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Hiker Reviews for the Maryland Heights Hike - 1 to 65 of 65   
Review the Maryland Heights hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 10, 2018
Warning: I got what appears to be a Giant Hogweed burn on this hike on June 10, as my son and I did the Stone Fort loop twice that day. I suspect that the Giant Hogweed plant(s) are somewhere on the ridge traverse. I was lucky and just ended up with about a dozen small blisters across my arms and neck. Do some research on the Giant Hogweed so you can avoid it. (Great hAP5688895ike, great overlooks on the Stone Fort Loop and the cliff)

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 15, 2018
This is a great hike for the views and the exercise. The trail can be steep, but it is generally wide (except on the ridge) and not too rocky.

The overlook has excellent views of Harper's Ferry and the Potomac, but can be a bit crowded on nice weekends. The stone fort trail is much less congested, and offers great views of the Potomac east of Harper's Ferry, as well as loads of history.

One parking option is at the base of Maryland Heights, but be aware there are only about 20 spots total (across 2 areas) and these fill up fast on weekends. You can also park across the river at various pay spots (street, train station) and walk across the bridge.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 31, 2018
This is an old favorite of mine. The trail is not long by any means but it is steep enough for you to make a real workout out of it if you get creative with the routes. The river adds to the serenity of the location and there is quite a bit of history sprinkled throughout the trail. Read more about this specific trail with stats and pictures, here: https://adventuresinroamance.com/maryland-heights-a-historic-day-hike/

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 04, 2017
My wife and I have hiked this trail multiple times in the brief time we've lived in the area (note: we always take the long trail, never the short one), both alone and with visiting company who haven't hiked much, and with or without our two dogs. I finally decided to review it.

Our take is this: despite the heavy crowding on weekends and holidays, which we prefer to avoid most of the time, it's still one of our favorite local-area hikes (we live in Frederick, MD, about 25 minutes away) and we've found that when we hike with visiting family or friends who aren't used to hiking much or even at all, the fact that so many other people are on the trail actually inspires them as they feel they are "not alone" in their effort. And they (like we) never fail to be impressed by the view at the main overlook. Regardless of weather or crowds or any other factors, that one-of-a-kind view down into Harpers Ferry and over the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers and surrounding mountains always provides more than sufficient payoff.

For dog owners (at least for those with athletic dogs who love to exercise hard) it's a winner for sure, regardless of how many other dogs are out on the trail or not.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Really nice hike, especially for history buffs. Started the trail at 10:30 am, got the last spot in the first parking area. In my opinion, the signage and blazing could be better almost everyone who I passed on the way down stopped me to ask if they were on the right track. The photos linked in the Hiking Upward guide were very helpful! The first part of the section up to Stone Fort had me huffing, but I was surprised at how quickly it leveled out and was a nice stroll. I like hikes that reward a climb with some nice flat sections before you have to go down again. Only passed one other person on the hike up to Stone Fort, but the Maryland Heights Overlook trail was PACKED. Keep an eye out for yellowjackets and other ground bees if you stop to take a breather on the way up, I almost sat on one more than a few times. The flora and fauna is really gorgeous this time of year, there were some remnants of raspberries and blackberries, tons of butterflies and damselflies, and a few lizards. Most of the hike is quite nicely shaded, so it's a very nice hike for sunny days like today. Completed hike in about two and a quarter hours.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, December 26, 2016
This hike was hard and fun! I did it with some friends on December 26, 2016. It's a great winter hike, but make sure you layer up because the ridge is windy and cold!!

Highlights:
-Awesome view of Harpers Ferry from the Main Overlook cliffs
-Huge amount of Civil War history & artifacts
-The trail is really well-maintained and well-marked
-Fabulous view of the Potomac River from the ridge
-Only an hour drive from Montgomery County!

By: Brad K Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, November 14, 2016
Completed this hike in conjunction with the C&O/Weverton Cliffs hike, with a lunch break next to Lock 33. 14.4 mile total hike that day. The Maryland Heights portion took me just over 4 hours to complete at a moderate pace, including some time exploring the fort at the top of the ridge and a nice break at the overlook. I noted the trail head parking appeared full as I walked past, and I crossed paths with a few other hikers along the way, but there was plenty of solitude along the trail. I took the blue trail clockwise followed by a walk out to the overlook cliff before returning. From the canal up to the top of the ridge is a pretty steady climb, with the grade getting significantly steeper along the blue trail, which is the old civil war road. Apparently the Union army hadn't learned switchback technology to make life easier -- its a straight path directly up! Felt encouraged after reaching a sign following a steep grade noting that Abraham Lincoln had already turned around by this point when he attempted to review the troops at the fort during the war.

