Try out the new boots you received over the holidays and get started on a new year of hiking! Visit the American Hiking Society for cold weather tips and tricks: www.americanhiking.org/first-day-hikes/ Here's some advice from one of our Trail Hike Leaders: "Gloves and hat (ear covering) are a must, as is some sort of lip balm and warmer socks than [usually worn] for running. Cotton clothing is not your friend in the wintertime, wool and man-made thermals are better. Layers are a great idea, suggest bringing one more layer than you think you need (carry it in your pack). And a pad or something to sit on at lunchtime (the ground will be cold and maybe snowy/icy)."
Get outdoors and set foot on the Appalachian Trail, Catoctin Trail and more with the HCRP Trail Hike series! Make new friends and leave the driving to us; experienced leaders interpret points of interest along the way. Most hikes between 6-9 miles. Detailed information will be emailed to participants within a week of the Trail Hike date. Under 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult. Descriptions below - call Matt Medicus, 410-313-1769 for more information. Trail Hikes are led by dedicated HCRP volunteer Trail Hike Leaders Mary Boeckmann, John Breivogel, Henry Ellis, John Singleton and Sandy Stromer! See elevation and distance stats for a particular trip on John's www.trailhiker.org page. Interested in joining their esteemed ranks as a new Trail Hike leader? Visit www.hocovolunteer.org and search for "trail hike" to find out how.
Remaining Winter 2018 Trail Hike Schedule:
Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail Sec #1: Snowy Mountain Rd to Rte 16
RP9183.601 Mar 10 8am-6pm Sa
Maryland Appalachian Trail Sec #3: Wolfsville Rd to Rte 40
RP9180.603 Mar 24 8am-4pm Sa
Spring/Summer 2018 Trail Hike Schedule: Registration is open now!
Maryland Appalachian Trail Sec #1: High Rock to Rte 16
RP9180.701 Apr 14 8am-4pm Sa
Catoctin on the Rocks
RP9181.701 Apr 28 8am-6pm Sa
Maryland Appalachian Trail Sec #6: Gathland State Park to Weverton Cliffs
RP9180.702 May 12 8am-4pm Sa
Maryland Appalachian Trail Sec #7: Weverton to Harpers Ferry
RP9180.703 May 19 8am-4pm Sa
Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail Sec #4: Arendtsville Rd to Pine Grove
RP9183.801 Jun 9 8am-6pm Sa
Maryland Appalachian Trail Sec #2: High Rock to Wolfsville Rd
RP9180.801 Jun 23 8am-4pm Sa
Call 410-313-7275 to register or click the RP number above to sign up online!
Some Trail Hikes may fill quickly, but Wait List registration is always available (no charge until there is a spot for you!). Please understand that per Howard County Recreation & Parks refund policy, all refund requests are subject to a 20% processing fee; 50% if the request is within a week of the scheduled hike date. While we encourage you to sign up early, the program does have to cover its own costs and last minute requests for refunds and transfers take up valuable time and resources in fees, etc that can have a significant impact!
Complete all seven sections of the AT in Maryland within a three-year period to earn a certificate and patch! Earn a 100-mile patch and certificate for hiking additional miles on the Appalachian Trail in PA and VA during a five-year period!
(sections 1-7 = 46.5 miles)
Section #1, High Rock to Rte. 16 Begin at the panoramic view at High Rock. Cross the Mason-Dixon line and hike through a hemlock forest to finish at a fresh-water spring. Moderately difficult terrain: 6 miles.
Section #2, High Rock to Wolfsville Road See the outcroppings at Buzzards Knob, scramble over Devils Racecourse rock formations, eat lunch at Little Antietam Creek, and pass a spruce forest. Moderate terrain with one extended climb and hills: 6.2 miles.
Section #3, Wolfsville Road to Rte. 40 See the remains of the Black Rock Hotel, a 1900's gambling house. Have lunch at Black Rock, and then hike to the panoramic view and fresh-water springs at Annapolis Rocks. Moderately difficult terrain: 8.4 miles.
