Summary: History combined with beauty! This is a hike over well-marked trails with many interpretive signs along the way. There are some steep climbs and some rocky terrain.
The first park of the hike features a spectacular overlook of Harpers Ferry and the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. However, it doesn't come easily. The trail climbs steadily up a picturesque stream valley to a side trail leading to the overlook. The Overlook Trail descends for .5 mi, but is worth it! For a shorter hike (2.8), return the same way you came.
The second part of the hike includes much history. The trail climbs to the ridge passing remains of fortifications built by the Union forces in 1862 after their defeat at Harpers Ferry. There are ammunition pits, breastworks, powder magizines, and gun batteries along the trail. The remains of the main fort are at the summit of Maryland Heights. A military camp was located in the level area just below the summit.
Trailhead: I-495 to VA 7; west on VA 7 around Leesburg, then right onto VA 9. In about 10 mi turn right ont VA 671, then right (north) ontu US 340. Follow signs to Harpers Ferry National Park visitors center. (Lat:39.32 Lon:-77.73)
Trail Guides for Maryland Heights:
Circuit Hikes in VA WVA MD and PA
by Potomac Appalachain Trail Club (PATC)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: National Park Service 304-535-6298
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joe Cross, who has posted 56 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 4 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Dan on 12/14/2012
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Reviewed by UK on 4/24/2011
It is a pleasant hike. We parked on a very small parking shoulder which is a few feet from the trail head. I was a slow hiker today, we took plenty of breaks at the points of historic value, spend about 30 minutes at the Overlook Cliff, and we completed this hike in 3 hours.
Reviewed by Rolly on 9/13/2010
will be hiking back this weekend with my co-workers in Hopkins.
Reviewed by Tim B on 3/15/2010
Looks like Trobes and I were there on the same day. I agree, excellent hike. Very strenuous in my opinion, lots of straight uphill climbs, particularly if you take the diversion to see the Stone Fort. It was windy and cold at the top in November, so dress accordingly. But spectacular views of Harper's Ferry (at overlook spur, don't miss it) and the rivers (at Stone Fort). Bonus - you can relax in HF when you're done!
Reviewed by trobes on 11/27/2009
Excellent hike... I started at the 340 bridge took AT to Harpers Ferry then down C&O to trailhead. Follow green then blue to see Fort and awewome views. Keep on blue which hits red trail take this to Md Heights. Then back other way on red down mntn back on gree. 3 hours from 340 bridge.
Reviewed by JP on 8/26/2009
This is a great loop to the overlook and back. A little strenuous at times, but to put it in perspective: I hiked this loop with my children, ages 13, 11 and 8. My daughter needed lots of breaks on the way down, but they all survived just fine [bring extra water for the kids, then add another 14 ozs - we hiked in August]. Great views from the overlook, definitely worth the trip!
Reviewed by Amy on 6/2/2009
This was a great hike. I remember doing this hike when I was 20 and remember that it was a great view at the top. I feel like our group enjoyed the hike and view alot. It was a little tough for us but we made it and we did the longer path in less then 3 hours. Also, loved that it's only about an hour away from Baltimore. I think we will come back one day and do it again.
Reviewed by Lamp on 2/16/2009
The initial ascent is a little rough for those who are out of shape. My hike was pleasant on a February Friday around lunchtime. I was shocked at the temp and wind difference between the hike up and the scenic overlook. I was very happy I brought gloves due to the cold wind coming down the river. The view was spectacular and I'm glad I brought my camera. I assume the parking area would get a bit crowded on a weekend since it was full by the time I made it back down to my car. I'll definitely be back to do the full loop once I get in better shape.
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