Harpers Ferry and the surrounding areas are home to beautiful, history-rich hikes. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best hikes near Harpers Ferry, WV that will fulfill your itch to explore the area just like a local. Gather your family and friends to enjoy the hikes Harpers Ferry has to offer. There are hikes that are easy and hikes that are on the harder side of hiking.
1. Hike at Virginius Island in Harpers Ferry National Park.
Hiking Virginius Island will walk you back in time. The history of the industrial and cultural side of Virginius Island in Historic Harpers Ferry, lets you relax and enjoy the flat riverside hike while taking a look at the dozens of history placards to read about the rich history of the Island. During this Harpers Fery hike, you can explore many ancient ruins of old factories and mills that Virginius Island is a formerly inhabited island of some 12 acres. Along the Shenandoah River, the island was created after The Patowmack Company built The Shenandoah Canal, between 1806 and 1807, which separates it from the town of Harpers Ferry.
2. Hike along the Potomac River on the C&O Canal
Preserving America's early transportation history, the C&O Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber, and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today, it’s a welcoming hub of outdoor activity with nearly 200 miles of hiking, biking (perfect for day trips or e-biking rental adventures!), bird watching, and history consumption. Starting at Cumberland, MD, it passes right through Harpers Ferry, then hits Georgetown in Washington, D.C. You can hike in either direction (upstream or downstream) along the C&O towpath.
3. Hike the Harpers Ferry Section of The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world extending between Georgia to Maine. The trail is about 2,200 miles long and passes through 14 states total. Located in Harpers Ferry, WV, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail. More than two million people are said to take a hike on part of the trail at least once each year. Harpers Ferry is what many consider to be the "psychological midpoint" of the trail's length. You can hike in either direction either up towards Jefferson Rock (described later on) or head of the pedestrian bridge to the C&O canal.
4. Hike The Maryland Heights Trail
Locals and visitors both agree that Maryland Heights is a must-do hike when visiting this historic gem of a town. With a spectacular birds-eye view of Harpers Ferry from the main overlook, you will get panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley. It is saturated with Civil War history, this trail is a favorite for many. Get to know this 6-mile loop trail near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 2 hours to complete. You will see many Civil War sites including cannon fire sites and other war formations. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and trail running as well. President Abraham Lincoln couldn’t make it up this mountain. Can you?
5. Hike Loudoun Heights across the river in Virginia
A hike that is in Virginia, Loudoun Heights, is the first peak of the Blue Ridge Mountain south of the Potomac River in Loudoun County, Virginia and Jefferson County, West Virginia. The northwestern slope is part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.This challenging trail gives hikers the opportunity to see the Appalachian Trail, multiple views of Harpers Ferry, views of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers and valleys at the overlooks. Hikers are rewarded with the only view to the east into Pleasant Valley and beyond, a southern view of the town of Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.
6. Hike up to Jefferson Rock
This quick little hike up past the famous St. church coming from the lower town, you will hike along the Appalachian Trail up to a rock visited by a previous president, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson described his first view from the landmark as a scene, "worth a voyage across the Atlantic." Four stone pillars were placed under the uppermost slab of Jefferson Rock to stabilize it sometime between 1855 and 1860. It is an easy-going hike that any hiker can conquer. Come see if you think it is worth a trip across the Atlantic!
Please enjoy these Harpers Ferry hikes while you are vacationing in these history-rich spots! Ranging from easy to hard - test your skill level and enjoy these famous hikes in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia! After you hike(s) you can visit River Riders to experience more fun and thrills to make this a weekend trip in Harpers Ferry, WV!