"This is one of the most popular sections of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. This 8.4 mile section of the AT features Annapolis Rock, probably one of the most visited spots along the AT in Maryland, with its spectacular westward views. This section also features the fine views from Black Rock Cliffs as well as the Pine Knob Shelter."
If you are coming from the Charles Town area meet at the Food Lion parking lot at 8:15am to car pool. This will be a full day hike so bring plenty of food and water. Hike start time will be 9am with an approximate end time of 4:30pm.
As with every MOSS event there will be a time of Withdrawal, where we take the opportunity to disconnect and re-engage with our Creator. This is done through a self-lead devotional time in the example of Jesus who, "Often withdrew to the wilderness to pray." We will part company from the rest of our group temporarily and find a quiet place to consider the provided readings and prayers. It is recommended that participants bring a journal and pen to write what comes to mind as they experience God through the discipline of solitude and silence in this natural setting. Once this period of time is complete there may be a short discussion for those who wish to participate before the hike is continued.
"This section begins where the AT goes under the US 40 overpass as the trail briefly follows I-70. Parking for this popular section is off US 40 and a blue blazed side trail takes hikers from the parking area to the AT just south of where this section starts. There is parking for about fifty cars and the GPS coordinates are N39 32.130 W77 36.223 for those who have a GPS devise in their vehicle.
In about four hundred feet the trail turns right, leaves the busy expressway and begins to ascend. At 0.4 miles the trail bears right as the blue blazed side trail on the left heads 0.1 miles to the Pine Knob Shelter. This shelter was built in 1939 and sleeps five. There is a privy nearby and water is from a spring next to the shelter.
Pine Knob Shelter
At 0.8 miles the trail travels to the west of the summit of Pine Knob. At 2.1 miles a blue blazed trail on the left heads 0.25 miles to Annapolis Rocks, an overhanging cliff with spectacular views to the west. There are several primitive campsites in the area. There are also a couple of privies at this popular destination.
Side trail to Annapolis Rocks
At 3.1 miles several unmarked trails on the left lead about 100 feet to Black Rock Cliffs. The views from Black Rock Cliffs are probably better than Annapolis Rocks. If you plan a day hike to Annapolis Rocks, hike the extra mile to check out the view from Black Rock Cliffs.
View from Black Rock Cliffs
At 3.7 miles pass by the Pogo Memorial Campsite, just east of the trail. At 4.3 miles veer left at fork. The road on right leads 0.9 miles to Loy Wolfe Road. At 5.4 miles the trail becomes extremely rocky as the AT follows a sharp and eroded crest of South Mountain.
At 6.1 miles there is a nice view eastward on your right. At 6.4 miles the trail follows an old road again. There was once an old sawmill in this area when the area was logged in the 1930s. At 7.2 miles begin the first descent off the eastern slope of South Mountain.
Approaching Annapolis Rocks
At 8.0 miles begin a steeper descent toward Maryland 17, reaching the road at 8.4 miles and the end of this section. You'll find some parking along the shoulder of MD 17 and more parking nearby."
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