Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Quick Facts

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

West Virginia

(304) 535-6298

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the states of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, John Brown, "Stonewall" Jackson, and Frederick Douglass are just a few of the prominent individuals who left their mark on this place. The story of Harpers Ferry is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It involves a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of this nation's history.

Map of Harpers Ferry

Latitude, Longitude: 39.318393, -77.758691

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Cyclists are allowed to bike on the streets of Harpers Ferry, but are not permitted on sidewalks or park trails. Riding your bike downhill from the park entrance and Visitor Center parking lot is not permitted. (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Chapter 1). Park shuttle buses are equipped with bike racks for transporting your bike. Helmets are strongly recommended for all bikers and required by WV State Law for all riders under the age of 14. The best place to ride bikes is the C & O Canal towpath. Helmets are required when bicycling the C & O Canal on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. Access to the C & O Canal from Harpers Ferry could be difficult for some as you need to carry your bike down 2 flights of steps to access the path. Cyclists may consider utilizing one of the following nearby areas for other access points to the C & O Canal: 1. Dargan Bend (mile post 64.89): When exiting the park entrance area, make a right at the stoplight onto U.S. 340 N. Follow U.S. 340 across both the Shenandoah and the Potomac River bridges and make a right onto Keep Tryst Road. Go past the Hillside Motel and take the next right onto the Harpers Ferry Road/Sandy Hook Road. Follow this road under the bridge and pass through the village of Sandy Hook. Follow the road for about four miles and watch for Back Road on the left. Take this road to the C & O Canal access area at Dargan Bend. Total distance: 6 miles. 2. Antietam Creek (mile post 69.4): Follow the directions for Dargan Bend (above), except continue on the Harpers Ferry Road/Sandy Hook Road rather than turning onto Back Road. Follow the Harpers Ferry Road for about six miles from this point. Cross a stone bridge and pass the Antietam Creek Ranger Station on the right. Turn left onto Canal Road just before "Potomac View Farm". Take this road to the C & O Canal access area at Antietam Creek. Total distance: 10 miles. 3. Shepherdstown (mile post 72.5): Follow the directions above to Antietam Creek, except continue on Canal Road past the Antietam Creek Campground for about 3.5 miles to the C & O Canal access area at Shepherdstown near Lock 38. OR: When exiting the park entrance area, make a left at the stoplight onto U.S. 340 S. Follow U.S. 340 S for about 1.5 miles and exit onto Rt. 230 N. Follow Rt. 230 N for about eight miles until you reach Shepherdstown. Go through Shepherdstown on Rt. 230 by bearing right after the railroad crossing onto Princess Street. Turn left at the stop sign onto German Street. Follow German Street and make a right at the next stop sign onto Rt. 480 N. Follow Rt. 480 past ShepherdCollege and cross the Potomac River bridge. Go to the top of the hill and make a sharp right onto Canal Road beside the "Blackford's Ford" sign. Follow Canal Road down to the C & O Canal access area at Shepherdstown near Lock 38. Total distance: 12 miles. 4. Brunswick (mile post 55.0): When exiting the park entrance area, make a right at the stoplight onto U.S. 340 N. Follow U.S. 340 for about 6.5 miles to the Brunswick - Burkittsville exit on the right. Take this exit and bear right onto Rt. 17 S/Burkittsville Road. Pass the Sheetz convenience store on the right and continue on Rt. 17/Burkittsville Road for about one mile. Make a right at the stoplight onto Rt.17 S/Petersville Road. Follow this road for about a mile and a half. At the next intersection, veer left, and follow the signs for "Town Center". Make a quick right onto Maple Avenue (next to the bank). Take Maple Avenue past the train station and over two sets of railroad tracks. The road then bears to the right toward the C & O Canal access area at Brunswick. Total distance: 10 miles. Additional Information: Bicycle racks are available at the park entrance at Cavalier Heights and in the Lower Town area of the park. The bicycle racks in the Lower Town are found on the other side of the railroad trestle near the Lower Town bus shelter and near the Point. C & O Canal brochures and bicycle rental information are available at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Visitor Center. Have a safe and enjoyable visit. Bicycles may be rented from the following local businesses: KOA Campground: (304) 535-6895 or 1-800-KOA-9497 The Outfitter: (304) 535-2087 River and Trail Outfitters: (301) 834-9950 Harpers Ferry River Riders: 1-800-326-7238

  • Climbing

    Please contact the park for information about climbing.

  • Fishing

    Please contact the park for information about fishing.

  • Hiking

    Harpers Ferry has many hiking trails including the Bolivar Heights, Murphy Farm, Lower Town, Maryland Heights, and Virginius Island trails. The Appalachian Trail also runs through Harpers Ferry. A short walk along the trail from the lower town to the C&O Canal will take you from West Virginia to Maryland in just a few minutes.

  • Historic Sites

    The history of Harpers Ferry has few parallels in the American drama. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multi-layered - involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of the nation's history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown's attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.

    Guided tours in the fall, winter and spring are offered as staffing permits. Please contact the Park Information Center at 304-535-6029 to inquire about any tours offered at this time. The Library of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park contains approximately 3,000 volumes that primarily pertain to the park's six themes: John Brown, Civil War, African-American History, Industry, Transportation, and Natural Heritage. The Research Room houses the park's collection of historic photographs, historic maps, architectural drawings, archeological reports, historic building reports, armory records, Storer College records, John Brown records, and much more. Many of the records in the Research Room are on microfilm, and microfilm readers are available.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is allowed in the designated picnicking area adjacent to the Cavalier Heights Visitor Center parking facility. This area is open on a first- come, first-served basis. Please note open fires, grills and alcohol are not permitted anywhere in the park.

