Reviewed by Mike Kelley on October 17, 2012
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I personally love the AT, and for the majority of the east coast, it's accessible within a few hours drive. This section (and all of the Maryland portions) offer a good, scenic, moderately challenging day hike.
I personally hiked this bit backwards. I started at US 40, and hiked through to Washington Monument State Park - Alternate US 40. 5 miles like the description says. I returned by the same trail. It took me about 3-3.5 hours in all, but I kept a pretty quick pace.
I didn't come across any natural water sources in this section of trail, so packing in your own water is a must. I had a 2 litre hydropack, so I didn't take the time to look for water off-trail. The terrain is well suited to foot traffic, though boots with good padding and ankle support are essential, as the trail is exceedingly rocky in parts. There is a good mix of up and down grades, with the down offering a reprieve at just the right times, and lasting long enough for your legs to get a rest before starting back up.
The trail and the blazes are clear, though the blazes can be sparse in places. The area is reasonably populated with the trail crossing several roads with moderate traffic. Houses are also occasionally seen, though generally within a few hundred yards of the roads. A good loud whistle should be enough to signal from any section of trail should you take some injury. Cellular service is patchy, though generally serviceable.
In all, a pleasant hike through the woods with moderate elevation changes, and some nice views, particularly in the autumn. It is not so remote as to be a danger, but preparedness is key with any outdoor adventure. Be ready to spend the day, and pack snacks and water for you and your group.
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