Harpers Ferry Three Peaks Hike With Pete

13 December 2021

24.3 miles / 4,304 ft ascent / 11 hrs 36 minutes

There are three peaks that surround Harpers Ferry: Maryland Heights, Loudoun Heights, and Weverton Cliffs. Each is a solid 8 – 10 mile return hike from home. Walking all three in a single outing makes for a big day out.

I first walked this route in October (trip report here) but since Pete was now here, it was the natural challenge to try together too.

Pete came with me to drop the boys off at school that morning, so we didn’t get away until a little after 9.30am, which meant we would definitely be finishing in the dark given how long the walk is.

Peak 1: Weverton Cliffs

We chose to do Weverton Cliffs first, which is 3 miles along the canal towpath before you climb the mountain. Good section to chat together and catch up on 2 years’ of news.

At the junction where the AT turns away from the C&O canal
Pete near the top of Weverton Cliffs
View from the top of Weverton Cliffs, with Loudoun Heights on the L and Maryland Heights on the R
Brothers on the summit

Peak 2: Maryland Heights and the Stone Fort Loop

We walked 3 miles back along the canal but instead of taking the regular route up Maryland Heights, we climbed up the eastern flank via the direct path (which I’d only descended once before on a Thanksgiving hike in 2019).

It’s a good climb and we had incredible weather for December. We were hot in t-shirts!

Pete climbing up Maryland Heights
Me, just below the main lookout of Maryland Heights, looking over Harpers Ferry
Looking NW upstream of the Potomac River
Me traversing the blocks to reach the main lookout
Turkey vulture flying on the thermals
Brothers at Maryland Heights lookout
Brothers on the summit of the Stone Fort loop, with the Potomac River visible in the background
Me descending Maryland Heights in the waning light
Two shadows walking along the C&O canal back into town
The ruined lockhouse at Harpers Ferry (Maryland side of the river)
Another view of the ruined lockhouse with the cliffs of Maryland Heights above
Crossing back into West Virginia, with the moon out
Beautiful evening light as we walked back through town

We stopped back at the house to collect the camp stove, and more food and water, before setting off for Loudoun Heights, the third and final peak.

Peak 3: Loudoun Heights

We had about half an hour of daylight remaining as we set off for Loudoun Heights, which is a 3.5 hour walk, so we’d definitely be needing our headtorches.

Leaving town to head up Loudoun Heights, peak 3
Photo of a photo at sunset
We switched on the head torches when we crossed Chestnut Hill Road
Pete at the boulder, very close to Loudoun Heights lookout
Me (red jacket) and Pete (black jacket) at Loudoun Heights lookout at night

We brought my MSR camp stove, hot dinners, and tea bags, so we enjoyed a veritable feast on the summit of Loudoun Heights!

Great fun and a real morale boost in the cold and dark night.

Pete cooking on the summit of Loudoun Heights
Mountain dining: spaghetti bolognese!
Head torches mandatory

Overall it was a tremendous day out. It’s a great walk, with a bit of everything: mountains, rivers, history, and mountain-town.

Seriously fun to do this with Pete and show him my local trails.

My next challenge with this walk is to do it under full winter conditions…

2 thoughts on “Harpers Ferry Three Peaks Hike With Pete

  1. Pingback: Hiking Around Harpers Ferry With The UK Family | Ben Collins Outdoors

  2. Pingback: Winter Hiking Season 2021/22 | Ben Collins Outdoors

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