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

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hiking
17 hours ago

I strongly suggest taking the red trail to THE overlook and get that iconic view of Harper’s Ferry then taking the beginning of the loop to the stone fort on that side. Having gained some elevation on the red trail, that side of the loop up is kinder. The other side (the first choice for the loop you come to off the red trail) is a real slog uphill.

It is crowded, but the view on the red trail is a great reward. There really are only 1 or 2 views off the loop, but the history and historical markers are great! The loop trail (baby blue and blue marked) wasn’t nearly so crowded the day I went.

There are some challenges clambering through the rocks on the way up, but it's worth it! Amazing views, plus I rounded a corner on the way down to find a bear digging at the foot of a tree! Absolutely loved this hike and can't wait to do it again!

Well marked trail with rewarding rock outcrops . Great 1/2 day hike. We like to do this in early spring and late fall.

This is beautiful trail. It is a half day hike so plan to bring lunch and plenty of water. It was wooded and wet with lots of waterfalls and swimming holes. We stopped at one swimming hole to hang out and eat lunch. It was beautiful. The elevation does get steep close to the summit so prepare for a strenuous climb.

This hike is so much fun! You start by climbing up the mountain in a beautiful shaded area then once you get close to the summit the rock scramble starts. Keep in mind that the rock scramble is mostly bare so bring sunscreen. There are about three or four false summits before getting to old rag and the rock scrambling is pretty difficult. We brought 3 liters of water for two people and snacks which was just enough. Only do this hike if you are comfortable climbing lots of rocks because the scrambling is intense but again so much fun!!

hiking
5 days ago

I avoided Harper’s Ferry parking by (being really lucky) grabbing a parking spot along Sandy Hook Rd on the Maryland side.

This trail is busy.
Even at noon in July. You will never feel alone!

Shady, well maintained trail that has some good ascents with levels in between, so you don’t feel like you’re pushing uphill the entire time. Because of the heat, and the fact that I had a dog with me, I skipped the upper loop and beelined to the overlook. Absolutely worth dealing with parking and people to get to see this iconic view of Harper’s Ferry at the confluence of the ‘Doah and the Potomac.

I will absolutely be back to this one!

Great hike! We went up the White Oak Canyon trail and took the horse trail across to Cedar Run trail. Saw some small wildlife: birds, squirrels, snakes, and a skink. We also got to see a small bear cub at the top by Skyline Drive. Coming down Cedar Run trail was a little difficult, the trail was washed out in places and terrain was rough near the rock slide into a water hole. Very refreshing to jump in the water and cool off!

AMAZING HIKE!! Absolute smoker if you love hiking for time!!

Some nice views and challenging terrain at times. Walking through the woods was beautiful!

i adore this hike! my favorite part is the rock scrambles at the top! definitely allow yourself some time to play when you get up there! beautiful all year round! (where shoes appropriate for steep hikes -ankle support- and good grips for the rock climbing, maybe gloves too if your hands are sensitive) *if you start the hike later in the day bring a flashlight just in case!*

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.

Loved this trail so much! Hiked from the skyline entrance down to the natural waterfall water slide and had lunch at a swimming hole along the way, will be back!!

Fun hike. some fairly steep areas but most trails are wide and easy to navigate.
Great combo of history and cardio!

This is a great difficult mountain to hike. There are a bunch of difficult spots that you have to climb up or squeeze through. Definitely need to be ready to pull yourself up some ledges and wedge yourself up some gaps.
I made a mistake and thought it would be a good idea to go backpack camping for this trip. I planned to check in at the parking and backcountry camp station on the East side and then camp at the junction on the west side. I didn’t understand that with at least a 40lb bag this gets difficult in a lot of ways. You need to squeeze and crawl through gaps, so I was dragging and pushing my bag. You have to climb up steep and areas that don’t have much head room, where you have to throw your bag up. You have to walk along steep ledges, where if your backpack gets caught or unbalanced.... Anyway, I had a lot of fun and the views were gorgeous. There was one area where you had to crawl through where someone took a duke that was disgusting but other than that the hike itself was great. I went during the week and there weren’t too many people. Probably ran into around 40 people during the whole hike.
This hike extremely tired me out with the backpack so by the time that I got to the junction, where I found a backcountry camp site, I set up my tent, ate a bite, bear safed my food, and went straight to sleep. I emphasize to Bear Safe Your Food, because that night a bear was trying to get my food, which I hung on a tree right outside my tent...
In short, I don’t suggest backpacking unless you are very muscular, have a light pack, or you set up at the bottom of the mountain early in the day (10 am latest). It is a very fun and difficult climb and has great views. Make sure to pay attention to trail markers!

Beautiful on the way up and down. Lots of water falls and large rock formations.

trail running
12 days ago

My friend and I “ran” this trail during a visit to Harpers Ferry NHP. It was challenging on the way up, and the scenery was so worth it. I recommend the entire loop, the view at the top is stunning.

