Appalachian Trail: Crampton Gap to Harpers Ferry, WV

PointToPoint • 10.2 mi • 0 ft

The 9.8-mile stretch of Appalachian Trail leading from Crampton Gap to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is one of the most popular and rewarding AT day hikes in this region, with good reason. It features a secluded forest ridgetop, an exhilarating vista pitching straight down into the Potomac River, and the historic Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath. Crossing the Potomac from Maryland into West Virginia, the hiker passes from the Northern states into the Southern, from the Union into the Confederacy, from one culture and climate into another. Hike the trail from north to south and the walking is fairly easy with minimal climbing. Natural history features: South Mountain; Weverton Cliffs; Potomac River. Social history features: George Alfred Townsend's Gathland Estate; Crampton Gap Civil War battlefield; Glenn R. Caveney plaque; C&O Canal; Goodloe Byron plaque and footbridge; Harpers Ferry.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Burkittsville
Length: 10.2 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Point-to-point
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 6 hours
Trailhead Elevation: 900 feet
Top Elevation: 1,100 feet
Local Contacts: Appalachian Mountain Club, 617-523-0636
Local Maps: PATC MD #6
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9/12/2015

Heavy rain the entire time, but an awesome hike. Did it southbound. Except for the switchbacks towards the end, its very level.

7/19/2009

Put in at Brownsville Gap last year, but liked the access from Gapland State park a lot better today. Plenty of parking at trailhead and at Weverton Road for a 7 mile hike. Lovely.

2/28/2009

We as a boy scout troop took the northbound trip. There was great view from the Weverton cliff looking back to Harpers Ferry to see the steeple of St. Peters, the Catholic Church. It is well worth it!

11/7/2008

Great hike! I'm a big fan of the AT, since I prefer trails that are well-marked. However starting from the parking lot, we had a terrible time finding the trail! My tip: Find the restrooms and walk up the road past them to find the trail. Didn't help that we got there at 10pm and it was quite dark. We did this as an out-and-back and only went as far as Weaverton Cliffs; we also made it an overnight and slept at the Ed Garvey shelter. Rather, we slept in our tent on the rocky ground NEAR the shelter (we got there around midnight & didn't want to bother the people already sleeping inside.) But it's a gorgeous shelter, with a great view. This guide isn't that great, and I recommend using the PATC map. However, the AT is really hard to get lost on.

11/18/2006

Started at the southern end (one half mile past bridge to Hapers Ferry) and went north. Picked a very busy day as the JFK 50 Miler was running basically the same trail in the opposite direction. Trail was very rocky and treacherous at times climbing up the switchbacks. The steepness was a challenge for beginning level hikers (up and down) but the view was very rewarding at the Weverton Cliffs. We only went as far as the old tree with 1892 and 1899 graffiti on it and turned around to head back. Our goal was to reach the highest point on the trail and return. The runners had cleared out by then and it was clear hiking all the way back down the mountain. Trail is well marked and easy to follow. Highly recommended trail for a challenging ascent/descent and beautiful view of the Potomac River .

12/1/2005

This part of the trail was very well maintained and marked. This part of the AT in MD is actually the most gentle of the trail to hike, and the views were great, especially breaking for lunch at the Weaverton overlook (A small detour on the Blue blazes, but worth the time). The end of the trial winds up in Harpers Ferry, and the scouts love the few ice cream shops at the end of the trip...

10/28/2005

Great day, trail was very nice weaverton cliffs are a must see!

7/11/2005

The trail is easy to walk and it has a beautiful view of the Potomac river at Weverton Cliffs. Due to time constraints we did not go all the way to Harpers Ferry but took the early jump off at Weverton Road. If you want a nice easy hike with a good view this trail is for you.

5/31/2005

This was a good section of trail. Moderate downhill with plenty of switchbacks and then on to the C&O Footpath - 3 mile of flat gravel path. It was the final leg of my first Hiking Trip. I completed the Maryland AT. There are excellent views from Weaverton's Cliff and Harper’s Ferry is delightful as well. It is well worth your time to visit all the shops and local outfitters. Be sure to stop by the Appalachian Trail Conference while you are there. The weather was great lows in the 50’s and Highs in the 70’s. Many through hikers were starting to pass this section and plenty of weekend and day hikers out for the holiday weekend. Enjoy your hike!

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