The C&O Canal and Appalachian Trail

Lock House 31

Heading downstream from Harpers Ferry, the Appalachian Trail joins the C&O Canal’s towpath for approximately three miles until reaching the vicinity of mile marker 58 and Lock House 31, and this is where today’s hike began.  It’s near here that Casper W. Wever established an industrial settlement (known as Weverton) that ultimately failed because of the high rent he charged for using his property.  Little remains of the settlement, but Wever’s name lives on in the nearby Weverton Road and Weverton Cliff, which is just off of the Appalachian Trail about 1.5 miles north of where the AT and C&O split.  Mile marker 58 is close to both Lock House 31 and an interesting culvert which runs underneath the old canal bed.

A nice piece of work

Culverts generally go unnoticed by hikers and bikers alike, but they are as unique as the people who once built them.  This one is in great shape, and when combined with the interesting brick lock house nearby, there was plenty to look at before heading uphill on the Appalachian Trail–destination Weverton Cliff.

Appalachian Trail Sign

Going from north to south, the Appalachian Trail begins on Mount Katahdin, Maine and ends on Springer Mountain, Georgia.  That makes for approximately 2100 miles of very diverse scenery.  Some of the mountains along the way make the trek to Weverton Cliff look like a molehill, and the relatively few miles in West Virginia and Maryland are regarded as some of the easiest traveling on the trail.  Nevertheless, for the pedestrian hiker, this part of the AT is considered  moderately difficult, and I would suggest putting on a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots for the trip.

One of the trail's many switchbacks

After reaching the parking lot on Weverton Road, the trail winds another mile to the overlook.  It proceeds via a series of switchbacks until nearly cresting the hill.  Along the way, the terrain is very rocky, and it pays to watch your step.  However, looking down can be a good thing because of the colorful array of mushrooms that appear this time of year.

Mushrooms on the Appalachian Trail

The mushrooms became scarcer at higher elevations.  We went to the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry after completing the hike and found out that we gained around 650′ of elevation during our hike.  Various species of plant life fulfill their own niche, and it’s surprising how much diversity can occur in a matter of a few hundred feet.

Still going uphill

While walking most trails that offer an overlook, I wonder if the view will be worth the trip to the top.  Actually, it’s a really nice hike to Weverton Cliff, and the view of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Potomac River didn’t disappoint.  In fact, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks hiking on trails that hook up with the C&O Canal, and when the towpath gets a little bit boring, there’s plenty to see just outside of the park.  I can cross Weverton Cliff off of my bucket list, but I hope to see a lot more of the Appalachian Trail in the near future.

The view from Weverton Cliff


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3 responses to this post.

  1. I’d venture to say the trip was well worth the view. You are the Mushroom man from henceforth TC. I love the flora and Fauna…This is the time of the year I miss the mountains of New Mexico. We’d always take a vacation there when all of us kids were home. Somethings stay with you and looking at your photos made me miss them.

    Love this History and the views.


  2. Posted by LevelWalker on October 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks, Missy. Actually, Candee loves the mushroom pictures. I used to complain about them, but some of the shroomages are really crazy looking. I’m slowly becoming a mushroom fan. S…L…O…W…l…Y.


  3. Posted by BikerChick on October 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Tom hasn’t taken a single mushroom picture, in fact, he refuses. Then when he’s looking at the pictures, he’ll saying something like…”Oh, this one looks cool!” I just roll my eyes!


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