Preparing for your Hawksbill Mountain Session | Clara & Tanner

April 2, 2020

Sometimes the best mountain views are the ones worth hiking for. That is certainly the case for this hike up to Hawksbill Mountain, but Clara and Tanner were totally up for it. Personally, I’m literally always down for a hike- especially here. And once you hike to the top and see the rolling mountain ranges, plunge of Linville Gorge, and hear the sound of rushing wind past your ears…you’ll understand why.

Hawksbill Mountain is found in Linville Gorge and it’s about halfway between Asheville and Boone, NC. Roughly a 1 hour drive from both location. And it’s not hard to find either! Just put Hawksbill Mountain into your GPS and it will take you straight to the hike’s parking lot- just make sure it doesn’t take you down a forest service road. I accidentally did that one time aaaaaand it took me an extra 30 minutes to get to the hike. Oh well.

Here’s what to expect when having a session at Hawksbill Mountain:

  • The hike takes about 1.5 hours if you’re a slow hiker. If you like to charge up mountains (like me), then it’ll take you about 45 minutes. Just depends on your pace.
  • If you hike every once and a while (like once every few months), then I would rate the hike difficulty between moderate and difficult. It’s not so difficult that it’s terribly strenuous, but it’s definitely not an easy breeze-y walk either. I would say it’s similar in difficulty to Rough Ridge.
    • If you want trail specific information about Hawksbill Mountain, then check this out.
  • Sunrise is UNREAL. Like, it’s seriously unreal. Definitely plan to hit the trail about 1.5 hours before the sun comes up and over the horizon. You’ll want to watch the sky turn all different shades of colors before the sun peaks over the mountain ranges.
    • To check sunrise and sunset times, visit this site. I use it when I plan out my session itinerary’s and it’s uh-mazing.
  • Bring a hiking pack that includes:
    • Water, as much as you can carry
    • Basic first aid kit
    • Your cameras (duh)
    • Windbreaker
    • Extra pair of socks
    • Change of clothes (if you want an outfit change for your photos)
  • There are definitely high speed winds at the top of Hawksbill. I’m talking 30 mph gusts of wind that can knock you over if you’re not careful. Bring a windbreaker jacket with you to wear at the top and make sure you brace yourself when you’re standing on top of the rocks. An unexpected gust of strong wind could mean bad news bears.
  • Yes, there is wildlife on this hike. No, it’s unlikely you will run into them. But it is important that you are aware you could run into some little (or not so little) critters. Bring bear spray if that makes you feel comfortable, but it’s highly unlikely you will run into a bear.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. I know you love your heels and they are super cute with your dress, but I will not let you wear them during your session at the top of Hawskbill. I have this policy in place for your safety (and mine!). The rock face is uneven and jagged in some areas, so wear hiking boots or shoes with adequate tread.
  • You may be hiking in the dark if your session is at sunset. This is an important thing to note if you’re not a fan of hiking in the dark! But don’t worry, I’ve done it a lot and am totally comfortable guiding you down the mountain in darkness (follow me into the dark anyone?) And I will also bring headlamps for us too 🙂

What do you think? Feel prepared for your Hawksbill Mountain session? Let me know in the comments below! And if you can’t get enough mountain goodness, then you might be a fan of this session up at Max Patch.