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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.