- Washington, D.C.
If you’re looking to have an only-in-America outdoors experience while visiting in or around Washington, D.C., this is it.
The Appalachian Trail or the AT, as it is commonly called, runs approximately 3,500 kilometers from Georgia to Maine, including trailheads near the nation's Capital Region, which includes Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Whether you’re interested in a multi-day trek or simply want to enjoy a day hike, don’t miss a chance to explore this storied trail. Here is a list of easy trail access points, organized north to south.
Washington Monument State Park, Maryland
Located atop South Mountain in western Maryland, Washington Monument State Park is the site of the first monument dedicated to the nation’s first president, George Washington. After checking out the monument, stop in the nearby museum to see historical artifacts related to George Washington and the Civil War Battle of South Mountain. Most of the hiking trails within the park are part of the Appalachian Trail.
Gathland State Park, Maryland
Originally the mountain home of Civil War journalist George Alfred Townsend, Gathland State Park now features restored buildings and a museum with artifacts from Townsend’s life and the Battle of South Mountain. Follow the AT through the park to pass the War Correspondent’s Arch, a National historic monument dedicated to the memory of Civil War journalists.
Annapolis Rock, Maryland
This popular trail is a moderate hike appropriate for most age ranges. The lookout at Annapolis Rock displays stunning views of the Cumberland Valley and Greenbrier Lake. Great for trail running or day hikes, the area offers campsites for overnight stays as well.
Humpback Rocks, Virginia
With easy access from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the hike to Humpback Rocks in Virginia is well-traveled. The trail to the top is just 1.6 kilometers; the ascent is difficult, but there are benches for resting along the way. There is a visitor center on the Parkway at milepost 5.8. – stop here to check out the farm museum.
The hike to Humpback Rocks in Virginia is challenging but rewarding, with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and forest.