Maryland Heights Loop

HARD 661 reviews

Maryland Heights Loop is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia that features a river and is rated as difficult. 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
6.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,522 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

historic site

Park opens at 9:00 a.m Fee $10 Trail from parking lot starts by mulch pile in back. 2 miles to actual trailhead. You can also take a bus from parking lot to trailhead. Scenic overlook, civil war fortifications, moderate to strenuous climb. History combined with beauty! This is a hike over well-marked trails with many interpretive signs along the way. There are some steep climbs and some rocky terrain. The hike features a spectacular overlook of Harpers Ferry and the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. However, it doesn't come easily. The hike also includes much history. The trail passes remains of fortifications built by the Union forces in 1862 after their defeat at Harpers Ferry. There are ammunition pits, breastworks, powder magazines, and gun batteries along the trail. The remains of the main fort are at the summit of Maryland Heights.

hiking
7 hours ago

Second time this. We were with a Make-A-Wish fund raising group. It was super humid, but lots of fun. Great views of Harpers Ferry

14 hours ago

The upper loop was challenging but leveled out at the top. plus there were much fewer people on that part of the trail

hiking
5 days ago

Parked at Harpers Ferry instead of trail head which adds about another mile each way. Park can be accessed earlier than stated opening time and boxes are used to pay entrance fees. From Harpers Ferry, you cross the bridge from West Virginia into Maryland with lots of opportunities to see trains emerging from the tunnel and passing by you. Overlook for harpers ferry second to none but can get crowded on weekends. If you do the full Maryland Heights loop, counter clockwise is less strenuous in terms of ascending to the top. Well populated trail with lots of friendly dogs.

6 days ago

Fucking amazing excuse my langue but by far the best one I’ve ever done

hiking
10 days ago

Very tiring. Most of this hike is in the woods on a side of a mountain, but when you do get glimpses down, it is worth it.

hiking
15 days ago

I did this about a month ago. It’s a hard hike but the views are worth it. Bring lots of water! We almost ran out.

15 days ago

my go too hike because it's, beautiful, a great work out and I can get an ice cream in town when I'm done. This is not for people who are out of shape. on Sunday a woman had be be rescued because she couldn't make it. It is very busy and you will see a lot of people who should reconsider hiking this. please bring water and consider leaving the pups at home.

hiking
18 days ago

Harper's Ferry is an amazing little area and this is a great trail to get a commanding vantage point of the beautiful town and the three states it nestles between. Going up is relatively hard, especially on a hot, muggy day, but the overlook is completely worth the glute workout! Also, enjoy looking at the remnants of the canal, crossing the Potomac, and walking past John Brown's fort while on the trail. Afterwards, treat yourself to some ice cream or a cold one at many of the fine eateries in the town...you've earned it!

hiking
18 days ago

The view is worth the climb.

25 days ago

Solid hike, great views of the surrounding river and harpers ferry

26 days ago

I hike this trail often. Going on the upper trail is only hard until the second sign; it's a little after that that it levels off. I like going the normal way, the hike is really easy once you get up to the ridge.

As for the main overlook, there are plenty of side overlooks, not just a few. You just have to search for them, as I did this morning.

hiking
27 days ago

I strongly suggest taking the red trail to THE overlook and get that iconic view of Harper’s Ferry then taking the beginning of the loop to the stone fort on that side. Having gained some elevation on the red trail, that side of the loop up is kinder. The other side (the first choice for the loop you come to off the red trail) is a real slog uphill.

It is crowded, but the view on the red trail is a great reward. There really are only 1 or 2 views off the loop, but the history and historical markers are great! The loop trail (baby blue and blue marked) wasn’t nearly so crowded the day I went.

hiking
1 month ago

I avoided Harper’s Ferry parking by (being really lucky) grabbing a parking spot along Sandy Hook Rd on the Maryland side.

This trail is busy.
Even at noon in July. You will never feel alone!

Shady, well maintained trail that has some good ascents with levels in between, so you don’t feel like you’re pushing uphill the entire time. Because of the heat, and the fact that I had a dog with me, I skipped the upper loop and beelined to the overlook. Absolutely worth dealing with parking and people to get to see this iconic view of Harper’s Ferry at the confluence of the ‘Doah and the Potomac.

I will absolutely be back to this one!

1 month ago

Fun hike. some fairly steep areas but most trails are wide and easy to navigate.
Great combo of history and cardio!

trail running
1 month ago

My friend and I “ran” this trail during a visit to Harpers Ferry NHP. It was challenging on the way up, and the scenery was so worth it. I recommend the entire loop, the view at the top is stunning.

hiking
1 month ago

The view and trail was great! We are new to hiking and we’re able to complete the entire loop in ~3.25 hours, including stopping for pictures. I recommend parking at the visitors center ($10 per vehicle) and walking or taking the shuttle to Lower Town (5 minute ride); this helps you avoid congestion in Lower Town.

The trail to the overlook was pretty crowded (as expected), but the additional loop up to the 100 lbs battery and fort was almost empty.

Overall, a great hike with worthwhile views/resting points. We will be back.

1 month ago

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HOLD SPOTS FOR PEOPLE AT THE PARKING LOT. A woman was backing out of the space and he went and stood in it. I tried to back in. He wouldn't move. I said "Dude move." He said "No, I'm holding this spot." I waited for 5 minutes while he stood there.

Traffic backed up, so I said "I'm goong to take care of this right now", and drove to Harpers Ferry, where I'm waiting on a park ranger to come so we can address this now.

Update: The ranger is meeting me at the spot.

