The Autumn leaves are changing colors in Virginia, so on Saturday we went out to the Shenandoah Mountains National Park to get a look. What better vantage point than the two highest peaks in the park, Hawksbill and Stony Man? Given the almost 4-hour round trip drive, we opted for short hikes to make sure we would have enough time to climb to the tops of both mountains in a single day’s visit.
The Upper Hawksbill Trail is only 2.1 miles round trip, and being somewhat less popular than the lower trail, you can usually count on room in the parking area.
You can reach the top of Stony Man in only about a mile along the Stony Man Nature Trail, accessed from the parking area by Skyland. Continuing on to Little Stony Man and returning back to the start adds almost 2 more, bringing the day’s total distance to only about 5 miles. Not very ambitious, to be sure!
As it turned out, even though we left the Washington DC area at 8:15, heavy traffic around Gainesville delayed our arrival. It was only because we planned shorter hikes with plenty of slack time that we were still able to make it to Hawksbill, Stony Man, and Little Stony Man in a single day and get back to the Washington DC area by sunset.