This was a great hike. My daughter who is 9, our 25lb mutt, my husband and I really enjoyed it. We were lucky to park in one of the three spots at the trail head but it looked like there was more available about 1/2 the way we came in. Luckily we spoke to two hikers who knew this trail and were able to give us a few tips. The first is that trail doesn't start out blue. You have to follow the white trail across from the three car parking. There will be a split between blue and the white trail. The blue trail is. the easier of the two but still a uphill workout. If you want a more challenging hike with more rock climbing go white. We took blue and came back down white and we were really happy we did. The view from the top is a great view. We hardly saw any other hikers going up and were surprised to see groups of hikers also enjoying the view. Overall it's a really nice hike not too long but long enough to feel acomplished.
This was a nice quick 2-hour hike. Taking the blue trail up then the white trail (AT) down, doing the loop clockwise is easier than the other way around. The parking at the Old Forge Rd where AT intersects the road is very limited (max 4 cars). But a half mile before that point there is a large parking lot with plenty of spaces.
There is limited parking at the Trail Head in Penmar. We did not want to finish at route 30 so we pushed a little farther to Ridge Rd where there is also limited parking. I broke this trip down to 2 days so my boys (8 and 10) wouldn't get burnt out. We hiked most of the day, played in the woods, splashed in some creeks, and then stopped for the night at the Antietam Shelter. Creek is clean and clear and a good source to refill from. Had I known earlier we would have stayed the night at the Tumbling Run Shelter just a mile further North. Tumbling Run is much nicer and very well cared for. This area is so large that overnight backpackers will not bother the through hikers. The rest of the hike was a good push and we finished tired and happy!