A short summit approach, this 1.5-mile out-and-back is perfect for an active family looking for a challenging but doable dayhike. Begin hiking west from the designated parking area on the Hawksbill Trail. The first quarter-mile steadily gains about 250 feet under the cover of maple and oak. Hit the trail during the rhododendron bloom and you’ll have a brilliant display to complement the mountain laurel. After leveling off for a brief stretch, the trail turns left about 0.5 mile in and begins a steep ascent (400 feet over 0.2 mile) up to the exposed, craggy summit of Hawksbill. From here, enjoy 360-degree, treetop views across (and up and down) Linville Gorge and Pisgah National Forest. Due south, the distinct figure of Table Rock Mountain can be easily discerned. Soak it all in before backtracking to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Phil Sandoz