Explore the most popular birding trails in South Mountain State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful hike! The first 0.4 miles are a steady incline, it levels off for about 0.15 miles then goes back to a steady incline for the next 0.4 miles. It is about a mile to get from the parking area to the Weaverton Cliffs overlook. The overlook has stunning views of the Potomac and the mountains on the Virginia side. From there, the hike has an easy, steady incline along the AT - which I would say is probably on the easy side since it essentially just follows the ridge. There is a nice parking area but no bathroom.

The first and last mile and 2 miles in the middle where the only viewpoint also is, was the only exciting part of this trail. As an inexperienced hiker of 240 pound, hard is somewhat of an overstatement for this trail. The first and last mile are hard over the ridge, the rest is flat and only challenging at the rocky parts in the middle. I would say it is more a moderate trail.
Saw several deers just before sunset.

I expected a bit of a view from the summit but you can’t really see anything except trees. Regardless, it was a still a pleasant hike and it wasn’t too difficult. Trail was moderately rocky on the uphill sections.

My family loves this trail for a quick workout and great scenery and views. The trial has a moderate climb in the beginning and flattens out near the top. Wonderful sights of water, and forests with a spectacular view of the valley and of the river of rocks below the outlook.

Great hike. The distance out and back a bit more than 10.8. It’s more like 14 miles out and back. If you love rock scrambles this hike is for you. Great work out climbing over boulders and rocks.

Absolutely gorgeous! Landscape changes abound. A great hike when you’ve been stuck inside for way too long.

Lots of mud on the trail. Great views from the rocks.

Very rocky, wet trail. Overall a good hike.

Disappointed with my planned weekend getaway. I was at Pogo Memorial Campground around noon when a group of about 30 scouts and 10 masters set up a dozen or more tents. I packed up and headed to Annapolis Rock. At the junction I ran into 20 girls with backpacks planning to stay there. I hiked down to Pine Knob where I read the maximum number in one group permitted to stay on the shelter grounds is 5 per party. That must also apply to remote campgrounds like Pogo and Annapolis Rock too? This was my first time on the AT in 20 years, which I used to backpack religiously. I moved away many years ago and returned for a long visit. I was looking forward to a nice trip down memory lane. I felt overwhelmed with the large number of large groups. The population explosion of the DC area has made what was once an out-of-the-way retreat a popular outdoor recreational area for thousands. The former makeshift gravel pullout at the US 40 trailhead is now a large paved parking lot. I arrived at 9:00 a.m. and the lot was full. When I returned to my car at 6:00 p.m., it was still mostly full. The buses parked there didn't help matters--and should have given me a warning about what was to come. Increasing the size of trailhead parking lots isn't a good idea. It just attracts more people and larger groups. I can't imagine the environmental impact of so many super large groups. When I hiked the AT so many years ago, you'd run into solo hikers and couples all the time. We'd befriend each other at campsites and share stories. The larger groups as expected kept to themselves. What I encountered this past weekend was nothing but large--very large--groups. I felt completely lost on my old haunt. Sad is me. I enjoyed the 10-mile workout with 35 pounds on my back, however.

We chose this trail for a simple weekend backpacking excursion to try out an assortment of miscellaneous backpacking gear we had, and the distance to Pogo seemed about right for a first-time backpacker (me). We arrived at the parking lot after dark Friday and went straight to Pine Knob campsite, which I think was a mile from the parking lot. There was a shelter and outhouse there, but we didn’t stay long. Early in the morning we packed up and headed out. The initial ascent to Annapolis Rocks had a whole lot of “steps” made of logs across the trail, probably for controlling erosion. Some steps were higher than others, but I saw lots of people from all ages and fitness appearances (?) doing fine. There were runners, AT backpackers, moms with baby carriers, and some people that looked at least my parents age (75ish). At Annapolis Rocks there was an outhouse and a good number of campsites on a side trail before the overlook. From Annapolis Rocks to Black Rock there were more “fallen” logs across the trail to step over, but none were a big deal. Black Rock was another nice overlook, and there was a group of rock climbers there. Between Black Rock and Pogo was a beautiful cascading stream. Pogo had an outhouse and lots and lots of space for tents (I didn’t see a shelter). We had planned to camp at Pogo, but it was being used by Boy Scouts, so we went back to Annapolis Rocks, which was very nice because after setting up camp and having supper, we were able to watch the sunset from sitting on the rocks. Then a short 2.4 miles back to the car the next morning. I would definitely go back and do this hike again, and might enjoy it even more without 29lbs on my back :)

