Maryland Heights Loop

HARD 638 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

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

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 days ago

great lower body workout! ((positive thinking will make you push forward and up

hiking
11 days ago

Breathtaking view from the top. Very very hard hike. Straight up. Was April but still felt like 100 degrees.

hiking
15 days ago

Gorgeous scenic overlook. The beginning is straight uphill, and fairly demanding. It’s not an easy hike. The scenic overlook is amazing. Spectacular view of Harpers Ferry. This is a “must do” hike for everyone!

hiking
16 days ago

It’s definitely a challenging ascent but well worth it once you make it to the overlook. We watched the sunset and it was spectacular. Highly recommend

hiking
19 days ago

Hill in the beginning is NO joke. Beautiful view and so worth it. Watch out for the runners. Parking is a pain but I scored a spot right at the opening. Tow path isn’t really marked that well so if you don’t park in town make sure you ask someone on the trail what they saw on the last mile marker.

24 days ago

great hike and great views of Harper's Ferry and the Potomac River

hiking
1 month ago

12/22/2018: A great day hike! The Maryland Heights overlook provides an outstanding view of historic Harpers Ferry, WV. The hike back was mostly downhill, which made for a quick and easy return to town.

Harpers Ferry offers a wonderful “walk-thru” history lesson on various events that took place before and during the Civil War; John Brown’s raid on the federal armory being one such event.

Almost forgot, a section of the Appalachian Trail passes directly through the town. If you’re looking for an overnight adventure, this might be a great spot to look!

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

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
1 month 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.

1 month ago

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.

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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
2 months ago

Has anyone tried this hike from Sandy Hook?

hiking
2 months 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
3 months ago

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

3 months ago

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.

hiking
3 months ago

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
3 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
4 months ago

Nice quick day hike, the Stone Fort portion is significantly less crowded than the Overlook trail. Pretty wooded scenery all around, and a decent uphill climb to get to the ridge. There are several historical stops along the way. Bring plenty of water/electrolytes if it's warm. Near the stone fort and the armory the trail does get overgrown with vegetation but we had no problem with staying on the trail. The Overlook portion offers stunning views of Harpers Ferry. That portion of the trail is quite crowded. Overall certain parts of the trail are uneven and/or rocky, but I wore running shoes, not hiking shoes, and I had no problem. Hiking specific footwear would be better in rainy weather or for those needing the extra support. Any healthy dog (or human) can do this trail, however this ain't your granddad's trail. Took us around 3 hours and that was a very leisurely pace.

TL;DR Worth the climb if you want to get a decent day hike in, more moderate than difficult, many historic stops along the way.

4 months ago

Very fun. Took the blue trail, tough climb at the beginning which is why Abe Lincoln didn’t get to see the guns at the top. Some great views but the trail is overgrown in places. Use the app to find your way of off course. The overlook is breathtaking. Took the goat trail down from there. Fun but challenging. Great day.

hiking
4 months ago

Definitely worth it but it is difficult. For someone who doesn’t hike a lot, it will take a while to do the climb in and out of the overlook trail. The views of Harpers Ferry from the overlook are spectacular. The green and red trails are well marked

hiking
4 months ago

Poor markers, I would rate this moderate. The first mile is really steep and then it’s pretty flat and easy. Still a great hike!

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