Scenic overlook, civil war fortifications, moderate to strenuous climb
Near: Harpers Ferry, WV
Distance: 5.3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1299 ft
Hike Time: 3 hours
Trail Condition: Well maintained trail
Hike Type: Loop
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 first part of the hike features a spectacular overlook of Harpers Ferry and the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. However, it doesn’t come easily. The trail climbs steadily up a picturesque stream valley to a side trail leading to the overlook. The Overlook Trail descends for .5 mi, but is worth it! For a shorter hike (2.8), return the same way you came.
The second part of the hike includes much history. The trail climbs to the ridge passing 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. A military camp was located in the level area just below the summit.
I-495 to VA 7; west on VA 7 around Leesburg, then right onto VA 9. In about 10 mi turn right ont VA 671, then right (north) ontu US 340. Follow signs to Harpers Ferry National Park visitors center. (Lat:39.32 Lon:-77.73)