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Leading from Crampton Gap to Harpers Ferry WV, the 9.8 mile section of Appalachian Trail is one of the most rewarding and popular Appalachian Trail day hikes in this area! It offers the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, an exhilarating vista pitching straight down into the Potomac River, and a secluded forest ridgetop.
The hiker passes from the Northern states into the Southern, crossing the Potomac from Maryland into West Virginia.
Appalachian Trail, Harpers Ferry WV
From north to south with minimal climbing, this guide takes you along the Appalachian Trail so the hiking is fairly easy. This hike is point to point.
Gathland State Park
Gathland State Park was once the mountain home of a Civil War journalist, George Alfred Townsend. Where you park to begin this fantastic hike is at a large, stone monument dedicated to war correspondents and is an outstanding attraction at this park. On this trip, the Appalachian Trail section you will be hiking, passes the monument base and traverses the park.
Stone Monument Dedicated to War Correspondents
37.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail is in Maryland. The southernmost gap fought over during the battle of South Mountain, the park includes all of Crampton's Gap. It was the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Maryland, fought September 14, 1862.
Since the trail is rocky in some places, wear good sturdy hiking shoes.
Hiking this trail in the winter allows for clearer views from the vistas, while this hike is fantastic all year round. The views from the vistas will be partially obstructed while there are still leaves on the trees, but the views along the trail in the fall with the trees in their full glory is nothing short of magnificent and each season has its own reward.
History buffs will especially enjoy this hike, there are many well marked historical structures and ruins along the trail.
As it is rather long, be sure to bring plenty of liquids on this hike. I once did not bring enough to drink on a mountain hike in northern Virginia. It was not a good situation! Remember, stay on the trail and have fun!
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