The simple act of going for a walk becomes an adventure when the weather turns crisp and Mid-Atlantic trees change color. Check out these area hiking trails to get a breath of fresh air, to commune with nature and to get a glimpse of our region's rich history. Between the Atlantic marshes and the peaks of the Appalachian Trail, there are hikes suited to everyone from beginners to experienced campers.
You can flee city life for the untamed wilds of West Virginia. You can take a walk into the past to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. You can watch birds of prey soaring over the mountains of Pennsylvania. Just get outside and go.
Old Misery Trail
Location: Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont
Details: 8 a.m. to sunset, April to October; 10 a.m. to sunset, November to March. Maryland residents $3 per vehicle; other states $5 per vehicle.
Length: 2 miles one way.
Local color: Truth in advertising — Old Misery Trail is a challenging hike, one of the most difficult of the nine trails in Cunningham Falls State Park. The journey leads you to Cat Rock, at an elevation of 1,560 feet, with soaring views of the Western Maryland countryside.
Location: Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg
Length: 3/10th of a mile one way
Local color: Capt. John C. Tidball needed the high ground when the Union artillerymen under his command provided cover for soldiers advancing toward Middle Bridge. The Tidball Trail, named in his honor, thus provides one of the best overlooks of the Antietam National Battlefield. It's one of the less-traversed trails in the park because of its relative newness (it debuted in 2011) and difficulty. It's a short trail, but it goes straight up to the ridgeline. The beauty of the land stands in stark contrast to the events of Sept. 17, 1862, when 23,000 soldiers perished in a single day.
Junction & Breakwater Trail
Location: Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes
Details: Open 8 a.m. to sunset. $4 per Delaware vehicle; $8 per out-of-state vehicle.
Length: 6 miles one way.
Local color: If you prefer beach towns in the off-season, try this trail between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. It has wooded parks, wetlands and two scenic overlooks. If you really want to feel the sand between your toes, Cape Henlopen State Park has other trails that touch upon the waterfront.