The payoff after arriving at the ridge is worth the climb. Significant civil war earthworks and stone fortifications remain on site. The layout and construction of this fort was quite unique compared to other civil war forts I've explored. I was the only one in the area of the fort while up there. The view from the top is OK, but still quite overgrown despite most of the leaves already being down. Returning down the ridge is also quite steep and more rocky than the western approach. The overlook trail is clearly much more traveled than the stone fort portion -- very wide and simple to follow. The overlook looking down into Harpers Ferry is fun and a good spot to rest before completing the hike. There were two other groups at the overlook when I arrived, a student research group working in the area and another solo hiker came in as I was leaving. Far from solitude at that point, but not terribly crowded either.

Overall, a nice combination of distance, workout and history to make this a very memorable day hike. Its a nice compliment to the history lesson you get in Harpers Ferry. If you can only do one hike while visiting this area, this would be the one to do.

By: Kevin H. Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 03, 2016
How the soldiers during the Civil War took things like canons and huge amounts of water up the "heights" part of this hike is beyond me. This part of the hike is super steep, but once you reached the top, it was worth it and the cool air breeze is rewarding, as well. The hike completely pays off when you are able to overlook the historic Harpers Ferry. This area is definitely camera worthy. It did rain on my journey back down, so I had to be careful with the rocks becoming more and more slick. Parking was not an issue for me, but it was a week day. May want to arrive early on a weekend day. Parked right across the street from the Potomac River, which was nice to walk along as I cooled down from the hike. The entire hike is pretty rich in history, as the park service has posted at least 4 or 5 signs along the trail as it relates to the Civil War. Would definitely do this hike again.

By: Brian M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 27, 2016
Really awesome day trip from the DC area! Got a bit of a late start - parked at the Harpers Ferry Visitors Center around 10:15 (free because of 100th NPS anniversary, normally $10/car I believe). Took the free shuttle to downtown Harpers Ferry and walked across the Railroad bridge to the parking area. Decided to take the long loop on the way up - pretty steep incline for about 20-30 minutes, then relatively flat the rest of the way around. Lots of cool signs with little historical notes spaced pretty regularly which made for good breaks. On the way down we stopped at the Harpers Ferry overlook for lunch - great view. Kind of crowded but that's to be expected. Not really any good views on the long loop, but it was mostly shaded so it made for a good hike. 3.5 hours was exactly right.

Near the parking area there's a bunch of areas to go in the river to cool off afterward - definitely recommend doing so! Obviously be mindful of the currents. After walking back into downtown Harpers Ferry we got ice cream at Scoops and then headed out. Really fun day!

By: Peter Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 02, 2016
I hike Maryland heights 5x a week in the summer. The lower trail is great for anyone that is not an experienced hiker. For me, I use the lower hike to get in shape for other, more strenous hikes. One of the reaons why this is my most frequently done hike is the overlook, and while a lot of people use this trail, most of the time if you go early in the morning you are by yourself most of the way out.

That said, I have a lot of pet peeves about this trail. Many people hime with their dogs unleashed here, even though it's against park rules. I have seen big dogs run up to little children many times, scaring them. Those same people let their animals poop on the trail and leave it there. So much so that you see something new almost daily.

The upper overlook is non existent and completely overgrown with trees. Don't go all the way up unless you want to see the ruins of the fort, or just want a harder workout. The ascent to the upper overlook is significantly harder than the lower.

If you find yourself liking this trail, I suggest you consider hiking Loudoun heights next time. It also has excellent views of Harpers Ferry from a different vantage point. That hike is also a little harder and significantly longer.

By: BrianJB Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 22, 2016
Great hike, but beware the crowds. . .started at 08:30 Sunday morning, got the last spot in the second parking area. . .hiked the reverse of these directions (kept right on the way up, down the overlook trail, then return to the loop to the Stone Fort). Great views along the way in several spots even with the trees, and nice variety of Civil War fortifications. Not too many folks on the way up, including only a handful on the main overlook. . .but I think I passed 200+ people of the way up as I was hiking out at 11:00 or so. Be warned, go early, particularly on the weekend.

By: Rebecca Baughman Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 26, 2016
I have been wanting to walk this trail for several years, and finally got to go this April.  We left Harper's Ferry about 6:30 am, and the weather was perfect.  We walked at a steady pace, but had to stop a few times to catch our breath, but the overlook was worth every step.  We were the only ones there, and so we had lots of time to enjoy every moment of it.  Would love to bring all of our grandkids so they could experience it.  I bet it is beautiful in the fall.

By: Adam Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 28, 2016
Overall a decent day-hike. The day we went was a wonderful break in otherwise cold/gloomy weather for the last few weeks. As such, the trail was a bit crowded from folks itching to get back outside and get some sun. Most hikers do not opt to do the full loop, rather take the direct trail to the lookout. Because of this, we didn't experience many crowds until we got near the lookout. Even then, we were able to descend a bit onto the rocks to the left of the lookout, which were not crowded as only the more avid hikers were willing to scramble down the rocks to get there.

The trail is very worn-in, and wide - even saw a handful of people pushing big-wheeled strollers to take babies to the lookout. Great if you just have the itch to get out, but if solitude is your thing, this trail is not it when the weather is nice. Maybe on a colder winter day, or rainy day you'd have it to yourself.

