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Note: The reviewers that say this hike is easy are probably pretty strong hikers. This hike is not easy if you are not one. That said, it's easy for me.

BUT two good comparison hikes are on Maryland heights. If you struggle to do the lower Maryland heights trail, don't attempt this. The same goes for the upper Maryland heights trail. However if you have a little or no trouble with upper Maryland heights then you can probably do this one but it will be a challenge.

It was brutally cold today for this time of year with a very strong wind.
Lots of people on the trail today that probably shouldn't be. They were either inadequately dressed or struggling to go up the mountain.

Please make sure you know your limits.

The hike itself was fairly easy, and the fall foliage was beautiful. However it was difficult to tell which colored markers to follow in order to stay on the Loudoun heights trail and there weren’t many good view points on the trail itself.

Good hiking boots are a must, there are plenty of rocks that were hidden among the fallen leaves. And the leaves were very slippery on the way down due to the recent rain.

We walked counter-clockwise from the visitors center and saw the falls first, then hog rock, and then we turned south on the yellow trail before reaching thurmont. We had a 2 and 3 yr old with us and were taking our time. We recorded 5.7 mi on the yellow loop. It was a very nice hike with beautiful views and fall colors.

It is a great trail, nice and peaceful.

had a fun day with some brisk walking around 10+miles (we did a little extra walking here and there) in around five hours!

The hike in this trail was amazing. We started with a warm up through the Park Headquarter / Orange Trail, then climbed up to the Wolf Rock, Thurmont Vista and Chimney Rock, the view from Thurmont Vista and Chimney Rock is breathtaking.

Very nice hike and a lot less crowded than the Maryland trail. Very nice hike and great views from split rock overlook. Would definitely recommend.

Wonderful hike even on a foggy day, you miss some of the views but it’s an enchanting feel.

Started on AT where Means Hollow Rd intersects Ridge Rd. Hiked south 7 miles to Caledonia SP. This trail was widely varied along the ridge which made it quite pleasant, and south of Stillhouse Rd, in slightly lower areas, a wonderful 'tunnel' of overgrown Rhododendron impresses one along with abundant springs. Lower end of trail nearing Caledonia is very steep and difficult. I recommend a 2 car hike starting up north heading south due to that simple fact. Across the stream from the AT shelter in some ruins just above Caledonia, we saw a tree that had been abused by bear. It was scratched down through bark to the inner layer in a doormat sized display.

Lovely hike. Started in Harpers ferry and headed north on the AT, stopping at the Ed Garvey shelter a few miles north of weaverton cliffs. Ended up camping there due to rain but the shelter was very nice and there is a spring available to refill water, though it is a steep half mile down the mountain to get to it I recommend filling up there as there aren't any other options for water on the Ridgeline that I saw.

I'm docking a star only because one cannot truly summit this mountain since Camp David sits atop the peak. The trails for the most part are easy to follow. I tend to go counter-clockwise so I can save Cunningham Falls as a treat at the end. The large switchback on the White Trail is a bit tricky. Keep an eye out for the trail markers otherwise you will go a bit on a false trail that will disappear after about 1,000ft. Views from the overlooks are great. If you have the time, take the side trail, which is basically a pure scramble, to Wolf Rock for a proper view of it.

Fun hike. Ran into a few deers on the way.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is moderately trafficked and has tons of dog poop all over it. The trail itself is not challenging enough to be classified as moderate. Very disappointed, would not recommend.

This hike was a lot of fun and had its challenges! The Catoctin Mountain Extension trail is actually a combination of trails that loop around a majority of park. If you want more of a challenge, definitely go counterclockwise (starting with Chimney Rock). If you have any questions, the park employees are very friendly! Only gave it 4 stars because of the views aren’t to die for, but still very beautiful overall.

