Upper Hawksbill Trail

MODERATE 101 reviews
#18 of 145 trails in

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, trail running, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.2 miles
488 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



trail running





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.

28 minutes ago

Nice hike. Not as hard as I thought, it's a pretty gentle slope. Great views from the top!

13 days ago

The views from the top are really nice. An easy trail as well. I wasn't a fan of the trail leading up though. There were a lot of gravel sections, which aren't a favorite to hike on. A few falls from loose rocks on the way down.

16 days ago

The trail is more gradual than the lower hawksbill and a really enjoyable hike. Walk through the woods was awesome and so peaceful, then getting to the summit was amazing. I'm not in great shape so it took me an hour to get to the summit and 40 minuets to come back down.

1 month ago

Good steady uphill hike. Trails are very well maintained, steep initially then eased up. Unfortunately the mountain was fogged-in so we were at the highest point in the Shenandoah with a 50-foot View. Even though there wasn't a view the beauty of the rock formations and area was gorgeous.

2 months ago

very nice hike, be prepared to sweat if you hike spring and summer time. beautiful views!!!

3 months ago

4 months ago

Short hike for great views

9 months ago

Beautiful trail and totally worth the trip up!

9 months ago

It was all uphill worth the hike up for the nice view! My puppy is 6month old and he did pretty good took us 1 hr and 30 mins

9 months ago

Okay hike - view was fine.

10 months ago

Great short hike!

10 months ago

Awesome hike. Pretty easy with lovely wildflowers and a beautiful view from top!

11 months ago

Talk to a park ranger to see about the two locations for entering this trail.  The location a little further south (via the fireroad) is decent and a shorter trip to the summit.  It's a nice hike.

11 months ago

Great view when you get to the top. Worth the hike.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fun little hike (30 min there and 30 min back). My 5 year old could handle the whole thing and was really happy with the rocks he could climb at the end. Good family hike - although strollers would be difficult to use for the final .2 miles before the summit.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Beautiful views from the top! Almost too easy and too heavily trafficked.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

It was a pretty short hike. The view was pretty facing the mountain views but the summit is very small as oppose to bigger hikes like old rag.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The hike is not too long and it has a great reward

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Simple hike, especially coming down. Short length and amazing views make it a great sunset hike. There were only 6 of us up there for the sunset.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Nice easy hike for the whole family with a great view.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Amazing view

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

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!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

This is the easiest way to reach the Hawksbill Summit the among three options.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Steep hike, but worth it to see the beautiful view at the top.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Only hike where we allowed dogs. Views are better than any that you drive by on highway

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nice 1 hour hike with a beautiful view payoff.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nice 1 hour hike with a good view payoff.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nice, wide trail to the highest point in Shenandoah NP. Views are nice, but not the best in the park.

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