By: Mark Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Arrived around 9 AM on a beautiful August day (high of 78 degrees) and there were only two cars in the parking lot along Sandy Hook Rd.. Got started right away with very steep ascent which had us breathing heavy quickly as we were going at a good pace. Decided to do the Harpers Ferry overlook first which is a long descent from the main trail, but still when you get there it is really a spectacular view of the Potomac heading to the West, the Shenandoah River to the South, Loudoun Heights to the SE and of course the town of Harpers Ferry. You are probably only a few under feet above the river from the overlook, but you don't care as it's such a great view. It's by far the best view of the hike and as we did it first the other views weren't nearly as spectacular. However, we had it practically to ourselves and could sit peacefully and enjoy the view.

The main trail is pretty wide and steep, but as you get off of that to go on the trails to the various overlooks they become much narrower and more up and down (and more interesting). As tiring as it was going up all the inclines it was actually more difficult on my knees going down the main path back to the parking area.

As we were heading down the trail started to get crowded with many people heading up. Only saw one dog on its way up at the bottom. You could take dogs up the mountain, but have to be careful if they like to pull at all as you may lose your balance in some of the tighter areas.

By: Andy D. Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 13, 2015
Did this hike a couple days ago. Very awesome hike. My only suggestion would be to do the Stone Fort Trail loop in the opposite direction and goto the Overlook first as it gets very crowded. Then, come back up and take the Blue trail closest to the Maryland Heights overlook. Although either leg of the Blue Trail climbs alot....I feel the leg closest to the Overlook is less strenuous then the other side of the Blue Trail I came down.

Also, to note, the NPS is charging $10 to park on Sandy Hook Road. There's a kiosk as soon as you start the trail.

Although this hike is extremely scenic, I highly recommend the hike up to Loudoun Heights in Virginia, which you pick up at the parking lot under the 340 Shenandoah River Bridge. It's an all day hike and quite a bit longer, but the views to me there are much more expansive and very few crowds. Maryland Heights is a closer up view of Harper's Ferry. Although Loudoun Heights is a longer hike and is still steep, I feel Maryland Heights is more steeper as well and much less gradual, there are also no switchbacks on the Maryland Heights trails, they go straight up the mountain.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 31, 2015
we got a later start than we wanted on sunday and didn't end up getting to the parking area until closer to 2pm. parking was a challenge...we drove back and forth twice before a space opened up. finally got to the trail head and began the tough ascent to the ridge line. the heat was blazing which didn't make it any easier. we finally made it to the ridge line when we heard the first sound of thunder rumbling in the distant. although we were a bit worried about the impending storm, it was nice walking through the historic fort area imagining how the soldiers were feeling as they heard the sound of cannons getting closer and closer. the highlight of the trip for me was the nice size black snake that we saw tucked in the rocks by the fort overlook. he rattled his little tail at me when i got a bit too close which was very cool!

the rain started right as we got to the point where we needed to make a decision on whether to head to the overlook to see harpers ferry. never one to shy away from adventure, we made the decision to go for it. it poured the entire way to the overlook. it was very pretty and wish i had more time to spend up there. unfortunately, rain and lightning cut our trip a bit short and we high tailed it out of there and back to the car.

i rated this hike a 3. it was pretty but we've been on way nicer hikes over the past few weeks.

By: Linda S Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
i'm from northern michigan, and have wonderful places to hike,,, however, this hike was extremely memorable  since i  was doing it with my little brother...and the history was beyond my wildest dreams. we stayed at the jackson rose and then did the hike.. i truly appreciated the hike since i was really in hiking condition...only had to stop once..
..it was not crowded at all so the pix we got were fabulous
this truly was a cross off on my bucket list

By: Margaret Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 26, 2014
If you like history and hiking, this is a fun one. I got there around 7:30 and was glad I went early - by the time I was descending, there was a steady stream of people heading for the overlook. I did the Stone Fort trail first and then headed to the overlook, but if I went again I'd reverse the order as the overlook trail was already busy by 10:30 or so when I started down there. I poked around a lot and finished the hike in about 4 hours. The scenery and views were beautiful my only gripe is that the trail has a lot of roots and loose rocks, so you have to pay a lot of attention to where you put your feet, and that means you can't look around as much! Still, overall it was really pretty, and neat to read about the fortifications.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 25, 2014
I got here at about 10:00 am and the parking lot was already full at both the spots. I squeezed my car in at a place left empty. The hike starts with the green trail and then splits into the blue and red trail. The red trail is shorter and is rated for about 2 hours. I took the blue one, which is rated at about 3 hours. It is fairly steep going up for the first 0.5 miles. It then steadies up and becomes fairly flat at the top. The views are nice and the trail had very few people. On the way down, it becomes steep at a few places, but no too bad. The trail then merges with the red trail which had a whole bunch of people. There are quiet a few spots and spots where they had placed cannons between 1862-1865, but most of the spots have no or few traces left of the original canons. Once on the red trail and then the green, its a pretty easy pace down. I was able to be back around 11:45am. There were a lot many people going up at that time. Overall an excellent hike, gave me a good workout :) Definitely recommended. I would count this as the old rag of harpers ferry :)

