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  1. #1

    Default Day Trip from Harper's Ferry, North or South?

    My son (13) and I are driving to Harper's Ferry for a 2 day, 1 night hike. Should we head north or south? Looking for the most scenic/exciting route to keep my son enthused (and me?). We are both physically fit and not too concerned about terrain/elevation change. My wife is coming to pick us up, so it would be a one-way trip. ANy advice would be appreciated.

    Thank You!

  2. #2
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    Harper's Ferry south to Snicker's Gap (at VA route 7) would be about just shy of 20 miles. You could hike 11-ish miles to Blackburn Trail Center to spend the night, then get a few miles of the Rollercoaster before getting off at Snicker's Gap. Lots of history, some rocks, some climbs, and a couple of views.
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  3. #3

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    It's a bit of a toss up. North is slightly easier once you climb out of the valley. North the ridge is reasonably flat, south the ridge has some holes in it you got to climb down and back up. Either direction is a basic walk in the woods. Nice woods, and a noticeable amount of rocks.

    The first view going south is at Raven Rocks, some 18 miles from HF and it's a limited view. I hit there mid day on day 2, having spent the night at David Lesser shelter.

    The first view going north is at Weverton Cliffs (decent view) about 4 miles out of HF. Nice lunch spot. Shoot for Campton Gap shelter for the first night, it's a relatively easy 10 miles. Exit at the Dahlgren Campground or go a little farther and stop at the original Washington monument.
    On the way out you can get a nice view from White Rock and the tower on Lambs Knoll and pass by the unique war correspondents memorial.

    One caveat, the water source for the Ed Garvey shelter is almost a one mile round trip, steeply down hill. So, it's worth the effort to carry enough water to get to Campton gap and not have to stop at Garvey to fill up.

    If your doing this hike in the near future, keep in mind it will be hot and humid and it's rained a lot. Tropical conditions.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  4. #4

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    If it were me, I’d go south.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Either direction is a basic walk in the woods. Nice woods, and a noticeable amount of rocks.
    HF +/- 15 miles is probably the least rockiest 30 miles on the whole AT.

    to the OP, i'd personally not do either. SNP isnt far away and is a lot more fun. the one possible exception would be if youre into civil war history then start at HF and go north.

    the hiking for it's own sake is just about the height of mundane in either direction out of HF.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it! I think we are going to shoot for 3 days and 2 nights now and I am leaning towards north. We are heading out next week sometime, so I am still wanting any feedback you feel compelled to give. Thank You.

  7. #7

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    HF to Smithsburg, MD (MD77) is 30.9 miles, about right for a 3 day hike. HF to Campton Gap shelter, 11 miles. Campton Gap to Pine Knob shelter, 12.5 miles. Pine knob to MD 77, 10 miles.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash Berserker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Schaub View Post
    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it! I think we are going to shoot for 3 days and 2 nights now and I am leaning towards north. We are heading out next week sometime, so I am still wanting any feedback you feel compelled to give. Thank You.
    Based on your first post, if you want to go North you could consider doing all of MD. From HF that's about 41 miles to the MD/PA line where you can exit at Pen-Mar Rd. (or at the county park, which is right before the PA/MD border). All of MD is pretty easy stuff with maybe the exception of the climb up to Raven Rock shelter. That might be too much mileage...not sure what you are looking to do, but when you finish you can say you did the MD piece of that AT if that matters to you.

    If you don't want to go that far Slo-go'en gave a good itinerary.
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  9. #9
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    I would recommend hiking southbound from MD into Harper's Ferry. Ending the hike with the view from Weverton Cliff and then walking into HF is much more climatic than starting out in HF in either direction.
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
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    but better to love than have something to scale


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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    It's a bit of a toss up. North is slightly easier once you climb out of the valley. North the ridge is reasonably flat, south the ridge has some holes in it you got to climb down and back up. Either direction is a basic walk in the woods. Nice woods, and a noticeable amount of rocks.

    The first view going south is at Raven Rocks, some 18 miles from HF and it's a limited view. I hit there mid day on day 2, having spent the night at David Lesser shelter.

    The first view going north is at Weverton Cliffs (decent view) about 4 miles out of HF. Nice lunch spot. Shoot for Campton Gap shelter for the first night, it's a relatively easy 10 miles. Exit at the Dahlgren Campground or go a little farther and stop at the original Washington monument.
    On the way out you can get a nice view from White Rock and the tower on Lambs Knoll and pass by the unique war correspondents memorial.

    One caveat, the water source for the Ed Garvey shelter is almost a one mile round trip, steeply down hill. So, it's worth the effort to carry enough water to get to Campton gap and not have to stop at Garvey to fill up.

    If your doing this hike in the near future, keep in mind it will be hot and humid and it's rained a lot. Tropical conditions.
    When you pass thru Gathland State Park, where the war correspondent's memorial is located, look for the small building that houses the restrooms (tip there are trash cans inside the restrooms). There are benches and a water spigot located on the back side with good water. It's an excellent place to camel-up on a hot day, rest and tank up for the walk north or south from the park.

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