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Hang gliding on the east coast is a unique experience compared to anywhere else in the country. These are the best places to go hang gliding in Maryland.
Whether you live in Maryland or plan a trip that way, you might be wondering if there are any locations to take to the skies with your hang glider. After all, it might not be at the top of your list as one of the states known for gliding. But don’t worry; there are a few good companies and launch sites in the area that are worth checking out.
The best hang gliding companies, organizations, and launch sites in and around Maryland are:
- Capital Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
- Maryland Hang Gliding School
- Silver Wings Hang Gliding
- Smithsburg Training Hill
- High Rock Overlook
- Dickey Ridge (Virginia)
- Woodstock (Virginia)
Looking for the best hang gliding locations in Maryland? Look no further! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most amazing places to go hang gliding in the state. Each location offers beautiful views and an incredible experience that you will never forget. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to take flight!
This article is one of 49 other similar ones where we’re coming up with the best places to glide in every state in the US. This way no matter where you are or where you’re headed, you’ll know exactly where to go in each state for the best flying experience. To make sure you get the most accurate content, we research companies and launch sites and take input from other enthusiasts to create these guides.
Is Maryland A Good Place For Hang Gliding?
We'll dive into where you can actually go hang gliding in Maryland shortly, but before we get there let's take a look at whether or not it's even a good place for it. After all, you don't want to plan a hang gliding trip to a new state without knowing if it's worth it. And while there's certainly more nuance to it than this, you mainly need three things for hang gliding: good weather, good views, and good launch spots.
How does Maryland stack up?
In terms of weather, Maryland is great for hang gliding during much of the year. From around late March through October, the state mostly has mild temperatures and gentle breezes. Once fall and winter come along, as do more challenging conditions that experienced gliders might be able to take advantage of. However, it can get pretty cold in Maryland during the winter and you might have to deal with snowfall from time to time, which isn't great for gliding!
The views are also incredible in Maryland. From the mountains of western Maryland to the beaches on the coast, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery to take in while you're up in the air. And speaking of the coast, one of the best things about hang gliding in Maryland is that you can often see for miles out over the Atlantic Ocean. It's truly an amazing experience.
Finally, the big one: places to actually go hang gliding. While there are a few companies and launch sites in the state that we'll get into shortly, it's certainly lacking compared to other states. if you're nearby or planning a trip here anyways, then it's not a bad place for gliding. But if you want a plethora of companies and launch sites to choose from, you might have better luck checking out some of the other states on the site.
Maryland Hang Gliding Companies and Launch Sites
Now that we know a bit about whether or not Maryland is a good place to go hang gliding, let's take a look at some of the actual companies and launch sites you can use (and even one that you can't really use since it's been outlawed by the authorities!).
Without further ado, let's dive in.
Capital Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
The first organization that we're going to talk about isn't actually Maryland-specific, but it's without a doubt the best one to join in the area and Maryland is one of the states that many of its members come from. Enthusiasts in the area know what I'm talking about, but if not, it's the Capital Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (CHGPA).
This group is based out of Washington D.C., but it has members from all over Maryland and some from the other neighboring states as well. They meet regularly to discuss the sport, plan trips, and just generally enjoy each other's company. If you're looking for a group of people to go gliding with or just want to meet some fellow enthusiasts, this is the group for you.
The organization's website has all kinds of useful videos, pages, articles, and links that will help you learn about hang gliding and will help you get started even if you're completely new to the sport. It also lists all of the main sites that the organization uses (10+), which will give you an idea of some of the best sites in the area, most of which are actually located in the other nearby states.
To fully access the website and all of the benefits of this organization, you have to become a member. Doing so is easy since the entire application process is online. All you have to do is provide a bit of information about yourself and pay the $60 registration fee and then they'll review it and you'll be granted access as soon as they get back to you!
Maryland School of Hang Gliding
Up next for anyone in Maryland that wants to learn how to hang glide is the Maryland School of Hang Gliding. This is a great place to learn since it's one of the only schools in the state that offers actual instruction on how to glide. It's also listed directly on the CHGPA's website, so that's even more reason to become a member of the above club!
The school is located near Baltimore and boasts that it's the oldest school in the Baltimore-Washington area. This hang gliding school will teach you the very basics of the sport and more, encompassing basic and advanced foot-launching instruction from the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA).
Getting started with this school is super affordable, with Ground School glass starting at just $10 per person. These classes, and the actual in-flight training, typically consist of only 1-4 people, so you'll get personalized instruction every time. This will really streamline your learning and help you get off the ground and into the sky in no time.
Silver Wings Hang Gliding
The last hang gliding company in Maryland that we're going to take a look at today is Silver Wings Hang Gliding. This is another great option for anyone looking for a place to take lessons or just go out and have some fun gliding. They are located in northwestern Maryland and serve not only this state but also enthusiasts from Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Virginia, and more.