You were a jerk to the wrong person.

hiking
1 month ago

We started out around 8am. As others have mentioned, parking near the trailhead is difficult--we got the last open parking spot. It was the 4th of July, however, so I don't know if it's busy at 8am on a normal weekday.

The trail isn't kidding around. You will go up. And up. And then up a little faster. The incline will push you, but the trail is great and a good route to push yourself in a few hours. If you've got weak ankles or creaky knees, be prepared for some challenges. The decline is steep and very rocky. I'm a big fan of poles--I needed them on the way up, and mom needed them on the way down.

The summit was nice, but the trees hinder your view out. No complaint, nature doesn't bend to the whims of those visiting it. After the summit we went down to the viewpoint. It takes you down quite a bit, and since you need to retrace your steps to continue on your way, you'll be hiking up quite a bit after taking in the view. The view is great, but get ready to find your second wind--you'll need it to get back up to the trail leading you back to the river and ultimately, your car.

We had a great time and we'd definitely recommend.

Oh, bring water. We went through almost 5L between the two of us.

1 month ago

The view is a nice reward for the trek.

1 month ago

This hike is great when no ones around. It's too bad that almost never happens anymore.

hiking
1 month ago

The view was worth the strenuous hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Love this little Historic Town! After a good hike, you can catch a bite in one of the restaurants. There's so much to see and do! Not to mention how saturated in history this town is! It's a must hike & see!

hiking
1 month ago

Tough uphill hike with amazing view of Harpers Ferry at the overlook.

2 months ago

Park opens at 9:00 a.m
Fee$10

Trail from parkinglot starts by mulch pile in back. 2 miles to actual trailhead. You can take a bus from parkinglot to trailhead.
So weather was 92 with 70% humidity. I started my 'Map My Hike' from the parking lot, so in total from parjing lot to summit 10.45 miles with am Elevation of about 1300 ft; parking lot is about 500 ft so elevation gain of about 800 ft. Grade was gradual at about 25% , normal.
Without the humidity it is moderate hike no watering holes or streams so bring a hydration pack.
Trails are primarily old fire road that they covered up to look like beaten paths. Throughout the trails are single tracks with thick brush. Quite rocky in some parts .
Time minus pictures should take you about 3 hours , I recommend you start at 9:00 , whem park opens ...$10 .


Have fun

hiking
2 months ago

This was definitely one of those, work but worth it hikes for us. We had read the previous reviews and have to agree that this is slightly more difficult than moderate but not quite strenuous. We did the entire 6+ miles and don't regret it. We had about 3 liters of water total and some snacks for energy along the way. We found that pacing ourselves really helped and we were able to finish it.


The red trail to the outlook was definitely a lot more populated but I'd say don't leave without seeing the view of Harper's Ferry town from the overlook. We went to the top of the blue trail and while it was pretty, there wasn't much of a view. At one time there may have been but in mid June it was very overgrown and no real view.

Will definitely go back!

hiking
2 months ago

A great challenging short hike which has been blocked off recently after our recent Maryland torrential rains. I'm unsure if I can access the trail by going over the footbridge from Harper's Ferry but the access roads are blocked as of 6/19. I doubt the footbridge on the weekends because of tourism and/or parking. This hike is strenuous...period. If you look at the grades of slope in the different sections...it is steep. Even going down is interesting at times. There is no water or restrooms so take water. I say that because I see people/tourists going up completely unprepared/uninformed like it was a walk to the local park. I've only done the overlook...1.5 miles up and down...and easily a 1300 calorie burn with the grade. I'll do the summit when the roads open up again. I live in the immediate area.

hiking
2 months ago

I’ve been to harpers ferry before for whitewater rafting and knew I wanted to take on this hike.

Today, was finally the day and let me tell you something, it was NO joke. It was absolutely gorgeous, however; beware that the inclines are steep—as most reviewers have said.

I live in central maryland and made it to the area around 8:33am—which I would have to say was amazing timing. I only saw about two to three people on my way up the trail, however; during 10:30, when I was descending I saw larger crowds.

The trail is ranked moderate, but I’d be aware that it can be extremely difficult. During the hike you can either go to the summit-which is a 3.3 mile hike up an EXTREME incline—or go the scenic route—which is 1.3 miles and I can’t speak on the trek unfortunately because that wasn’t the route I took.

I challenged myself to the 3.3 mile hike and while it was difficult, I don’t regret any moment of it. As a previous reviewer said, there is hardly anyone up at the summit. To my knowledge, most hikers go just for the scenic route.

There were some loose rocks, which isn’t abnormal at all-especially considering the amount of rainfall the area has been experiencing recently (SO BE CAREFUL).

Once you reach the summit, it’s absolutely worth! The breeze and structures up there-mainly stone walls-from the civil war era took you back in time. Headed back down the mountain, the trails are a little narrow, but nothing to complain about because it’s not traveled by many people.

There are clear markings on the trail, so you won’t get lost. It’s literally one big circle!

I wore nikes on my trip—which was probably a mistake on my behalf! Just make sure to wear comfortable and supportive hiking boots, shoes, or athletic shoes!

I’ll be back again with my best friend and totally would recommend this to anyone!!!

2 months ago

Loved this hike. Excellent historical information on the trail— and that view, wow!

hiking
2 months ago

But more strenuous than expected as heading to ruins. And also there was no real view at the peak but only ruins. My wife was little disappointed but Maryland Height view was great so it was overall great hike.
If you want easier(still not too easy) hike, just go straight to Maryland Height.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. The view is spectacular!!

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