Winter Hiking Season 2020/21

The winter of 2020/21 will go down as an outstanding winter hiking season!

Two things contributed to that: firstly, we live along the Appalachian Trail so have an abundance of great mountain hikes on our doorstep, and second, we had a decent amount of snowfall this winter.

I’m writing this in mid-March so my memory is a bit hazy now (pandemic days all blend into one) but I recall at least 3, perhaps 4 or even 5, snowstorms that each dropped 2 – 6 inches of snow.

Here are highlights of the best snowy walks:

16 December 2020: Snowy walk up Loudon Heights

10.5 miles / 1,828 ft height gain / 3 hrs 32 minutes

Loudon Heights lookout in the snow

More shots on Instagram here, here and here.

23 December 2020: Harpers Ferry to David Lesser Memorial Shelter along AT

19 miles / 2,848 ft height gain / 7 hours 4 minutes

David Lesser Memorial Shelter

A long hike along the Appalachian trail with Lexi. Fantastic day out. Read the full write up here.

More photos on Instagram here.

22 January 2021: Beautiful scenery on the Stone Fort Loop

8.7 miles / 1,592 ft height gain / 2 hrs 37 minutes

Wow!

Absolutely stunning early morning light on top of Maryland Heights on this loop.

More photos on Instagram here.

31 January 2021: Snowy Stone Fort Loop

10.5 miles / 1,683 ft height gain / 3 hrs 16 minutes

Top of Maryland Heights in the snow

Lovely, long walk in the snow around the Stone Fort Loop. There was already one set of footprints on the trail, which was helpful along the top of the ridge where everything was white.

More photos on Instagram here.

7 February 2021: Walk in a winter wonderland around Virginius Island, Armory Trail and Nash Farm loop

7.7 miles / 856 ft height gain / 2 hrs 34 minutes

Winter wonderland!

Beautiful winter walk around Harpers Ferry!

More photos on Instagram here.

14 February 2021: Loudon Heights to overlook

7.7 miles / 1,693 ft height gain / 2 hrs 39 minutes

Loudon Heights lookout in the snow

Great winter hike up Loudon Heights. It was the most “mountainous” it’s felt, with big views, lots of hoar frost, icy conditions and lots of solitude. Reminded me of climbs in Scotland and the Alps.

More photos on Instagram here.

19 February 2021: Armory trail loop

4.7 miles / 511 ft height gain / 1 hr 41 minutes

No footprints here. Breaking trail through fresh snow.

This hike was memorable because I got to break trail through fresh snow for the whole Nash Farm section.

More photos on Instagram here.

22 February 2021: Winter hike around Stone Fort Loop plus all the extras

12.7 miles / 2,299 ft height gain / 4 hrs 25 minutes

Maryland Heights lookout

The one and only hike where I needed the Yaktrax traction spikes on my boots. I wore them for the whole ascent and descent of the Stone Fort loop, where compacted snow was slippy.

This was an outstanding hike. I was enjoying being out alone on the mountain so much that I explored some of the side trails I’ve never been down before.

More photos on Instagram here. Videos here and here from the top of the ridge.

1 March 2021: Walk along the AT to the power lines break

9.5 miles / 1,706 ft height gain / 3 hrs 8 minutes

On the Appalachian Trail part way up Loudon Heights

The snow was mostly gone, only lying thinly on the northern slopes above Chestnut Hill road but below the ridgeline.

The upper slopes of the mountain were misty and atmospheric, making for a memorable walk.

More photos on Instagram here. And a video of the conditions here.


So there you have it, nine outstanding and memorable winter hikes, mostly up the mountains surrounding Harpers Ferry.

Between these hikes were many other shorter loops around town and sledding trips with the kids.

I love winter! More of the same next year please. Time to get back into winter camping too, methinks…

1 thought on “Winter Hiking Season 2020/21

  1. Pingback: Harpers Ferry Three Peaks Hike | Ben Collins Outdoors

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