“The South Mountain portion of the Appalachian Trail - right near Harpers Ferry!”
— Keith Rickett
A great trail to run on and to see the valleys below from. The best light on the trail is at dawn and dusk if you really want to enjoy the scenery. You'll experience great views of the Potomac River throughout this trail.
Features: Fall Colors — Views
Need to Know
Rocks can be hidden under foliage, so be careful. There are no water sources along this trail, come prepared.
Rocks are dangerous on this trail. Rocks are mostly hidden during the fall, so be very careful.
This section of the Appalachian Trail
starts on alternating easy, groomed singletrack and paved fire road from the parking lot to the top of the mountain. From the top of Lambs Knoll, the trail becomes singletrack with lots of rocks and some roots, so pay attention.
In general, the trail is easy to follow from end to end. Just keep trucking south and enjoy it. You need at least 2 vehicles to leave at each end, or you're looking at a long out-and-back excursion.
History & Background
War Correspondents Arch:
The War Correspondents Arch is a National historic monument. Constructed in 1896, the monument stands fifty feet high and forty feet broad. The monument is administered and maintained by the National Park Service.
South Mountain State Battlefield:
Gathland State Park is located in Crampton's Gap, which witnessed a portion of the Battle of South Mountain, the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Maryland.