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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](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peregrine_falcon)]." 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. [Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawksbill_Mountain)