Best Maryland Hikes

Maryland is a beautiful state with over 95,000 acres of state and national parks and hundreds of miles of trails. These trails range from easy paved walks on the way to historical sites to climbing the Appalachian mountains. But with so many options, which should you choose? To help you get started, we’ve listed some of our favorite easy, moderate, and challenging hikes. So pack plenty of snacks and water and get out to enjoy the weather.

Easy Trails

These Maryland hikes are great for families with kids, or seniors. In Maryland, you don’t have to comprise beauty for an easy hike. We found plenty of easy, fun, and beautiful hikes that will please the whole family. These hikes are all less than 2.5 miles with no steep inclines. Here are the best easy hikes in Maryland:

Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Trail

This hiking trail in Maryland leads to Blue Blazes Whiskey Still

Blue Blazes Whiskey Still in Maryland – photo by the National Park Service

Part of Catoctin Mountain Park, this short, one-third-mile trail leads to an old moonshine operation. Along the way are historical markers that tell the story of a 1929 prohibition-era raid. On the moonshine site is an example still that helps convey how moonshine was made. During some seasons, the National Park Service also offers lectures on whiskey making at the site.

Fort Foote Civil War Ruins Trail

This 1.7-mile trail is the perfect choice for the Civil War historian in your family. While it passes through a real fort built in 1863, the park is smaller and somewhat forgotten. Two of the cannons still remain on the site and the park offers an excellent view of the Potomac and the National Harbor.

 

Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail

This trail is 20 miles long, but a popular short route is parking in Monkton at Monkton Station. The trail is built along 20 miles of old railroad, so it is flat and made of crushed gravel. Because of this, there are cyclists, families, and pets along the trail.

Cash Lake Loop Trail

This trail is a beautiful 2.2-mile loop around Cash Lake. It’s relatively flat and offers great views of the lake, birds, and other wildlife. After you hike, stay and fish at Cash Lake.   

Moderate Trails

These hikes are over 2 miles and may have some inclines, but are still a great option for families with older kids. Take a day hike on one of these moderate difficulty trails in Maryland.

Cunningham Falls Nature Trail

This trail is in Catoctin Mountain Park, so you can hike it and Blue Blazes Whiskey Trail out in the same day. Starting at the visitor center, the 1.4 mile hike ends at Cunningham Falls. This 78-foot waterfall is the tallest in the state! Make sure you take the short route, as the other route will turn into a hike that’s over 6 miles!

View from the hike of Perimeter Trail in Maryland

Perimeter Trail in Maryland – photo from the National Park Service

Perimeter Trail

As the name indicates, Perimeter Trail follows a 4.9-mile loop along the edge of Greenbelt Park. Streams, meadows, and deer make this beautiful nature park a family favorite. Greenbelt Park is located just outside Washington DC, so it’s a quick trip out of the city.

Cascade Falls Trail

If you’d like to get in the water on your hike, try this 2.2-mile loop in Patapsco State Park. One mile into the hike, you’ll reach the waterfall. This is an excellent option for kids during the summer!

Challenging Trails

If you’re up for a challenge, try some of these difficult trails in Maryland. These trails are harder to climb, but have some outstanding views. Put on some good shoes and visit these challenging hiking trails this weekend!

Wolf Rock & Chimney Rock Trail

The trail, located in Catoctin Mountain park, is a 3.9-mile loop with beautiful views, but steep climbs. The best view is from Chimney Rock, which is 1,419 feet up! It’s a rocky climb, so wear good shoes. While difficult, the view from the top makes it one of the best trails in Maryland.

Billy Goat Trail, a popular hiking trail in Maryland

View from Billy Goat Trail. Photo from VisitMaryland.org

C&O Canal’s Billy Goat Trail (Section A)

Though short, this 1.7-mile trail is very difficult! The trail has beautiful views of the Potomac River and its falls, but is extremely steep and rocky. Because of the rock scaling that is necessary on parts of the trail, it is not recommended for children or pets. This is also one of the most popular hikes in the DC area, so arrive early for a less crowded trail.

Appalachian Trail

If none of these trails are difficult enough for you, try a three to five day hike along the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. The Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia and ends in Maine. Forty miles of the trail cross Maryland, so it makes a perfect way for advanced hikers to spend a long weekend.

Looking for more hikes with waterfalls? Our list of waterfalls in Maryland will help you find the perfect hike.