Harpers Ferry West Virginia

by north_america

Harpers Ferry is a small town in West Virginia, rich in history, culture, scenery, and outdoor recreation.

Harpers Ferry West Virginia is located at the confluence of the North Branch Potomac River and the Shenandoah River. This small town's unique geographic location has been an important influence in its history, culture, and popularity. Over the centuries, Harpers Ferry has been tempered by floods, fires, civil war battles, and other historic events.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is a sprawling complex of historical sites, woodlands, and riverfront properties in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. The park has over 20 miles of hiking trails

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is intersected by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

whitetail deer
whitetail deer

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Harpers Ferry West Virginia is a key stop along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Home to restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops, this friendly town offers Appalachian Trail hikers a chance to rest and buy supplies before heading back out on their trek.

North Branch Potomac
North Branch Potomac

The North Branch Potomac River

The North Branch Potomac is one of two mighty rivers that converge at Harpers Ferry. The river is a major attraction for fishermen, rafters, tubing enthusiasts, campers, and others. Popular stretches along the North Branch Potomac River include the Needles, White Horse Rapids, and many more.

Harpers Ferry Festivals

Festivals are among of the town's most popular annual events. Popular festivals in and near Harpers Ferry include the Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival, Mountain Heritage Festivals (spring and fall), African American Heritage Festival, and others.

View of the Shenandoah River
View of the Shenandoah River

The Shenandoah River

The Shenandoah River flows for more than 50 miles before converging with the North Branch Potomac at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. During periods of low water, its shallow shorelines are popular with fishermen, waders, and nature enthusiasts.

Things To Do in Harpers Ferry

Outdoor recreation and other things to do in Harpers Ferry WV

Harpers Ferry is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, fishermen, hunters, campers, birders, paddlesports participants, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Things to do outdoors near Harpers Ferry include:











Exploring Historical Sites



Harpers Ferry Museums

A variety of museums are located near Harpers Ferry, including:

John Brown Wax Museum
Brunswick Heritage Museum
Jefferson County Museum
Civil War Living History Museum
Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum

Have you visited Harpers Ferry West Virginia?

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The Famous Sign on Maryland Heights

One of the most famous sites at Harpers Ferry is an advertisement that can be seen high up on Maryland Heights, just across the North Branch Potomac. Painted in the early 1900's, the ad reads "Mennen's Borated Talcum Toilet Powder."

Mennen's Borated Talcum Toilet Powder

Planning a Visit to Harpers Ferry

Before making the trip to Harpers Ferry, visitors may want to do some research in advance. Factors to consider include traffic, weather conditions, river conditions, and special events.

In addition to online sources of information, it is usually helpful to talk to someone with local knowledge.

Sources of travel information include the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Visitor Center, Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, local bed and breakfasts, motels, outfitters, and others.

Visitors that plan on exploring the rivers near Harpers Ferry may also want to become familiar with stream gauge data which is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Updated: 06/05/2022, north_america
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north_america 28 days ago

Fortunately, most the town and nearby recreational areas are located on high ground. In general, water-related recreation providers take water conditions seriously and offer safety information.

DerdriuMarriner 29 days ago

Additionally, from the advanced hydrologic prediction service information on the National Weather Service (NWS) site, it notes no specific impacts until 40- and 43.5-foot crests, whose floodwaters respectively reach the Harpers Ferry train depot and the lowest part of Potomac Avenue in Brunswick MD!

Would the Harpers Ferry area not have to have really super-trained paid and volunteer crews for such floodwater ravages not to interfere at all with the inspiring, pleasant experience of visiting such a well-maintained historic site?

DerdriuMarriner on 06/02/2022

The advanced hydrologic prediction service that I've been accessing, through the search phrase Harpers Ferry Potomac River, on the National Weather Service site, describes historic 30-, 33-, and 33.8-foot crests on Nov. 6, 1985; Oct. 1, 1896; and Oct. 16, 1942.

It links those crests respectively with floodwaters in the Storer College exhibit building, on the second floors of Shenandoah Street buildings and in the Brunswick MD railyard.

It mentions 34.8- and 36.5-foot crests on June 1, 1889, and March 19, 1936, respectively.

north_america on 05/27/2022

As you mentioned, Harpers Ferry and the surrounding area has a long history of catastrophic flooding. Visitors will have no problem spotting evidence of previous floods. Like many rivers of the Mid Atlantic, the Potomac is not to be taken lightly, especially during flood season.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/27/2022

I'd meant to include in my comment below, from around May 19, that 16-, 18-, 21.5- and 24-foot crests respectively represent action, flood, moderate flood and major flood stages!

The NWS information, accessed by searching Harpers Ferry Potomac River, lists water as reaching the C&O Canal towpath on the Maryland side, across from Harpers Ferry, of the Potomac River. It mentions that the pedestrian bridge between the C&O Canal and Harpers Ferry will be closed!

That would be quite a photo to have a souvenir, right? It wouldn't rank as high as being able to experience Harpers Ferry and a well-behaved Potomac. But it would be quite historically interesting!

DerdriuMarriner on 05/18/2022

It intrigued me where you say "During periods of low water, its shallow shorelines are popular with fishermen, waders, and nature enthusiasts."

So I looked online under the search term "Harpers Ferry Potomac River."

The search made the first source the NWS. The National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service maintains historical and present information about low- and high-water levels of the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry. It notes 18-foot and 18-plus-foot crests for a flood stage. It observes flood-stage crests for five dates between May 19, 2011, and Dec. 17, 2018!

Wouldn't the two May dates and the one June date be during the tourist season?

DerdriuMarriner on 05/11/2022

Me too, Veronica, I agree that the Potomac is beautiful to look at (and to experience and to photograph)!

What would be equivalently historic, naturally beautiful and photogenic waters over on your northeast side of the (Atlantic) pond?

Veronica on 05/08/2022

The Potomac is so beautiful. One of the beauties of Wizzley is seeing these world locations through the eyes of our wonderful community.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/07/2022

Revisiting your wizzley brought to mind something that I came across subsequent to my comment.

Did you know that the Mennen's Borated Talcum Toilet Powder ad was considered unattractive by some and therefore was subjected to a removal process? Evidently not all felt the same way. The article Mennen's Borated Talcum Toilet Powder for Bygone Maryland indicated that within four years of the removal the ad was back!

I will have to look at how it's doing the next time I head that way ;-D.

north_america on 04/12/2017

We enjoy the same activities and also the local food.

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