There’s a reason this hike is rated #1 in Shenandoah area! What an unbelievable hike! We decided to do the full 9 mile circuit trail. The ascent (3.8 miles) is full of excitement and a ton of rock scrambles. It is definitely challenging! In order to complete this hike you must be able to get through rock scrambles and hoist yourself up on boulders. The summit is incredible (360 degree views!), with great views and options to rest along the way. The descent is 5.2 miles but goes by very quickly due to the decrease in difficulty and the constant changing of scenery. It is a beautiful serene place. Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks! As an experienced hiker I completed this hike in 4 hours with one break. Would suggest this hike 100%, incredible experience an a ton of fun! Would suggest getting there early to beat the crowd. There is a 15 dollar park entry fee.

Started off at the white oak canyon parking lot, suggest to get there early as the lot fills up quick, overflow parking is available for $10 a car, in addition to paying the park entrance fee. But if you are there early enough parking is free. We did the white oak to cedar run loop, the hike itself was challenging but also wonderful in so many ways. Took up 6 1/2 hours, we stopped for lunch and spent time in the water. Beautiful scenery, many over looks to enjoy the water falls. The rocks on the down hill was the hardest part in my opinion, difficult on the knees, feet and ankles. The water slide was all I hoped it to be, refreshingly freezing cold water. The trail was crowded today, never felt like we were alone which I don’t necessarily enjoy, I prefer the solitude of nature but that didn’t take away from my experience.

I have done this multiple times and it is probably one of the best mid-Atlantic hikes. It is an all day affair and can be rather hard. Make sure you have good weather! The views make the hard climb worth it.

Overall a really great hike! Well maintained trails and pretty good views at top. One problem is that it's so popular, you'll definitely get into traffic jams near the top if you go on a weekend

hiking
14 days ago

The view and trail was great! We are new to hiking and we’re able to complete the entire loop in ~3.25 hours, including stopping for pictures. I recommend parking at the visitors center ($10 per vehicle) and walking or taking the shuttle to Lower Town (5 minute ride); this helps you avoid congestion in Lower Town.

The trail to the overlook was pretty crowded (as expected), but the additional loop up to the 100 lbs battery and fort was almost empty.

Overall, a great hike with worthwhile views/resting points. We will be back.

A great hike, but a rating of hard is, well, hard. Yes, I'm approaching 60, but in very good shape, and this was an exhausting and strenuous hike. Lots of rocks, a real work out on the ankles and knees. Pay close attention and bring a walking stick or two, as well as lots of water and something to eat. Our fitbits measured it at more like 9.5 miles. Be sure to stop and put your feet in the water at some point. Watch for snakes (big) and bears (sudden). In other words pay attention to your surroundings. Lots of swimming holes (ice cold clean water) and fairly well traveled. Trails are well marked but print the above or bring a print out so you know which path to take. Allow 5-7 hours. Parking lot was packed so get there early to get a spot, otherwise there's overflow parking at $10 a shot.

I done it round trip. It worth view on the top! I like it and hope to go back again:)

We decided to kick of the 4th of July with a booty burner hike! It was already 85 degrees when we woke up. We sweated our ass off and got a good hike in. It was around 100 degrees by 11 am. We took the dog and ended up only doing 2.3 miles because he was struggling in the heat and we didn’t want to push him. We passed a dog that was extremely stressed and over heated on the way up. Park service came to assist the owner in getting the dog down the trail to get help. It was hard to see the dog in that condition. I’ve thought about the dog all day and pray he made it. Bring PLENTY of water to hydrate for everyone!!! Great hike. Looking forward to finishing the entire loop another time.

Great hike!!!

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HOLD SPOTS FOR PEOPLE AT THE PARKING LOT. A woman was backing out of the space and he went and stood in it. I tried to back in. He wouldn't move. I said "Dude move." He said "No, I'm holding this spot." I waited for 5 minutes while he stood there.

Traffic backed up, so I said "I'm goong to take care of this right now", and drove to Harpers Ferry, where I'm waiting on a park ranger to come so we can address this now.

Update: The ranger is meeting me at the spot.

You were a jerk to the wrong person.

hiking
17 days ago

We started out around 8am. As others have mentioned, parking near the trailhead is difficult--we got the last open parking spot. It was the 4th of July, however, so I don't know if it's busy at 8am on a normal weekday.

The trail isn't kidding around. You will go up. And up. And then up a little faster. The incline will push you, but the trail is great and a good route to push yourself in a few hours. If you've got weak ankles or creaky knees, be prepared for some challenges. The decline is steep and very rocky. I'm a big fan of poles--I needed them on the way up, and mom needed them on the way down.

The summit was nice, but the trees hinder your view out. No complaint, nature doesn't bend to the whims of those visiting it. After the summit we went down to the viewpoint. It takes you down quite a bit, and since you need to retrace your steps to continue on your way, you'll be hiking up quite a bit after taking in the view. The view is great, but get ready to find your second wind--you'll need it to get back up to the trail leading you back to the river and ultimately, your car.

We had a great time and we'd definitely recommend.

Oh, bring water. We went through almost 5L between the two of us.

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.

The view is a nice reward for the trek.

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