Hiking: Washington Monument State Park

Posted By BrokenClaw on September 1, 1999

Washington County, Maryland, boasts the first monument erected to honor the memory of the Father of our Country. Residence of nearby Boonsboro dedicated their Washington Monument on July 4, 1827, fifty years before the more famous one in Washington, DC. The monument was repaired and altered numerous times over the years. During the Civil War, the Union Army used its strategic location overlooking the Cumberland Valley as a signal station.

The tower was restored to its original design in the 1930′s, and the land was subsequently presented to the state of Maryland for park development. Today, the site is designated as a state and national historical monument, located within Washington Monument State Park.

Washington Monument State ParkWe had stopped here on a previous trip through the region, but on this cool August weekday we made it our destination. As state parks go, this one offers little for the outdoors enthusiast, providing mostly picnic and playground facilities, so during the week the park attracts few visitors. After our picnic lunch, we took the uphill trail to the actual Monument. Inside the tower, the stone staircase spirals 360° to the lookout, offering a magnificent view in all directions. We took a few photos from the top of the tower, and around the massive base structure as well. The trail to the monument isn’t much more than a stroll, but it has one other feature that earns it notice. It connects directly with the Appalachian Trail. The park also includes several hiking shelters, making it a popular stopover for AT hikers, especially with its location on a local summit. We were here just for a day trip, so we didn’t venture too far down the Appalachian.

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