Harpers Ferry is a historic town of 285 people (2020) in the northern corner of the Shenandoah Valley just inside West Virginia. It is a natural transportation hub: the Shenandoah River empties into the Potomac there. Three states meet there. East from Harpers Ferry, over the Shenandoah, is Virginia. North, across the Potomac, is Maryland.
Harpers Ferry is, for its size, as full of history as any town in the United States, with the possible exception of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A lot happened in Harper's Ferry (as it was spelled until the 20th century).
Harpers Ferry was the location of the largest episode of guerrilla warfare in American history up to that point. If it was not the beginning of the American Civil War, as some have said, it was closely related to it. It was the last "pre-war" event.
Visitors to Harpers Ferry should be aware that the topic of John Brown is a sensitive one. He was not seen as a hero to the pro-slavery white population.
Nearly half a million people visit the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park each year. Harpers Ferry is mostly known for John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, with abolitionist John Brown and his followers on the one side, and federal troops commanded by Robert E. Lee on the other side. While the attack in 1859 failed and Brown was hanged shortly thereafter, it is said to have contributed greatly to the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.
- Jefferson County Welcome Center, 37 Washington Ct, ☏ +1 304-535-2627.
Harpers Ferry is located at the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, where the states of West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia meet. To reach it, take Interstate 70 to Frederick Maryland, and exit on US 340 west for about 15 miles.
Parking in the historical part of Harpers Ferry is very limited. There are free buses from parking lots out of the area.
Harpers Ferry train is served by several weekday MARC commuter trains from Washington D.C., operated by the Maryland Transit Administration. Also, Amtrak serves the town with its Capitol Limited service between Washington D.C. and Chicago.
- 1 Harpers Ferry railway station, 112 Potomac St.
Harpers Ferry is located along the Appalachian Trail, as well as the C & O Canal trail. Since it is at the crossroads of these two trails, it is an extremely popular starting or ending point for backpackers.
- 1 Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, ☏ +1 304-535-6029. $10 per vehicle; $5 per person on foot on bicycle.
- 1 Harpers Ferry Zip Line / Canopy Tour, 408 Alstadts Hill Rd (US 340 to Millville Rd, left on Alstadts Hill Rd, 3/10 mile on right), ☏ +1 304-535-2663. 9AM-5PM. The Zip Line at River Riders will bring you breathtaking scenery as you soar among the trees and along the beautiful Potomac River.
During River Riders' guided Zip Line/Canopy Tour you fly high above the ground along various length zips. The tour is a 2- to 2½- hour experience and is geared toward those approximately 10 years of age and older and between 70 - 250 lbs. Fly through the air, as you immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of our historic waterfront location. $75 per person.
- River activities White water rafting, canoeing, inner tubing.
- Backpacking The Appalachian Trail passes through Harpers Ferry. The headquarters of the Trail Conservancy are here.
- 2 River Riders, 408 Alstadts Hill Rd (US 340 south of Harpers Ferry, Millville Rd, 3/10 mile to left on Alstadts Hill Rd, 4/10 mile on right), ☏ +1 304-535-2663. 9AM-5PM. Rafting, tubing, zip line canopy tours, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, and fishing adventures on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers (class I-III). $30-75 per person.
- 3 Harpers Ferry Marina -boat ramp /river access, 1816 Potomac St (pass available at River Riders), ☏ +1 304-535-2663. 9AM-5PM. A beautiful deep water section of the Potomac River near Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County is available for your boating pleasure. A four-mile section of deep water runs from our campground to above the Dargan Bend Boat Ramp in Maryland. Pontoon boats, fishing boats, water skiing, wake boarding, and jet skis are welcome. Pitch your tent and tie your boat up out front. Bring your RV as well. There are no hook-ups, but for those willing to rough-it, it is a beautiful unique location $25 per year.
- 4 River & Trail Outfitters, 604 Valley Road, Knoxville, ☏ +1-301-695-5177, toll-free: +1-888-446-7529, firstname.lastname@example.org. 9AM-5PM. Outdoor Adventure Outfitter with whitewater rafting tours on both the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Other outdoor activities include kayaking, canoeing, hiking, climbing and camping. Varies on activity.
- 1 River Riders, 408 Alstadts Hill Rd (US 340 to Millville Rd, left on Alstadts Hill RD, 3/10 mile on right), ☏ +1 304-535-2663. 9AM-5PM. White water rafting, tubing, Zip Line Canopy Tours, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, and fishing adventures on the beautiful Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers (class I-III) in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia come together. Canoes, kayaks, rafting and river equipment, rescue equipment, boating and fishing equipment available for sale. $30-75 per person.
- River & Trail Outfitters. Canoes, kayaks, and rafting equipment for rent and sale. Guided trips.
- Outfitters General Store & Bike Shop Great hiking and outdoors equipment & gear, Harper's Ferry memorabilia and gifts, snacks, knives, excellent customer service, and great atmosphere.
- 1 Cannonball Deli, 148 High Street, ☏ +1 304-535-1762. A hole in the wall with delicious and varied choices, including gyros, subs, hamburgers, and pasta. Popular with National Park Rangers on lunch breaks.
- 2 The Anvil Restaurant, 1290 W Washington St, ☏ +1 304-535-2582. W-Su 11AM-9PM. Washington Street. Rustic casual dining and cocktails.
- 3 The Country Cafe, 1715 W. Washington St., ☏ +1 304-535-2327. Tu-Su 7AM-3PM, closed M. Casual cafe serving breakfast and lunch since 1989.
- 1 Harpers Ferry Vacation Rental, 408 Alstadts Hill Rd, ☏ +1 304-535-2663. $150-300.
- 2 The Jackson Rose B&B, 1167 Washington St, ☏ +1 304-535-1528. Historic home and former Civil War headquarters of Stonewall Jackson.
- 3 The Anglers Inn, 867 Washington St, ☏ +1 304 535-1239. 1900s Victorian home. Guided fishing trips available. $85-115.
- [dead link] Washington House Bed and Breakfast, S. George St, toll-free: +1-800-297-6957. In charming Colonial Charles Town, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet, the Washington House Inn is a wonderful example of late Victorian architecture. Built in 1899, by descendants of President Washington's brothers John Augustine and Samuel.
- 4 Between The Rivers B&B, 597 E Ridge St, ☏ +1 304-535-2768. Private guest cottage in historic Harpers Ferry $125-150.
- 5 [dead link] Harpers Ferry Hostel, 19123 Sandy Hook Road, Knoxville, Maryland, ☏ +1 301-834-7652. Just up the hill from the C&O Canal Towpath and the Appalachian Trail, the Harpers Ferry Hostel is in Knoxville, MD, two miles from the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. Free pancake breakfast and internet access. Camping available outside for $8 per person. $21.
- Camping Harpers Ferry (off US340 west of Harpers Ferry National Park check in at River Riders). 30 waterfront tent or trailer sites on the Potomac River. primitive $25.
- Harpers Ferry KOA Holiday, 343 Campground Rd (off US340 west of Harpers Ferry National Park), toll-free: +1-800-562-9497 (info), +1-800-562-9497 (reservations). 300 tent or trailer sites. Hook ups. $30.
- Antietam National Battlefield, minutes away, it is one of the most significant battlefields of the Civil War.
- Shepherdstown is a quaint small town with upscale dining and bed and breakfast inns.
|Routes through Harpers Ferry|
|Pittsburgh ← Martinsburg ←||W E||→ Rockville → Washington, D.C.|
|END ← Martinsburg ←||NW SE||→ Brunswick → Washington, D.C.|