OUR TOP 5 SCENIC VISTAS
Hike to New Heights – The Best View is YOURS in Washington County!
Our iconic scenic overlooks provide some of the most breathtaking vistas in the Mid Atlantic. Some are very easy to get to, some are the payoff for a moderate to difficult hike. All are near quaint small towns that offer great dining, shopping, hiking gear and more.
Located along the Maryland portion of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.), at an elevation of 1,700’ this hike is moderately strenuous with some steep inclines and non-level footing.
A 2.2 mile hike this is a popular spot for both hikers and rock climbers and the gorgeous vista includes a westward view of Greenbrier Lake and the Cumberland Valley. If you are still more ambitious, continue north on the A.T. one mile to Black Rock, which also offers a similar view.
Access Point: Parking lot on Route 40, one-quarter mile east of Greenbrier State Park. Follow blue blazed trail from the parking lot to white blazed A.T. signs. Turn right to go north on A.T. Return the same way to parking area. Check website for parking fees and other info.
Best Time to Go: Mid-week hikes are the best! Parking is limited and becomes very crowded on weekends and holidays.
Also located along the A.T., High Rock Overlook is part of Pen Mar Park, located on Mount Quirac, along the Mason Dixon Line. With an elevation of 1,400 feet, this site is easy to get to via car.
There are two ways to view this overlook; one is from a covered pavilion in the park, and a the second is ¼ mile drive to the end of Pen Mar High Rock Road. There visitors can sit atop a high rock outcropping to soak in the view. This scenic vista gives a northern view into Pennsylvania.
Access Point: Pen Mar High Rock Rd., 11400 Pen Mar High Rock Rd., Smithsburg, Maryland, 21783. Parking is free.
Best Time to Go: Busier on weekends. The park pavilion has festive musical entertainment with dancing on Sunday afternoons.
Along the Blue Ridge Mountains near Elk Ridge is Maryland Heights Overlook, and here hikers can see the most famous view of the town of Harper’s Ferry, in Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park. Surrounded by the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers, the payoff for this moderate to strenuous hike is one the very best. The trail is 4-6 miles round trip, depending on which access point is selected.
Access Points: Park at the Visitor Center parking area in Harper’s Ferry, WV, and use the park’s free shuttle system or the Visitor Center to Lower Town Trail to access the trail from Lower Town. Check website for fees to enter the park and for parking, maps, and more information. https://rb.gy/cwbl2d
Best Time to Go: Mid-week is less crowded, so we recommend a Monday-Friday visit.
Washington Monument State Park
Located atop South Mountain, along the A.T., Washington Monument State Park is named for the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of George Washington. The monument is a 40’ rugged stone tower that was initially erected by the citizens of Boonsboro in 1827, sitting at 1,600’ elevation. The park is an ideal site for spotting migratory birds such as hawks, eagles and falcons, especially in mid-September. Stop by the park office or museum to learn more about the first major Civil War battle fought in Maryland. After, take the short hike up to the monument. This is a fairly easy hike for hikers and non-hikers at .4-mile round trip.
Access: Washington Monument State Park, 6620 Zittlestown Road, Middletown MD 21769. Park in the main lot, access the trail from the marked entry point.
Best Time To Go: There are rangers and docents who can talk about the historical aspects of the park on weekends. It is less crowded during the week.
Sidling Hill Welcome Center
A highway stop, no hiking is required to see this amazing area. When the highway was under construction, it was determined that a cut through the mountain rather than to building over it was more advantageous. According to the MD Geological Survey website, “One of the best rock exposures in Maryland and indeed in the entire northeastern United States is located approximately 6 miles west of Hancock where Interstate 68 cuts through Sideling Hill. Almost 810 feet of strata in a tightly folded syncline are exposed in this road cut.” Sideling Hill is geographic marvel, and there is a state welcome center with restrooms and brochures available.
Access: Route 68 West, Mile Marker 74
Best Time To Go: Anytime – the visitor welcome center is open during daylight hours
Jump off the trails to renew and refresh at our area restaurants, shops, hotels & B&Bs.
Explore our 5 National Parks for iconic vistas and wineries with breathtaking views. Visit our quaint historic towns and make your stay unforgettable. Photo credit: Maryland Road Trips