7 Maryland hikes with amazing views

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Hikes with mountain views

Within an hour's drive -- or a bit more -- you'll find mountain hikes with rewarding views. Here are three to try.

Maryland Heights Trail, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
For families who enjoy a challenge and a taste of history, the Maryland Heights Trail is part of the 2,000-mile trail system in Harpers Ferry NHP. From the trail's overlook Hikes View Maryland HeightsWHarpers Ferry from the top of Maryland Heights. cliffs, you have a bird's-eye view of Harpers Ferry, and you can see 50 miles across the Potomac and Shenandoah river valleys. The hike to the cliffs is steep and rocky and is about 4 miles round-trip. There is a stone fort from the civil war further up the mountain, which Fox says also presents a beautiful eastward view during the winter when the trees are bare. The roundtrip route to the cliffs and stone fort is about 6.5 miles.

Directions to the trailhead: From the visitor center parking lot, cross the Potomac River on the Appalachian Trail footbridge to the Maryland side, and then walk upstream on the C&O Canal Towpath for 1/3 mile, where you will see a sign and the trailhead.

Difficulty: Hard
Fee: $10/vehicle park entrance fee
Distance: 1.5 hours from Annapolis
171 Shoreline Dr., Harpers Ferry, WV (Harpers Ferry NHP Visitor Center)
304-535-6029, nps.gov/hafe

Annapolis Rock and Black Rock on the Appalachian Trail
Hikes view Annapolis RockWThe view from Annapolis Rock.Forty of the Appalachian Trail's 2,168 miles run through Maryland. While many people backpack the AT for days or weeks at a time, there are several scenic day hikes that an adventurous family can enjoy. Annapolis Rock is a 2.2-mile hike from the trailhead at the parking lot on Route 40. The vista presents a view of Greenbrier Lake and Cumberland Valley to the west from an elevation of 1,700 feet. Black Rock is one mile further north along the trail with another scenic western view. The hike to both rocks and back to the parking lot is a challenging 6.4 miles.

Difficulty: Hard
Fee: Free
Distance: 1.5 hours from Annapolis
Access Point: Parking lot on Route 40, 1/4 mile east of Greenbrier State Park
​301-791-4767​ (South Mountain State Park), dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/at.aspx

Northern Peaks Trail, Sugarloaf Mountain
Frederick County's Sugarloaf Mountain is a monadnock, a stand-alone mountain that rises above the surrounding land, so the mountain's overlooks present sweeping views of the sprawling farmland 800-feet below. The Appalachian Mountain range can also been seen off in the distance to the west. The 5-mile Northern Peaks Trail (blue) begins at the West View parking lot, looping around the summit and past the White Rocks overlook. From the blue trail, you can take either the ¼-mile green or red trails to the summit. Add the 2.5-mile Mountain Loop trail (white) for a 7-mile hike that includes four vistas of the three overlooks and the White Rocks. Download the trail map from the website below.

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Fee: Free
Distance: 1 hour from Annapolis
7901 Comus Rd., Dickerson (Park's main entrance). Follow signs to the West View overlook parking lot near the top of the mountain.
301-874-2024, sugarloafmd.com

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