  • Water Sports

    Please contact the park for information about water sports.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The park is home to approximately 14 amphibian, 18 reptile, 36 mammal, 30 spider, 43 fish, 174 bird, and 276 insect species. Among these are the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans), the northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), and the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

    The park is home to more than 30 mammal species. Some of these, however, such as the American mink (Mustela vison) and the short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) are not frequently observed. Hiking the Appalachian Trail up Loudoun Heights, gray and fox squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis and S. niger) can be viewed scurrying to stash their food, while eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) are commonly seen running right along the trail's edge. In a 2001 mammal survey, the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) was found to be making its home within the park.

    During the early morning hours, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can be found browsing on understory vegetation as hikers make their way to the Maryland Heights overlook. Throughout the day, groundhogs (Marmota monax) often peek up from vegetation along almost any roadside within the park, while after dark, Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginianus) and raccoons (Procyon lotor) are more likely to be encountered in these areas.

Seasonality/Weather

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Park Partners

Harpers Ferry Historical Association

The mission of the Harpers Ferry Historical Association is "Stewardship through Education." Established in 1971, this not-for-profit association has provided over one million dollars to enhance the interpretive and education programs of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the National Park Service. The association has helped fund park public education programs, living history events, Artists-in-Residence, media for curriculum-based learning, publications, and visitor information assistance. These donations enhance the visitor experience at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

(304) 535-6881

Directions

Driving

The physical address of the park visitor center is 171 Shoreline Drive, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425. GPS address alternatives are 171 Shoreline Drive (Harpers Ferry National Historical Park) or try intersection of Shoreline Drive and Campground Road. Non-rush hour driving time to Harpers Ferry from Reagan National Airport and BWI Airport is about 1 hour 30 minutes. Driving time from Dulles International Airport is about 50 minutes. From Northern Virginia From Interstate 495 West take the left exit (EXIT 45) and merge onto VA-267 West, the Dulles Toll Road (stay in local lanes, not express airport traffic lanes) / Dulles Greenway toward Leesburg (Portions toll). Follow to Exit 1, VA-7 W on the left toward Leesburg/Warrenton. Take the VA-9 exit toward Hillsboro / Charles Town, WV merging to the right onto Charles Town Pike / VA-9. After approximately 10 miles on VA-9 you will come to a light where you will bear right onto VA-671 N / Harpers Ferry Road. Follow this road until it ends at the lighted intersection of US 340 / Jefferson Pike. Turn left onto 340. Follow US-340 N to the four way intersection in Harpers Ferry (approximately 2.5 miles), staying in the left lane. Turn left at the light (you will see a large sign for the Park) and continue through to the entrance station.

From Baltimore-Washington Intl. (BWI) Airport Take I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) west toward Catonsville/Towson Exit onto I-70 west toward Frederick, Maryland Continue west on I-70 past Frederick for about 1 mile Take Exit #52 onto U.S. Route 340 (Charles Town and Leesburg exit) Continue south/west on U.S. Route 340 to Harpers Ferry (22 miles) Cross the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers After crossing second bridge (Shenandoah River) proceed to stoplight at top of hill. Turn left into the main entrance of the park.

From Reagan (Washington) National Airport Take the George Washington Memorial Parkway north to I-495 (Beltway) Go north into Maryland on I-495 Exit onto I-270 (from left lane of I-495) toward Frederick, Maryland Continue on I-270 to Frederick Continue west on I-70 at Frederick for about 1 mile Take Exit #52 onto U.S. Route 340 (Charles Town and Leesburg exit) Continue south/west on U.S. Route 340 to Harpers Ferry (22 miles) Cross the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers After crossing second bridge (Shenandoah River) proceed to stoplight at top of hill. Turn left into the main entrance of the park.

From Dulles International Airport Take Route 267 West (toll road) to Leesburg, Virginia At the end of Route 267, bear left and continue on Bypass Route 7 West around Leesburg Exit onto Route 9 West about 3 miles west of Leesburg Follow Route 9 through Hillsboro Turn right onto Route 671 (just after you pass a large pond on your left) Follow Route 671 North for about 8 miles Turn left on U.S. Route 340 Cross Shenandoah River bridge, proceed to stoplight at top of hill. Turn left into the main entrance of the park.

Flying

Non-rush hour driving time to Harpers Ferry from Reagan National Airport and BWI airport is about 1 hour 30 minutes. Driving time from Dulles International Airport is about 50 minutes.

Public Transportation

MARC Commuter Rail MARC commuter trains operate Monday through Friday between Union Station in Washington, D.C., and Martinsburg, W.Va. on the MARC Brunswick Line. For additional information about MARC train schedules and ticket reservations, call 1-800-325-RAIL. MARC Brunswick Line Schedule Departs Union Station 4:55 p.m. - Arrives Harpers Ferry 6:12 p.m. Departs Union Station 5:35 p.m. - Arrives Harpers Ferry 7:05 p.m. Departs Union Station 7:15 p.m. - Arrives Harpers Ferry 8:42 p.m. Departs Harpers Ferry 5:56 a.m. - Arrives Union Station 7:28 a.m. Departs Harpers Ferry 7:01 a.m. - Arrives Union Station 8:30 a.m.

Amtrak Amtrak's "Capitol Limited" between Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois, stops in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., seven days a week. Reservations are required. Call Amtrak toll free at 1-800-872-7245.'

A shuttle transportation system with handicapped accessible buses connect the Park Visitor Center with the Lower Town District.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(304) 535-6298

Links