Hike to Maryland Heights
Maryland › Maryland Heights Parking Area
Added by Elyse Clark
- Distance: 2.8 mile roundtrip
- Elevation gain: 900'
- Views of three states: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland
- Awesome views of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers converging
Maryland Heights is at the convergence of Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, as well as the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. The Appalachian Trail and C&O Canal Towpath are also easily accessible from the trailhead parking lot.
The parking lot holds about 16 cars and is between Locks 33 and 34, or approximately mile 61 of the C & O Canal Towpath. The hike starts on the opposite side of the road from the Towpath. Follow the steep green-blazed trail and keep right at the split with the blue-blazed Stone Fort Trail. You'll now be on the red-blazed "Overlook Cliff Trail".
Be sure to look for the trail breaking off and descending quickly to the right from the old road bed - this is approximately 1.1 miles into the hike. After this turn it's a quick 0.3 mile, 300' descent down to Maryland Heights. The overlook has views of Virginia, the town of Harper's Ferry (West Virginia) and Maryland. There's plenty of room to spread out, which is nice when there's typically large crowds here on the weekend.
Simply retrace your steps along the Overlook Trail back to your car for a 2.8 mile round trip hike. For a longer option, you could also explore the 2.2 mile Stone Fort Trail either on your way in or way out (See this map). Once finished, cross the Potomac River via the Appalachian Trail to get a bite to eat and/or an adult beverage in Harper's Ferry.
- Sturdy shoes for hiking
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My husband and I live about 15 minutes from Harpers Ferry, and have a season pass because we are there so much. Maryland Heights is a great beginner course to hike. The nice thing is you can really pick and choose how you want to get to the gorgeous overlook of Harpers Ferry. There are a couple trails that lead to different Civil War sites with information at each place. I do think that the trails could be a little better marked, which can be a little confusing. But it's nice to be able to choose to do anywhere from an 8 mile course to a quick 3 mile hike. Also, there are some other trails in Harpers Ferry, like one that takes you to Jefferson Rock (keep going past the Catholic Church to get there). Jefferson Rock has a great view for photography. And if you continue on that trail, there are also some really sweet abandoned places in the woods that would be an awesome spot for photography. All in all, it's a great place to explore. We find something new every time we go there!
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