Ranger Supervisor Tammy McCorkle shares her experiences, and those of other day hikers and thru-hikers, of what it’s like to hike the Appalachian Trail in the Fall 2002 edition of The Natural Resource Magazine.
Forty miles of the Appalachian Trail run through Maryland. From Harpers Ferry, the trail follows the Potomac River on three miles of the C&O Canal towpath, then climbs South Mountain at Weverton Cliff. From there the AT follows the ridgeline of South Mountain all the way to Pennsylvania, mostly through state and federal lands. Here, as elsewhere along the trail, overnight shelters for backpackers are located about one day’s walk apart. Some of these are historic, built by the CCC in the early 1940s. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has also built two new shelters during the last few years, naming one after Ed Garvey.
The Maryland portion of the AT passes through significant historic sites comprising South Mountain Recreation Area, including: Gathland State Park, home of the War Correspondents Arch; South Mountain State Battlefield, site of the Civil War battle that took place in Crampton’s Gap, Fox’s Gap and Turner’s Gap; Washington Monument State Park, location of the first monument to George Washington; and Greenbrier State Park, which boasts a 44-acre lake. Hardy hikers find breathtaking scenic vistas at Weverton Cliff, White Rock, Washington Monument, Annapolis Rock, Black Rock and High Rock worth the climb.