Saturday, June 4, 2016
On Saturday we hike from near the Smithsburg/Wolfsville Road to just south of Alt. US 40, an area known as Turners Gap. (GPS coordinates: N 39 37.693, W 077 33.544.) Distance hiked: about 13 miles.
Early in the day we ascend to a rocky ridge, which forms the border between Frederick and Washington counties in Maryland. We follow that ridge all day.
We’ll pass the area known as Black Rock, which has a rocky view to the west over the valley that includes Hagerstown. Shortly thereafter, we’ll stop for lunch at Annapolis Rocks, with another view to the west. At Annapolis Rocks we’ll have some rock climbs set up, so you can join in if you wish, with climbs appropriate for just about any level of experience and skill.
About two miles later, we cross Interstate 70 on the Appalachian Trail footbridge, then we pass through Washington Monument State Park, site of the first monument to the first president of the US. Finally we arrive at Turners Gap, where we stop at the Hikers Campground, maintained by the state of Maryland. Among the amenities at that campground are restrooms with hot showers. On Saturday we cover about 13 miles.
You might notice in this description we repeatedly use forms of the word "rock." Once you've hiked this section you will understand why that noun is so much on our minds.
You’re on your own for meals on Saturday. Many of the hikers go to Boonsboro for pizza from the Saturday night camp, or you can dine at the Old South Mountain Inn, a very nice restaurant literally adjacent to the Saturday night camp.
9:00 am. Leave shelter.
Noon. Arrive at Annapolis Rocks. Lunch, rock climbing.
2 - 3 pm. Support cars at US-40 parking area.
3:30 - 4:30 pm. Support cars at Washington Monument State Park (address: 6620 Zittlestown Road,
Middletown MD 21769).
6 pm. Shuttle cars leave South Mountain Inn to take drivers back to their cars at the Wolfsville Road parking area.
How to get to Turners Gap
GPS coordinates: N 39 42.972, W 077 30.437.
From Frederick, take exit # 49 from Interstate 70 west.
It’s the exit for Alt. US-40 toward Braddock Heights and Middletown.
At the traffic light at the end of the offramp, turn left onto US-40 Alt. west.
Travel approx. 11 miles and you’ll see the Old South Mountain Inn on your left.
Park at the restaurant, using the parking spots farthest from the restaurant.
The campground is on your left side...walk through the parking lot toward the highway, and there are white trail blazes heading into the woods.
The campground is a couple of hundred yards from the parking lot.
The street address for the Old South Mountain Inn restaurant, which can help you find your way via a mapping program or GPS, is 6132 Old National Pike,
Boonsboro, MD 21713.