Appalachian Trail: Pen Mar to Ensign Cowell Shelter

MODERATE 9 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Appalachian Trail: Pen Mar to Ensign Cowell Shelter is a 20.3 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

20.3 miles
3,966 feet
Point to Point

dog friendly





nature trips




wild flowers



The Mason Dixon Line, Highest AT Peak in MD, Steepest At Grade in MD! This is part 1 of 4 hikes that could be done as individual day hikes or strung together for a 4 day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail to complete the state of Maryland. This hike begins just north of the Mason Dixon line. Shortly after passing the Mason Dixon line you enter Pen Mar Park, once an amusement stop along the Western Maryland Railroad. Portions of the trail follow old rail grades here. Almost immediately you begin the ascent of Quirack Mountain, reaching the highest point of the AT through Maryland. The trail is sometimes rocky and slow going, but most of the way is well cleared and smooth. This section also boast the steepest grade of the AT in Maryland and you will be going UP, but it is fortunately for just a short distance. A nice spring/stream serves Ensign Cowell shelter, which you can make your first night's destination, or push on just 2/10 of a mile to Wolfsvill Road, where there is room to park a second car if day hiking.

21 days ago

Graet hike.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Troop 37 went on this hike and we had a great time the hike was great walk and a good over night

Monday, July 04, 2016

There is limited parking at the Trail Head in Penmar. We did not want to finish at route 30 so we pushed a little farther to Ridge Rd where there is also limited parking. I broke this trip down to 2 days so my boys (8 and 10) wouldn't get burnt out. We hiked most of the day, played in the woods, splashed in some creeks, and then stopped for the night at the Antietam Shelter. Creek is clean and clear and a good source to refill from. Had I known earlier we would have stayed the night at the Tumbling Run Shelter just a mile further North. Tumbling Run is much nicer and very well cared for. This area is so large that overnight backpackers will not bother the through hikers. The rest of the hike was a good push and we finished tired and happy!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Probably the most technical section of the AT through MD. Lots of rocks about a mile and a half out from Pen Mar.

23 days ago

recorded Track - Jun 09, 01:35 PM

2 months ago

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sunday, April 17, 2016