Appalachian Trail: Raven Rock to Pen Mar

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South Mountain State Park

Appalachian Trail: Raven Rock to Pen Mar is a 10.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Smithsburg, Maryland that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 10.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2,132 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

hiking
1 month ago

Solid day hike. We headed to the PA border, round trip ended up being more like 12 miles. Nice views at Raven Rock. The park at the PA border was a good half way point as well.

Some decent rock scrambles about 2 miles north of Raven Rocks shelter. We lost sight of the blazes a couple of times in the boulder fields. In contrast, the green tunnel parts have blazes every other tree, haha.

NB - that climb.

Sun Jan 06 2019

Walked the trail with some new friends. It’s been awhile since I’ve hiked in the area. The trail is rocky, there’s a hint of rock scrambling, and there’s a decent climb and descent. This trail is mapped as a round trip. We carpooled north and hiked back to the other car. I think the estimate was 6.5 miles, so 10.5 might be on the low side. My watch puts it at 7 miles, but we also walked up to the P.A. boarder (a couple hundred feet). 13-14 miles round trip is more accurate.

Sun Dec 09 2018

Excellent run!!

Mon Oct 01 2018

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.

hiking
Tue Jul 31 2018

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!

Wed Mar 29 2017

More challenging than I expected. An amazing work out though..still feeling it hours later.

Sun Jul 31 2016

Great hike. Awesome lake at the end

backpacking
Mon Jun 06 2016

Pen Mar Park to Raven Rock Shelter and Devil's Racecourse Did a little more of the AT this weekend as we ‘connect the dots’ with the goal of eventually seeing the whole thing. Starting to look at doing longer and longer sections and then most likely a through. Total hike distance in, out, and around: 12.0 miles Video of the trip is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0tWU3gVnfg We had a great time with this one and it has a little of everything (easy flat walking, rocky ascents/descents, great views, nice shelter, and weird natural formations). This is a moderate day hike for those that are not used to hiking or a pretty simple in-and-out if you camp overnight like we did. From the parking at Pen Mar Park, Raven Run Shelter is about 4.7 miles away. The trail starts off very easy on the way south out of the park. At around 2.4 miles, the trail proceeds steeply up a very rocky section for about 0.8 miles. This section, although not long, is pretty tiring…especially on the way back down. On the way to the shelter, you pass High Rock, which is a blue blazed side trail that goes to a very nice (although graffiti covered) overlook. As you approach the shelter, it is 0.1 miles down a blue blaze trail on the right, and the spring is located 0.3 miles in the opposite direction down near where the old Devil’s Racecourse Shelter (now removed) used to be. The trip to get water from the shelter is a little long and steep, but the water is very good! Just past the spring, the trail continues unmarked about 0.2 miles to a really weird rock formation that covers the Little Antietam Creek. This is called the Devil’s Racecourse. I thought it was definitely worth seeing, certainly as much as the many views from peaks available along the AT in Maryland. Also met “Drips” (Julia), “Clammy - 2013” (Collin), and Stu, who stopped by the Raven Rock Shelter in the evening with some outstanding trail magic (hiked a grill in with burgers). As it should be, totally unexpected, and very well received by the 6 through hikers spending the night. Great people and great company for the evening. Also ran into a familiar face from the Flip Flop Festival preparing for his SOBO from Maine in a couple weeks.  Link to Pen Mar Park: https://www.washco-md.net/parks_facilities/p-PenMarPark.shtm Address: 14600 Pen Mar/High Rock Road, Cascade, MD 21719 To get an overnight parking pass for the lot outside the park, contact the park office at: 240-313-2700, or email: ccasey@washco-md.net Provide them with your cell phone number, vehicle make, model, color, license plate#, and dates the vehicle will be there overnight.

hiking
Mon Nov 30 2015

Did this section as part of the Maryland section of the AT. Easy/flat hiking in general. The terrain is rocky so be sure to have boots that go over the ankle or be prepared to sprain one.

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2 months ago

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