The 9.8-mile stretch of Appalachian Trail leading from Cramptons Gap to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is one of the most popular and... more » 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 and Ohio (C and 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.
This guide takes you along the Appalachain Trail from north to south so the hiking is fairly easy with minimal climbing. This is a point to point hike.
Natural History Features: South Mountain; Weverton Cliffs; Potomac River.
Social History Features: George Alfred Townsend's Gathland Estate; Crampton Gap Civil War Fattlefield; Glenn R. Caveney plaque; C and O Canal; Goodloe Byron plaque and footbridge; and of course, Harpers Ferry.
Gathland State Park was once the mountain home of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist. A large, stone monument dedicated to war correspondents is an outstanding attraction at this park is where you park to begin this fantastic hike. The Appalachian Trail section you will be hiking on this trip traverses the park and passes the monument base.
Maryland has 37.5 miles of the AT hiking trail. The park includes all of Crampton's, Crampton's Gap, which was the southern most gap fought over during the battle of South Mountain. Fought September 14,1862, it was the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Maryland. less «