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Upper Hawksbill Trail [CLOSED]

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Shenandoah National Park

Upper Hawksbill Trail is a 2.2 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 is primarily used for hiking, running, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.2 miles Elevation Gain: 488 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

closed

Many trailheads in this park are closed due to COVID-19. Please check the park website for up to date info on which trails are accessible. 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.

rocky
1 month ago

A nice cool, sunny day for a short hike. A lot of people and their pups.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is uphill but easy. Views are great.

hiking
1 month ago

A short hike with great views. Can be a little muddy in places but overall in great condition.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

While Hawksbill Trail leads you to the highest summit in Shenandoah National Park, the trail itself is very sub par. The trail is mostly a fire road covered in gravel. The trail is definitely moderate, as there are sections of heavy incline. Unlike other SNP trails I've completed, there was not much to see on the way up. Once at the summit, there are multiple places for you to climb out on the rocks, however it's a super popular hike and the summit will be crowded! If it's your first time visiting SNP or only have a day for a hike, this is not worth it.

hiking
icy
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Added an extra trail or 2 and made my own loop. Nice all around hike!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

recorded Recording - Dec 07, 02:56 PM

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

This is a very nicely maintained wide trail up to the top!! I would consider it moderate because of the stretches of elevation gain, but there’s nice recovery areas that somewhat even out. I would hike this again and again!

hiking
4 months ago

Did this one just to knock the park's highest peak off the list. Easy trail with lots of people and lots of dogs. Nothing special.

hiking
5 months ago

Easy hike. Views of the town. Subpar. Very crowded and everyone’s dogs are very poorly trained.

hiking
5 months ago

This was a nice short hike with amazing views. It’s steep in a few places but definitely doable for inexperienced hikers. The trail was very well kept and had a good amount of people on it.

5 months ago

Great trail! Short climb, great views!

hiking
5 months ago

awesome views. worth the hike. steep in some parts but not hard.

hiking
6 months ago

I accidentally did upper hawksbill instead of this one but it was wonderful & so peaceful. Amazing summit views even with the fog rolling in and out.

hiking
6 months ago

Woke up early and decided to head up here for sunrise. Completely west facing, so not really gonna work for sunrise. Try it for sunset though.

hiking
6 months ago

Easy trail with great view from the top.

hiking
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Easy out and back, great view at the top!

hiking
6 months ago

Quick, nice hike with a great payoff at the end. Saves additional woods time and energy for other trails compared to the other Hawkbill trails.

6 months ago

Trail was ok, but the views can't be beat.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

Good trail with amazing views at the top and rocks to climb on. Great place to enjoy a picnic. Overall the hike was pretty easy.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Good trail with pretty gradual inclined to the summit. Was cloudy for us so no comment on the views.

hiking
7 months ago

Overall: I believe it's described as a 2.2 mile trail, but it doesn't feel like it. In my opinion, it was a fairly easy trail, but my friend and his wife had some troubles with it. It can be done fairly quick. The view at the top is great. I consider it a low effort, high reward/view trail because of the short time it takes to get to the top. This may be a good running trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Fantastic view at the top!

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