Over the weekend, I climbed Shenandoah’s tallest peak. The tallest peak in the park is called Hawksbill Mountain. While the trail to the top of the mountain is short, it is quite steep. We saw several hikers who had to take multiple breaks on the way up (including me, the Covid after effects are still real).
The view from the top is wonderful. We noticed some cloud cover off in the distance, but it seemed like we could see for miles. On the summit, there are several rocky outcrops for pictures, as well as a man made viewing platform. There are a handful of ways to get to the summit depending on where hikers would like to start.
After we reached the summit, we continued down the other side of the mountain to do a loop through the woods. The loop was fun, but there was some rocks hidden under the leaves that tripped us up at times. There were also some steep sections at times that slowed our pace down a bit.
Once we got back to the mountain, we decided to veer off course to get back to the parking area. Instead of going up the mountain a second time, we chose to explore more of the Appalachian Trail. This section of the AT has some great viewpoints and some interesting terrain. This little detour actually became one of the highlights of our trip!
Things to remember if you visit:
I suggest getting to the park early. The parking lots fill up fast and so do the trails. Make things easier on yourself and get there in the morning. Also, this is a backcountry area so plan accordingly. Be honest with yourself about your skill level. Lastly, bears exist and this is their home. Be on the lookout for them and respect their space. Never. Feed. Wildlife.