Harpers Ferry Twin Peak Hike On The Hottest Day Of 2021 (Maryland Heights + Loudon Heights)

29th June 2021

15.7 miles / 3,200 ft ascent / ~6 hours

Looking out at the confluence of the Potomac (L) and Shenandoah (R) rivers early in the morning, as the sun was peaking out from behind Maryland Heights (mountain on the L). The mountain already in the sun is Loudon Heights.

There are three mountains that surround Harpers Ferry: Loudon Heights in WV/VA, Maryland Heights in MD, and Weverton Cliffs in MD. I’ve previously climbed each of these peaks separately but never linked them together into multi-peak hikes. On this occasion I linked up two peaks. In the future I’d like to try the full 3-peak challenge.

Remains of the old road bridge across the Shenandoah.

The most obvious link-up is combining Loudon Heights and Maryland Heights, being the two closer mountains. They’re also both more substantial hikes.

The day before Lexi completed this same circuit on a similarly hot day, so I knew what the conditions were like and how much water I’d need. I took 3 liters of water, which was just enough.

When I set out that morning, at 6.15 am, it was beautiful, in the 70’s F (about 21 C). By the time I got home at lunchtime it was around 93 F (almost 34 C), which made for tough hiking conditions.

On the top of Maryland Heights on the Stone Fort loop trail. Getting hot!

Thankfully you cross the Shenandoah river on the way home (by the 340 bridge) so I jumped in for a swim before home. Glorious!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on the top of the Stone Fort loop.
Views downstream of the Potomac River (towards DC) from the top of the Stone Fort loop.
The CSX trail passed by as I crossed the pedestrian bridge back into Harpers Ferry after completing the first peak.
I walked the Appalachian Trail through town, which passes by St Peter’s church in lower town.
A fawn on the trail up Loudon Heights.
Looking across to Maryland Heights from the Loudon Heights trail. Hard to believe I’d been on top of that mountain a couple of hours earlier.
Harpers Ferry from the lookout at Loudon Heights. Love this view! I chatted with a section hiker who had just completed Georgia to Harpers Ferry, to complete his hike of the entire AT. He had a couple of days in town before catching the Amtrak to Chicago.
At the lookout 🙂
Crossing the Shenandoah river on US 340. It was hot as hell by now because it was the middle of the day. There was only one thing for it…
Post-swim photo after a refreshing dip in the Shenandoah river. 20 ft out from the bank was a waist deep pool that was perfect for splashing around in. The river flows fast! From here it was a last 15 minutes to home. It was amazing how refreshed I felt after the dip in the river. I powered home.

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