9.7 miles, Half day
OVERVIEW: This 10 mile hard hike is #3 of a series of 9 hies that traverse the Appalachian Trail in Maryland.
Parking at the Old South Mountain Inn that has been in use for over 200 years and Presidents have visited, this inn is one of the oldest public houses along the AT.
Following the white marked trail south, within a mile you will reach Dahlgren Backpacker's Campground. Water and restrooms are available here.
Continuing south, you will begin to ascend towards White Rocks Overlook. The trail will cross Reno Monument Road / Lambs Knoll Road and continue on the white marked trail towards the right.
Continue to ascend for nearly a total of four miles before reaching White Rocks Overlook. At this point, you can chose to lunch here and return by the same way you came to the parking lot.
Optional loop to Bear Spring Cabin: This blue blazed trail descends into a small valley and ends at Bear Spring Cabin. With a fresh water spring supply close by, this remote and rustic cabin is available to rent through PATC.
The return is a long descent with a short 2/10 of a mile steep and roughly graded trail to return to the White Rocks Overlook.
Total distance just under 10 miles, with the outbound ascending, and the return descending. Total elevation gain approximately 2500'. This hike takes approximately 5 hours going at 2.5 mph pace.
DIRECTIONS TO HIKE SITE:
Take I-70 West from Baltimore to Exit 49 and take Route 40 South towards Middletown. Continue through Middletown and the Old South Mountain Inn will be on your left on the top of a hill. Approx. 11 miles from I-70.
Bring plenty of water with you, in particular on hot days as there is plenty of ascent on this hike. Hiking poles are helpful, but not essential.