The initial climb is a good workout. But once you get to the ridge, there are a few spots with a view. Unfortunately we hiked it on a rainy day and were pushing to finish before dusk (had a late start). Climbing the ridge and the descent on the back end of the trail was also very scenic. One of the better trails in this area.

Hiked here via the Appalachian Trail, past Annapolis Rock. Great hike up, but once you're past Annapolis Rock it isn't very clearly marked. We wandered around a little trying to find Black Rock before finally stumbling onto the path for it. It is barely marked and not well cleared. Luckily google maps has it marked pretty clearly so we were able to guess. Great outlook with gorgeous views, and less people than Annapolis Rock!

nicest place we have stayed so far on MD AT. peaceful and quiet. Best spring too.

Wide, well groomed trails. Beautiful views.

great hike with outstanding views from high rock overlook

Weverton Cliffs overlook is worth the accent. Rocky trail. Extended the hike to South Mountain State Park.

This was fairly easy for an in an out. Only sporadic rock gardens. It is mostly a dirt trail.

Started out at 3.45pm, went to the shelter and made it back to Weverton Cliffs to have a snack and watch the sun set! The first .5 mile going up is the hardest part! And the trail to the shelter is pretty rocky for the most part but very fun hike. We were blessed by perfect weather!

Enjoyed very much: especially view at top!

Easy in the side near south mtn inn

Wonderful trail. We’re traveling to Baltimore and were looking for a trail to hike that would not take all day. We loved the stream. The outcropping of rocks at the top was worth w hike. We heard rumblings of thunder and got soaked in a thunderstorm! Thanks to trail locator for the hiking information.

We parked on the side of Raven Rock Rd. Quick climb (<0.75mile) , then the trail levels off. Nice stroll through the forest. High rock is accessible by car. Lots of neat graffiti. Awesome view. Police did a drive-by while we were at high rock.

Well marked and wide. Nice views and I would say moderately trafficked for a Saturday. Parking lot was almost filled

Not too tough. White Rocks overlook was great. Mosquitoes out & fairly wet and muddy in spots.

The hike was a real workout! the accents on either side were faily steep and very rocky. After so much rain it was fairly dry except for a few areas. the High Rock lookout was great!

This is a great trail! There are a couple of creek crossings in the first half mile of the trail, so make sure to wear shoes you can get wet if the water is flowing from recent rains. The steep climb at the beginning is difficult, but not too bad if you hike frequently.

Once you get to the ridge, make sure you take a left before you go over the tiny stone bridge (it's more like a rectangular rock laid over two smaller rocks that is marked "AT"). If you cross this bridge and pass the Pogo Shelter, you're heading South toward Black Rock. You want to be heading north instead.

This section of the AT is fairly flat at first and then gets super rocky with larger boulders that make up the trial. On 7/29/18 there was a huge blowdown from the recent storms that prevented passage past mile 3.5 of this trail. You could potentially bushwack around it, but after already taking the AT South for two miles to check out Black Rock, we decided just to turn around at the blowdown.

Didn't see too many people early on a Sunday morning on the hike in, but saw more people on the hike out late-morning/noon. The parking lot is pretty small, so get there early!

Great trail! Thankful for the shelter for a bit to get out of the rain:)

Nice hike--climbing two peaks (both ways) on this out-and-back hike. Very, very rocky--need sturdy soles. I made the mistake of wearing running shoes, and my soles were so sore after 10 miles. My hiking partner had sturdy hiking shoes and fared much better. Two big road crossings. Two stream crossings. Mostly shaded/wooded trail, a few open grass crossings. Lots of muddy areas on first .5mile of trail. Wonderful ATC stewards working on the first section. By the time I had returned, it looked spectacular!

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