Section #4, Rte. 40 to Reno Monument Cross the backpacker's bridge over I-70 and hike through the rolling forest to the milk-bottle-shaped George Washington National Monument. End at South Mountain, Civil War battle site. Moderate terrain: 6.5 miles.
Section #5, Gathland State Park to Reno Monument Explore the state park's 50 ft-high arch monument built as a tribute to Civil War newspaper correspondents. Hike along the wooded mountain ridge, eat lunch at scenic White's Rock Overlook, pass Crampton Gap shelter and end at a granite monument dedicated to a General who perished during the Battle at South Mountain. Moderately difficult terrain: 6.5 miles.
Section #6, Gathland State Park to Weverton Cliffs Start at a unique monument dedicated to Civil War correspondents and site of several Union and Confederate battles. Hike through picturesque forests, catch a glimpse of the panoramic view at Pleasant Valley overlook and enjoy lunch a cliffs overlooking the Potomac River and the three states. Moderate terrain: 7 miles.
Section #7, Weverton to Harpers Ferry Hike along the C&O Canal next to the Potomac's rapids, stop for lunch at Maryland Heights overlooking the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, and visit the site of John Brown's raid in historic Harpers Ferry. Flat terrain: 5.5 miles.
Earn a 100-mile patch and certificate for hiking additional miles on the Appalachian Trail in PA and VA during a five-year period!
(sections 1-5 = 44.4 miles)
Section #1, Snowy Mountain Road to PA SR 16 Start at the intersection of Appalachian Trail and Snowy Mountain Road. Hike south for 9.5 miles to State Road 16. Eat a relaxing lunch at the Old Forge Picnic Area. There are two climbs and two descents. Moderate terrain: 9.5 miles.
Section #2, Snowy Mountain Road to Caledonia State Park Start at the intersection of Appalachian Trail and Snowy Mountain Road. Hike north for 6.3 miles to end at Caledonia State Park. Lunch at the Rocky Mountain Shelter. The hike is generally downhill. Moderate: 6.3 miles.
Section #3, Arendtsville Road to Caledonia State Park Start at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and Arendtsville Road. Hike south for 9.8 miles to end at Caledonia State Park. Lunch along the trail near the Milesburn Cabin. The hike is generally downhill with a steep descent and climb at Milesburn Hollow. Moderate: 9.8 miles.
Section #4, Arendtsville Road to Pine Grove Furnace State Park Start at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and Arendtsville Road. hike north for 7.7 miles to end at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Lunch at Toms Run Shelter. Pass by the ruins of Camp Michaux, where German prisoners were held during World War II. The hike is generally downhill. Moderate: 7.7 miles.
Section #5, PA SR 34 to Pine Grove Furnace State Park Start at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and PA SR 34. Hike south for 8.1 miles to end at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Lunch at the top of Piney Mountain. The hike consists of the ascent up Piney Mountain and the descent into Pine Grove Furnace. Moderate: 8.1 miles.
(sections 1-7 = 52.5 miles)
Section #1, Shannondale Road to Harpers Ferry Start at Shannondale Road and hike north to Harpers Ferry for a distance of 10.2 miles. Hike is generally downhill except for a climb at Loudoun Heights. Lunch at an overlook on Loudoun Heights. Several views of mountains and valleys. Moderate: 10.2 miles.
Section #2, Shannondale Road to Snickers Gap Start at Shannondale Road and hike south to Snickers Gap on VA 9 for a distance of 8.4 miles. Hike is generally downhill except for a climb at Devils Racecourse. Lunch at an overlook. Several views of mountains and valleys. Moderate: 8.4 miles.
Section #3, Ashby Hollow to Snickers Gap
Start near Ashby Hollow and hike north to Snickers Gap on VA 9 for a distance of 6.8 miles. Climb four hills and cross four streams. Lunch at Sam Moore Appalachian Trail Shelter. Several views of mountains and valleys. Moderately difficult: 6.8 miles.
Section #4, Ashby Hollow to Ashby Gap Start near Ashby Hollow and hike south to Ashby Gap on US 50 for a distance of 7.8 miles. Climb four hills and cross five streams. Lunch at Rod Hollow Appalachian Trail Shelter. Several views of mountains and valleys. Moderate: 7.8 miles.
