July 20, 2010

Too Hot for Loudoun Heights

My daughter Marie had this inspiration that we could hike the West Virginia section of the Appalachian Trail. Knowing that the West Virginia part of the trail is famously short (about 4 miles), that sounded okay to me. Then I learned that it goes up Loudoun Heights and I changed my mind! I had read on other websites that the trail up Loudoun Heights is steep and strenuous, and even if I were in better shape for hiking, I would not attempt it on a hot July day. So we decided to hike the short section of the AT between the Shenandoah River and the Potomac.

Below is a photo I took of Jefferson Rock with Loudoun Heights in the background. From the point where the trail crosses the Potomac to it's high point on Loudoun Heights, there's an elevation change of 1,000 feet.

Craig Swain described a hike on Loudoun Heights from the perspective of a Civil War researcher. He climbed part of the way on the AT and then switched to the Loudoun Heights Trail.


  1. Linda, I have walked the AT from the drop off point along VA/WV 9, down to Harpers Ferry. The trail is easier than walking UP from Harpers Ferry, but of course you still must negotiate the rocks at Loudoun Heights.

  2. Thanks, Craig. That sounds like the best way to do that section.

  3. Not only do you have to be careful of the trails being rocky or the distance and heat, the higher you trek the thinner the air will become. Take plenty of water.


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