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Took off early from work and headed out from the Harpers Ferry train station just before 5pm.  Solo hike on an overcast and windy evening. The rain held off luckily but I knew darkness would not so I took the short version of this hike.  I went by the Naval Battery and across to the main Harpers Ferry overlook.  The colors were not out fully, but this view never fails to impress. The hike up (either to the overlook or all the way to the top) is steep and requires a few breathers if you are not in good shape---I am not! But the payoff is worth being gassed on the uphills.  The late hour start time on a Tuesday night meant there were only 7 people that I saw on the whole trail (three on their way down, two at overlook already and two arriving as I left). For the trip down I like to take the steep but short billy goat trail off to your left as you are looking across the rivers. You have to hop over a gaurd rail at the bottom and walk along the road parallel to the train tunnel and then you can climb down and across the C&O canal to get back to the foot bridge across the Potomac and back to Harpers Ferry.  Great hike, great workout, great views and the history of Harpers Ferry all make this one of my favorite hikes.

By: Linda Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 21, 2014
Arrived around 10:30 AM, parking was tight but we found a space along Harper's Ferry Rd past both of the larger parking areas - it's on the right near an access point to the canal path. Surprisingly there were not many others on the trail, until we came back down and did the Overlook portion. Had not done this hike before but will return when the leaves are off the trees. Be aware that it really is up, up, up at the beginning, but the trail is otherwise pretty easy going. Nice views, too, and we enjoyed reading the history lessons posted periodically.

By: 8 Feet & 4 Paws Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 07, 2014
We parked across the Potomac in Hapers Ferry and took the walking bridge across to the river trail to get to the trail head. We didn't think it was difficult to find the trail head, but we also had a map to reference. We arrived at a decent time to get a good parking spot in Hapers Ferry. The ascent was a slow steady incline that we were all catching our breath on to reach the Civil War inner/outer walls of the camp (we are in good shape). Was truly surprised by the incline, but once we were at the top the trail evened out and became extremely easy outside of a few rocks that were in the path. The views were pretty around the Civil War ruins and I'm anxious to go back up there in the fall.



Once we left the ruins, we took the path along the ridge and enjoyed the views. We met up with the main path and took it to the overlook of Harpers Ferry. One word - GORGEOUS! It was totally worth taking the longer trail prior to getting to the overlook. None of us wanted to leave. Next time we take our lunch up there and enjoy the views! Return hike back to Harpers Ferry was easy going and quick. One of the best hikes we've taken yet.


By: Katie Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 15, 2014
GREAT day hike, great views. It should not be a 3 in difficulty, more like 4

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 09, 2014
Caveat:  THE PARKING STINKS!  Also the trail head is VERY poorly marked from the paved road.  Best signage is actually on the wide trail adjacent to the river.  There are steps leading up from the river at the trailhead.  You may have to plan part of your hike as the distance to parking and/or drop hikers at the trailhead and the driver hike back alone.  This impacted the time we had on the mountain and adversely affected us meeting our party.  Loved the view.  Overall 4 stars.

By: Peter Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 01, 2014
As this is close to my house, I hike here occasionally. In my opinion, this hike should not be rated a 3 in difficulty, it's probably a 4. The ascent up the mountain is very "Big Schlossish" having a rough first couple miles of ascent. After the fork in the trail (where you get the option of going right or left), after taking the left turn the trail turns left and goes up in a relentless fashion until you get to the top. I personally don't like it because I'm not a fan of hikes that I have to stop for a second to suck wind. Also, once you take that left fork, solitude really jumps from a 1 up to about a 4 or even a 5. When I've hiked the Maryland Heights portion I rarely see anyone. Once at the top, the trail gets really easy, not even a 2 in difficulty, and is virtually as flat as the towpath. The views are okay at the top. I wouldn't say they are marvelous, but after seeing the lower overlook over Harpers Ferry, they really are a let down. To me, this is the sort of hike you should take if you are a history buff. If you are looking for views, stick to the right at the forks, and go to the lower western overlook. It's much better.

The only thing of note is to be careful after you past the forts. There are a lot of pointed rocks in the grass and I found myself turning my ankles a lot, both at the top and on the way down.


By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 03, 2014
Trail is in pretty good shape after a week of rain. The climb to the top is pretty steep but has some good views when you reach the top. My kids (8 and 11) made the whole route with very few issues. The civil war signs were interesting but lacked any depth other sites have. All and all its a good trail with a couple amazing views!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, April 06, 2014
Great Hike...we did the lower/shorter portion...views of the 2 rivers and Harpers Ferry were beautiful. The climb up was very steep, but the reward was worth it. We found parking down near Lock 34 and walked down the C&O Canal trail to the trailhead. Busy rail day, I think about 6-7 trains went thru during our hike. Not overly crowded on such a beautiful day...lots of dogs hiking too.

