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.
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!
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.
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.
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…