Supermoon viewing in Shenandoah National Park
Have you ever seen a supermoon? A supermoon appears to be a little larger and brighter than other full moons as it nears perigee, its closest orbit to Earth. On Saturday, August 29, Shenandoah National Park is hosting a supermoon viewing at the top of the highest peak in the Park, Hawksbill Mountain, elevation 4,050 feet.
Rangers will be stationed along the Upper Hawksbill Trail (mile 46.7 on Skyline Drive) and at the summit to help visitors enjoy this special event. To protect fragile resources, attendance is limited to 100 participants. Many other spots in the Park are also excellent places to view the supermoon, such as east-facing overlooks along Skyline Drive and Big Meadows (mile 51).
Sign-ups for the Hawksbill supermoon viewing event will begin on Monday, August 24, at 9:00 a.m. Please call Byrd Visitor Center at 540-999-3500 ext. 3283 to make your reservation. Parking for the event is at the Upper Hawksbill parking lot (mile 46.7). Hiking distance is just over two miles (one mile each way), out and back on the same trail. The elevation gain from the parking lot to the summit is approximately 520 feet. Parking spaces are limited and carpooling is recommended.
A Ranger will be stationed at the Upper Hawksbill Parking area at 7:00 p.m. to check participants in before they depart for the approximately 30-minute hike to the summit. The moon will rise as the sun sets at around 7:45 p.m. Rangers will be stationed along the trail and at the summit from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. If the weather is clear, there will be views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and Old Rag Mountain and the Virginia Piedmont to the northeast, as well as the night sky and its big, bright moon. The hike will go on in light rain and even if the sky is overcast. It will be canceled if there is threat of a thunderstorm.
Come prepared to hike in any weather, with layers of clothing for cool mountain nights. Wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and a flashlight.
There is no fee for the hike, but participants must register beforehand by calling the visitor center. There is a $20 per-vehicle entrance fee to Shenandoah National Park, which is good for seven days.