By: Into the darkness Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 28, 2013
The important thing to know is that the visitor center and bus shuttle stop running around 5 pm. So what the NPC rangers don't tell you is that if you come after 2-3 pm, you should look for parking further down the hill after you drive past the parking lot. Otherwise, like us, you may have to walk 1.5-2 miles back from town in the dark!!

The park trail has some mud and icy patches so be careful and be sure to bring hiking shoes.

We have gone on this hike 3-5 times before but after the fall, all the colors are pretty dull (brown/grey).

The town itself is small but nice, if you want to walk through it and check out the historic stores.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 02, 2013
The whole hike- Stone Fort Trail plus Overlook took us 2.5 hours round trip from the trail head, including about 15 minutes at the top for a snack and about 10 minutes stop at the overlook, and we were going at a pretty decent speed. Be warned that the overlook trail (and the overlook) can be pretty crowded on the weekends, but the steep Stone Fort trail much less so. We did not even try to park in one of the 8-car lots by the trail head, nor was there any room at either of the NPS lots near the historic town, so we had to park at the Visitor's Center (a couple miles away from the historic town) and take the shuttle. All in all, round trip from the visitors center parking lot (including shuttle to the historic town, plus 15-minute walk to trail head, plus the hike and back) took almost 3.5 hours. Very pretty with the fall foliage, and the views are awesome from the overlook looking down on the confluence of the two rivers and the town, but the views are more distant and less direct from the Stone Fort. Worth doing as a day trip from DC for sure.

By: Karen B. Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, October 21, 2013
There were no spaces in the train station lot and none on the street when we arrived at 10:30 a.m. on a Monday. Went up to the National Park visitor's center lot and took the short bus ride back down, so it was pretty quick. That's a good option of you are running late.

The hike was fairly crowded until the turn off to go up to the ruins of the Union Civil War Fort. After that turn we saw no one, and for good reason as it was really very strenuous getting to the top. In fact, I wouldn't attempt going all the way up to the fort unless you were in pretty decent shape. We went up the west side which as a previous reviewer noted was wide and fairly well marked, until the very top where we actually got lost a little bit looking for markers and the fort. The east side is indeed narrow, rocky, and in places slippery with leaves and loose stones. On the way down I was at times unsure if I was on the actual trail, and had to look around quite a bit for the few markers there.

If you're up for the climb to the fort you will really enjoy getting up close to civil war history. Really makes you think about what a hell of a time that was. And the views are fantastic. Don't forget your map and bring a good amount of water.

By: mamaZ Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 23, 2013
the east side of the trail leading to/from the stone fort is narrow, hard to navigate in places and very poorly marked. it is easy to loose the path. the west side path is 3 people wide and very well marked even though it would be difficult to loose one's way.  suggest going UP east side and down west...coming down then will be easier after the more difficult going up is accomplished.  just doing the overlook cliff trail is a challenge, but well worth it.

By: Adrie Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 26, 2013
This hike was built for battle during the Civil War, and after going up wide steep trails filled with trenches and walls constructed for safety you totally get a feel that a lot happened on that mountain besides just enjoying nature. Nevertheless, this was a great hike for all levels, yet I still left feeling like I got a workout due to steepness of some parts of the trail. Even going down played a toll on my knees. I definitely recommend this hike for an easy yet evenful hike that more than just "a walk in the park".

By: gem Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Weekday, on the cool side, perfect.  The lot had about 5 cars when we pulled in around 10:30.  We did the combined trail to stone fort trail to overlook trail, then back, as suggested (total time:  3 hours almost to the minute).  I'm used to long walks, but usually on level ground, so the steep ascent to the fort gave me a good workout.  The signs were good  for brief breaks and a bit of a history lesson.  Nice views from the various overlooks.  We didn't meet anyone on the stone fort trail, but there were a bunch of people on the combined/overlook trails.

FWIW I think the hike to the fort may be a bit much for anyone who is really out of shape or has health issues.  For someone who isn't sure, maybe do the route in reverse as someone else posted she likes to do:  overlook first, then stone fort (if overlook is no problem).  If I go back,  I want to try it that way to see which I like better.

By: Mike Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
This is one of my favorite quick hikes in this area. The trails are well maintained, and there are a lot of plaques and civil war history stuff if you're into that. The uphill can be challenging, and the stone fort trail along the ridge is a great place for a trail run. The views are great, but it can get crowded when the weather is nice.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 29, 2013
If you want a postcard picture of Harper's Ferry you gotta do this hike. We hiked today, March 29th 2013, and it was beautiful. We started up at 0800 and did not see anyone until we were descending around noon. I suggest doing this hike in the cooler weather to avoid the crowds. The views were awesome and the trails are in great shape!!!!!!

