Maryland Heights Trail
The Maryland Heights Trail is as beautiful as it is difficult. We hiked the entire trail which includes the Stone Fort Trail and the Overlook Cliff Trail. Let me just say, prepare to sweat when going up the Stone Fort Trail.
We parked at the main lot and took the free bus to the town of Harpers Ferry. You can find parking in Harpers Ferry but spots are limited. From where the bus drops you off, we immediately headed through town to the bridge that crosses over the Potomac River. You will be crossing from West Virginia and into Maryland.
From there you will head down part of the C&O Canal until you hit the Combined Trailhead. After about 1.2 miles on this trail, you will pass the Naval Battery built in 1862. At this point you will reach a split in the trail. I recommend taking a left onto the Stone Fort Trail. As soon as you head onto the Stone Fort trail it will ascend very steeply.
When hiking this trail it is nice to have the trail map handy (see link below). This trail is full of past military history and it is wonderful to read about what your are hiking past.
Eventually the Stone Fort Trail will level out. Shortly after this you will arrive at the actual stone fort. The fort was never completed but it is very cool to see the remains of the work in progress. You also get some amazing views of the Potomac River and surrounding areas.
After soaking in the sites, continue down the Stone Fort Trail until you run into the Combined Trail again. At this point you can take a right and head back to town, or you can take a left onto the Overlook Cliff Trail. I highly recommend taking the Overlook Cliff Trail. You get to see the town of Harpers Ferry from above, you see some great cliffs, and you get to see where the Shenandoah River runs into the Potomac River.
The distances for hiking these trails is anywhere from 4.1 miles to 7 miles depending on the routes you take. Make sure to study the map and enjoy a trip back into some great history of this country. When you are finished, head into Harpers Ferry and get some ice cream. I know I did!!!
Trail Map: maryland heights trail