Washington Monument to Annapolis Rocks and Back Again

In which Karen meets her first privy and learns that pausing the track recorder during lunch really confuses the speed graph. 26 mph lunch!

Mile Notes

  • Mile 3: After crossing I-70 on an overhead foot bridge, turn left to stay on the AT.
  • Mile 5.3: At the sign for Annapolis Rocks, turn left down a spur trail. It’s an expectedly long spur — don’t give up!
  • Mile 5.5: Annapolis Rocks! Have some noms, the head back. There’s a privy on the spur trail.
  • Mile 5.7: When you hit the AT, turn right to go back south.
  • Mile 8: Cross the I-70 footbridge.
  • Mile 11: Slog up the now-impossibly-steep hill to the Washington Monument parking lot.
  • Mile 11.3: Fall into the car and whine a bit.
Washington Monument

Washington Monument (El Juice Bottle)

Let’s go hike on the AT! We grabbed a chunk off the Maryland Challenge route and drove to Washington Monument State Park. The restrooms are closed at this time of year, but the park service kindly provided a roomy, clean portapotty at the parking lot.

Washington Monument Darpandasquirrel

Washington Monument Darpandasquirrel

Up a windy hill from the parking lot is Washington Monument, which looks like a stone juice bottle. You can climb a spiral staircase up to the top of the bottle and gaze out. An information plaque at the top tells you what you’re gazing at. Bring a flashlight! Daylight does not reach the middle of the staircase, and the steps vary in height. Outside the bottle, there is a lovely curving stone wall and additional informational plaques. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the rare Mid-Atlantic Fuchsia Panda gazing back at you from the wall.

Head north on the AT. First you go down, then you go up.

We had a minor course meander at mile 3. After crossing the footbridge over I-70, the AT bangs a hard left, but this is poorly marked when you approach from the south, and the path is just a worn area in the grass. Much more obvious is the spur trail to the US 40 parking lot, so that’s where we went, and then proceeded to be confused.

After glaring at the trail map posted in the parking lot for a bit, we headed back toward the footbridge and bumbled our way down an embankment to the trail. Many people clearly make the same mistake as there is a clear path through unmown grass to bumble down.

Back on what looks more like the AT, keep heading north. The trail goes up a lot. Poles would have helpful, but we had not yet realized this. The spur trail to Annapolis Rocks is clearly marked. The spur is about 0.2 miles — long enough that we kept wondering if we were going the right way. You’ll pass a platform for the in-season camp monitor and a privy on your right before you get to the rocks themselves.

Have some noms and enjoy the view. Take an obligatory foot photo for evidence.

Annapolis Rocks Feet

Feet at Annapolis Rocks

Back to Washington Monument is straightforward, but the hill to get back up to it seemed fairly miserable after 11 miles.


  • Camelbak Rim Runner hydration pack (older model – no resemblance to the current one, so no linkies)
  • iPhone with TrackRec app
  • Ancient Keen Newport sandals


  • Turkey, muenster and romaine sandwich on whole wheat sandwich thin
  • some other stuff I didn’t bother to note


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