Route: MD Appalachian Trail (MD)

Maryland, US
37.1 mi

Mason-Dixon Line to Harper's Ferry Train Station parking lot along Appalachian Trail.

NOTE:  This route is almost entirely overlapping with the popular AT Four State Challenge, which is only about 3 miles longer.  If you wish to claim an FKT for this route, you must beat the existing FKT in your category (gender, support style) for this part of the Four State Challenge!  Or better yet, just go do the Four State Challenge.

Mile 0.0 – Parking is at the Pen Mar County Park. The trail begins just to the right of the Overlook Pavilion and A.T. Sign, go 0.3 miles North on the AT, cross the RR Track and then reach the PA Line (Mason Dixon Line). Stop, take a photo. turn around and then head South on the AT, passing Pen Mar Park.
Mile 3.1 – Side trail to High Rock, supposedly really good views.
Mile 5.3 – Raven Rocks Shelter
Mile 6.2 – MD 491 intersection. Couple of creek crossings near here
Mile 8.8 – MD 77 (Foxville Rd) intersection
Mile 10.0 – Ensign Cowall Shelter
Mile 10.3 – MD 17 (Wolfsville Rd).
Mile 19.0 – Boonsboro Mountain Rd, 1st crossing.
Mile 19.7 – Boonsboro Mountain Rd, 2nd crossing.
Mile 21.9 – Pass through Washington Monument Parking lot.
Mile 23.7 – Turners Gap (Alt US 40, Old National Pike).
Mile 24.8 – Reno Monument Rd.
Mile 25.7 – Rocky Run Shelter
Mile 26.2 – Lamb's Knoll Rd
Mile 27.9 – White Rock Cliffs
Mile 30.7 – Crampton Gap Shelter.
Mile 34.9 – Ed Garvey Shelter.
Mile 38.1 – Route 340 Underpass.
Mile 38.4 – Railroad Crossing, turn right at C&O Canal Towpath
Mile 40.0 – Sandy Hook, Rt 340 Underpass
Mile 41.2 – Middle of Goodloe Byron footbridge into Harpers Ferry, WV.
Mile 41.5 – Harper's Ferry Train Station parking lot (small fee for 3 days).
(Parking Lot Coordinates: 39.32442,-77.73)

GPS Track
MD-AT.gpx6.74 KB


This is a pure subset of the Four State Challenge FKT, which is really only a few miles longer. I don't think this is really sufficiently distinct to be its own route... Regardless, the posted > 8 hour time is much longer than the present FKT on the  Four State Challenge, so it can't be the FKT on this route anyway.

Good point.  I didn't know that.  The Four State Challenge is only ~ 3 miles longer.  People attempting to set an FKT for this should determine what the fastest time is for this segment of the Four State Challenge in your support category.  You must beat that time.

Question here - the description of this route notes it as 41.5miles (which is roughly accurate in my experience).

The current female, supported, FKT on the full 4-State Challenge route tracked 41.96miles on a Suunto watch.

The 4-State FKT prior to that was tracked at 45.55mi on a Garmin watch.

Thats a pretty significant difference - what is the most fair way to calculate the FKT to beat on THIS segment, if someone completes the identical route, but a tracking device measures it at 3 miles longer than the established 4-State split?

You look at their TIME border to border, not the distance. GPS distance isn’t that good, especially when there are obstructions (trees).

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I vote that this should be it's own FKT. The Maryland AT is a great route: quiet, very easily accessible, clearly marked start at the Mason Dixon line with a dramatic finish, running across the pedestrian bridge into Harper's Ferry. Particularly for a supported effort, this is a great place to end. By contrast, the Four State Challenge ends in the middle of the woods at a random sign, 1mi steep descent to the nearest road and 2mi steeper descent from the nearest parking lot, which is near a very busy highway.

This opinion is based on some experience: ran an unsupported Four State Challenge yesterday (11:56:22 measured @ 44.39mi with detours to see the Washington Monument and the Weverton cliffs, and a short backtrack for a forgotten bottle). The route was great but the two mile hike back to Harper's Ferry was rough.

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The "Maryland Challenge" has been around for awhile and AT MD should be its own FKT 40.9 miles (2023).  The "4 state challenge" (which is really a 2 state challenge, MD&WV) was derived by AT thru-hikers as a challenge to go from VA line to PA line within 24 hours.  Its superfluous as a stand alone FKT because of the 2+/-mile required backtrack. 

How about a "Real 4 state challenge" VA(541.7),WV(17.7),MD(40.9),PA (229.8) = 830.1miles (2023)