Trail Run Project Logo

Hawksbill and Franklin Cliffs

Intermediate/Difficult
 5.0 (1) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This turns the Hawksbill run into a nice long trip. A recommended route for trails that already exist.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

8.9

Miles

14.3

KM

80%

Runnable

4,031' 1,229 m

High

2,867' 874 m

Low

2,148' 655 m

Up

2,162' 659 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

37%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Views

Overview

This run makes Hawksbill a nice long trip. Starts off on a horse trail that turns into a nice run in the woods. You then cross Skyline Drive and get some wonderful views to the west before eventually getting to the highest peak in the park.

Need to Know

It is a hike in Shenandoah National Park. You'll want and need the right shoes. Much of it is along the AT.

Description

The first half of this circuit is a forest run that passes two feeder streams for Rose River, and the second is vista after vista from both the Appalachian Trail and Hawksbill Summit. The views from Franklin Cliffs look out on the Massanutten range to the west, and there is a spectacular 270 degree panorama from the Hawksbill Summit with a view of Old Rag.

From the parking area start down the Cedar Run Trail for 50 yards to the intersection of the Big Meadows Horse Trail. Turn right on the yellow blazed Big Meadows Horse Trail and in 1.0 miles pass under the Old Rag overlook on Skyline Drive, then in 0.1 miles there is a campsite on the left. 0.2 miles after the campsite the trail will meet the intersection of a blue blazed connector trail that leads to parking on Skyline Drive.

Stay left on the yellow blazed Big Meadows Trail as it now heads downhill before turning back to the right and crossing the first of two streams in 1.7 miles. In another 0.4 miles cross the second and final stream. The Big Meadows Trail now continues for 0.7 miles to the intersection of the blue blazed Rose River Loop Trail. Turn right uphill remaining on the yellow blazed Big Meadows Trail for 0.5 miles to the intersection of a fire road.

Turn right on the fire road passing a chain gate and crossing Skyline Drive. Continue down the fire road for 100 yards to the intersection of the white blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.).

Turn right on the A.T. and in 0.1 miles reach the first of several spectacular westerly vistas. Pass underneath Franklin Cliffs, then in 1.4 miles there is a side trail to a Skyline Drive parking area. From this point it's 1.0 miles to the Hawksbill Summit blue blazed trail.

Turn right on the blue blazed Hawksbill Mountain Summit Trail for 0.6 miles to a westerly vista. Shortly thereafter the trail turns left on a fire road on its way to the summit. Pass the shelter then in 50 yards reach Hawksbill Summit where there is 270 degree vista.

From the summit go back past the shelter for 25 yards, and turn left downhill on the continuation of the Hawksbill Summit Trail for the remaining 0.8 miles back to the Hawksbill Gap parking area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joe Danz

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1696

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
100%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#56

in Virginia

#1,696

Overall
20 Views Last Month
218 Since Nov 8, 2021
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
0%
100%
0%
0%

Photos

View from Hawksbill Peak
Jun 3, 2022 near Stanley, VA
View from the trail.
Jun 3, 2022 near Stanley, VA
Hawksbille summit view.
Oct 6, 2020 near Stanley, VA
Views from the summit of Mt. Hawksbill.
Dec 10, 2015 near Stanley, VA
Panoramic from the top of Hawksbill Mtn.
Mar 13, 2016 near Stanley, VA
The observation platform on Hawksbill Mountain, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park, elevation 4,050 feet.
Apr 2, 2016 near Stanley, VA

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 87 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none