By: Bassman Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Started at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy HQ on Washington street, so we added about 1.5 miles to this hike overall. Walking down the AP to the historic part of HF. A great day in December, brought out some hikers, but, the only place the trail was crowded was at the Harpers Ferry overlook. The overlook alone is enough of a reason to do this hike!

By: skipper Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 09, 2012
I arrived at 10AM, parked at Harpers Ferry and started my hike. I ended up doing the entire trail twice with my mid point being the overlook. I have hiked many places in my life but this one was special. The weather was rainy and very misty at the top so there were very few others out. The trail and area are packed with history, I saw several deer as I walked and it was just an absolutely pleasant day. I ended up leaving at just past 4 PM tired but very satisfied!

By: Tugboat Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Very nice hike! I got there before 8:00 and beat most of the crowds-- I went without seeing anyone else for about 90 minutes on the Stone Fort Trail. The Lookout trail was a little more congested, but not to the point of being miserable. The 3-hour estimate is about right for rookie hikers like myself.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 07, 2012
Did this hike on a somewhat cool rainy day.  The beginning of the trail is pretty steep so either be in good shape or have plenty of time.  The forts and earthworks are really nothing much to look at but the overlook of Harper's Ferry is.  It was worth the climb to see the rivers, watch the bustle in town and the trains passing back and forth below you. 

By: John M Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 06, 2012
This hike is a good work-out, especially if one has a little kid they are carrying. After walking the constant uphill, taking in the views and history is well worth it.

I like hikes where the 2nd part is all downhill, and it helps when with tired kids.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, August 16, 2012
I have been hiking this trail regularly with family and friends. I have not done the blue trail to the summit yet, However, I look forward to it when the  the leaves fall, with the tree cover I heard that you cannot really get an ideal view. We start from Harper's Ferry and hike over, up the mountain and down to the overlook and back passing the stone fort trail view. Again this will be more beautiful as the leaves begin to fall in order to look out, however now it is beaufiul and covered with a green medow. Stunning views in the forest and looking out. Never a disappointment.

By: Linda Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 29, 2012
We've done this hike many times.  We find that as steep as it is, it's somewhat easier if you DON'T take any of the left turns up the other roads.  Stay on the main trail, keep going straight, take the overlook trail down and back, turn left back up the road, turn right at the double blazed post and go up that trail to the powder magazine, turn right onto the blue blazed trail, and on up to the summit.  We have no knee/joint problems on downhills, so we find it's much easier to continue on thru the stone fort from the summit, and continue downhill at the sharp left turn in the trail. It's downhill all the way back from there and you'll still get to cover the roads that you passed on the way up, so you aren't missing any part of the trail.  We'd rather take that section downhill that climb it to go the other way.  It's not just steep, it's stair step climbing steep.   There's also far less traffic headed in that direction than the other way around.  

By: Laurie Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 17, 2012
This hike was a surprise for my husband on Father's Day. We really enjoyed it the trail to the overlook was just right for we two adults (mid-40s, decent shape) and two kids (9 and 11). A challenging ascent with historical markers along the way, and WOW, what a view at the overlook! If you hang out for a few minutes, you're likely to see a train pass through the tunnel below.

I'd recommend getting there as early as possible - we left our home in Northern Virginia around 6:30 a.m., go there around 8 a.m., parked at the train station and walked over the cool footbridge to the trail head. Though we were only the 6th car in the parking lot, we saw lots of people on the trail and already at the overlook.

We didn't mind - nice folks and a few brought dogs, which the kids loved. But if you're looking for solitude, Maryland Heights is not the place for that.

I'd definitely do it again and recommend it to families with kids big enough to hike up a mountain for about 90 minutes. Wear grippy hiking shoes as the last few minutes above the overlook is rocky. Bring: Water, a snack and binoculars.

By: Mat Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 09, 2012
Get out early! my wife and I started this hike at dawn and had the first spot in the parking lot, on a Saturday. We followed the map route true and did not see a sole until the main overlook. here we saw a few trail runners and one photographer. On the way down we saw 20-30 hikers on their way to the overlook (bypassing the long loop up the ridge.

The first 1.5mi is a but kicker, the trail is groomed to allow park trucks (wider trail) up to the historic fort areas. There, near the ridge line, the trail narrows (preferred) and levels out (more enjoyable)

Great scenery once on the ridge in the morning. Take your time down the Main Overlook trail, it is a steep decent that will be retraced, after the main overlook, to get back to the Combined Trail.

The overlook views over the confluence of the rivers and the town of Harpers Ferry. This is quite a scene. Great views.

During the spring/summer, in the morning the sun will be behind you, keeping the overlook in the shade. If you do get out early, it can be chilly (Bring a light jacket) when sweaty bodies get hit with the wind chill.

Over all a great hike and prob my favorite in the area.

By: dhb613 Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Fantastic hike! Following the route exactly (Parking, direction, etc) is well worth the steep climb in the beginning of the hike. Beware, while the Cliff View is spectacular, it's not a through hike, and backtracking is required. Would definitely recommend this hike to anyone!

