Climbing in Annapolis Rock, a silver wall in the forest

Park in AT Trailhead at I-70, MD
GPS: 39.53544,-77.6062
Main attraction: Climbing walls, great views
Hike length: 4 miles out and back
Map and Directions
Difficulty: Easy

Climbing Annapolis Rock: Raisa climbing Black Crack (5.9+) 


Last weekend we climbed in Annapolis Rock, in the Maryland's Appalachian mountains. It was finally Spring and warm enough to go outdoors.

We got the directions in and headed there with all our climbing gear, water and food for the day.

Appalachian Trail

It's a 2.5-mile hike through the Appalachian trail to arrive to the crag - a terrific, short band of western facing cliffs 1800 feet above the Cumberland valley.

After 1 hour walking on a relatively flat trail, we arrived to the Annapolis Rock overlook and climbing area, and found a great view of the spring-greenish forests covering everything and a small man-made lake far away.

Annapolis Rock overlook

Rocks in the Woods

A good thing about climbing in the East Coast is that you feel immersed on a wild mountain environment while approaching the rocks. Some rock scramble is required to access most of the best and unique climbing areas, which are usually deep in the woods.

The rock formations in Annapolis Rock are beautiful -  bullet-hard quartzite characterized by smooth bulges and long, horizontal fractures. A great area for Top Roping and Traditional Climbing.

Dan setting the anchor of Black Crack (5.9+) - Climbing in Annapolis Rock

Top Rope Climbing

The were some people hanging out there. Two guys that had been climbing there for 25 years and some Appalachian Trail hikers. People that before getting there had walked from Georgia! You can imagine how chill and comfortable the atmosphere was.

Dan, who has been setting Top Rope anchors for 25 years, gave us a lot of info and offered us to climb 1 easy and 2 moderate routes, which was a lot of fun. We got along so well with these guys that we will probably meet them again.

Overall we had a good impression of the crag, which features smooth faces sculpted by the rainy and windy weather of the East Coast. There is a classic climbing route called 'Black Crack' (5.9+). It is a long and steady climb with lots of good holds but a bit difficult to read and with some overhangs. We both tried and after many attempts we made it to the top. 

Mon climbing Black Crack (5.9+) in Annapolis Rock

Traditional Climbing Culture

Other thing that caught our attention was the broad culture of Traditional Climbing in the United States.

If there is any possibility to do a route only with traditional gear or top rope, they will never build bolts in the wall for sport climbing purposes.

Sport climbing is limited to bigger climbing areas like New River Gorge in West Virginia, or Red River Gorge in Kentucky.

In Annapolis Rock there is no single route equipped with bolts and we got frustrated at the beginning.

Later we understood the culture of preserving the rock as it is and not drilling the rock, which is kind of destructive.

Mon enjoying the overlook after climbing 


It's possible to camp 5 minutes away from the rocks, and there is also a small water spring.

We are sure we will come back with appropriate gear to camp and stay longer.

At the end of the day we hiked back to the parking lot, which was exhausting after climbing all day, but very rewarding.

What we did last weekend? We had fun in nature!

This trip is featured on the book 20 Weekend Trips Close to Washington DC.