Lifestyle, News

At the crossroads: Hiking community descends on Hancock Trails Day

Rangers from Maryland Department of Natural Resources enlightened visitors on the Western Maryland Rail Trail, exhibiting relics found along the trail, including hardened coal cinders from a steam engine and a glass tube from a telegraph pole.

by Lisa Schauer

photos by Lisa Schauer

Hundreds of hiking enthusiasts descended on the town of Hancock for the second annual Hancock Trails Day held last Saturday, June 4 at the municipal lot behind Weaver’s bounded by Taney Alley, Canal Road, and Williams Street.

A white tent with 50 folding chairs and a riser underneath was erected for speeches delivered during the daylong outdoor event.

Hiking enthusiasts crowd under a tent at Hancock Trails Day last Saturday to hear trail talks by guest speakers.

About 10 tables and booths were set up with information and giveaway items from sponsoring organizations and partners.

Dozens of visitors strolled about, collecting information on recreational opportunities in Hancock and Washington County.

Volunteers with Potomac Appalachian Trail Club engaged with visitors at Hancock Trails Day.

“This area can be a regional recreation hub,” said Thomas Taylor with Main Street Hancock, organizers of Hancock Trails Day, which is held in conjunction with the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day.

Hancock Trails Day also coincided with the grand opening of Flannel on the Trail, a new retail shop facing the canal at 45 West Main Street with works by local artisans, workshops and coffee drinks.

Flannel hosted a create-a-candle workshop by Marley & Max Candles and More of Berkeley Springs. Dark Horse Décor from Bedford, Pa. provided a workshop on planting succulents.

“This is my first time out. I just graduated from the academy last night,” said Hancock Officer Donald O’ Brien, smiling and handing out free cups of coffee from the Hancock Police Department.

O’Brien is from Hancock, and recently graduated from the police academy with fellow officer Jessie Walls, according to Acting Chief of Police Sgt. R. Miller.

Tour operators advertised Trails Day bus tours going from D.C. to Hancock in advance of the event.

Major sponsors were the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, and Visit Hagerstown/Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Hancock sits at the confluence of five major hiking trails, including the 185-mile C&O Canal Towpath, the 250-mile Tuscarora Trail, the 28-mile Western Rail Trail, the 6,800-mile American Discovery Trail, and the 1,600-mile Great Eastern Trail.

Governor Larry Hogan declared Hancock Maryland’s first and only Trail Town in 2020. The town is known in hiking circles as the trail crossroads of the mid-Atlantic.

Hancock Trails Day ended with an organized short hike to the Dugan Hollow Shelter on the Tuscarora Trail across the Potomac River in northern Morgan County, W.Va.

First-time author Christine Reed of Colorado was in Hancock last Saturday on a book tour, part of Hancock Trails Day












Officer Donald O’Brien, left, and Acting Chief Sgt. R. Miller with the Hancock Police Department handed out free coffee and mingled with the crowd at Hancock Trails Day.










A popcorn and lemonade stand was set up for Hancock Trails Day on the deck outside Flannel, a new retailer facing the canal.