Access the start of this fire road at mile 47.1 along the Skyline Drive. You'll have a steady, easy climb through a young oak forest.
The fire road also intersects with the Upper Hawksbill Trail
, which will be on the right. Keep going straight on the fire road.
After another quarter of a mile, the blue-blazed Salamander Trail
on the left goes about 0.8 mile to the Appalachian Trail; to the right, the Lower Hawksbill Trail
goes to Hawksbill Gap, at mile 45.6 along the Skyline Drive. Continue ahead on the fire road to the Byrds Nest shelter, then go another 75 yards to the observation platform on the summit.
The summit on Hawksbill is at elevation 4,050 feet, the highest point in Shenandoah National Park. There's a broad view here. At the far left is the town of Stanley; just to the right of it, and much closer, is the rounded crest of Nakedtop, with cliffs on its right-hand slope. To the right of Nakedtop is Buracker Hollow, with the town of Ida at its mouth. From Ida a ridge rises toward the right to the angle at Millers Head, then to the rounded summit of Bushytop. The high point, with rocky cliffs on its left face, is Stony Man. Further right and closer, down below you, is Crescent Rock. Still farther right, in the distance, is the rocky summit of Old Rag.
Please note that camping is not permitted on or near Hawksbill summit.