Summary: For most any hiker in the East the Appalachian Trail has a curious draw. We day dream of busting loose from the demands of work and our suburban existence, throwing the necessities of life onto our backs, and completing the arduous thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Most of us, however, will have to satisfy such desires with just the occasional taste of the trail. This hike to Annapolis Rock is great way to do just that and it's a good, challening, hike for my 8 yr. old!
The trail begins with a nice climb, getting most of the elevation gain out of the way while still fresh. The tree cover provides plenty of relief from the warm summer sun as the trail levels off and you start cooling down.
About 2.2 miles in (~39.55926 N, 77.59532 W) a blue blazed trail will diverge from the A.T., heading east for just a short (<.2 miles) distance to Annapolis Rock, where you will experience some breathtaking views and great opportunities for rock scrambling with the kids!
Trailhead: The trailhead is located off of Route 40, just East of Greenbrier State Park. The parking area is located on the south side of Route 40 (left side heading west, right side heading east). The only real good identifying sign is a Smokey Bear fire condition sign across from the parking area. From the parking lot, head to the West side of the lot where you will find a trail sign. Follow the blue blazes a short distance until you meet with the Appalachian Trail (A.T) near the Route 70 overpass. Turn right (North) onto the A.T. and proceed. (Lat:39.53549 Lon:-77.60353)
Trail Guides for Appalachian Trail to Annapolis Rock:
Appalachian Trail Guide Set #6
by PATC (PATC)
MD DNR: Appalachian Trail
by Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Maryland Department of Natural Resources)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). 703-242-0693
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Brian Talbert, who has posted 20 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Kyle on 4/24/2013
Love the hike. Maybe the best in Washington County. I have NEVER had an issue with theft, broken glass, trash, etc. I will park my car in the Route 40 lot and leave it there anytime. Without a worry. But if that is something that concerns you then don't park there.
Reviewed by AJ on 5/20/2012
I LOVE this portion of the trail when it's NOT peak season. If you can go during the week or early spring there are plenty of sites & fresh water w/in 10 mi of each other and the sites are empty. In the off-season it's absolutely stunning, w/ views that span across the hills for miles. It was so quiet, we even accidently scared off a black bear last Fall. Then went just last weekend and the sites and trails were buzzing w/ families, girl & boy scout troops yelling & giggling up a storm... Nature pretty much hid from us that day. After making camp later, the troops showed up and invaded our actual site d/t overcrowding. Tents everywhere <3 ft away, fire pit destroyed and no sleep b/c of squealing & giggling all night (Poor SM Leadership).
Reviewed by Francine on 2/27/2012
Good trail with GREAT views at Annapolis Rock. Although this trail may be good for families with kids, we (my husband and I) had a few things we didn't like about it. The start of the hike (which is then revisited on the way back) passes right by the very busy and noisy route 70, which you can hear well into the forest. We found the area surrounding Annapolis Rock to be heavily littered. Not just pop cans thrown into the trees and rock crevasses, but bags of trash dumped, broken glass on the rocks and toilet paper debris. Perhaps in the summer months there's more maintenance? Took us 55 mins to hike in and 45 mins to hike out. We'll only return if rock climbing.
Reviewed by Rich on 8/16/2011
I posted a post on 5/9/11 I am also in Law Enforcement and we either drive by or stop at the lots frequently I personally check to make sure no one is doing anything the are not supposed to be doing. We have yet to run into anyone causing trouble. Its a great place hate to see someone ruin it.
Reviewed by Lloyd on 6/2/2011
I was surprised that the "Moderate" rated trail was no more difficult than it was! -a simply stunning view and great place to eat a packed lunch!
Reviewed by Rich on 5/9/2011
I just ran this portion of the trail late yesterday the previous post was correct the first 1/4 mile in is an uphill hike. Running it is rough. It does level off and provides a decent hike/Run. Getting down to the rocks is easy it is marked with blue trail blazes which are seperate from the white AT Blazes. THere is a sign that leads you down to the rocks off the AT. I went late on a sunday and there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. I did see a fair amount of people on the trail as well. Its a good day hike especially for kids as its hard enough to wear them out but easy enough to not make them hate hiking. Plus getting to the rocks provides an excellent view of the valley.
Reviewed by jim on 3/30/2011
I have never heard of trouble with "local maggots" at the 40 parking lot nor have have noticed the lot peppered with fresh glass. And I live nearby and run that trail on a weekly basis. That lot is packed on the weekends with people coming and going all day. Even the weekdays have the lot half full. The hardest part of the hike is about a 1/4 mile in. That's when you do the full elevation in roughly a half-mile span. After that, it's about another half mile of short rises and descents. Once you see the neighboring ridgelines to the right, you are on the ridge and it is easy walking to Annapolis Rocks. It's a beautiful view and there is great toprope climbing if you bring your gear.
Reviewed by ALS on 11/29/2010
Great hike, unfortunately we chose a windy day which made Annapolis Rock a little difficult to hang out on for very long. The wind at the cliffs gets really intense and is painful to any exposed skin. But on a better day it would have been perfect. Looking forward to doing this one again in the spring or fall. With regards to a previous post about parking at Greenbrier, we took that advice but there were lots of cars parked at the main trailhead on 40 and it appeared relatively safe, but I could see theft being a concern on a less crowded day. Just a warning though, the trail connecting Greenbrier to the AT is very steep and not very well maintained, so it's slow going up, and even slower going down.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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