Loudoun Heights Trail to Split Rock

MODERATE 472 reviews

Loudoun Heights Trail to Split Rock is a 6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia that features a river 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 but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,482 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

bugs

over grown

rocky

washed out

Note: As of September 2019, the section of the blue trail on the map is closed where it intersects the white trail, so turn left onto the orange trail on your way up to get to the overlook. Users report that there are no signs however there are downed trees. This high ground was occupied by Confederate general John George Walker during the Battle of Harpers Ferry, September 12-September 15, 1862. Loudoun Heights was also the site of a night attack made on January 10, 1864, by Col. John S. Mosby's Rangers against Major Henry A. Cole's 1st Potomac Home Brigade Maryland Volunteer Cavalry. Mosby's attack failed and ended a long run of engagements between Mosby's Rangers and Cole's Cavalry. The Battle of Loudoun Heights was a small cavalry skirmish during the American Civil War between John Mosby's Rangers and Major Henry A. Cole's 1st Potomac Home Brigade Maryland Cavalry on January 9, 1864, in Loudoun County, Virginia. Cole's Cavalry successfully defended a night raid against their camp on Loudoun Heights. The fight was one of the first engagements in which Union forces held their own against Mosby's vaunted partisans.

hiking
8 days ago

Rather difficult on the way up, very easy on the way down. Views were magnificent and I thought everything was well marked (i.e. white to orange, orange to blue) but I did read the notes from other reviews in advance of my trek, which were very helpful. This Wednesday morning hike in cloudy, 36 degree weather yielded only one other soul on the whole trail. Highly recommend.

hiking
flooded
8 days ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Much quieter than Maryland Heights across the river with a similar view at the end. The orange blaze is easy to miss on the way up, so keep looking up as you’re climbing so you don’t miss it (it’s also on the curve of a switchback). Trail is otherwise well maintained and varied to the point that it never really gets boring. I recommend this one for the relative tranquility in Harpers Ferry if for nothing else!

Due to limited parking I wound up parking at the visitors center and taking the lower town trail down to the bridge. Also took a little detour to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy visitor center.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail. Lots of rocks and uphill at the beginning but it evened out at the top where we walked along the ridge until we reached the lookout. View of Harpers Ferry at the top was amazing! Thank you for the reviews and map showing which way to go. The blue trail is partially closed so follow AT until you can get in the Orange. Eventually the Orange will become the Blue and just follow that to Split Rock lookout.

hiking
2 months ago

The view... the view... the view!!!

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Loved this trail... lots of ups and downs. Best view around! ❤️

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike to an overlook to see Harper's Ferry. We did Loudoun Heights instead of Maryland Heights since Maryland Heights was supposedly closed that day. We had no issues path finding thanks to the updated description and comments saying to stay on the Orange trail after getting off of the White trail. The Blue trail is visible, but super overgrown and obvious at this point that it is not a trail. I'd call it a solid Moderate hike and we completed it in Chacos with no issue despite some surprise thunderstorms turning the trail muddy. We parked at the Visitors Center which added roughly 1mi each way.

hiking
2 months ago

Parked at the Visitors' Center and walked about 1 mile to the trailhead, The summit is very rewarding, but be prepared for steep and rocky sections on the ascent. As others have noted, you will hear traffic noise for much of this hike, and the recent changes to the trail are not well marked. Still, views and a good workout make this a worthwhile trip.

Certainly aggressive in my book. It was 7 miles in and out with steep grade up Took almost 3 hours to complete. The view at split rock is worth the hump. Will come back again. Heads up parking at HF national park is $15.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a great trail. The upper portion is inaccessible. Take the AT to the orange trail (make a left) and follow that to the point.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

great trail. overlook of river is awesome. some steep parts.

hiking
closed
2 months ago

The section of the blue trail on the map is closed where it intersects the white trail, so turn left onto the orange trail on your way up to get to the overlook. They didn’t put a sign up or anything, they just put a bunch of dead trees and the like in the way. I encountered MANY LOST HIKERS because of this. You’d think they would put up a sign on such a popular hike, but that’s the negligence that goes into a lot of the hiking trails in the DMV area. The map on this app should be updated, or they need to add a note. Otherwise an OK hike with some decent altitude gain and a nice view at the end.

hiking
over grown
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail, when you get to where it splits follow the orange trail. It's a rewarding view.

hiking
blowdown
3 months ago

Two and a half miles walking straight up to a most beautiful view.

hiking
3 months ago

Parking was full and there were right many people at the beginning of the hike. The hike itself was okay and the people thinned out after the first mile or so.

hiking
3 months ago

The trail starts alongside a highway and the sound of the cars is an issue throughout. Not worth doing.

4 months ago

I hiked the trail today and saw so many people confused both at and after the Keys Gap scarecrow. (Junction of the white and orange trail.) If you're going to make a big change like this ACTUALLY MAKE A SIGN.

hiking
4 months ago

The trail was not marked and the change has not been corrected in hiking apps. I walked past the app's marked trail for half a mile and had to double back. Realized the usual trail entrance on AllTrails & Guthook is no longer available. Assumed the unnamed trail with orange blazes that turn to blue was correct...incredibly annoying. If you're looking at the trail as a thru hiker I'd say it's 'moderate' but as a day hiker ya better be prepared with water and snacks. The uphill climb to get to the trail entrance can be taxing and there are sections on the Loudon Heights trail that are uphill and taxing as well. Overall...if changes were made to the trails they should've been well communicated and the trail clearly marked. Otherwise...I found it a good trail with plenty of incline that will appeal to those looking for fitness. It ended in a decent view. The day I went I was alone on the trail. Challenging for a day hiker...again...bring water.

hiking
4 months ago

good training trail and climbs if you beat the crowds or if the weather is inclimate. A lot of rude people and trash throwers.

4 months ago

I am really upset they changed the AT and shut down the blue trail at the top of the mountain. First, there's no indication of the change other than they moved the "Keys Gap- 4 miles" sign at the junction of the orange trail. I hiked past that for a half mile until I realized I was heading south. I found the covered up old AT and followed it to the blue trail at the top and went down. They covered up the. blue trail at the junction of the orange trail as well. This is what ticks me off about this change: The shut down part of the hike is marginal for the type of hiker that thinks lower Maryland heights is hard. By forcing everyone to use the orange trail, this make the Split Rock cliff hike too hard for those people. Why not divert the Appalachian trail as they have and continue having the blue trail at the top, making the old shut down portion of the Appalachian trail part of the blue trail? I am pretty certain this was done because too many AT hikers were not observing the blazes and were ending up at split rock cliff rather than going down the mountain. Well this was a stupid solution. All you had to do was make it more obvious that the blue trail was separate and went to a different location. Instead, you decided to make the overall split rock cliff hike harder and inaccessible to the average weekend hiker. Great job.

hiking
4 months ago

sucks...they changed the trail. There is no blue trail. You can only take the orange. I would take orange and come back blue. Didn't want to bother with flat 2 miles to look out. It was a great workout and they screwed it up. Very sad!!!

Nice hike, we’ll trodden path to a good overlook. Probably not quite a moderate rating but a good morning hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Really beautiful and enjoyable hike. Like other reviews have mentioned, stay left at the Key's gap/Harper's ferry signpost. Follow the orange blaze trail. The view is wonderful. I definitely favor it over Maryland heights trail. Less crowds, too!

hiking
bugs
rocky
4 months ago

nice trail and great view at the rock.

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