Section #5, G. Richard Thompson Area to Ashby Gap Start at Lot #7 in the G. Richard Thompson Area and hike north to Ashby Gap on US 50 for a distance of 6.8 miles. Hike is generally downhill. Climb one hill and cross several streams. Lunch at Sky Meadows State Park. Moderate terrain: 6.8 miles.
Section #6, G. Richard Thompson Area to Manassas Gap Start at Lot #7 in the G. Richard Thompson Area and hike south to Manassas Gap on VA 55 for a distance of 5.5 miles. Hike is generally downhill. Cross several streams. Lunch at Manassas Gap Appalachian Trail Shelter. Moderate terrain: 5.5 miles.
Section #7, Manassas Gap to Chester Gap Start at Manassas Gap on VA 55 and hike south to Chester Gap on US 522 towards near Front Royal, VA. Climb two hills and cross several streams. Moderate terrain: 7 miles.
The 27-mile Catoctin Trail runs from Gambrill State Park through Frederick City Watershed and ends in Catoctin Mountain Park. Nine miles of the trail crisscrosses through Cunningham Falls State Park. Earn a certificate and patch by hiking each of the four sections in the series at least once within a three-year period.
CAT #1, Gambrills State Park to Mountaindale Road
Pass an old springhouse, view panoramas of Frederick County and cross winding streams. Moderately difficult terrain: 8 miles.
CAT #2, Mountaindale Road to Hunting Creek
Look for signs of deer and wild turkey along this wooded trail that crosses Steep Creek. Survey the scenery at White Rocks. Moderately difficult terrain: 7 miles.
CAT #3, Hunting Creek to Houck Area
Pass the Manor picnic area and hardwood forest and enjoy the scenic view from Bob's Hill Overlook. Steep terrain: 6 miles.
CAT #4, Houck Area to Mount Zion Road
Follow the Cunningham Falls State Park trail into the wooded National Park horse trails. Pass hemlock groves, fresh springs and creeks. Enjoy a spectacular lunch-break at the top of the falls. Moderately difficult terrain: 7 miles.
Billy Goat Trail
Hike along the Potomac River and through Mather Gorge. Scramble over rocks and enjoy the scenery of Great Falls. Visit the Great Falls Visitor Center. Difficult terrain; 4 miles.
Catoctin on the Rocks
Visit Catoctin National Park and enjoy the exciting overlooks of Cat Rock, Chimney Rock, Wolf Rock, Thurmont Overlook and Hog Rock. Visit the park nature center and stop in Thurmont for ice cream. Difficult terrain; several steep hills; 7 miles.
Dark Hollows Trail
This scenic figure-eight circuit begins in Caledonia State Park, passes rhododendrons, cathedral pines, and hemlocks, and joins the Appalachian Trail to follow the rocky gorge of Dark Hollow. Moderately difficult terrain; 8 miles.
Great Falls Circuit
Discover the best views of the falls, look for kayakers and rock climbers at Mathers Gorge, hike along the Difficult Run Creek Trail and the Potomac River, and visit the River Bend Nature Center. Moderate terrain; 7 miles.
Gunpowder Falls Circuit
Follow this forested trail as you hike along rocky gorges and scenic stream valleys. Enjoy lunch at Prettyboy Reservoir. Strenuous terrain; 6.5 miles.
Rocky Run Grist Mill Trail
Discover agricultural history as you hike by a manor, miller’s carriage and toll houses. Pass a pumping station, canal and mill race. After lunch, see corn ground into flour using a water-powered grist mill. Moderate terrain; 5.5 miles.
Hike to the top of the rocky vistas in Frederick County, cross small creeks, see remnants of the American Chestnut Tree and view the Catoctin Mountain range at White’s Rock overlook. Moderate terrain; 5 miles.
The trail passes through the remains of Camp Michaux, which was used as a prisoner-of-war camp for German officers during World War II. The highlight of the hike is a moderately difficult scramble of almost a half of a mile along a boulder outcrop with beautiful panoramic views. Moderate terrain; 7.8 miles.
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