to the Salamander Trail, and so glad I did! Beautiful greenery to surround you and alone for most of the journey. The Hawksbill Summit has a nice observation deck that boasts 360 views of Shenandoah. Can't really beat that! Unfortunately, I was not able to record the beginning of my trip due to having no service, so the recording appears incomplete.

View Shannon's Recording
Hannah Thrush
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Hiking

This was a great trail. I highly enjoyed it! It’s not an easy hike by any means, and has a steep incline, but the summit is totally worth it!

Casey Elmore
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Hiking

Like another review said, walk the trail counter clockwise down the Salamander Trail, then meet up with Hawksbill. Made it a longer hike, but also much less strenuous as we found out when we went down Hawksbill. The views are great when it is clear - just happened we had a fairly cloudy day, so couldn’t see a ton beyond the closest mountains and valley. Gets VERY crowded on the weekends, so get there early or plan go park on Skyline Drive.

In Constant Pursuit
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HikingGreat!

The reason to hike this short trail is to reach the highest spot (4,050 feet) in Shenandoah National Park. This short trail (~0.75 miles) is rated as moderate. We hike/walk a lot of mountain trails and this short trail is definitely moderate. Depending on your physical condition you might consider it strenuous. Why? Because, first it's steep. Second, it's craggy, meaning lots of rocks to navigate across. You have to take your time and watch your step. And third, you're hiking at 3 to 4 thousand feet and most of us flat-landers aren't accustomed exerting energy at these elevations. At the summit there are great views. It's well worth the hike. As always I recommend footwear for hiking, water, and a trekking pole.

Nik Gherardini
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Hiking

Great little trail up to a nice viewpoint. Although only 0.75 miles up to the top, it's a pretty steep climb!

Sarah Rushing
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Hiking

Great for sunset! Be sure to turn around and see Old Rag behind you as well.

Gabrielle Pennington
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Hiking

My friend and I did this hike as part of a day trip involving a loop from Hawksbill Summit to White Oak and Cedar Run Trail canyons. The summit was spectacular. Moderately busy but nothing unreasonable. Definitely a moderate trail as the incline is noticeable (my calves cramped up at first so I would recommend going easy or warming up before beginning the hike). The views are spectacular and the summit is a nice spot to relax, have some lunch, or take photos. I would love to do this trail again in the fall.

V Arora
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HikingBugsRocky
View V's Recording
Julie Walder
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Hiking

Bear fence hike Shenandoah National Park

View Julie's Recording
Outside Is Awesome
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Hiking

Short hike with a great view that makes you earn it with a 3/4 mile uphill hike to the summit. I wouldn’t say it’s hard but it’s all uphill and will having you sweating by the time you reach the top. Plenty of space to catch your breath and a great view up top with a special viewing platform as well. Highest point in Shenandoah National Park and worth the climb up.

Heather Hendrickson
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HikingRocky
View Heather's Recording
Steffanie Jacobson
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Parking wasn't a problem. Steep, rocky trek up but pretty solid. Amazing views and photo ops at the top.

Nicole Cleidomastoid
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Hiking

Don’t let the short distance and low elevation gain fool you. It is the highest peak at the park! You get the best views of the park on this trail! I ended up doing the 3.6 mile loop and views from the top are amazing! And you are at the same levels as the clouds. Did this with my dog and I would rate it as easy as I was able to walk up at my normal pace. We got to the trailhead at 7am on a Wednesday morning and there were 2cars. We finished around 9 after spending a lot of time at the top and the parking lot was full. If you are looking for solitude I suggest you come very early!

K H.
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HikingRocky

We went up Lower Hawksbill Trail, down Upper Hawksbill Trail, and then took the horsetrail back to the parking lot. It’s was about 3 miles and it was a great hike. Lower Hawksbill was a steeper climb than Upper Hawksbill. The views at the top were great. We spend about 30 minutes at the various overlooks at the top. I would recommend getting there early before the crowds.

View K's Recording
Madeline Eppley
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Hiking

Best views in Shenandoah National Park! This trail is short but steep, so it makes for a great workout. It’s an absolute must-see if you’re in the park. Doable for kids and less experienced hikers with lots of breaks. You’ll want to budget time to gawk at the views on the top of the mountain, they’re stunning! Once at the top of the mountain, make sure to go right past the shelter to find a second, slightly higher viewing area.

View Madeline's Recording
Tyler Blank
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HikingRocky

Beautiful sunset hike, highly recommend as it’s the tallest peak in the park! Steep incline most of the way and there are rocks all across the trail that can be slippery with non-hiking shoes.

Nick Gray
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HikingBugsMuddyRockyScramble
View Nick's Recording
Rafael Flores
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Hiking

A good hike! No service so it shows up just coming down. But going up was most challenging. View is worth it’

View Rafael's Recording
Ethan Younas
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HikingBugsRocky
View Ethan's Recording
Lisa O'Loughlin
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Beautiful views! Quite an incline, but doable.

Laura User
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HikingRocky

I thoroughly enjoyed this hike & the view at the summit is incredible!

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