Annapolis Rock & Cushwa Brewing Company

Williamsport, MD

Okay so this one is a throwback hike but I couldn’t not share it! According to the Alltrails app this is the #1 hike in Maryland. Like seriously, the #1 in the whole state! J and started doing a ton more hiking last year (thank ‘Rona) so we set ourselves a challenge to do 20 hikes in 2020. Since getting outside was pretty much the only thing we could do, we ended up hitting our goal pretty quickly. We wanted our 20th hike to be a big one so we tackled a section of the Appalachian Trail leading to Annapolis Rock and Black Rock. It was amazing and so worth it and you should all hike it. Plus it was a great excuse to hit up a brewery I had heard tons of good things about. 

All Trails Map

I had heard A LOT about getting to this hike early so we got there around 8am. J and I are not morning people so this was quite a struggle for us. Thankfully we managed to get ourselves up and moving. By the time we finished up our hike, the lot was absolutely PACKED so we’re not kidding about getting there early!

THE HIKE: Annapolis & Black Rock via Appalachian Trail
Length: ~7.4 miles
Elevation Gain: ~900ft
Difficulty: Moderate (Some rocks and mostly uphill the first mile)
Time: 3-3.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, running, leashed pets allowed
Parking: Limited parking, get there early!
H&H: 5/5

At the time, this was the longest hike we had ever tackled, but despite some inclines and rocky terrain, neither of us felt like this trail was particularly difficult. It was the perfect mix of challenge and payoff at the overlooks. The first overlook you’ll come to is Annapolis Rock. This is actually about 0.25 miles off of the Appalachian Trail so keep your eyes open for the signpost! The view is really incredible but we found that the popularity of the trail meant that the overlook was crowded. We didn’t stay too long and decided to head onto the next overlook. Black Rock really was a delight. It has all the views of Annapolis Rock with far fewer people. In fact, we were the only ones at the overlook when we arrived! We spent a lot of time taking pictures, clambering over rocks, and just taking in the incredible views. 

Annapolis Rock Overlook

The great thing about this hike is being right on the Appalachian Trail. If you need a bit more, keep on going! Or if you’re feeling done after one overlook, that’s cool too. This hike took us close to 3.5 hours, so make sure to bring plenty of water and maybe some snacks too. We did this hike in the dead of summer but it’s completely shaded the whole time so that helps to keep down the heat. Also watch out for ground hornets! I got a nasty sting through my pants on our way back down. A less than gentle reminder that I need to pack a small first aid kit. Overall, this was a fantastic hike to celebrate our 20th outing and I will absolutely do it again! I’d love to start at a different point along the AT and end at Black Rock again. I’m hoping to hike all of the AT in Maryland. I’ve got a ways to go!

THE BEER: Cushwa Brewing Company
Address: 10210 Governor Lane Boulevard #2010, Williamsport, MD 21795
Distance from Trail Head: 14.2 miles, ~20 mins
Food?: Full Menu – Rad Pies (in house restaurant)
H&H Rating: 4/5

I had been hearing good things about Cushwa Brewing Company since moving to Maryland, but they always seemed pretty far away. Thankfully, this hike proved the perfect opportunity to bring us to the area! The drive from the trailhead to brewery is a little longer than my past combos, but it’s a very easy route and Cushwa is definitely worth it! They have indoor and outside seating and offer up a surprisingly large tap list. They have offerings for every palate but seem to focus in on the Pale Ale/ IPAs. Which was perfect for me! They also offer local wine, cocktails, and beer slushies in the summer. 

Probably the best thing about Cushwa (especially after nearly an 8-mile hike) was the in-house pizzeria, Rad Pies. And let me tell you, they were fricking RAD. Seriously, every hike J and I pack sandwiches or veggies and hummus in hopes that we don’t order food at the brewery. Ya know, health and all. But honestly when a brewery is slinging some Rad Pies, what were we supposed to do?! 

We’ve been back to Cushwa twice now and it’s been really solid both times. There’s also a brand new brewery in the same plaza called Homaide that we absolutely need to check out next time. Maybe when we’re back to do another section of the AT. 

Our Beer: 

  • Fraction of Fiction – NEIPA – 6.6%
  • Cush, Jr. – Table Beer – 4.2% 
  • Me, Myself & Citra – NEIPA – 6% 
  • Tenuous Pawn – Brown Ale – 6.6% 
  • French Fog – Saison – 6.4%

SUM UP: Annapolis and Black Black via AT is a 7.5 mile, out-and-back trail that is moderate in difficulty. It is very popular so parking can be limited. The two overlooks are breathtaking and make any difficult inclines worth it. About 15 miles away is Cushwa Brewing Company which has a delicious in-house pizzeria and offers up a solid beer selection. Perfect after a morning out on the trail!

H&H Overall Rating: 4/5

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