I’m going to start this by exploring the concept of hiking. Yes, hiking is commonly considered and associated with long walks on natural surfaces. Also, for some people to consider it hiking, it has to be difficult. Even though, whether you walk for ten minutes or two hours, on a natural surface or a man-made concrete trail, the ultimate benefits of “hiking” are still there. You spent some time in nature. You moved your body.
For some reason, we humans put too much energy on problematizing everything. Therefore, to not use more space to go in circles, this woman here captured some of my thoughts better than what I can say: “We can’t always have that 14-er summit or untouched forest adventure, but that makes city-jaunts even more precious. If I can do the #52hikechallenge and motivate my questionable guts to get outside every weekend for some exploration, anyone can. Take a two-mile walk along a local bike path or wander the shores of a lake or ocean. Do your exercise at a grassy park.”.
As a very dear professor I had in college, with whom I had the privilege of doing many hikes with, said to me recently: “The distance is not important… But getting out is very important”. So, for everyone that is looking for something easier, this place I’m about to share (1) looks like a hike, (2) feels like a hike, (3) will get your heart rate up, (4) it’s 1/2 mile out and back. I will call this a hike!
Where? Washington Monument, Boonsboro, Maryland, USA
How much? Free, there’s always the suggested donation to the park since it’s in Washington Monument State Park
Open/Closes: According to their website, 8:00 AM to sunset.
Pets: There’s nothing explicit about pets on this park’s page, but this is the Pet’s policy for Maryland State Parks in general.
At a Glance
Kid friendly ✅ ✅ ✅ Yes it is! As mentioned above, its a very short walk. 1/4 of a mile each way. Why do I say it looks and feels like a hike? Because it takes you through the woods, on a gravel trail and you are going up the entire time, which will get that heart pumping! I personally think that it’s a great place to take kids that you want to get interested into hiking. My little one was sleeping when we arrived. So, we put him in the stroller and he missed the entire experience. But my oldest had a lot of fun. When you get to the monument it’s even more fun to look at the tower!
Stroller friendly ✅ If you have been following me on insta you might know that my jogging stroller broke. Therefore, my teeny weeny umbrella-like stroller struggled but it got us all the way up. You just need to push harder. See it as a crossfit workout. A jogging stroller is obviously better suited.
Wheelchair accessible❌I wouldn’t advise it as one. It’s not only difficult to maneuver wheels on gravel but it’s also an incline. Even though, if you skip going up to see the monument, the Washington Monument State Park has ramps that lead to picnic tables and grassy areas.
Restrooms ✅ They were open, with toilet paper but not particularly clean.
Social distancing ✅ Based on a Sunday visit around 4:00 PM, very few people there. Once you reach the monument, the surrounding area is big enough to stay distanced from others that are appreciating the view as well.
My takeaway ✨ At this point, this is a takeaway that I apply to every place I’ve been (except farms), I need to come back during fall, winter and spring. The view right now is greenish, but I can imagine how beautiful it must look with the fall/spring foliage. Let alone covered with snow!
Last remarks 🚨 For the avid hiker, this is a good starting point for the AT (Appalachian Trail). If instead of taking a left to see the monument, you take a right, you’ll make your way on the AT and reach the trail that takes you to Annapolis Rock. That’s about 11 miles out and back. I’m totally looking forward to a future where I can get started on backpacking and bring my kids along!
More details of Our Experience
The Washington Monument State Park is located in Washington County. Click on the map to get directions on Google Maps.
You could either get to this place by parking on US40, skipping Annapolis Rock trail and continuing on the AT for three miles south towards Boonsboro. But that’s a lot, considering you have to walk back and it’ll be about six miles total. Therefore, the easiest way to reach the monument is by entering through the Washington Monument State Park.
Just follow the signs pointing out to the monument. You will be driving uphill and it’ll be very obvious when you reach the parking area because that’s it!
Where you park is also where the museum (currently closed) is and the restrooms. Start going up the hill, and in no time you’ll reach the sign in the picture above. If you go right, you’ll walk about 3 miles and get on the Annapolis Rock/Black Rock trail. Go left, and the monument is there. There has to be a connection at some point that takes you to Waverton Cliffs, but that’s even longer. Since I didn’t explore the rest of the park, I can say for sure where it is and how it looks like.
At the moment, the entrance to the tower is closed. But you can still appreciate it!
Also, the view from up there is very pretty. Imagine how beautiful this will look like with the fall foliage. Just two months away! Moreover, it makes a great spot to catch a sunset and watch migratory birds.
Just for reference! Another one in the books for me. AT here I come!
I hope you have a great time visiting this beautiful place. Being in contact with nature is proven to make you feel better and happier. Let me know if you go how it goes and remember that the easiest way to stay posted and in touch is to follow me on insta, where I also share videos of the places in my stories/highlights!