I live in DC, which is a great place to live and visit. I try to make the most of it. However, I also love to leave my home and see what the world has to offer. Come and join me!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day Hike on the Appalachian Trail to Annapolis Rocks

Annapolis Rocks

For my birthday over the weekend we decided to try out a new local hike.  Michael found a hike on the Appalachian Trail to Annapolis Rocks--which is nowhere near Annapolis--about an hour and fifteen minute drive from DC.  Perfect!  We took 495 to 270 to 70, stopped in Frederick's cute little downtown to pick up some sandwiches to bring up with us, and headed to the parking area on 40. 

Appalachian Trail
Pay attention to the mileage given when you map your route--we found it easiest to locate the parking area by watching our mileage.  (In Google maps, use the search term "Annapolis Rock, Myersville, Frederick, MD").

The parking area is not huge, but it's easy to spot on the side of the road.  You'll know you're in the right place because you'll see a sign for the Appalachian Trail at the end of the parking area.


You'll walk parallel to 70 for a bit--very noisy with traffic--and then turn onto the trail.  The first mile or so is pretty steep and not very shaded.  Make sure you're carrying plenty of water!

Once you make it past this stretch, the path becomes wide, relatively flat, and tree-lined.  This is the quintessential image that comes to mind when I picture the A.T. (based on nothing other than reading and conjecture, as the only other part I've been on is at Harper's Ferry).


Although it is late in the season, we saw lots of little wildflowers, along with gorgeous stands of ferns and lots of trees.

Trena and Michael
It took us around 45 minutes (maybe?--we weren't watching the time) to reach the turnoff to Annapolis Rock.  Coming out to the cliffs was quite unexpected!  We found a shady spot to eat our lunch and watched the rock climbers set up their gear.  We asked a friendly couple to take our photo and they did a spectactular job!

Rock Formation
We went back to the trail and kept going.  About a mile past Annapolis Rock is Black Rock Cliff, allegedly.  I think we might have missed the sign for the turnoff from the trail, or maybe we just didn't walk far enough.  We had dinner reservations we didn't want to miss, so we turned around and headed back to the car.

We really enjoyed this hike.  It is quite popular so we saw lots of other people out, some day hikers like us and a fair amount of through-hikers backpacking the AT.  Everyone was friendly and shared the trail. 

There is a bit of traffic noise throughout the hike, mostly from the occasional motorcycle, so you don't feel like you're totally getting away from it all, but it wasn't too obtrusive. 

I'd definitely do this hike again, allowing a little more time to make it to Black Rock Cliff.

All photos are here.