Harpers Ferry- Maryland Heights Trail

On an unseasonably cool day in September, we decided to tackle the Maryland Heights Trail in Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. This is a 4.5 mile roundtrip hike from lower town. In non-COVID times you can usually park in the huge parking lot at the visitor center and take the shuttle to lower town where you can connect with the trail. However, due to COVID the shuttle wasn’t running and parking was very limited. It is possible to walk from the Visitor Center to Lower Town, but this will add around 1.5 miles each way. So we decided to suck it up and get up early in hopes of getting a parking spot at the Harpers Ferry Train Station. We were successful, but if you visit on a Saturday when the shuttle is not running I would definitely recommend getting up early!

The Point

Early morning is beautiful at the Point! This is where our journey began.

Railroad Bridge

The easiest part of the trail is the beginning. Enjoy a scenic walk over the railroad bridge (unless you are still super tired and waking up like this crew), then once you make your way down the steps on the other side you will turn left on the paved flat trail and follow that about a mile. Here you will see steps, take the steps to cross the road and start on the dirt trail. The Maryland Heights Trail is a steep uphill climb until about the last 1/2 mile of the trail, where you will take a step decline and maneuver down the rocks. If you aren’t comfortable with hills and steep, rocky terrain you may want to skip this one.

The first section of the uphill climb on the dirt path offers some views over the river. From there the views are mostly of the woods until you reach the end.

Watching the Train come across the bridge
The rocks at the end are just a small part of the rocks you climb down for the view

The views at the end of this trail make it all worth it! Such a great view of lower town and the river. It is an out and back trail, so you follow the way you came back to lower town. If you get lucky you might see some rock climbers. If you hang out a while you will see the train in the distance.

Of course no hike would be complete without treats at the end! We stopped at Battle Grounds Bakery and Coffee near the end of the trail in lower town for some much needed coffee and treats to refuel the kids before heading back to our campground.

Hike Review: Even the kids agreed that the views were worth it for what was sometimes a difficult uphill climb! Highly recommend.

To see some of our other recommendations of things to do in the area go here https://campingwiththekennedys.com/2020/10/15/harpers-ferry-our-favorite-things-to-do/

For a review of Harpers Ferry KOA where we camped for this hike, go here https://campingwiththekennedys.com/2020/10/15/harpers-ferry-koa-review/

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