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

Hard Hike Map
5 days 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
14 days 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.

14 days 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.

19 days 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.)


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
28 days 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.

A bit harder than moderate if it’s a hot day. We had a few dogs with us and they struggled. Bring plenty of water as there’s no creeks on the trail for the dogs. Pay the parking fee or you will get hit with a fine. The parking lot gets very busy so getting there before 830 on a busy day is a must. 4.25/5. Worthwhile trail, it’s a shame the highway is there.

This was definitely more strenuous than we expected. Maybe it was too hot(+100F) and also it's actually 8 miles if you add the distance from parking lot to the bridge.
First uphill part was challenging (not too steep but long) but after that everything was enjoyable. Trekking pole and long pants will be good as you will need to go through narrow trails on top of mountain. The view of Split Rock was rewarding.
We met many thru hikers on the way up, but there was no one as we get off AT. Split Rock was small place and there was no one as we take 30 mins break there, which was good for us.
We met 2 deers and 1 raccoon about 10-3 yards away too.

The first 1.2 miles are uphill and moderate to hard steep. Only water source is .5 mile up the trail so bring 2 liters of water to be safe. When rock scrambling up to Cat Rock be very careful if there is any moisture. Rocks will be slick as ice.
Once heading leaving Cat Rock you'll climb another 200ft or so and then mostly flat. Once getting to Bob's Hill be VERY CAREFUL OF A RATTLE SNAKE ! Saw a 4ft rattler sun bathing on the overlook to the right. I've lived in there area my whole life and have never seen a rattle snake in the woods and I have spent a ton of time out here. Enjoy your hike !

The hike is shaded and a little steep. It turned out to be an awesome hike in the woods with plenty of wildlife and a spectacular view of Harpers Ferry at the very end.

Great hike! Cooler than staying in DC! Lots of boulders to climb!

This is a vigorous 6.4 mile hike - if going all the way to Split Rock, taking the AT up and traversing the southerly Loudoun Heights trail in one direction and the northerly trail in the other direction. The Split Rock viewpoint is a very worthy destination and rest spot to enjoy an iconic view of Harpers Ferry, the confluence of the Shenandoah River and the Upper Potomac River, and Maryland Heights to the north. The elevation gain is a modest 1,516 ft. It took us about three hours of hiking time. The sounds of traffic on Rt 340 below are a bit distracting for portions of the trail, but on this post-rain day, the more mellifluous sounds of the roaring, swollen rivers was a nice counterbalance. Don't forget to pay the $10 parking fee (self-pay) in the National Historical Park lot; the rangers are active here.

2 months ago

The hike had some nice views but it was really just great for wildlife. We stumbled upon deer, squirrels, multiples species of birds, and plenty of wildflowers with multiple butterfly species and bumblebees. Really lively hike.

If you have trouble navigating without maps and want to start by ditching them- this is a good trail. All the trails are very well marked( didn’t stop us from getting lost though- which was all me) Beautiful green and not busy !

I love this trail. The terrain is varied and there are some areas that are pretty challenging, especially when muddy. I hike with my German Shepherd and she’s able to handle this trail easily. There are some really narrow spots where I have to pull her off the trail to make room if someone is passing, but that doesn’t happen often. We generally go early in the morning and run into few other hikers. Parking is easy in the lot next to the bridge if you get there early enough, but on sunny weekends or after 10:00 or so it’s hit or miss.

so I've only been hiking since March 2018. I did Bob's hill only from the William houck parking lot.

It's about 1.8 miles straight up! being a beginner this was a tough trail. for 9 tenths of the mile you go up up up and when you get to almost a mile it levels out for a second then you climb for about 2 tenths of a mile more til your legs wanna fall off and it levels out for a bit. how ever your still on an incline. when you get to the last 2 tenths of a mile it's straight up again.

bring plenty if water and perhaps a protein bar.

When you reach Bob's hill you can go left or right to see the views which make this climb well worth the struggle.

two things...i did come across a snake on the south side. almost stepped on it! could of been a corn snake or copperhead. I didn't wanna find out.

secondly take care coming down if you don't continue to cat rock. with all the rain the trail is very slippery and I slid down the log timber "steps" at the beginning of the decent and got a nice bruise not only on my back but my ego as well.

someone advised me to take a walking stick. it helps if you come across a snake. I was the only one on this trail.

2 months ago

Not too moderate really. Easy and short. Very quiet and beautiful. Had peace.

The start of the trail was an easy walk from the parking lot. We took the white, orange and then blue route the way up and saw all three overlooks. The way up is pretty steep at the beginning but definitely doable. Steady downward slope all the way back made it a bit slippery since it just rained all night.

Be advised: The parking lot has a $10 entrance fee but no one was there to collect it so our car had a ticket when we got back.

The hike through Harper's Ferry was well worth the drive from Ohio. After exploring the town I headed downstream to take in the views from Weverton Cliffs. The view upstream with West Virginia on your left and Maryland on your right with the Potomac River below and the town of Harper's Ferry in the distance is a beautiful view.

I loved this hike. I hit a snag though bc I read the review that said to take the first left, blue. The first left, at the first fork, was red/orange. I stayed on it though, and it was beautiful. So, for me, I parked on 32 as recommended, took the white (AT) to the red at the first fork. After the first fork, the red turned to orange. Then, I hit blue. Coming back, I took the blue to the white and back to the car. 5.14 miles from the car. Beautiful hike, and exhausting and only 5.14 miles! The humidity was high, and there was no breeze!

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