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Hike to Devil's Racecourse on the Appalachian Trail

7, Smithsburg, Maryland

4.5/5
based on 2 reviews

Details

Distance

3 miles

Elevation Gain

1500 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Ashley Stimpson

A stony surprise, Devil's Racecourse is a worthy side trip during a day on the Appalachian Trail.

Start your hike where the AT crosses Raven Rock Road (Maryland Route 491). This crossing is well-marked from both sides by large, yellow signs and blazed stakes. You will need to park on the side of the road, but the shoulder is wide and can accommodate a crowd. 

The first half mile or so of this hike is hard; you'll be climbing more than a thousand feet up uneven stone steps and switchbacks. Luckily, it's immediately scenic as you meander through Raven Rock Hollow, a large outcropping of boulders overlooking South Mountain's eastern edge. 

At about one mile, you'll come to a side trail to your left for the devils' racecourse shelter and another side trail to your right for a spring and Ritchie Rd. Follow the trail to your right. It will lead you downhill and across a spring. Soon you'll come to a tree with a black blaze. Just beyond that is Devil's Racecourse, an impressively large boulder field in the middle of the forest. 

Listen to the creek as it flows beneath the rocks and snap a 'gram (or 70) before retracing your steps back to the car, or on to High Rock. 

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Features

Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

That initial climb is an absolute burner! Open views at the top though, and the boulder field is neat to explore.

Fun rock scramble on the AT! Its things like this I remember most about my section hikes. I always enjoy a good rock scramble or a good view! I highly recommend hiking the AT through all of Maryland, it was a really fun time!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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