By: Shelly Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
We stayed on the Overlook Trail. Passed a few other hikers. First part was a little difficult since we are both slightly out of shape but we took our time and temps were very comfortable. The payoff of overlooking Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers made us forget the small struggle at the beginning. We had the overlook to ourselves on this weekday hike. Walked into Harpers Ferry afterwards for lunch and a beer. Then went up to Jefferson Rock for another beautiful vista. Definite do-over with a goal of hiking the Stone Fort Trail eventually.

By: Greg Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2011
This hike is really special.  It really has it all:  a challenging climb, great panoramas, historical interest and a view of Harper's Ferry.  At the end, we walked into town and had a pint (or two).  Crowded, but this is one hike I'll excuse that for.  It's too good not to share.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 19, 2011
If you want a great workout of the hills you should definitely try this hike. The First 2 miles the slope is really steep so be (Or maybe I am getting really old) ready for a climb. The red trail can get a little crowded but it is still fun and enjoyable. >The overlook was amazing and we got a lot of wonderful pictures at that spot. I would love to do this hike again.

By: Amanda Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Oct 11 was my 2nd time hiking MD Heights with my now fiance, this really is a spectacular hike!  On this date I was proposed to at the very top overlooking the beautiful town of HF (yes, so romantic).  I would recommend this hike to anyone who is interested in hiking as well as overlooking HF. <3

By: Jasmine Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, June 20, 2011
I loved this hike! I recently moved out east from CO, where I grew up and was skeptical of the hiking opportunities near DC, but this hike was lovely. My boyfriend and I hiked it on a beautiful warm sunny day. The view of the river junction and Harpers Ferry below are stunning, well worth the climb. Nice place to eat a bagged lunch too. Plenty of places to sit even though there was a good number of people there that day. Definitely a work out. Make a day of it and check out the history and ranger programs and grab a snow cone afterward at Harpers Ferry.

By: KBD Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 11, 2011
We love this hike and the great workout of the hills. It's one of our favorites and we try to use our Harpers Ferry annual pass as much as possible and get out on this trail. For summer months, make sure you go early - you'll be cooler and you'll be the crowds.

By: Jesse Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 07, 2010
Decent day's hike. The blue trail had some nice views but most were blocked out somewhat by the trees. The overlook was fantastic but of course very crowded. The blue trail didn't have so many people and we had good intervals that we didn't see anyone. I would recommended this to people to hike. The terrain is much easier to hike than the AT boots are a requirement.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 06, 2010
The trek up Maryland Heights is pretty steep (or I was just really out of shape): so be ready for a climb. I imagine you'd get the best views from the fort in the late fall/early spring, without leaves on the trees. The view of Harper's Ferry and the Potomac from the overlook were grand, albeit a tad tainted by the mass of people. C'est la Harper's Ferry.

Definitely a worthwhile hike for anyone in the area.

By: OL Man Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 06, 2010
First let me start by saying it was in the mid 100's when we started the hike at about 3:00.. Wow was it ever hot but as for the hike up the mountain. It was not bad at all .... Beautiful is all I can say..

By: Lee Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, April 30, 2010
Wonderful hike with my friend Joel. This was the first time hiking up MD Heights. The trail was steep at times but once we got to the overlook I was amazed. We will be going back on Feb. 20th to go the entire hike this time. Can't wait.

By: VaMorley Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 08, 2009
Awesome hike and worth the effort. Weather was much warming than anticipated so that made it a bit grueling, plus we had parked on far side of Harpers Ferry since this is not exactly the hike we had originally planned. Kids loved the views, mom was a little nervous so be careful on the overlook with younger kids.

By: Granny Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 28, 2009
Just returned from my 3rd attempt at reaching the top.... first try was a few years back in mid August and was much too hot! Second attempt was at Christmas time and it was too icy. Today I was pushing my 30 lb. grandson in his jogger buggy. We got to the first section that appeared to start a downhill section, but it started to rain so we turned around. I'm not sure how much further we had to go to enjoy the view from the cliffs. It is a nice wide trail that is smooth enough for the buggy although it is steep for pushing (makes one appreciate how those boys got the cannons up to the fort) Someday I hope to make it to the top so I can sit and enjoy the view.

By: Dave Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 18, 2009
Having visited Harpers Ferry dozens of time and looking at the people on the cliff from the WV side we decided it was time to scale this mountain. The first section of trail (green) is a bit boring but the blue section that ascends to the fort is a nice hike and rigorous as well. Once you get to the top it's an easy walk although the trail itself can be tricky in spots. Just south of the main fort is a nice overlook. If you look SE with a pair of binos you can actually see the Arlington skyline. There is a very tall slender object to the right of the skyline. It was hard to see clearly but was either the Washington Monument in DC or the Masonic Temple in Alexandria. We were fortunate to see this far in July but a cold front came though the day before and provide temps in the upper 70's, clear skies, and low humidity. The hike down to the overlook can be rough on your knees and the climb back out is a lot of work but any hike is better as the difficulty increases. The best advice is to set a steady pace and keep on truckin'. Stop at the level spots for two-minutes and begin up the hill again.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 29, 2009
This was a great hike.  The blue trail to the top was very steep going up.  Be sure to bring enough water for the hike and plan for summer thunderstorms!  The view from the cliff of Harpers Ferry, the rivers, and the valley was spectacular. 

