Hike to High Rock on the Appalachian Trail

6 miles 2000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

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.  

Read More

Tags

Hiking
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥇Top Contributor

about 1 month ago

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.

Stay Nearby

Sabillasville, Maryland

Adirondack Shelters

Overview The Adirondack Shelters, located near the northern most point of Catoctin Mountain Park, provide a destination for true nature immersion and an alternative to drive-up camping. A moderate ...

Sabillasville, Maryland

Owens Creek Campground

Overview Owens Creek Campground offers families and individuals enjoyable primitive tent camping. Located just five miles from Thurmont, Maryland, in the rolling hills of Catoctin Mountain Park. Re...

Sabillasville, Maryland

Poplar Grove Youth Group Campground

Overview Poplar Grove offers youth groups and organizations enjoyable year-round primitive tent camping. Located just steps away from the Catoctin Mountain Park portion of the Catoctin National Rec...

Thurmont, Maryland

Camp Misty Mount

Overview Camp Misty Mount brings together small groups, families and individuals for rustic mountain cabin camping in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. The historic stone and wood cabins were bui...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Devil's Racecourse on the Appalachian Trail

    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 accom...

    3 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Camp at the Adirondack Shelters in Catoctin Mountain Park

    For outdoor enthusiasts, Maryland is an ideal place to live. Between the mountains and the Bay--and the rivers, bike paths, and trails along the way--we couldn't ask for much more. But if we were feeling greedy, we would probably ask for additiona...

    4 miles 1200 ft gain

  • Hike to Cunningham Falls

    This 78-foot waterfall, among the largest in the state, is easily accessible by two short trails. Lower Trail (0.5 miles) leads directly to the falls, whereas Cliff Trail (0.75 miles) has slightly more difficult terrain and takes you to a viewing ...

    2.8 miles

  • Hike the Cunningham Falls Lower Trail

    Park in the Cunningham Falls parking lot off William Houck Drive. Just a short way away is the trailhead (see map). The trail is well-defined. The 1.2 mile loop is great for families and is dog-friendly. 

    1.2 miles 226 ft gain