“A hike with scenic overlooks of Harpers Ferry and civil war fortifications.”
— Aaron Lee
Fall Colors · Views
The trails that traverse Maryland Heights offer hikers the opportunity to see many aspects of Harpers Ferry NHP on one go: spectacular scenery, geology, and Civil War and transportation history.
From the Information Center in Lower Town turn right to merge with the Appalachian Trail at the dead end of Shenandoah Street. Cross the footbridge over the Potomac River. Turn left (upstream) on the C&O Canal Towpath. The trail stays on the towpath for 0.3 miles, and then crosses a footbridge over the canal bed to Harpers Ferry Road. Be careful! Watch for traffic. Directly across the road is the Maryland Heights Trailhead.
The first bend on this green-blazed section of the Overlook Cliff Trail
offers a nice view of the Potomac. Go straight at the first intersection to a see the 1862 Naval Battery, then return to the green-blazed trail and turn right. At the next two intersections stay straight on the red-blazed Overlook Cliff Trail
. About 0.3 miles turn right for a narrow, rocky descent 0.5 miles to the cliffs overlooking Harpers Ferry.
Backtrack to the first intersection with the blue-blazed Stone Fort Trail
. You'll turn north here, and continue for one mile uphill past Civil War artillery batteries and through boulders to the Civil War Stone Fort. The trail curves out of the Stone Fort past breastworks and descends steeply over one mile back to the green-blazed Overlook Cliff Trail
. Turn right and backtrack to the C&O Canal Towpath.