By: Keith Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 17, 2009
I really enjoyed this hike, especially as one of the first kick-off hikes of the season. Get to the parking along the Potomac early as they fill up fast. There were tons of people of all types on the main overlook trail hikers, alongside tourists panting and sweating, who looked like they wondered if perhaps they'd made some horrible mistake. The terrain is step in some areas, but the final overlook makes everything well worth the hike. I particularly like the fact that Harper's Ferry is nearby, and the Swiss Miss (believe it or not) makes terrific lump crab cakes if anyone's interested.

By: Jimmy Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, April 29, 2009
This hike is all dependant on which trail you prefer to take. The first quarter mile of the trail is moderatly difficult, if you are not an avid hiker. The steep incline makes it one of the most difficult hikes I have been on espeacially the first portion of the stone fort trail. To Tink, this trail is very difficult, I dont know where you went but you clearly didn't hike the stone fort trail, You may have taken the Overlook cliff trail. To all those that want to have a challenge unlike Tink, complete the combined trail and then take the stone fort trail, about half of this trail is an complete steep incline. The views are very gorgeous on a sunny day, however, i went when it was mostly cloudy. The stone fort trail offers views of the surrounding potomac river valley and the rest of the Northern Shenandoah valley. Once you reach the top of the mountain, the hike becomes easy, and the views from the exterior/interior stone fort are quite remarkable.

By: Keith L. Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 18, 2009
I thought this was a great hike. It was our first of the year, but not too difficult after the first few minutes. There were plenty of folks on the trail as it was a gorgeous day. Luckily we parked before 10am and found a spot, any later and you'd be out of luck. One thing to mention is that you must pay to use the trail, and then bring the stub back to your car and put it on your dash. Annoying when you're already a few steps up at the trail head and ready to go, but worth the price of admission. After the hike be sure to walk across the bridge into town. The crab-cakes at the Swiss Miss are fantastic, and a little soft-serve ice cream never hurts either. further up the town in the AT Headquarters, worth the hike up there a half a mile or so outside of town if nothing else but to see the full-length 3D map of the AP trail. There'a also a decent Outfitter Shop the old town worth the visit.

By: Tink Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 04, 2009
This hike is a little too short  and a little too crowded to bump up from 3 to 4 stars.  While offering solid views of Harpers Ferry and possessing an interesting historical angle, it is not long enough to give you the solid workout sought by this hiker.  Even though I tacked on some distance by starting at the parking lot by the US-340 bridge into Harpers Ferry, it wasn't enough to break a solid sweat.

On future hikes I may try to link this with an out and back on the Loudoun Heights trail, listed on this site as the Harpers Ferry Hike

By: Walt G Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 22, 2009
I've hiked either the short trail to the overlook or the longer trail along the ridge line at least once a year for the last 10 years and had a great time on each hike. From the cliff overlook, the view of the meeting of the Shenendoah and Potomac Rivers at the town of Harper's Ferry is right at your feet and not to be missed. Plus, you have good chance of seeing a train cross the Potomac River bridge and travel through Harper's Ferry. On a weekend with nice weather, I would try to get to the trailhead parking lot before 10AM. Another option is to park across the river at the Harper's Ferry train station or the Harper's Ferry Visitor's Center (a free bus takes you into Harper's Ferry) for either of these options, you have to pay a small Park entrance fee, but wandering around Harper's Ferry is fun and interesting in itself. On my last hike, I took my 5 1/2 year old daughter on the shorter overlook trail. She managed the trail without any problem and really enjoyed it.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 07, 2009
Had this hike been in the middle of nowhere and unknown to tourists like I like them, I would have given it 5 stars! It seems that most took the short path strait to the over look and there were few that ventured around the 5 mile loop. It was awesome to take breaks and learn about history along the way. Harpers Ferry was a booming town during the Civil War and this hike really gave me a better understanding for what kind of war was going there in these hills at the time. Lots of old rock walls to climb on, old gunning berms and even the remains of a fort! Cool. If your not into history still a great Hike, Steep in the beginning- will really get your hear pumping. Once your up on the top you get a nice walk along the ridge back towards harpers ferry. It was really enjoyable. The overlook has a fantastic 180 degree view (at least) of the two rivers. Might not want to show up too late as parking by the trail head was full by noon. After the hike I recommend stopping by the red train car restaurant (cant remember the name) right across the bridge for some ribs or pulled pork sandwiches. This guy smokes them for several hours... man it was good. Have fun with this one)

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