The Maryland section of the Appalachian trail is 41 miles and can be hiked in less than a week.
This guide will provide you with all you need to know before visiting the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail.
Maryland AT Route Overview
There are several historical points of interest in Maryland including the War Correspondents Monument, Washington Monument, and the Mason-Dixon Line.
Maryland is a flat state with ample campsite options and water sources. It would be a pleasant section for hikers who can only get out for a week or less.
Typical 5-Day Maryland AT Itinerary
The Appalachian Trail is 2,168 miles long and runs along the Appalachian Mountains in North America: from Georgia to Maine. Forty-one miles of the trail run across the state of Maryland, most of which follow the ridgeline of South Mountain.
Here's a typical itinerary for the Maryland AT section.
Getting to the Trail: This section of trail begins in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and ends near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. We recommend leaving your car in Waynesboro and taking a taxi to Harpers Ferry. It’s about an hour long drive.
Day 1: Harpers Ferry, WV to Ed Garvey Shelter (6.3 miles): Do your food resupply in Harpers Ferry before starting the hike today. Go for a swim in the Potomac River if you like.
Day 2: Ed Garvey Shelter to Rocky Run Shelter (9.1 miles): Stop by the War Correspondents Monument today. Later on enjoy the views at White Rock Cliff and Lambs Knoll.
Day 3: Rocky Run Shelter to Pogo Memorial Campsite (10.7 miles): Stop for a shower at Dahlgreen Backpack Campground if you like. If you need to resupply you can go into Boonsboro today.
Day 4: Pogo Memorial Campsite to Raven Rock Shelter (9.9 miles): Enjoy the views at Raven Rock Cliff close to the shelter.
Day 5: Raven Rock Shelter to the Maryland/ Pennsylvania border (4.9 miles): Finish up the Maryland section today. The Mason-Dixon Line also marks the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania. After reaching the border, you can backtrack 0.3 miles to Pen Mar County Park.
Maryland Appalachian Trail FAQ
Do I need a guide for the Maryland AT section?
The vast majority of hikers do not hire guides for the Appalachian Trail. You can find trekking agencies who will take you if you want a guide. However, the trail is easy to follow and there’s ample resources available. With proper planning and preparing, even new hikers can give it a try alone.
What accommodation options are there on the Maryland Appalachian trail?
Hikers can find hotels or hostels in Harpers Ferry, WV; on Wolfsville Road, MD; and in Waynesboro, VA.
When is the best time to hike the AT in Maryland?
Spring, summer, and autumn are all good times to hike in Maryland. Expect hot temperatures in the summer. It can also get cold in early spring and late autumn, so pack accordingly.
How difficult is the Appalachian trail in Maryland?
The Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail could be described as comparatively short and easy to other sections.
Do I need a permit for the AT in Maryland?
There are no permits required for the Maryland AT section.
How much does it cost to hike the Maryland Appalachian trail?
Since it’s such a short section, you can get by for cheap if you choose not to stay in hotels, hostels, or campgrounds with a fee. If you pack enough food for this section then you will not need to go into town to resupply, thus saving money. However, there are options for overnight accommodation and restaurants if you do choose to go into towns.
What's the biggest benefit of hiking the Maryland section of the AT?
It’s short. You don’t have to commit a lot of time to hiking this section. You could get it done in three days if you wanted to hike fast or a week if you wanted to take your time. Compared to other sections of the trail, it’s easy. There’s not much elevation change. Campsites and water sources are ample. The only challenge is Maryland’s lack of challenges. Hikers looking for a thrill may be disappointed by this section.
What guidebook do you recommend?
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association work together every year to create the most up-to-date guide on the Appalachian Trail. It is called Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion.
In 2019 they included 50 updated maps, professionally crafted elevation profiles, and comprehensive tables for more easy access to the information while trekking.
It works both for thru-hikers and those who only want to trek a section or two.
Browse more Appalachian hikes and guides
See our complete guide to the Appalachian trail, or visit our section guides.