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45 Bikes & Hikes: Maryland Heights

Harpers Ferry, W. VA
Civil War Sights
Maryland Heights

Distance: 3.7 miles round-trip

This hike is popular for a reason: It offers a breathtaking view of the town of Harpers Ferry, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Starting at the visitors’ center in Harpers Ferry, follow the bridge across the Potomac and turn left onto the C&O Canal towpath; it’s half a mile to the start of the hike. (There’s also limited parking near the trailhead on Harpers Ferry Road.) Follow the Combined Trail uphill to a naval battery built in 1862. Continue straight on the Overlook Cliff Trail for a quarter mile, then descend about a third of a mile to take in that view. Make it harder: You can extend the hike three very steep miles by taking the Stone Fort Trail, which turns left just beyond the naval battery. Legend has it that Abraham Lincoln turned back because this trail was too steep. For more, see