Trail Report - Loudon Heights - Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

June 21, 2015

Written by Paul van Valkenburgh

Loudon Heights is the sister hike to Maryland Heights in the Harpers Ferry, WV area. The out and back hike is a little longer than Maryland Heights and less frequented, but still has amazing views. The final overlook has steep drop offs to the Potomac River and gorgeous views towards Harpers Ferry as well as down the Potomac River towards Washington DC.


Park in the small parking area just across the Shenandoah River Bridge on the West Virginia side. (There is a parking fee to use this lot.) Then begin the hike by walking back across the bridge on the sidewalk. Once across the bridge, take the steps to the left that send you down and under the bridge. Then you're off!


The trail across the bridge and for the first section of the hike is the white-blazed Appalachian trail as it makes its way into Virginia. Once under the bridge, there are a some nice rocky step areas that lead you up the hill. After the rocky areas, the twists and turns through a jungle-like area that also crosses a creek. The trail will cross Chestnut Hill Rd.


Once across the road, the trail continues along the Appalachian Trail and continues to climb, but the terrain is more open. After about 1/2 mile past the road, take a left off of the Appalachian Trail onto the orange-blazed trail. (The Appalachian Trail branches off to the right). As you continue further, a few partial overlooks appear. I have heard from friends that there are ways to some of the other rock overlooks along this side of the mountain but I couldn't seem to find the trail. One nice overlook from the trail is where powerlines open up and are strung across to Maryland Heights.


From the Loudon Heights trail, a view of a very neat look at Maryland Heights.  To the left side of the mountain is the Maryland Heights overlook, and on top is where the Stone Fort sits.  Can somebody say Zip Line!!


After an open area where the trail is along the powerline, there is another uphill to an intersection. Take a left at the next intersection onto the blue-blazed trail. Continue for another mile until the trail ends at the rocks overlooking the river. The views are gorgeous.... looking to the left is Harpers Ferry with the confluence of the Potomac (R) and Shenandoah (L) Rivers. Looking to the right is down the Potomac towards Washington D.C. Looking straight across is to the Maryland Heights mountain and looking straight down is the Potomac!!


Chatted with a nice turtle along the trail


Let's put this big rock slab on top of this other big rock slab... for NO GOOD REASON!!


Looking left from the Loudon Heights overlook towards Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers


Looking right from the Loudon Heights overlook down the Potomac River towards DC.  Route 340 Potomac River bridge is shown.


Looking straight down to the Potomac River from the Loudon Heights overlook


Steep edge at the right hand side of the overlook ... don't look down!


The Potomac River and the Loudon Heights overlook


Sheri and Bailey relaxing at the Loudon Heights overlook


Paul and Bailey relaxing at the Loudon Heights overlook


Bailey enjoys the overlook with Harpers Ferry in the background


good thing Sheri is there to hold up that rock slab!


A poor man's panorama of the Loudon Heights overlook view


The Loudon Heights trail has lots of neat forest to walk through


Looking down river from the bridge over the Shenandoah at the beginning (and end) of the hike


Neat panorama of the Shenandoah from near the end of the bridge


Hope this has been enjoyable and / or helpful to anyone reading it!!


Additional information about this hike can be found here:

http://www.hikingupward.com/OWVH/HarpersFerryLoudounHeights/

http://www.nps.gov/hafe/planyourvisit/upload/LoudounHts2011.pdf

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