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Crampton Gap to Turners Gap - AT, MD

no permit
31 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List MD > Western
3 of 5 by 1
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Shuttle 7.83 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,041 feet
Elevation Gain 710 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,366 feet
Avg Time Hiking 3.5
Kokopelli Seeds 12.38
Interest Ruins & Historic
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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31  2013-03-30 kingsnake
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Sep, Apr
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:53am - 6:16pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
No cramps at Crampton Gap
by kingsnake

Likely In-Season!
The Maryland segments of the Appalachian Trail are ripe with Civil War history, and this South Mountain segment is no different, featuring three battles from September 14, 1862, during the Antietam Campaign: Crampton Gap, Fox Gap and Turners Gap. (You can do the hike quicker; the time reflects stopping to read all the historical markers and monuments.)

The hike starts at Cramptons Gap, 15 miles southeast of Hagerstown. Besides the battle markers, Crampton Gap also contains the Townsend Monument, a stone arch dedicated to Civil War correspondents and artists, of both sides. (Perhaps the first monument to war journalists in history.) As on other segments of the AT I have hiked, each end of a segment contains a parking lot with plenty of spaces, a place to camp, and bathroom facilities.

From the lot, proceed north toward the farm building shell, immediately starting one of two 400-foot climbs on the hike. The first mile is smooth, if slippery due to fallen leaves. In cold months, you will be able to see through the trees, not so much during the summer when they will be leafed out. Keep an eye out for Eastern Diamondbacks in warm months. Once you reach the top of the climb, the trail will remain rocky six miles to Fox Gap.

There's a lot of neat rock formations along this AT segment. At 3.5 miles, near the end of the second 400-foot climb, there is a small outcropping with a clear view south along South Mountain, past Harpers Ferry and into Virginia. A few hundred yards past the outcropping, look back to your left, and you will see a faint trail that will take you to the commo towers at the top of Lamb Knoll.

The towers are in two adjacent compounds, both fenced and heavily festooned with cameras. There are "US Government - No Trespassing" signs, but no sign prohibiting photograpy. (Which would likely be a federal crime.) After taking a few nervous looks at the commo towers, return down the faint path to the AT, then continue east for a few hundred yards before turning north. You are about halfway.

A mile later you will cross the paved commo tower access road. If you continue straight across, you will be off the AT. Instead, turn slightly right after crossing. As on other Maryland AT segments, the AT is marked by a single white vertical mark, usually on a tree; one or two blue marks, or a ribbon indicates a side trail.

After seven miles, you will arrive at Fox Gap. After spending some more time with the historical markers, continue north for the final mile to end of the hike at Turners Gap, where there are yet more historical markers.

Note: At least in Maryland, the AT is very popular with trail runners and backpackers (especially of the Cub/Boy Scout variety).

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2013-04-04 kingsnake
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Crampton Gap to Turners Gap - AT
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Visiting 3-year old grandaughter for Easter, for second year in a row. Wanted to do another Maryland segment on the Appalachian Trail. Maryland is only about 35-miles wide along the AT, so five segments ... one if you are a Teva, and feeling frisky. :D Next year, I plan on hiking south from Crampton Gap to Harper's Ferry, just across the Potomac River in West Virginia.

    You can read the hike description I added for most of the details, but it was cold when me and my shuttle-driving wife arrived at Crampton Gap. So cold, that after taking a few pictures of Townsend's Monument, I got back in the car to warm up for a few minutes before starting.

    The port-a-potty at Crampton Gap looked like it had not been pumped since the battle in 1862.

    Stubbed my toe eight times, but only fell once. (200 yards from the end.) Bashed my head twice, but that was on a lamp in our hotel room, as the AT conservancy does a good job clearing branches. The trail itself probably does not require much maintenance due to heavy traffic. (One scoutmaster I passed had one of his Cub Scout's plush deer in his pack; he laughed when I asked him if he had a tag for it.)

    Found a glove on a tree branch; left it in case the freezing guy came back for it. Picked up a few other items along the way, but the trail is mostly very clean -- especially considering the traffic.

    Verizon reception is mostly 2 bars, but often 3 bars. By the Lamb Knoll commo towers it is 4 bars.

    At one point a trail runner was coming up behind me. I thought he would have passed me quicker, but it was not until we got to the top of a short rise. He complemented me on my pace, which was pretty cool.

    Jogged half of the last mile as I was behind schedule.

    I have always taken trail notes by jotting them either on my paper MapDex topo copy or in a spiral flip notebook. I started out doing that, then realized I could take audio notes on my recently acquired IPhone. I'll spare you the heavy breathing.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From I-70, which runs from Baltimore to Pittsburgh: Exit Hwy 66 south. Go 5.2 twisty miles until the T-intersection in Boonsboro. Turn left. Go 1.2 miles east on US 40. Turn right. Go 7.1 miles south on Hwy 67 to the small farming community of Gapland. The turn comes up quick, so keep an eye out. Turn left on Gapland Rd. Go a mile northeast until you see the stone arch. Park in the lot on the north side of the road.
    page created by kingsnake on Apr 03 2013 1:33 pm
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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