Last post I mentioned that I hadn't hiked the Stone Fort Trail section of Maryland Heights due to a lack of time. Well, I had plenty of free time on Tuesday, 11 November to complete this section of the trail, and it was well worth it.
NOTESDistances: from the Maryland Heights Trail Guide: railroad bridge to Stone Fort (round trip): about 6 miles (4 hours)
Combined Trail: Green Blaze
Stone Fort Trail: Blue Blaze (note: the blazes were light blue; in harsh/bright sunlight, the blue blazes look almost white)
Except for a few spots, the trail is clearly marked, but I included the blaze information anyway.
STARTFirst, you'll have to reach the Maryland Heights trailhead, and hike part of the way up the hill, as I described in my previous post.
The Stone Fort Trail starts not far from the Naval Battery (described in the previous post) which sits at about 679 feet, and it goes UP to over 1440 feet.
|The start of the Stone Fort Trail.|
|It goes up!|
|During your climb, you'll probably want to stop to rest, catch your breath, |
and look around a bit. In this picture, you can see the remnants of Dam #3 on the Potomac.
MILITARY CAMPGROUNDEventually you reach a more level spot on the ridge. This flatter area is where Civil War soldiers lived and worked for more than 3 years.
|There are some nice views of the Potomac from the Stone Fort vista |
(although a better view was from the 100-pounder battery)
Looking back toward the ridge:
Stop by one of the shops in town for some ice cream or another snack, you've earned it!
Tip #2: I strongly recommend a hiking stick or trekking poles to help you up the side of the mountain. There's plenty of loose gravel, rocks, and tree roots on the trail, so mind your steps.
Tip #3: There are a very small number of spots near the trailhead, so unless you get there early, you probably won't get a spot. I recommend parking at the visitor center, taking the bus into town, and walking the rest of the way.
Tip #4: The Stone Fort is a nice place to stop for a lunch break, so if you're willing and able to haul some food up the mountain, go for it, but please make sure you pack out your trash, as there are no trashcans anywhere on the trails.
Dogs: You can bring dogs along, but please make sure you clean up after them as well. Leave no trace except footprints.
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