Close to D.C., passing by ruins of Civil War trenches and forts, and featuring an iconic view of Harpers Ferry, the Maryland Heights Loop is a popular excursion for weekend day-hikers. For trail runners, this 5 mile loop offers a significant, yet runnable, climb and is ideal for multiple repeats. Just arrive early on the weekends, as the parking lot fills fast.
From the parking area on Sandyhook Road 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 on 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 left towards the overlook and in 150 yards turn right down the red-blazed Overlook Trail. The main overlook for Harpers Ferry is in 0.3 miles.
After taking in the spectacular view, return to the Combined Trail, then follow it past the intersections with the Stone Fort Trail as it descends back down to Sandyhook Road.
Last updated June 16, 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shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date.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.