Keyes Gap to Stone Fort Out-and-Back

This out-and-back run on the Appalachian Trail (AT) starts at Keyes Gap (Route 9) at the Virginia/West Virginia border and runs through Harpers Ferry into Maryland and completing a Stone Fort loop before returning to Keyes Gap. Run through three states in one run on this notoriously rocky section of the AT.

  • 18.6 miles
Running time
  • 3–5.5 hours
Total ascent/descent
  • 3,200 feet
    175 feet/mile

Park at the Keyes Gap parking area off of Route 9 at the VA/WV border. Proceed north on the AT to Harpers Ferry. Turn left when the AT meets the Loudoun Heights trail. Go down the hill and onto the Rtoute 340 bridge. After the bridgem turn left to stay on the AT (do not go on Shenandoah Street). Follow the trail AT Jefferson Rock and all the way down the stairs into town. If you need an aid station, turn right on Shenandoah Street and use the public rest rooms. If not, turn left on Shenandoah Street, go past John Brown Fort and across the train/pedestrian bridge into Maryland.

Turn Left onto the C&O Towpath to the foot bridge to the Maryland Heights Trail. Start up the green-blazed Combined Trail, passing an 1862 naval battery in 0.7 miles. At the next intersection (with informational sign), turn left onto the blue-blazed Stone Fort Trail, beginning a steep ascent towards the ridge.

Near the ridge crest, pass through a series of breastworks comprising the exterior and interior forts. From here the Stone Fort Trail turns to the south and passes through the stone fort, with views of the Potomac River to the east. The Stone Fort Trail descends for 1.1 miles to the Combined Trail. Turn right onto the Combined Trail back down to Sandyhook Road. Head back the way you came, down the C&O Canal and across into Harpers Ferry. For a small shortcut, you can stay on the path along Shenandoah Street back to the Road 340 bridge. Fromt here, return on the AT back to Keyes Gap.

Stores are available for food and water in Harpers Ferry. Thanks to Michael Bottos for submitting this run!

Last updated November 2, 2020

What you do is up to you, but you shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date. Review a map beforehand and carry it with you. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. Do not count on having cell phone service while on the run. The VHTRC is not responsible for your welfare on any of these runs. If you go on one of these runs and get lost, run out of water, get injured, mauled by a bear, or die, or if anything else goes wrong, it's your fault; not ours. You assume all risks here and the VHTRC assumes none at all. Legal issues aside, some of these runs are more remote than others and the VHTRC is not suggesting that you do any of these runs, unless you are prepared to accept full responsibility for yourself.