Operation Easy Day - AT - MD section hike 23-27 October 2019

This is a planning post for the Appalachian Trail / MD section hike in October 2019. It will be updated as the planning goes on. Last updated: 10/17/2019.

Springs are still low so bring a dip cup to fill your filter bags.

It is MD muzzloading deer season through the 26th. Wear some blaze orange.

I've received reports of dried out creeks along our route. It appears that water is still available at our camps each evening, but be aware and plan accordingly. Also there are reports of angry yellow jackets, so if you are allergic like me, make sure you have your epi pen and Benadryl.

Participants & assignments

Serge - navigation (we’re in trouble)
Alex - medic
Dan - rear security
Victor - no assignment, Victor refused to be the scout for the good of the group; he is a selfish bum.

Mission overview: to hike Maryland section of the Appalachian Train going south-bound within 5 days. No rush - let’s enjoy the hike.

General info:
Timeframe: 23-27 October 2019.
Distance: approx. 40 miles

Route (I’ve mapped it in GaiaGPS):

Historical Weather for MD in October: https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/maryland/united-states/1872

Current forecast on the trail: https://www.atweather.org

Starting point: Penn-mar

Terminus: Harpers Ferry


Day 1: Early AM, assemble at Serge’s compound, drive to Harpers Ferry and catch a shuttle to starting point. Dan can meet us at Harpers Ferry. Hike in the afternoon.
Day 2-4: Hiking.
Day 5: Hike in the AM. Get in the car and drive back to Serge’s Compound in the afternoon.

Vehicles to starting trailhead: 0
Vehicles to terminus: 2
We leave our cars at this address: 171 Shoreline Drive, Harpers Ferry, WV 26425

Shuttle to Pen Mar: booked. Laura will shuttle us at 11am. Call her in the AM to confirm.

The shuttle is 75 bucks for 4 people.

Dan provided this handy mile-by-mile list below to help us plan our stops. I’ve highlighted the stops we should make every night. We can discuss this or play it by ear...

Mile 0.0 – Pen Mar County Park . The trail begins just to the right of the Overlook Pavilion and A.T. Sign, go 0.3 miles North on the AT, cross the RR Track and then reach the PA Line (Mason Dixon Line). Stop, take a photo. turn around and then head South on the AT, passing Pen Mar Park.
Mile 3.1 – Side trail to High Rock, supposedly really good views.
Mile 5.3 – Raven Rocks Shelter. Fires allowed. Creek may be dry...
Mile 6.2 – MD 491 intersection. Couple of creek crossings near here
Mile 8.8 – MD 77 (Foxville Rd) intersection
Mile 10.0 – Ensign Cowall Shelter
Mile 10.3 – MD 17 (Wolfsville Rd). Short 0.1 mile spur trail to an AT to parking lot, 10-12 cars. Cross Wolfsville Rd to continue.
Mile 15.6 – Reach a couple of unmarked trails to Black Rock Cliffs in about 5.3 miles. Trail is pretty short to the cliffs.
Mile 16.6 – Reach spur trail for Annapolis Rocks. 0.25 miles to the Rocks. Note: no fires at this camp, but 2 miles south there’s a camp where we can have a fire.


Mile 18.3 – Pine Knob Shelter
Mile 18.9 – I-70 AT Footbridge and spur trail to I-70/Rt 40 Parking Lot, 40 cars
Mile 19.0 – Boonsboro Mountain Rd, 1st crossing.
Mile 19.7 – Boonsboro Mountain Rd, 2nd crossing.
Mile 21.9 – Pass through Washington Monument Parking lot. Note: Coming south before parking lot is a spur trail to the Monument.
Mile 23.7 – Turners Gap (Alt US 40, Old National Pike). Parking is directly across road on the east side of the Inn closest to the AT
Mile 24.0 – Dahlgren Backpack Campground. Privy and hot shower. Fires allowed. Showers will be closed most likely.


Mile 25.7 – Rocky Run Shelter. New 2 story shelter. Large site for tents. Hot showers .5 mile north - Maybe, maybe not.
Mile 26.2 – Lamb's Knoll Rd
Mile 27.9 – White Rock Cliffs
Mile 30.7 – Crampton Gap Shelter
Mile 31.1 – Crampton Gap/Gathland State Park Continue on the AT by crossing Gapland Rd.
Mile 34.9 – Ed Garvey Shelter. Fires allowed.
Mile 37.0 – Weaverton Cliffs Spur Trail.
Mile 38.1 – Route 340 Underpass.
Mile 38.4 – Railroad Crossing, turn right at C&O Canal Towpath
Mile 40.0 – Sandy Hook, Rt 340 Underpass
Mile 41.2 – Middle of Goodloe Byron footbridge into Harpers Ferry, WV.
Mile 41.5 – Train Station parking lot (small fee).

Notes from FB AT group:

  • Plan to spend the night at the Dahlgren campsite. It has a place to shower, running water, and soft ground to tent on. It also has tables and fire pits. Great place to rest.
  • Before you leave Crampton Gap/Gathland SP, fill up all your water. The spring at Ed Garvey is like half a mile downhill and you’ll save yourself the hassle.
  • (If going SB) Pen-Mar to Ensin Cowell to Gathland to Ed Garvy then to Harpers. Park at Harpers and shuttle to pen mar line. This will give you the four day hike.
  • You cant camp at Gathland but you can sleep at Crampton shelter right before there. Also dont be surprised if Ed Garvey is packed. I went through there last year at the same time and there was 7 groups of boy Scouts. We ended up not being able to camp cause there wasnt any room.
  • I see you ending in Harpers Ferry, Stop by the AT headquarters if you have time. also there is a good place to eat just a little farther down the street from the HQ, i think its called Minas pizza good calzone and huge portions.

AT trail info (Wiki): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_Trail_by_state

Serge’s packing list (for reference):


Serge’s food (for reference):

Below are maps for the hike, including elevation profile: