Washington, DC: Maryland Heights Loop

Immerse yourself in history as you explore long-abandoned Civil War batteries on this 6.1-mile hike to a commanding view of Harpers Ferry.
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Immerse yourself in history as you explore long-abandoned Civil War batteries on this 6.1-mile hike to a commanding view of Harpers Ferry.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.1

Waypoints

MHL001

Location: 39.32421875, -77.7263031005859

From MD side of bridge, head NW along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal; painted turtles bask along flat, sunny towpath

MHL002

Location: 39.3287696838379, -77.7313232421875

Cross footbridge, then bear L onto green-blazed Combined Trail

MHL003

Location: 39.3322982788086, -77.7292175292969

Combined Trail jogs L. Look for ruins of Union naval battery among tulip poplars, sugar maples, and bitternut hickories

MHL004

Location: 39.3305702209473, -77.7273025512695

L @ Y onto wide, blue-blazed Stone Fort Trail. This trail picks up a Civil War military road built to haul massive naval guns

MHL005

Location: 39.339168548584, -77.718620300293

Site of old Union camp; look for low, droopy leaved pawpaw trees (in autumn, try their custard like fruit)

MHL006

Location: 39.3416557312012, -77.7170181274414

Maryland Heights high point (1,448 ft.), once the site of an impressive Union fort; a few stone and earthen berms remain

MHL007

Location: 39.3345527648926, -77.7189636230469

A 5-ton Dahlgren gun once lobbed a shot nearly 2 mi. from this point

MHL008

Location: 39.3301620483398, -77.7236251831055

Patchy view S through chestnut and black oak forest is all that remains of this battery, once bristling with sleek Parrott rifles

MHL009

Location: 39.3278999328613, -77.7249908447266

L @ T onto steep, red-blazed Overlook Cliff Trail

MHT010

Location: 39.3254013061523, -77.7254791259766

Cliffs offer inspiring view of Harpers Ferry. Look way up for peregrine falcons. Backtrack to WPT 9 and keep straight (NW) to WPT 4 then retrace steps back to trailhead