Maryland Metro Map
40 miles in Maryland (2,100 total). For most of its route in Maryland the Appalachian Trail runs along the ridge of South Mountain, with nice views from elevations under 2,000 feet.
The trail also passes through some rural countryside, and it connects with the C & O Canal Trail (see entry below). The two trails coincide for three miles.
Camping Regulations: There are several trail shelters and some other designated campsites along this stretch of the trail. Camping and campfires are restricted to these sites. No permits are necessary.
For Further Information: Appalachian Trail Conference, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425. This organization publishes the Appalachian Trail Guide to Maryland and Northern Virginia miles. While this is not really a wilderness trail, as it runs near towns and through developed areas, the C & O Canal Trail also traverses some attractive countryside and areas of relatively wild forest.
It’s located in the sliver-thin C & O Canal National Historical Park, and follows the old towpath alongside the C & O Canal from Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. The beautiful Potomac River is on one side.
Since the trail is nearly flat, it makes for very easy walking or backpacking. The trail is also open to bicyclists. Horses are permitted on most but not all sections.
Camping Regulations: Designated campsites are located every few miles along the trail, and camping is restricted to these sites. Campfires are allowed only in built fireplaces.
No fees are required, and permits are not necessary except for a single site, the one closest to Washington, DC. The campsites are not open to horseback riders.
For Further Information: C & O Canal National Historical Park, Box 4, Sharpsburg, MD 21782: (301)739-4200.
Maryland also has an important new trail, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, which could someday become the state’s finest backpacking trail. Although it was officially authorized by Congress in 1983, the trail hasn’t received adequate funding and is still mostly on the drawing board.
If and when completed, the Potomac Heritage Trail will eventually run 700 miles, utilizing the route of the C & O Canal Trail and continuing on into Pennsylvania. For current information about the trail’s status contact the National Park Service, 1100 Ohio Drive, S.W. Washington, DC 20242.
MARYLAND CAMPING RESOURCES
Appalachian Trail Guide to Maryland and Northern Virginia Harpers Ferry, WV: The Appalachian Trail Conference, 1989.
INFORMATION ABOUT STATE PARKS AND FOREST
Maryland Forest, Park, and Wildlife Service, Tawes State Office Building, C-2, Annapolis, MD 21401; (301)374-3771.
STATE HIGHWAY MAP AND TRAVEL INFORMATION
Maryland Office of Tourism Development, 217 East Redwood Street, Baltimore, MD 21202: (800)543-1036.