The state of Maryland lives up to its nickname “America in Miniature” by offering a wide range of landscapes to explore, ranging from low marshes that characterize the Chesapeake Bay to forest-covered hills that rise to mountains in the west. With recommendations from Trails.com and the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, we've compiled a list of five of the best hikes in the state to help you on your way - happy trails!
Appalachian Trail (MD Portion)
You can hike up to 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland along the ridge of South Mountain, which runs from Pennsylvania to the Potomac River. Popular day hike attractions on the Maryland portion of the AT include the original Washington Monument, Black Rock, Weverton Cliffs, and Annapolis Rock, which offers westward views of Cumberland Valley and Greenbrier Lake.
Falls Nature Trail
A peaceful 1.4-mile jaunt through Cunningham Falls State Park takes hikers to the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland. The Falls Nature Trail gently winds through mixed woodlands and past wildflowers to give hikers ample opportunity to see native wildlife.
Billy Goat Trail
The Billy Goat Trail in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is comprised of three sections that run in a north-to-south direction: Sec. A (1.7 miles) is the most popular, difficult, and dangerous, Sec. B (1.4 miles) is a gentle walk along the river, and Sec. C (1.6 miles) is a scenic trek past a small waterfall. This trail runs between the C&O Canal and Potomac River, treating hikers to scenes of the Appalachian woodlands and wildlife.
Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail
The popular Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail takes hikers on a 20-mile trek through a string of historic communities from Ashland, Maryland, to the Pennsylvania border. Hikers pass the restored 1898 Monkton Train Station and Sparks Bank Nature Center along the TCB Rail Trail.
The Lock Raven Reservoir outside of Baltimore is home to the Merryman Trail, which takes hikers on a 9.8-mile journey through the watershed to Merryman Point. The Merryman Trail runs through an unspoiled ecosystem filled with a rich variety of trees, flowers, and shrubs, and you can expect to see lots of native birds such as woodpeckers, cardinals, and bald eagles.