View Full Version : Recommendation for dayhike near Harpers Ferry?

10-01-2016, 15:39
Hi there... I've thru-hiked the PCT & CDT, but never set foot on the AT. I'll be visiting an area near Harpers Ferry this coming week & looking for a ~5-6hr day-hike somewhere in that area. I could always wing it & do an out-and-back going north or south from town - just to get some miles on my feet. But I'm just wondering if anyone had any tips or recommendations for that general area. For example, is there any "must-see iconic thing" in that area, or is there any reliable shuttle service so that I could do a one-way hike? (e.g. shuttle to a trailhead ~12 miles away, and hike back to my car in Harpers Ferry). Or, is there any way to connect to some other trail & make a loop? Also, is there anything in Harpers Ferry itself that I ought to check out?

Oh, I'm also a pretty avid photographer... so I'm always looking for that angle as well, though, it's not my main purpose for the hike.

I don't have to stick to Harpers Ferry either - I'll have a car, so could head an hour north/south... but Harpers Ferry would be most convenient.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Sandy of PA
10-01-2016, 16:38
The entire town is a National Park! If you like history you can spend multiple days in the town itself just going through all the exhibits. The AT goes right thru town and on to the C&O towpath. A hike in any direction heads uphill with a view of the rivers. A shuttle from the Blackburn Trail center south of Harper Ferry would give you a good hike back to town.(about 13 miles) 540-338-9028 for the PATC caretaker.

10-01-2016, 20:14
Ha! shows you what I know... I'm pretty green about everything on the AT & hadn't done any research yet. Thanks a ton... I'll give that number a call next week & see what they say - your suggestion sounds pretty good. I'll try to leave a bit of time to check out the town too.

10-01-2016, 21:55
Maryland Heights (http://www.hikingupward.com/OMH/MarylandHeights/)

Very popular, tough in my view. Great view at the overlook. The north loop sees less traffic but still plenty of use with history and second overlook. I recommend using the HF visitor center for parking rather than the pulloffs along Harpers Ferry Road on the MD side; that area fills up easily and is often congested.

Loudon Heights (http://www.hikingupward.com/OWVH/HarpersFerryLoudounHeights/)

Not quite as difficult, nowhere near as popular (thought still used). Best view is the lowest (last) overlook at Split Rock. Use either the visitor center shuttle or the Shenendoah St/340 parking lot.

Other ideas are Schoolhouse Ridge South, and Weverton Cliff, but the above two are the iconic Harpers Ferry hikes.

10-02-2016, 10:40
head about an hour or so (if you could handle 2, thatd be ideal) further south and hike part of Shenandoah national park (just dont dare call them the shennies!)

plus or minus 12 miles on either side of HF on the AT is kind of a drab hike. theres a couple of good overlooks, one on, a couple just off of, the AT but they are RIGHT at harpers ferry and are short hikes and/or off the AT. if you want an interesting hike thats more a full day's worth of nice, scenic AT hiking, down in SNP is what you want.

one possible plus for hiking near HF is its easy, so if you were so inclined you could probably knock out 18 or 20 miles in the time youre allocating for 12.

10-02-2016, 13:28
Thanks for the additional ideas & maps. I might have some time the following day as well & try the Maryland Heights hike as well - we'll see. Just looking at the maps, I can see hiking into Harpers Ferry won't be the most dramatic part of the AT, but the main goal is to just get out there & do some walking. I won't have time to get all the way down to the Shenendoah area. One nice thing about starting out with a rather mundane section of trail is that the next hike will just be better.

10-02-2016, 23:00
What distance and what challenge are you looking for for the day hike? I live about 30 minutes from Harp and am on the AT all the time in this area. I am happy to steer you towards something that would suit you. Reply here or PM me.

10-03-2016, 13:28
What about hiking up to Annapolis Rock? That's one of my favorite parts of the AT in Maryland. You can start at the i70 bridge to make it a 5 mile hike round trip, or you could start at Washington Monument state park to make it like a 12 mile there and back. There unfortunately aren't any good loop trails that I can think of on the AT in Maryland. There are some shuttle services listed somewhere on WhiteBlaze that you could use for something in the area though.

10-03-2016, 14:31
Maryland Heights, July 2005

Tennessee Viking
10-03-2016, 16:07
Bear Den, C&O Canal

10-04-2016, 10:56
dont forget the ATC headquarters and Jefferson rock! Jefferson thought the view was worth the trip across the Atlantic, so definitely is worth your time!

10-04-2016, 12:55
You can't go wrong with any direction you choose from HF. I prefer heading north into Maryland. The first 3 miles are on the towpath and then you have a nice little climb up to Weverton cliffs. I love the view from up there.

Maryland Heights is great and even heading south from HF is nice.

10-06-2016, 16:32
A couple years ago, with my son, drove to HF from DC and spent the day hiking up to and back from three high points from which you can look out onto the town and the river for very scenic views. Then I want to the ATC headquarters to say hello. Actually met Baltimore Jack there. Rest in peace, Jack. One high point is N on the AT, one is S on the AT with a bit of a side hike to the overlook, and the third goes up to the location of a gun battery used in the Civil War. You could get to and from 2 of these in the time you will have. No loop option, all three are out and back hikes. The views are worth it.

10-06-2016, 17:25
Maryland Heights is pretty awesome, although its not on the AT, but the hike is strenuous and the view is stellar. A hike along the C&O towpath (its a flat walk along a boggy stream on one side and a raging river on the other) up to Weaverton Cliffs could be a good stroll with a strenuous climb if you've got the time as well. Also look into the legendary "rollercoaster" section of AT south of Harper's Ferry, and/or a trip to Bear's Den Hostel. The views in and around Harpers itself are iconic east-coast, civil-war era America, and a gem on the Appalachian Trail.