Hike to High Rock on the Appalachian Trail



6 miles

Elevation Gain

2000 ft

Route Type


Added by Ashley Stimpson

Love it or despise it, High Rock--in all of its gratuitous, graffiti-covered glory--is a Maryland must-see.

Start your hike where the AT crosses Raven Rock Road (Maryland Route 491). This crossing is well-marked from both sides by large, yellow signs and blazed stakes. You will need to park on the side of the road, but the shoulder is wide and can accommodate a crowd. 

The first half mile or so of this hike is hard; you'll be climbing more than a thousand feet up uneven stone steps and switchbacks. Luckily, it's immediately scenic as you meander through Raven Rock Hollow, a large outcropping of boulders overlooking South Mountain's eastern ridge. 

About 1 mile in, you can opt for a side trip to the exceedingly cool Devil's Racecourse or stay on the trail for about 1.7 miles to reach High Rock--the highest point in the Free State. Sadly, it's covered in graffiti, but the views are still unspoiled. 

Note that there is a road up to and parking lot next to High Rock. You will probably not be alone up there. But you can feel satisfied in knowing you used your feet to make it to the top, and not your gas pedal. 

Retrace your steps for an easy, all-downhill return to the car.  

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Post Turkey Day Hike

The trails leading to High Rock are excellent. A little bit of everything, boulders, flat, elevation, etc. the payoff is a great reward, if you can get past the crowd, smell of paint and tagging. One note on the above review, this NOT the highest point in The Free State. That spot is in Garrett Co., western Md.

Cool despite the graffiti

I'm personally not a fan of the graffiti up here, but its a local site nonetheless. I'd stop through if you're nearby, but its an okay spot to skip, too.

Along the AT

Started my Maryland section of the AT here. What a cool start to the hike! Was a bit crowded when we came, and I'm not a fan of the graffiti. But it was cool to learn some facts while here, such as they banned hang-gliding from here because there was fear someone would make it all the way to Camp David which is rumored to be somewhere below.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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