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Two-fisted Fall Foliage Fun: Hawksbill & Stony Man

Say, we’re right in the zone for peak foliage viewing, and that means Shenandoah National Park. Let’s get an early start and make our drive worthwhile with some two-fisted fall foliage fun!

Our itinerary for the trip includes the two highest viewing points in the park, Hawksbill and Stony Man:

• Hawksbill: An out-and-back 2.1 mile round trip hike. At 4,050 feet, Hawksbill is the highest point in the park, so the view is spectacular! Coming from the Upper parking area makes this a fairly easy hike.

• Stony Man: A modified out-and-back 2.73 mile round trip hike, including a 1.45 mile outing to Little Stony Man. Stony Man, at 4011 feet, is the second-highest peak in the park, and the Nature Trail offers a fairly easy hike and interesting plants and geological features. Little Stony Man is not quite as high, at 3560 feet, but features a sheer cliff with great views. This hike is also fairly easy, although Little Stony Man is a little rugged in sections.

• A Google map of the hike routes is here: 


1. We will meet at 8:15 am at the Vienna Metro Station North Parking Lot, Virginia Center Blvd & Centerboro Dr, Oakton, Fairfax, Virginia 22181, (GPS =[masked],[masked]) for the drive to Shenandoah National Park. Yeah, I know 8:15 am is mighty early, but the estimated driving time is for the 83-mile trip is 1 hour, 47 minutes. We don't want to be the last people in the park to arrive!

2. Once all cars have arrived at Upper Hawksbill parking area, hopefully by about 10:00, we’ll hike to Hawksbill Overlook and return. We’ll spend about an hour and a half hiking and goofing off, leaving 30 minutes to drive the 5 miles to our next stop at Stony Man parking area and get assembled for the next hike around noon.

3. Once everyone has assembled at Stony Man parking area, we’ll hike to Stony Man, continuing on to Little Stony Man and returning. The total distance is under 3 miles, but given lots of time for goofing off and breaks, we should be through by 3:00 pm.

4. Assuming we depart from Stony Man NLT 3:00 pm, everyone should arrive back at the Vienna Metro Station by around 5:00 pm.

Meetup for carpooling: Vienna Metro Station North Parking Lot, Virginia Center Blvd & Centerboro Dr, Oakton, Fairfax, Virginia 22181, GPS =[masked],-77.271582.

Driving directions from Vienna Metro to SNP: From the exit of the Vienna Metro North parking lot, head east on Virginia Center Blvd, take the ramp onto I-66 W, and drive 19 miles west. Take exit 43A onto US-29 S/Lee Hwy and drive 11.5 miles. Turn slightly right onto US-15 Business S/US-29 Business S and drive 2.1 miles. Turn right onto US-211 W/Frost Ave/Lee Hwy and drive west along US-211 W for 33.9 miles. Take the exit for Skyline Dr, stop for park entry tollbooth, and keep left at the fork to merge onto Skyline Dr heading south. Follow Skyline Drive 15.4 miles southwest to Upper Hawksbill parking area on the right. (Along the way, you will pass the entrance to Skyland, which includes the Stony Man parking area, our second stop.)

• Google driving directions from Vienna Metro North to Upper Hawksbill parking area (our first stop):

Meetup in SNP: Upper Hawksbill parking area, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah, VA 22851. GPS =[masked],[masked]

What to bring: Plenty of water, comfy/sturdy shoes, and a sack lunch/snacks.  Sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent are good accessories. The forecast for Saturday is sunny and a high temperature in the mid-50s, so consider the layered look. Sorry, pets
are not allowed on either trail. This is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 please.

Cost: Entry fee to SNP is $15 per car, payable at the Thorton Gap tollbooth, plus contributions for gas to car drivers as needed for the trip. (Consider: it’s about 170 miles, maybe 11 gallons at 15 mpg in the mountains, so it’s a $30-40 gas bill.)


• Both of the trails are easy to moderate difficulty, but consider your individual fitness level when signing up for this hike. We want you to have fun!

• SNP park alerts in effect:

Administrative stuff: Skyland, in SNP near the Stony Man parking area, has restrooms and drinking fountains. A recommended pitstop along your drive to and from SNP is in Warrenton, which has a Sheetz, a McDonald’s, and a Burger King. See the Google map.


• Google driving directions from Vienna Metro North to Upper Hawksbill parking area (our first stop):

• Google map of the two hikes:

• SNP Skyline Drive driving map (PDF): 

• SNP hiking maps:  

• SNP fees:

• Unofficial SNP hiking page:

• Hiking Upward’s Stony Man website: 

• TopoQuest map of Hawksbill:

• TopoQuest map of Stony Man: 


• Upper Hawksbill parking, mile marker 46.7, GPS =[masked],[masked]

• Stony Man parking, mile marker 41.7, GPS =[masked],[masked]

Join or login to comment.

  • John M

    Mondo mountain views! Happy hikers! Thanks for a great day!!

    2 · October 26, 2013

  • Emma

    The Lead Mr. John M. thoughtfully organized the hiking trip. It was a good time.

    3 · October 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I wish I can go but I got to get rested for the Halloween event I am going that night. Have fun and get some good exercising !

    1 · October 25, 2013

  • Tamara D.

    I am hosting this Saturday morning. Wish I could do this. I'm totally down for the next one!

    October 25, 2013

  • Kevin D.

    I would love to but this is my daughter's birthday weekend.

    October 22, 2013

  • Barbara

    Sounds "violent"! But can't make it, family event trumps.

    October 22, 2013

  • Emma

    Would be possible that we could meet at Vienna Metro Station around 8:15am? I will be taking Metro going there in the Saturday's schedule.

    1 · October 22, 2013

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