The Maryland section of the Appalachian trail is 41 miles and can be hiked in less than a week. 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.
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.
How much of the Appalachian Trail is in Maryland?
The Appalachian Trail is 2,168 miles long and runs along the Appalachian Mountains in North America: from Georgia to Maine. Almost 40 miles of the trail run across the state of Maryland, most of which follow the ridgeline of South Mountain.
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.
In this video by Bob's Outdoor Life
you can watch his 3 days and 2 nights on the Appalachian Trail. Starting at Gathland State Park, heading North to the Ensign Cowall Shelter, and back to the car. Total of 42 miles.
Guides: 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.
Accommodation: Hikers can find hotels or hostels in Harpers Ferry, WV; on Wolfsville Road, MD; and in Waynesboro, VA.
Best Time: 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.
Difficulty: The Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail could be described as comparatively easy.
Permits: There are no permits required for Maryland.
Cost of Hiking AT in Maryland: 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.
Get your gear in the pack and go for a short hike with it prior to getting to Maryland. Ensure that you have it as light as possible, ideally under 10kg.
See our Appalachian trekking gear list here it should help you select only the must-have items!
If you plan to hike any of the Appalachian trails, make sure that you are adequately insured for up to 4,000m. We recommend World Nomads. Use the calculator below to get a quick quote.
The best way to learn how far the AT trek in Maryland USA is going to test your physical ability, is to go on a few day hikes in your own country.
This will also allow you to break in your hiking shoes and increase your fitness level.
For your exercise routine, we recommend building a combination of hiking, cycling, swimming or rowing to get your heart rate up three times a week.
Regardless of the fact that you will mostly hike on the flat, it is still a good idea to build your endurance rather than run at a high intensity. So if you are planning on jogging, running 5km about 2-3 times a week at a consistent pace should be the intensity that you are aiming for.
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.