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  1. #1
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    Default Harpers Ferry Questions

    Hi there - we are section hikers (one day dreaming of a thru when life allows such things) and were thinking of visiting Harpers Ferry the weekend of Spring equinox which is also our anniversary. Like the hiking freaks we are, we want to spend part of our anniversary weekend visiting the headquarters/museum and do a hike up to the AT and/or one of the overlooks. With this winter I really have NO idea what the trail is like in this area in terms of snow/ice/temps. We have spikes but no snowshoes, and as we also have a lot of other things we wanna do that weekend, we are just looking for a 3-4 hour hike but not much more. I couldn't find a map of the trails behind the visitor center anywhere. I'm looking for that and any pointers on which are the nicest, which might take us up to the AT and which have the nicest overlooks. I can always call them about trail conditions before we go and most likely will, but let me know which ones you think are worth checking out at the very least. Anyone have any information on what to expect, and trails? Thanks in advance.
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    Some of the best views of Harpers Ferry are from the Maryland Heights trail system which is on the other side of the Potomac in Maryland. You would walk across the bridge, turn left (west) at the C&O canal where the AT turns right (east) and then do a loop trail with several overlooks.

    It is possible that the Loudoun Heights trail, which you can access via the AT, also has similar views but I've never hiked that trail so I cannot say for sure.

    Maps of both are here: http://www.nps.gov/hafe/planyourvisit/hikes.htm

    Here's a picture taken from Maryland Heights in July 2005.

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    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
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    My wife and I spent a few days in Harpers Ferry a few months ago. The AT runs just a block or two behind the AT Headquarters. We walked a short distance on the AT from our bed and breakfast to get to the Maryland Heights trail across the Potomac. The Maryland Heights Trail is amazing! About 7 miles. Once you get to the top you have a panoramic view of the town below, Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers. There were several Civil War battles on Maryland Heights and the trail is marked with markers depicting significant sites along the way. It is a little strenuous - President Lincoln backed out on his way up to visit the troops! We stayed at an awesome B&B which is also a block away from the AT headquarters. The B&B is run by a couple of fellows that could not be any nicer. The food is the best. Our room had a view of the Potomac River below and Maryland Heights on the other side. (Google Maryland Heights Trail and you will be all set!) We stopped by Antietam Battlefield on the way back to our home. Also a very cool visit!

  4. #4
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    You guys rock! Keep it comin, this is exactly what I am looking for. Capt Bluebird, we are looking for a B&B to keep it romantic, would love the name of the B&B if you thought that highly of it.
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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    As for weather, I would be surprised if there is much if any snow to deal with but there could be ice and it probably isn't a bad idea to have microspikes if needed. I seriously doubt that snowshoes would be desirable but this has been kind of a crazy winter so far.

    I'm planning on a short AT section heading southbound from HF and ending either at Sky Meadows or Linden. Probably the weekend of March 7 or 14.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

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    Quote Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
    You guys rock! Keep it comin, this is exactly what I am looking for. Capt Bluebird, we are looking for a B&B to keep it romantic, would love the name of the B&B if you thought that highly of it.
    My wife and I frequently stay at B&B's when we travel. This is one is at the top! Try for the room at the back of the house. Has its own gas fireplace.... that may come in handy! Laurell Lodge B&B. 304.535.2886. We stayed in the Pine View Room. Check them out on Google. Good luck!

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    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    Thanks guys - my friend said the Weaverton Cliffs is a short hike via mostly switchbacks and is really nice section for a quick out and back, also. Could do Jefferson rock if its too icy but let me know when you get back what the conditions were if you don't mind? We will be there the following weekend... Will check out Laurel Lodge
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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  8. #8
    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    Of course, isn't Ed Garvey shelter romantic???? well maybe not if i don't want it to be the last anniversary! hah
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
    You can read about my adventures at
    http://happyonthetrails.wordpress.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
    Thanks guys - my friend said the Weaverton Cliffs is a short hike via mostly switchbacks and is really nice section for a quick out and back, also. Could do Jefferson rock if its too icy but let me know when you get back what the conditions were if you don't mind? We will be there the following weekend... Will check out Laurel Lodge
    I think Jefferson Rock is no more than a 15 minute hike from the ATC! /Awesome view of the Shenandoah!

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    The Weverton Cliffs offers nice views but in my opinion, the views from Maryland Heights are more interesting since you can see Harpers Ferry. Weverton Cliffs are a bit downriver. You cross the Potomac and then walk a couple of miles along the C&O canal, which is co-located with the AT at that point. Then the AT leaves the C&O and starts switchbacking up the cliffs. If walking the C&O isn't your cup of tea, you could drive to the parking area near the Weverton Cliffs trailhead to avoid that section.

    The Garvey shelter is one of the nicest I have seen so far on the AT. Whether it is good for an anniversary weekend might depend on the people involved and whether others are there. It is supposed to be a popular shelter. There is the main shelter sleeping area as well as a loft.

    Weverton Cliffs overlook, April 2014:

    DSC03342.jpg
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

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    Consider A nice anniversary dinner at the fabulous Old South Mountain Inn, which sits right on the AT and is across the street from Washington Monument State Park, another must see. The AT goes through the park. http://oldsouthmountaininn.com/

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    If the weather is good MD heights will be packed at the overlook. Loudoun heights to cow hoof rock would be a better choice if you are looking for more solitude. The view is pretty much comparable.

    But since London Heights is north facing it stays icy longer. In fact looking back at my training log I see that it was Mid march last year when I bit it hard on the downhill. Brown ice was to blame.

    The NPS map of loudoun heights can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/hafe/historycultu...un-heights.htm

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    i'd start from the atc toward the Jefferson rock stroll back threw town hop in the car to Weverton cliff parking do an up and back. then head over to Maryland heights small parking area and do the same to try and get it all in a short time. I'm also interested in the trail conditions, i left off my section hiking there going sobo from the atc. and may be able to squeeze an overnight-er or two day trip in soon. enjoy the anniversary

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    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    tragic news from the area this past weekend up at ed garvey. will definitely keep an eye out for dead trees especially if its windy! probably going to do the jefferson rock / town section from the headquarters and maryland heights - the shorter loop to the overlook.
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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    Registered User linus72's Avatar
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    People of WB - I thought it might be fun to check WV off the list of finished states by walking the whole 4 miles from VA border to MD border. Is it easy enough to get a cab in town to the south end and walk back to the north end in town at the Potomac? is this all through Harper's Ferry more or less? The ATC site gives it only a 3 in difficulty. What kind of elevations should I expect? Seems like its easier to start at south end anyway as its mostly downhill from there. I want to avoid heading up the Weverton Cliffs to Ed Garvey area in MD this time around, but will do the heights overlook trail too perhaps. We've done just about all of CT and parts of the NY A.T. so far,with elevations up to 1750 ft and lots of ups and downs, so are accustomed to what I suspect is the terrain in the area. But I would love if our first hike together this season didn't start with a 1000' gain in the first mile...
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
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    we ended up comin down the lower town trail from the park, up to the ridgeline of loudoun heights on the AT and back down, took the side trail to the HQ and then back to the trail for Jefferson rock and crossed the potomac bridge to MD. About 6 miles. Lots of snow up top in the morning, contrasted with blazing sun and not a sign of snow at lower elevations. Got to walk from VA border to MD which was what I wanted. the problem was not continuing !DIdn't make it up to the MD trails, wanted to get some sight seeing done in town then took the bus back up to the car in the park. some pics on my profile page
    Doin' the trail one section at a time
    You can read about my adventures at
    http://happyonthetrails.wordpress.com/

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