Hubs and I ventured further from home yesterday to complete Hike 8 in the 52 Hike Challenge by hiking the Lower Hawksbill Trail in Shenandoah National Park. We hiked a total of 2.3 miles between hiking the trail and exploring the summit area. After this hike, my challenge stats include:
• 8/52 hikes completed (15.38% of the way to my goal)
• 18.06 miles hiked
• 8 unique trails
• 1 solo hike
• 7 companion hikes
• 2 K-9 accompanied hikes
Hiking Lower Hawksbill Trail
The trailhead for Lower Hawksbill Trail is accessible from Skyline Drive (mile 45.6) in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park. Our visit coincided with a free-entry weekend for all National Parks, so it was busier than normal. With that said, I’ve never driven by the trailhead without the parking area being full. We arrived around 10:30 and had trouble finding a parking spot (thank goodness for our SUV!).
Once we parked, we geared up and set off for the trailhead. There we ran into a group of about 15 lively young hikers who were setting off on the same loop we had planned to take (AT connector > AT > Salamander Trail > Lower Hawksbill Trail). So, we called an audible and headed straight for the Lower Hawksbill Trail which would take us straight to the summit. Hiking Lower Hawksbill Trail
Hiking the Lower Hawksbill Trail was much more difficult than I had expected. It’s basically a straight shot up the mountain side and I’m SO out-of-shape. I only made it to the summer by taking numerous breaks (there are several downed trees that make great benches). We played leap-frog with other groups who were taking breaks on the way up and back down as well. In the end, the hike was totally worth it for the amazing views (including a great panorama of Old Rag). I’ve included pictures from the hike below:
Tips for Hiking the Lower Hawksbill Trail
• This is a dog-friendly trail, but all dogs must be leashed. I’m estimating we saw 10-15 dogs on the trail during our hike.
• There are no toilets available at the trailhead or summit. I believe the closest restroom is in the basement of the main Skyland building.
• Bring a picnic lunch! Hawksbill Summit has a three-sided shelter (Byrds Nest 2) and numerous rock outcroppings that are perfect for a picnic.
Learn more about the 52 Hike Challenge by visiting the official website.