Hawksbill Loop Trail – Shenandoah National Park




Shenandoah National Park: Hawksbill Gap Loop Trail


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Shenandoah National Park is one park that is well known for having some great trails to hike, but also stunning views. One of the trails that is rated as a moderate level trail and not difficult like some of the other trails is Hawksbill Loop Trail. Now, what really sets this trail off from all the others is what will be key to allowing you to enjoy the trail and the hike that you take getting to the top of the trail to get the great views.

Where Is Hawksbill Loop Trail

As you can tell the trail is located in the Shenandoah National Park, which definitely is a dead giveaway by the name. However, with this park being rather large the trail and location is in the Hawksbill Gap Parking Area and even then you have to do some extra hiking to reach the trail head. The mile marker for the trail and parking area is mile 45.5.

How To Reach The Hawksbill Loop Trail Head

Now, here is the interesting part and that is the fact that to reach the trail you have to hike down the Appalachian Trail for a bit and then you will find a post for the Salamander Trail. You go left onto the Salamander Trail and follow it to the next trail junction. When you reach the trail junction you go to the left and that takes you onto the Upper Hawksbill Trail. Once you do this make sure you go past the shelter to get to the viewing area and be able to see what is in the area. Now, this is a loop trail and when you head back to the parking area make sure you take the blue blazed Lower Hawksbill Trail.

Time To Hike The Hawksbill Loop Trail

With any trails you need to have a good idea on how long it will take for you to hike. I will tell you that for most people the Hawksbill trail will take roughly 2 hours to hike. The trail is a 2.9 mile circuit hike and can take a little bit longer if you want to stop and take pictures or if you are like me and have kids that you are trying to keep track of all the time.

What Kind Of Wildlife And Flora Can You See

As you can imagine you will notice that the animals that your are going to see will be comparable to what is in the park as a whole. However, one important thing to note is you will hike past a falcon nesting area. This area makes it easier for you to see these beautiful hunting birds. At the same time, though, you do have to be cautious as the birds are in their home territory and you are the guest.

As far as the flora goes you will notice a lot of similar plants to the region as well. However, in addition to the large number of wildflowers you do pass a beautiful talus field. So this makes it quite a bit easier to enjoy the beauty that the trail offers and know that you can take in more than what you were planning.

Dogs Are Allowed

A common theme with a lot of the trails that you are able to hike in the National Parks is if any pets are allowed on the trails. Well, at Hawksbill Loop Trail the good news is the trail does allow pets. As you can imagine and as a responsible pet owner you have to get your pets properly leashed and under control at all times.

Final Thoughts On Hawksbill Loop Trail

The trail is one that is a moderately rated trail, but it is a trail that is pet friendly. So that does make it a little bit easier for you to hike. At the same time, though, you have to be cautious about the trail and how physically fit you are. Still, if you are looking for a trail that has some stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and want to see these from a perspective that most people bypass then you need to make sure check out the Hawksbill Loop Trail in Shenandoah National Park.

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