North Lookout Loop via Skyline Trail
This moderate loop begins by descending along the red-blazed River of Rocks Trail. Keep an eye out for the large boulder fields that give the trail its name. Turn left on the Golden Eagle Trail and follow its yellow blazes up to the top of the ridge. This ascent is a bit steep. Next, turn left again onto the blue-blazed Skyline Trail. Get ready to rock-scramble as you follow the trail along the ridge, taking in numerous views. Continue following the skyline trail to one final scramble, which climbs right up a 30 ft cliff to the North Lookout. This scramble is not technical or too difficult to climb. Finally, follow the very well-worn Lookout trail back to the start. There are many viewing areas along the Lookout trail.
Many people come here to bird-watch, as it is a prime location for viewing eagles and other birds of prey. Try to spot them as you look out from the viewing areas. If the weather is good, expect to see lots of people from the North Lookout back to the trailhead.
Parking is at the Hawk Mountain Visitor Center along Hawk Mountain Road. Please note there is a $10 fee to enter the trail system (as of 2019). You can pay at the visitor center or right at the trailhead.
Make sure to bring ankle-supporting shoes because of the rock scrambles.
The rock scrambles make this hike challenging, especially for young children. Consider an alternate hike along the Lookout Trail if you have small children
Rate this Hike