This company specializes in foot training and will take anyone with any level of experience. If you're a complete novice, you'll have to start off with ground school before going to actual flight class. The first flight class will start with ground school and will set you back $100. All subsequent flight classes after that are $90 each, but you will get airborne that first day for just the initial $100. So for a few hundred bucks and a few classes, you could get more than proficient at gliding!
This is another company recommended by the CHGPA and will give you the required foot training necessary to take off at all the mountain sites that CHGPA members fly from. So this is without a doubt one of the best companies in the state to start your hang gliding experience with and will help you get your feet under you as you take to the skies.
Smithburg Training Hill
Now that we've talked about some of the best hang gliding organizations, schools, and companies in Maryland, let's turn our focus to some of the actual sites in the state (and nearby states). From these sites, you'll be able to launch your own hang glider and soar through the skies like a bird. First up on the list is the Smithsburg Training Hill.
Located in Smithsburg (obviously), this training hill is one of the best spots in Maryland for someone that's new to the sport and wants to get used to foot launching. The hill isn't too big, but it's big enough to get a good running start for take-off. It's also not too crowded, so you won't have to worry about other people getting in your way or taking off before you're ready.
In terms of weather, this spot is great for flying during much of the year. That said, April through October will typically offer the best conditions since that's when the temperatures are the most moderate. In Maryland during the winter, it can get quite cold and windy, so it's not the ideal time to be flying around.
When you get done practicing your foot-launching for the day, Smithsburg is a pretty cool place to be and to explore. You can check out the Appalachian Trail, which runs right through town, or visit one of the many historic sites. There's also a great brewery in town that's worth checking out. So even if you don't get airborne, you can still have a great time in Smithsburg.
High Rock Overlook (outlawed for use)
One of the overlooks on Mount Quirauk, High Rock Overlook was once one of the most popular hang gliding spots in all of Maryland. That is until it was closed off to the public because local authorities were not fans of the straight drop-off that the cliff presents to the ground below. It's still there, but you can no longer fly from it for these reasons. That said, according to the CHGPA's website, the site might be set to reopen soon, which is super exciting for enthusiasts in the area!
So while you can't actually fly from High Rock Overlook at the moment, it's still a great place to go and check out. The views are absolutely incredible and you can see for miles in every direction. If you're lucky enough to be there on a clear day, you might even be able to see into Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. It's truly one of the most stunning places in the state.
And who knows, if it does open back up for flying, you might just be able to add it to your list of top hang gliding spots in Maryland! Stay tuned.
Dickey Ridge (Virginia)
As you can see from the name of this location, we're venturing outside of Maryland. Unfortunately, the state doesn't have too many great places for hang gliding on its own. But there are still some awesome places to go hang gliding in nearby states that are close to the border. So depending on where you're staying in Maryland, you can go to a nearby state like Virginia and spend the day hang gliding and still make it home for dinner.
One of the best nearby spots for gliding in Virginia is Dickey Ridge. This spot is located near Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, which means that the views are going to be incredible. You'll be able to see forests, mountains, and valleys as you glide through the air. And on a clear day, you might even be able to see all the way to Washington D.C., which is pretty cool.
In this area, you should find good weather for hang gliding from April to November. That said, the best time to go is typically October when the leaves are changing color. The views are just incredible during this time of year, the temperature is still warm enough to be comfortable, and you should be able to find some pretty good thermals to stay airborne.
So if you're looking for an amazing place to hang glide that's not too far from Maryland, Dickey Ridge should definitely be at the top of your list!
Rounding off our list here is Woodstock, which is also located in Virginia. This spot is a little bit further from Maryland than the previous one, but it's still only about a two-hour drive. And trust us, it's worth the extra time in the car.
Woodstock is located in the Shenandoah Valley, which means that there are some amazing views to take in while you're hang gliding. While you're up in the air, you'll be able to look down and see the valley stretched out below you. And if the weather is good and there aren't too many clouds in the sky, you might even be able to see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
The weather in Woodstock is pretty similar to that of most of Maryland and Virginia, although it can get a bit hotter in the summer. However, the fall and winter months are still mild enough that you'll be able to go hang gliding without any problem.
There are also a few other things to do in Woodstock if you're looking for something else to do while you're in town. There's a great little downtown area with some shops and restaurants, and if you're feeling up for it, you can even take a short drive out to Skyline Drive. All in all, Woodstock is a great place to visit if you're looking for some amazing views and good weather.
So there you have it! These are just a few of the great places to go hang gliding in and around Maryland. Whether you're looking for incredible views or just good weather, one of these spots is sure to be perfect for you. So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!