First time I have hiked this. We hiked directly after hiking the Maryland Heights. Hot day but lots of fun. Around 15 miles in total

hiking
3 months ago

Not a big fan of this one. This felt like a long walk in the woods. The woods are beautiful, but there is no “real” overlook. I did not get the sense of a “summit”. Lastly, Cunningham Falls was a little disappointing. I expected more. Plus, the fact that the falls is not technically part of the hike(it has its own parking lot) took away some of the experience to me.

trail running
3 months ago

I love running this trail. It has a good bit of variety. Some good climbs and technical terrain. The views aren’t that great but if you are looking for a challenge this is a great one for 10k distance trail training.

hiking
3 months ago

Decent trail. Look out for bikers.

Fantastic trail! Well marked and challenging but worth the views.

Yes it was rocky which wasn’t to big of a deal for me. The big deal was that the trail disappeared at the halfway mark. No “black” marks on trees and no used pathways to follow. I ended up following the yellow path back to my car.

3 months ago

Was nice and shaded but I would not consider this a trail for running is very rocky and more for hiking and make sure to wear good hiking shoes I wore running shoes ... thinking was a trail for running.... and wasn’t enough support for ankles

Just a heads up- the recent rains have not done a lot of damage to these trails, with one exception: the orange blazed trail had a large downed tree right at the start of the large hill, about 3/4 of the way to the blue trail heading towards Loudoun heights. The trail is at best marginally passable. I was able to squeeze through the tree, but it took a considerable amount of effort.

Don't believe the previous review. While I'm off, I switch my hikes between Loudoun and Upper Maryland heights on a daily basis to exercise. Loudoun heights is at best slightly easier than upper Maryland heights, but only if you have the stamina to ascend for a longer period of time, and don't have issues with a significant and longer ascent after you get to the overlook.

1. If you want the trail to be harder, take the Orange trail 3/4 of the way up the mountain. It will be easier than the white trail until about 1/4 mile from where it meets the blue trail, where there is a steep hill.

To find the orange trail on the ascent, look for a section of bushes about 3/4 up that you walk through followed by a right turn. The orange trail will be on your left.

2. If you'd rather go easier, take the AT (white blaze) to the top of the mountain. There will be a sign indicating that Keyes Gap is in 4 mile, with an arrow to the right. Go to the left on the blue blazed trail, which will take you to Split Rock overlook after it merges with the Orange trail and two other lesser overlooks.

Neither trail is easy; upper Maryland heights has a briefly steeper ascent. Loudoun height's ascents are longer. Both are very easy at the top, and after the main overlook, the ascent back to the top before you go back down the mountain is much longer on Loudoun heights than Maryland heights, though it is a little steeper but shorter on Maryland heights.

Personally, I've always had a more difficult time on Loudoun heights than Maryland. That is because of the duration of the ascents.

Hiking times (as of Friday 7/22):
From the parking area to split rock: 56 minutes.

From split rock to the parking area: 47 minutes.

(But remember I've been doing this all summer so I'm used to it.)

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It was good, I loved the fact I could pick black berries along the way. It was nice to see the other sides perspective.

trail running
3 months ago

Well marked trail. Must be part Billie goat to interact with the rock covered trail.
Beautiful and challenging I enjoyed the run. Completed the full yellow trail.

Being so used to the Maryland overlook , the Loudon was so much easier , but does have its peaks where it poses some difficulty. At times, the trail is a little narrow! It wasn't much an issue for me because I was hiking alone, but if the trail ever gets busy --which I'm not sure it has equal amount of foot traffic as the Maryland trail. All views are so worth it! The hike as a whole took me roughly 4 hours, with a few moments where I stopped to get some water and help other hikers find their way! The few streams that do pass through the trail didn't pose any difficulty , however; I'm sure during Rainer months it could be a little more difficult in some portions! Overall, such an amazing hike and I plan on bringing my bestfriend back with me!

It was good not that great. but you will have couple of good views up there. for me its good experience because i climbed rock which is little bit challenging.

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