Hiking Maryland Heights should be on your fall bucket list if you live in the Washington DC area!  

maryland heights hike

The most rewarding part of this hike is the spectacular view it offers of Harper’s Ferry.  The viewpoint at the top of Maryland Heights stands  1,448 feet above the town.

Maryland Heights Hiking Stats

Difficulty:

  • Overlook Cliff Trail – Easy
  • Stone Fort Trail – Moderate to Strenuous

Distance:

  • Overlook Cliff Trail – 4.5 miles
  • Stone Fort Trail – 6.3 miles

How long does it take to hike Maryland Heights?

For the Overlook Cliff Trail, it’s about 1.5 hours out and back.  The Stone Fort Trail will take about 3 hours.

 

Parking and Fees

Where do you park to hike Maryland Heights trail?  

maryland heights

The parking spots at the trailhead are now blocked.  You will need to park in Harper’s Ferry and walk across the bridge to get to the trailhead for Maryland Heights.  

There are 3 National Park Service Parking lots that you can park at.  The closest one to the trailhead is the Marc Train Station Parking lot, which is the one we parked at.  

Lower Town Parking:  Train Station Parking Lot

81 total spaces 0 oversized spaces 39.32443649731925, -77.73121739894185

Parking lot off of Potomac Street in Lower Town. Parking is extremely limited and often fills up early. Park in designated spaces only.

Visitor Center Parking Lot

1000 total spaces 35 oversized spaces 39.3166667, -77.75638888888889

Parking for the Harpers Ferry NHP Visitor Center and the starting point for the shuttle bus service to Lower Town. Access at 171 Shoreline Drive, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425. 

Can accommodate several hundred vehicles. The NPS recommends that visitors who plan to explore museums and exhibits or are hiking a trail that begins in Lower Town utilize the main parking lot and shuttle bus. Park in designated spaces only. 

Lower Town Parking:  River Access Parking Lot

36 total spaces 0 oversized spaces 39.32169568063311, -77.74328353538087

Located at the junction of Highway 340 and Shenandoah Street. Intended for visitors using the river access located under the Highway 340 bridge. Parking is extremely limited. Park in designated spaces only.

There is an entrance fee to Harper’s Ferry and for parking.  The entrance fee includes parking, ranger programs, and access to park museums, exhibits, and trails. Park pass is valid for 3 consecutive days. Fees are payable at the Entrance Station near the park’s visitor center, Bolivar Heights, Harpers Ferry Train Station, and River Access Parking Lot. 

Credit cards are accepted only at the Entrance Station. 

Visitors may also pay online: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/2747 

Vehicle – $20,  Motorcycle – $15,  Per Person – $10

If you do not pay when you arrive a ranger will come by and leave an envelope on your car for payment.

What To Bring

What to wear and bring for this hike depends on the season.  We hiked this in late fall and it was cold in the morning.  So we dressed in layers and brought hot tea.

This hike is not super long or difficult so you don’t really need hiking shoes either, you can just wear sneakers as my husband did.  I did wear hiking shoes because I had bought a super affordable pair the year before – CHECK PRICES.

I would recommend warm socks and gloves though if it’s cold.

I wore my snowboarding socks which kept my toes nice and warm – CHECK PRICES.  And I had my running gloves that are touch screen – CHECK PRICES.

And while I don’t have a “real” hiking jacket, this puffer is the best because it folds into a tiny pouch and is super warm. I’ve worn in on every hike I’ve done in the fall!

If you want to have a warm drink at the top definitely get this water bottle, it keeps your drink either hot or cold!

How Hard is the Maryland Heights Hike?

We did the 4.5 miles Overlook Cliff Train and found it pretty easy.  There is a bit of elevation gain but nothing compared to the Old Rag hike or Overall Run Falls hike in Shenandoah.  

maryland heights hike

I highly recommend this hike if you want an easy hike with an epic view.  I would say this is similar in difficulty to the Annapolis Rock hike in Maryland.  

Maryland Heights Trail Map

Here is the Maryland Heights Trail map.  You can also pick one up at the Harper’s Ferry visitor center.

maryland heights trail map

Best Time to Hike Maryland Heights

The best time of year for hiking Maryland Heights is in the fall!  The weather is much cooler and you get to see all the pretty fall foliage in Maryland.  

maryland heights overlook

If you are doing this hike on a weekend I would suggest going super early in the morning (we started at 7:30 am).  It is one of the more popular hikes in the DC area and literally bus loads of people go hiking here!  On our way down from this hike at around 10 am the trail was crowded with people coming up!

Other Things to Do in Harper’s Ferry

Harper’s Ferry is a historic town part of the National Park Service park system.  With your $20 parking fee, you have access to the whole town and museums.  

things to do in harpers ferry

I highly recommend you take a look around Harper’s Ferry after your hike.  

After hiking Maryland Heights, we first stopped off for coffee and a bite to eat.  

Then we took the Appalacian Scenic trail and visited St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, the Ruins of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Jefferson Rock, and Harper Cemetary.  All very beautiful and scenic.

harpers ferry fall

After all that walking we drove over to the Virginia side and had a drink at Harper’s Ferry Brewing. 

harpers ferry activities

If you want some spectacular views with no work, then is brewery is for you.  Set right on a Shenandoah River, the brewery itself is basically an overlook!

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