Appalachian Trail: Harpers Ferry to PA-16

Hike 41 miles through Maryland on the Appalachian Trail.

Also in Maryland, United States of AmericaVirginia, United States of America

Hiking Moderate

Distance
66 km
Ascent
2.4 km
Descent
2.1 km
Duration
1 day +
Low Point
72 m
High Point
575 m
Gradient
10˚
Appalachian Trail: Harpers Ferry to PA-16 Map

Leaving Harpers Ferry, cross over the Potomac River to begin the 41-mile stretch of the AT through Maryland. Many thru-hikers or trail runners attempt to complete this stretch in one day, but the average hiker should allocate 3 to 4 days for this segment. Considered one of the easier portions of the trail, this is a great opportunity to test out whether or not a longer thru-hike if right for you.

Description

Follow the C&O Towpath to Weverton before climbing up to the spine of South Mountain. Along the way, the trail passes Crampton Gap, Lambs Knoll, Fox's Gap, and Turner's Gap—a notable access point to Washington Monument State Park and home to the first completed Washington Monument. A 40-foot-tall stone tower sits atop Monument Knob in honor of the first President of the United States.

Further north on the trail, you'll cross over I-70 on a footbridge. A short spur leads to an adjacent state highway that serves as a popular trailhead to reach Annapolis Rock and Black Rock. A significant amount of roadside parking is available and in the spring and fall this area can become extremely busy.

Just a few miles north, look for a spur to Annapolis Rock. Passing through a small campground, the trail emerges onto a rocky outcropping with killer views to the west. Slightly north on the trail, you'll reach the Black Rock, another picturesque overlook that's less visited due to its distance from the road.

As the trail continues north, you'll cross through a quiet and relaxing stretch as the trail continues to the Pennsylvania state line. After several road crossings, you'll reach the northern trailhead for this segment, PA-16.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WashingtonMonumentStatePark http://appalachiantrail.org/home/explore-the-trail/explore-by-state/maryland

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Guidebooks in this area