Explore DC area hike ideas - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

DC area hike ideas Map

Very Strenuous to the average person like myself (29 years old not in the best shape I could be), but it was worth it! The waterfalls on the incline and decline were all incredible.

great lower body workout! ((positive thinking will make you push forward and up

11 days ago

Breathtaking view from the top. Very very hard hike. Straight up. Was April but still felt like 100 degrees.

Awesome! Hiked this trail on a beautiful January morning. Started at about 7:15am on a weekday and had the entire trail to myself. Made it up and back in about 90 min. I am a young, fit, fairly experienced hiker, but this trail is definitely doable for people of different skill levels. In general I would allow 2-3 hours. Garmin tracked 3.65 miles.

Trail was rocky, but nothing crazy. Hiking poles helped me feel secure on slippery sections and rocky downhill sections. Steepest parts were at the beginning, otherwise fairly gradual. Initial section of trail along the east side of the mountain was very slick due to rain the previous night, even some small icy spots as well. As long as you are careful of your footing you should have no issues.

Absolutely gorgeous, expansive views at the top! Awesome reward for a fairly short hike. Was also pleasantly surprised at the amount of views to the east while along the first mile of trail (bare trees help). Would do this trail again!

16 days ago

Gorgeous scenic overlook. The beginning is straight uphill, and fairly demanding. It’s not an easy hike. The scenic overlook is amazing. Spectacular view of Harpers Ferry. This is a “must do” hike for everyone!

It’s definitely a challenging ascent but well worth it once you make it to the overlook. We watched the sunset and it was spectacular. Highly recommend

19 days ago

Beautiful hike up the river to the falls and nice decline hike back. This is one of the most accessible hikes in the area. Certainly at the top of the list for hikes if you are in the area for a short period of time and can only complete a few. Also, if you are hungry after the hike, stop by a place in Pembroke called Kalbee for some of the best Korean food you will ever have.

19 days ago

Hill in the beginning is NO joke. Beautiful view and so worth it. Watch out for the runners. Parking is a pain but I scored a spot right at the opening. Tow path isn’t really marked that well so if you don’t park in town make sure you ask someone on the trail what they saw on the last mile marker.

Started 2019 with a short hike up Mary’s Rock on New Years Day. Was concerned that Skyline Drive might be closed due to gov’t shutdown. Great hike and well worth the effort to get to the top. The views are fantastic. Recommend good shoes as the trail is rocky and rugged. Lots of parking. Trail head located at the Thornton Gap area just outside Sperryville VA. One of my favorite hikes along the parkway.

Well maintained trail. Beautiful views.

Great trail!
Beautiful waterfall
The trail is pretty wet so be prepared for small crossings

Gorgeous trail. Best waterfalls I've seen since moving to VA.

great hike and great views of Harper's Ferry and the Potomac River

Awesome in winter. Water was high. Very quiet. Lovely!

This hike will have your quad muscles screaming all the way up and your knee joints begging for mercy on the way down. The ascent was strenuous but the pretty sight of the waterfalls would make you forget the burning in your legs. The descent was more challenging with wet rocks almost everywhere. I fell down, butts first, a few times because my shoes were losing traction. No serious injury though, just bruised bums.

Also I’m not sure what happened to the ‘steel bridge crossing the river’ at the fork in the description but it was not there when I went, which was 2 days before Christmas. The crossing was still possible but take extra caution here since the water level was close to mid-knee high (I’m 5’3).

Despite the wet rocks, socks and bums; I found this hike to be immensely enjoyable and quite adventurous. I did the Old Rag mountain loop a few weeks prior and while rock scrambling is more technical, I think this one takes it in being more strenuous. Take it slow, enjoy the serenity of the nature and be safe!

Beautiful hike. Not too easy and not too hard. The view is worth the effort. Please make sure you wear good footwear. The terrain can get jagged and rugged. Some parts of the path are frozen with ice and snow. I went up on a cold early morning the day after Christmas. Happy New Year!

1 month ago

12/22/2018: A great day hike! The Maryland Heights overlook provides an outstanding view of historic Harpers Ferry, WV. The hike back was mostly downhill, which made for a quick and easy return to town.

Harpers Ferry offers a wonderful “walk-thru” history lesson on various events that took place before and during the Civil War; John Brown’s raid on the federal armory being one such event.

Almost forgot, a section of the Appalachian Trail passes directly through the town. If you’re looking for an overnight adventure, this might be a great spot to look!

Difficult and a lot of river crossings that flood after big rain events but the waterfalls are huge and breathtaking. Can actually see more of them in winter when trees are bare.

Did the Golden mile loop first time hiking in more than 10 years and had a blast

amazing waterfalls ...challenging the whole length of the trail. Loved it!

Great hike and pet friendly too! I think my dog liked it as much as I did.

1 month ago

I've always loved history. But the authentic Union Army fortifications...the breastworks / rifle pits...wow. Just unbelievable. They beckon the emotions to a high level of empathy. Not to mention the breathtaking beauty of zero undergrowth forest, overlooks and the great exercise. Wonderful experience.

Beautiful views throughout. Lots of climbing. We had a blanket of snow so it looked extra magical. Took us just under 2 hours. Great views up top.

1 month ago

Being from Texas and mostly hiking flat terrain, this trail was all up hill and it was great. Not only is it a historical Civil War trail but it is challenging and beautiful!

Gorgeous hike. Beautiful scenery throughout hike.

Hiked the upper trail loop today down to the main overlook. I took a very brisk pace and finished the whole hike in about 1 hour 15 minutes.

...pretty sure I saw bear tracks at the top of the maryland heights trail as I crested the ridge. They were meandering from side to side on the trail and eventually turned into the woods.

11-17, took us 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete. Very special hike with beautiful waterfalls. Lots of elevation gain (abt 2200 ft.)

1 month ago

The trail was beautiful, and the overlook is awesome. I'll be frank though, the overlook is really the main feature here. Hiking up to the loop and the fort is demanding, challenging, and... the payoff just isn't there. I love history and even I wasn't mega impressed, the only thing I could think when I got there was... "This is a perfect place for a fort, nobody on earth would like to march to this area and take it, and it's kind of boring." The trail is also rather badly marked once you get away from the beaten path of the overlook trail. It was quite challenging though and the overlook was beautiful enough to give it 4 stars.

Maryland Heights is a fairly challenging hike due to it's steep incline that persists for the majority of it. For those just wanting to reach the overlook, which is an absolutely stunning view, there is a shorter trail that leads directly to it. The extended blue trail will test your endurance a bit more with a fairly long uphill climb to start out. The blue trail does level off though and offers some unique views of old fort battlements and then loops around to bring you to the overlook as well. This is a family friendly hike, however be prepared to take a few rests and feel those leg muscles burning.

1 month ago

I took the blue trail that veers left at the split. The sign says that the trail is strenuous, and I suppose the two inclines would get it that kind of rating. Once you get past the first incline, the trail becomes sort of flat-ish, but uneven at times. The trail is easy going until you get to the marker indicating the "Breast Works". This is your next incline and is a series of log steps. Once you get to the top there is a stone wall overlook. This is a good time to catch your breath and have a snack. There is some boulder scrambling that goes on, but nothing serious. Watch your step on the descent to where the trail will merge into the red trail that if you turn left, will take you to the overlook for Harpers Ferry. Turn right and it is down hill to the trail entrance.
Forgot it was a holiday wknd, AND, the weather was grand. Consequently I saw more people than I expected to see. Other than that it is a good hike. Midweek is a better option.

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