Hawksbill Peak is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park at 4,049 feet, and it's been on my to-do list for a few years now. It's a fairly short loop hike (a little over 3 miles), totally doable for kids, and has spectacular views at the top. I organized this as a group event for my church and it turned out really well.
This was supposed to be a counter-clockwise loop that would go up slowly over about two miles, then come down a shorter, steeper route to the parking lot.
Well, I got us on the wrong trail head and ended up going UP the short, steep route to the top, but then we had a nice leisurely hike back to the parking lot following the path clockwise instead. As a result, here's what our altitude profile looked like:
One of my sons went charging up the hill and wasn't phased at all by the steepness. The other moaned and groaned and I wasn't sure I was going to get him to the top without dragging him, but after a lot of cajoling him and distracting him with conversation we made it to the top. When we got to the top and he looked out at the view of the Shenandoah Valley, he said, "THAT was worth it!"
My boys on top of Hawksbill Peak
Blunoz & Sons on top of Hawksbill
It was a gorgeous day! Mid 70s and a light breeze was blowing. We packed our lunches to bring with us, so we sat and enjoyed lunch there at the top with the splendor of the Shenandoah Valley before us.
Most of the trail is under the shade of trees. (Picture by Jason R.)
The trails are well-marked with blazes on the trees.
Of course, I had to stop and admire the flowers along the way.