Maryland Heights & Harper’s Ferry Brewing

Maryland Heights has been on my hiking bucket list ever since I moved to Maryland. Which is ironic since the hike technically starts in Harper’s Ferry, WV! This is one of those amazing hikes where the view at the top makes it all worth it. I love to be rewarded for a really tough climb by an incredible view! Okay so let’s get into the quick details: 

Incredible view of Harpers Ferry

THE HIKE: Maryland Heights 

Length: 4.6 miles Out and Back (option to add on a loop to the summit for a total of 6.6 miles) 
Elevation Gain: 1115ft 
Time: 2 hours 
Trail use: Hiking, leashed pets allowed
Parking: Park at Harpers Ferry Visitor Center, $20 for 3-day pass ($80 for the annual NPS Pass)
H&H: 2/5

Okay so this hike is an UNDERTAKING which is why it probably took me so long to finally do it! The only way to access the trail is from Harpers Ferry National Park. There used to be a parking lot at the trail head but that has since been closed. So unless you are already hiking the AT (go you!) or biking along the C&O Canal (also go you!) there’s no nearby parking except for the National Park. So that means that this hike is a little more costly than others. The entry fee per vehicle is $20 and that gets you a three day pass. This is great for anyone planning an overnight hiking trip. You can also get an annual Harpers Ferry pass for $35 or the American the Beautiful Pass for all National Parks for $80. Totally worth it if you’re planning on visiting more than one Park in a year. And if this seems steep to you, just remember that your money is going to maintain these beautiful parks for years to come! 

So you park at the Visitor’s Center and then you can either take the free shuttle down the town (it comes every 15 mins) or you can follow the trails down. Just keep in mind that walking will add about 2 miles on either end of your hike! J and I did this hike after our very first time camping so needless to say, we were pretty tired already, so opted to take the shuttle down. It’s quick and plops you right out where you need to be. From there, just cross over the bridge and follow the C&O towpath to the trailhead! This is an extremely popular trail, so be prepared to share the trail with lots of people, including large groups of people. The trail incline is nothing to sneeze at, so make sure that you’re prepare to walk ~2 miles directly uphill. Just remember, it’s not a race and you can always let people pass if they’re going too fast for you! 

Personally, I found the uphill trek to be a good challenge but the sheer number of people on the trail made it less ideal. Plus I found the trail itself to be, dare I say, kinda boring? But that’s all fine because That. View. Guys, the overlook was everything I wanted it to be. Such a glorious view out over the town. Buuuuuut again, other people ruined it for me. I was pretty upset at the amount of people littering and smoking at the overview. Plus it was so crowded that it was hard to find a spot to even take in the view. I would highly suggest trying this hike during the week or earlier in the day. Overall, I’m glad I finally did the hike, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I much preferred Weverton Cliffs which I’ll go over in my next post! 

After finishing this hike, we relaxed and took in the views at quite possibly the most beautiful brewery I’ve ever been to: 

THE BEER: Harpers Ferry Brewing

Address: 37412 Adventure Center Ln, Purcellville, VA 20132
Distance from Trail Head: 3.1 miles, ~5 mins 
Food?: Full Kitchen, no outside food
H&H Rating: 4/5

By the time you get to the brewery you’ve been in three states today! Crazy right? Harpers Ferry Brewing is located right next to Harpers Ferry Adventure Park so there’s plenty of parking for everyone. I was pretty surprised at how huge this place was. There was plenty of seating in front and inside. But the real draw was the back yard full of adirondack chairs facing an incredible overlook of the Potomac River. After a long weekend of hiking and camping, this really was heaven. 

The beer was pretty good but we decided to stick with one since it was a bit pricey ($8 for a draft). I had the NEIPA which was good, and I’m usually quite picky with my ratings. J opted for the IPA which was quite hoppy. There weren’t many other options, but we were pleased with our choices. And honestly, I could have been drinking anything with that view. This was a much needed relaxing afternoon for us. I hope you get to check it out too! 

The Beers: 

Potomac Pale Ale – American Pale Ale – 5.7%
The Needles – American IPA – 7.0%

SUM UP: Maryland Heights is a very popular hike out of Harper’s Ferry that is an out-and-back moderately challenging hike. There is a park entry fee and a free shuttle close to the trailhead. Only 3 miles away is Harper’s Ferry Brewing, with incredible views, a full kitchen, and tasty but pricey beer. 

H&H overall rating: 3/5

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