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Hawksbill Mountain Loop

A short loop to the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park.

Hiking Moderate

4.3 km
236 m
236 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1 km
High Point
1.2 km
Hawksbill Mountain Loop Map

Towering in at 4,050', Hawksbill Mountain is the highest peak anywhere in Shenandoah National Park. In addition to the stunning views, the summit is home to balsam fir, a tree typically only seen in the northern latitudes - especially in New England and Canada. It is also a nesting ground for peregrine falcons - "the fastest bird in the world and the fastest member of the animal kingdom source." When hunting, they can reach speeds over 200mph!


As mapped, this version of the hike begins at Hawksbill Gap on Skyline Drive. Though you could opt for an out-and-back to the overlook, this loop links the Lower Hawksbill and Salamander Trails with the Appalachian Trail - an excellent option for the entire family. All of the trails on this hike are dog friendly, and it's great when hiked in either direction!

There is a large stone observation platform at the summit and plenty of other opportunities where you can find a quiet view of your own. Thanks to a spectacular 360-degree view, this is one of the most popular short hikes in the park, so get an early start to your day to avoid the crowds.




Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between April and October


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area