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

hiking
8 hours 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.

This trail has everything. History, natural beauty and great exercise. The views from both overlooks are phenomenal. The outcropping (both overlooks are close together) on the left has so much natural character. A must see.

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!

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.

June 2018- took us a little over 3.5 hours. We left at 9 AM and parking was fine. Saw the ATC, pretty views of the Potomac and Harpers Ferry.

hiking
16 days 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.

hiking
19 days 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.

While the overlook is cool, this is definitely a hard hike if you do it at a good pace. Straight uphill with no breaks. You can rocket down pretty easily but the climb up has no good scenery and you can add 4 miles to the trip if you have to park in the overflow lot. Which you will. If you have a dog, the shuttle wont take you, so you’ll trek 2 miles each way to the parking lot. Also, way, way too many people and poor hiking etiquette.

Wife and I hiked this route. It snowed the day before, so the melting snow made hiking a little treacherous, but not unmanageable. My only gripe was the trail was not marked showing the direction of split rock outlook. Once you know the colors of the trail markers, it's easy going. The trampled snow helped too. I'd do it again, just not when it was this late in the year.

hiking
27 days ago

I don’t think this is hard at all. We went there after the first snow of 2018. It was very pretty at the cliff overlook.

hiking
1 month ago

Can be very windy. We did it in the fall so some parts of the trail that were covered in leaves were hard to see. Slipped a few times. Otherwise it was a good hike. The stone fort was not what I expected, in a good way. Make sure you bring water and be ready for an uphill hike.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Went here on 11/3/18 and loved the trail. Most of the trail is uphill, however I don't think the rating of "hard" is accurate. I would say this trail is moderate, as most of it is doable for most. There were a ton of people there already by the time we arrived (10am), so the earlier you get there the better.

The view from the overlook is amazing and well worth the climb. The town of Harper's Ferry is fun walking through as well.

Of all the hiking we do, this trail was WAY too crowded with oblivious people not paying attention or being considerate to those actually trying to take in the surrounding nature. Everyone goes for the iconic overlook photo (which of course, I did too), but there were way too many people to actually enjoy the view. This trail is rated as “hard” but I’ve done harder sections of the AT that are rated as “moderate” on this app. I feel the difficulty rating on this trail is a little off.

There’s a super rewarding view for such a tough incline hike.

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.

With twists and turns with nice resting rocks and pretty foliage as well as some wide open paths. Pretty crowded since the town is close by and with it being the fall weather. Does allow for options for food, rest and short visits.

hiking
1 month ago

fall is a great time to come here..also, I have always done this trail counter-clockwise. I prefer to end with the " thrill" instead of starting with it.

hiking
1 month ago

Has anyone tried this hike from Sandy Hook?

It is a great trail, nice and peaceful.

hiking
1 month ago

Not incredibly hard at all. Went with a first time hiker and did both the stone fort trail and the overlook. Beginning of stone fort and the decline of stone fort and the incline back up from the overlook of the town are the hardest parts. Most other parts are a piece of cake for the most part. Would not recommend the trail to those with very limited mobility. Those that are not in that great of shape just take it slow. Do not be scared of the HARD rating, the challenge and the reward at the overlook is definitely worth the hike. Views are not that great on the stone fort portion, but you do get more of a history lesson on this trail. It is also pretty cool to imagine the men back then dragging weaponry up the trails you are hiking and also to picture how the campground, forts, batteries, etc. were laid out. Fun place to hike. Do not skip it just because of the rating. Foliage definitely not peaked yet as of October 24th. Downtown is very pretty now though

hiking
1 month ago

A good hike with moderately difficult inclines both up and down. Rewards are interesting historical tidbits and gorgeous views. Unpleasantly crowded today.

A nice trail to do with the family. The trail is well maintained.

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.

Nice hike. A group of us did it after the marathon/half marathon October 2018. It was a bit much for the day after the race, but the view at the top was worth it.

Great hike. One of my first solo hikes. I was a bit nervous alone, but it was so well marked and a decent amount of people on the trail. There’s a long walk from the parking lot to the trail head and then another walk to the actual trail head of the loop. Stop by the visitors center first.

Tough uphill but evens out and gets easier about halfway through.

hiking
2 months ago

My husband and I are not experienced hikers so this “moderate” trail was actually challenging to us. It’s uphill all the way! Once you get up to the top ( took us an hour and a half— we took the 3.0 mile option), the view of the rivers Potomac and Shenandoah, and the town of Harpers Ferry below you is well worth the tired feet. We were there Oct 6th. Plan to go back to the area in a couple weeks to see the fall colors. It’s still pretty green there now.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail isn’t marked or labeled, at all. It’s neat to see some of the historic ruins and read their signs, otherwise, there’s not much to this “trail”. If you’re not following the map, you’ll get off-route, as there’s plenty of other places to walk in the area. This trail is easy and serves as a good little dog walk.

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