18537
Sharpsburg
Hike the Appalachian Trail in Four States!
Explore pristine stretches of the Appalachian Trail on daily hikes in four states and learn about the region’s history as you visit the Trail Museum, Conservancy HQ and Harpers Ferry.
Rating (4.88)
Program No. 18537RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
799
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, AT Documentary
Sharpsburg, MD
D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: No physically demanding activities are scheduled. Our property does border the C&O Canal for those who are eager to get out and hike on their own.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Become familiarized with the program, the facility and one another during our general orientation.Get acquainted with the Appalachian Trail through a presentation by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. A patchwork of private, state and federal lands makes this National Park unique. Follow the trail through 13 states as we learn about the partnerships that make this park work.

DAY
2
Hike to AT Midpoint, Historic Pine Grove Furnace, AT Museum
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: This day's hike is approximately 8.5 miles long covering over 900 feet in elevation change. This section of the AT is very rocky terrain and sure footing is needed. Most of the significant elevation changes are downhill. This is our Pennsylvania hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room. Pack your own lunch from the variety of options available.

Morning: Ride into Pennsylvania for the start of our hike at the area known as Big Flats. Lunch is enjoyed about five miles down the trail at one of the AT shelters. We hike through Michaux State Forest and lovely hemlock groves.

Lunch: Delve into the lunch you've packed and carried at the Tom's Run Shelter along the trail.

Afternoon: Continue the hike through the Pennsylvania rocks. A WWII POW camp nestled along the mountain is part of the scenery - along with the midpoint of the AT. A stop at the AT Museum at the end of the day - and if the general store is open, do the thru hiker challenge of 1/2 gallon of ice cream! (Also available in smaller cone size!)

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Be inspired by the adventures of a local thru-hiker. From preparation to completion, follow his adventures and challenges along the way. Maybe you'll be inspired to plan your own hike, learning from his experiences. Hope you like peanut butter!

DAY
3
Cross Three Historic Passes
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: This hike will cover 9.5 miles. A signifigant elevation change occurs in climbing Lamb's Knoll, when we ascend more than 800 feet in just over a mile. The main ascent is fairly rocky, though the remainder of the trail is fairly clear of rocks compared to the other hikes. This is our Maryland hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy an ample breakfast in the Shepherd's Spring Lodge dining room. Then pack your lunch from the choices provided.

Morning: Ride to the nation's first Washington Monument, where we'll catch a grand vista from atop South Mountain. Then hike southward following the path of Confederate soldiers who defended Turner's Gap and Fox's Gap during the Civil War Battle of South Mountain in 1862.

Lunch: Delve into the lunch you've packed and carried at the Rocky Run Shelter after a 4.25-mile hike.

Afternoon: Complete the hike over today's highest point at Lamb's Knoll ending at Crampton's Gap. Here we find the War Correspondents' Memorial Arch, created by Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend, who wrote under the pen name of GATH. The area surrounding the memorial is Gathland State Park and features what remains of Townsend's estate.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Lectures alternate between a presentation on the settlement process along the trail in the local area from colonial days to the present and the geologic importance to settlement or a presentation on the edible plants found along these sections of the Appalachian Trail.

DAY
4
Hike the Rollercoaster
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: This is one of the more challenging hikes. While only covering about seven miles, the terrain is rocky and elevation changes (ascents and descents) are numerous and dramatic. Approximate elevation changes go from 1,000-1,300 and 750-1,100 to 900-1,200 and 800-1,250 in our 6.8-mile span. This is our Virginia hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room. Pack your own lunch from the variety of options available.

Morning: Begin your "ride" on the rollercoaster of Virginia, a series of ascents and descents paralleling the Shenandoah River Valley at Snicker's Gap. After the first ascent, a beautiful vista of the Shenandoah River makes the climb worthwhile. A short side trail makes it possible to stop at Bear's Den hostel. An oasis for thru hikers with comfortable beds, laundry facilities and prepared food, it is easy to see why hikers have made this a popular stopover.

Lunch: Delve into the lunch you've packed and carried at the Sam Moore Shelter after hiking approximately 3.8 miles.

Afternoon: Continue on the rollercoaster with a series of ups and downs. Another lovely view of the valley awaits at Buzzard Hill. Though shorter in length, this is a challenging hike and one that provides section hikers with a real sense of accomplishment at day's end. Our return trip in the van passes by the Homeland Security outpost known as Mount Weather.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet-style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Enjoy National Geographic's tale of adventures on the Appalchian Trail. Be sure to watch for some of the stars of the film as we visit the headquarters of the AT Conservancy the next day.

DAY
5
Hike Around Harpers Ferry, AT Conservancy HQ
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: This day is the only day in which there is an alternative hike available to participants. The scheduled hike is ~ 3.5 miles and leaves from Loudon Heights, Va., and into Harpers Ferry W.Va. The elevation changes are sizable, from a 600-foot climb to an 800-foot decline. Should the participant opt out of this hike, there is an alternate hike where the AT coincides with the level C&O Canal towpath (one of very few places where the AT can be biked on). This is our West Virginia hike.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge. Pack your own lunch from the options available.

Morning: Ride to Loudon Heights, one of the mountains surrounding Harpers Ferry, to begin today's journey. As the AT flip-flops between the state lines of Virginia and West Virginia, be sure to walk on the right side of the trail that is in West Virginia to get all four miles of the West Virginia trail. A short side trail will provide a vista of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Descend into the Shenandoah River basin to cross at the new bridge. For those who've experienced enough ups and downs on the AT, an alternative flat hike that is also part of the C&O Canal Towpath is offered. This hike begins in Maryland and crosses the Potomac River bridge. Everyone will meet for a late lunch at the AT Conservancy Headquarters.

Lunch: We'll have lunch at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters at the end of the day's hike. There the employees of the conservancy will greet us and share some of their own stories regarding the trail.

Afternoon: Trace your steps from the week along the AT relief map or find pictures of friends or relatives who have thru-hiked the trail in the picture archives of the AT Conservancy. Then, return to the trail to the view that Thomas Jefferson described as "worth a trip across the ocean" at Jefferson Rock. The trail continues down the stone steps into Old Town Harpers Ferry. Complete the West Virginia miles by hiking to the point where the Potomac meets the Shenandoah River. There will be time to explore the museums and shops in historic Harpers Ferry.

Dinner: A farewell banquet dinner will be held in the lodge dining room.

Evening: Enjoy hammered dulcimers, guitars and banjos at O'Hurley's General Store in nearby Shepherdstown, W.Va. Music of the Appalachian region is played by a rotating group of local musicians who have gathered every Thursday night for the past 30 years! This is a real treat for the ears, not to mention easy on the feet.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Sharpsburg, MD
B

Activity note: Hikers can spend time exploring the area on their own. As their transportation permits, they can hike the trails of Shepherd's Spring, visit Antietam Battlefield, or explore some of the surrounding historical towns.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet-style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Hikers can spend time exploring the area on their own. As their transportation permits, they can hike the trails of Shepherd's Spring, visit Antietam Battlefield, or explore some of the surrounding historical towns. Check out at 10:00