Annapolis Rocks & Black Rock Cliffs

  • Highlights: Views, Appalachian Trail
  • Distance: 7.3 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change 905 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with some rocks
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: US40 Baltimore National Pike, 1/4 mile east of Greenbriar
  • Trail Markings: white blazes, sign posts at junctions
  • Website: AllTrails and South Mountain State Park
  • Beer Pairings: Idiom Brewing—Sticky Fingers IPA & Down Under lager

Trail Map:

The Hike:

This is one of the most popular hikes in Maryland. It has two great views: Annapolis Rocks and Black Rock Cliffs. We were joined on this hike by Pete’s sister Nan and our niece Hannah. They had hiked this section of the AT before and were excited for a repeat.

The AT parking area on US 40 can be very crowded on weekends and holidays. A short blue-blazed trail from the rear of the parking area leads to the AT. Follow the AT northbound as it runs beside Interstate 70 before entering the forest. Most of the elevation gain is in the first mile and a series of log steps help with the climb and prevent erosion.

The AT follows the top of a ridge Follow the signs to a short blue-blazed spur trail leading to Annapolis Rock. Views open up to the west of Greenbrier Lake and the Cumberland Valley. Return to the AT and continue north for one mile to signs for Black Rock Cliffs. Follow the short spur trail to another nice western view. Return on the AT southbound to the parking area and your vehicle. 

Hike Photos:

Beer Pairing:

Idiom Brewing in Fredrick MD is located less than 30 minutes from the trailhead. Located in the Union Knitting Mills complex, this brewery has 16 taps of craft beer, indoor and outdoor seating, and a nice variety of food items including pizza, salads, and sandwiches. The outdoor beer garden on Carroll Creek is dog friendly.

Kathy really liked Sticky Fingers (6% ABV) a hazy New England-style IPA brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Warrior, and Sultana hops. Pete even liked it and he normally doesn’t care for hazy IPAs. Pete was pleasantly surprised with Down Under (4.8% ABV) a crisp, refreshing Australian lager. On a hot day after a great hike, a cold lager and a pizza is as good as it gets. Cheers!

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.