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Maryland Heights - Harpers Ferry, MD


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
5.3 mls N/A
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3.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,600 ft
Harpers Ferry National Park Service
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Harpers Ferry Weather Forecast

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Park 100 yards past the trailhead on Sandyhook Rd. If that parking is full, there is additional parking further down the road. 39.32920, -77.73169

Maryland Heights is another of those must-do circuits for most hikers in the metro area. With a spectacular view of Harpers Ferry from the main overlook, and steeped in Civil War history, this shorter circuit is a favorite for many. But be prepared for the crowds, on nicer days this hike is very busy.

The main ridge at Maryland Heights has the ruins of Union Civil War forts, trenches, gunpowder magazines, and infantry encampments. With most of the circuit having informational signage describing the different ruins.

From the parking area start up the Combined Trail and pass the Naval Battery built in 1862, and first of the Union fortifications on Maryland Heights. At the next intersection, and informational sign, turn left uphill on the Stone Fort Trail as it very steeply ascends towards the ridge.

Once arriving at the ridge pass through the main fort area, then climb a set of log stairs to reach the main interior of the fort. This main section, and largest earthwork, was constructed in June of 1863. The main stone wall on the north of the fort was erected to protect it from northern attack.

From here the Stone Fort Trail will pass back to the south, with views of the Potomac River to the east through the trees. The trail will descend more steeply before ending at the intersection of the top section of the Combined Trail.

Turn left towards the overlook and in 150 yards turn right down the Overlook Trail. The main overlook for Harpers Ferry is in 0.3 miles.

Return to the Combined Trail, then follow it past the two trailheads for the Stone Fort Trail as it descends back down to Sandyhook Rd.

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Hiker Reviews For The Maryland Heights Hike (5 Most Recent)
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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!


    View all 64 reviews for the Maryland Heights hike
Early February

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