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“Winter Weekend Tour”

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is indeed one of the crown jewels in the National Park Service. Covering over 4,000 acres in 3 states (WV, VA and MD) at the scenic confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers and the Potomac River water gap through the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Park features an amazing diversity of American History all in one place: Great figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant, "Stonewall" Jackson, JEB Stuart, Philip Sheridan, W.E.B. Du Bois, Kate Field and many others swirl around Harpers Ferry like a whirlwind! The C&O Canal National Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail all converge at Harpers Ferry NHP. Twenty miles of hiking trails in the Park offer more than a one weekend getaway. Local private businesses offer whitewater rafting, tubing, fishing and many outdoor activities, along with dining and overnight accommodations. Come visit beautiful Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and be swept away by the mountains, the rivers and the history for a visit you and your family will long remember!
Reviewed January 20, 2014

There was residual snow on the grounds, so pretty in outlining the historic homes built on a mountainside in multiple levels. Few tourists, so really enjoyed almost a private tour of all the great museums and felt no hurry to shuffle through each historic house full of information, films, and artifacts. Yes, it was cold, but we were prepared and thus were nice and toasty. I think each season has its appeals.

In short, people live here in historic housing on the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers where a lot of history happened. It is a treasure trove for history buffs, and its history is well-outlined, starting with the Native Americans and the first settler who got bought out by Harper, who really started building the town. It's strategic position with the Appalachian trail and rivers made control crucial in the Civil War, so there's a lot of history about that, tied in with John Brown and slavery issues.

Really worth a day trip if you like nature's beauty and history. I don't think I would spend the night if it can be avoided, because I like modern comforts, or B&Bs that are luxurious with good parking. Lots of hills with little immediate parking, though you can park offsite and take a shuttle in, I am told.

1  Thank Jenny H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,148 - 1,152 of 1,590 reviews

Reviewed January 19, 2014

Harpers Ferry is so important in American history that I was glad to visit the place a second time which gave me more insights into what it has to offer. It is magnificently situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland meet. Aside from the infamous John Brown raid, the place has some attractive buildings, excellent exhibitions and many fascinating remains of industrial archeology. The National Parks Service has everything organised to perfection. There is a large well sign-posted car park just up the hill with a frequent shuttle service into the historic part of town. When you’ve arrived, try to take in the river view first to get an idea of the importance of the site. It is worth crossing the railway bridge if you have time to get a different perspective of the place. The station, which is still in use, is worth exploring too and don’t miss the John Brown monument on the way back. To get the full effect of the John Brown raid have a look around his ‘fort’ and then cross the road where there is a superb and very detailed exhibition of John Brown’s history with three informative films and outstanding artefacts. There are also good souvenir shops to suit all pockets and, as it was a boiling hot day, a couple of places where ice creams were most welcome! This site is unmissable to anyone interested in the American Civil War, industrial archeology, railways, rivers and well-presented streetscapes. Don't miss the historic marker about Lewis & Clark or the small exhibition about their boat "Experiment". Very highly recommended!

1  Thank EximiousTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2014

We did not really know much about Harpers ferry. It was on our route to Gettysburg and a National Park, so seemed worth visiting!

But we had a wonderful time, taking one of he the tours round the town with a NP ranger. he was excellent, and helped us to appreciate the importance of John Brown, its part in the Civil War, and the Storer College. I would recommend joining one of the tours from the Visitor center. after the tour we visited several of the museums in the town, and wandered along the banks of the Potomac. It did get more crowded in the afternoon.

We had intended to visit Antietam that day as well, but spent the whole day in Harpers ferry.

Thoroughly recommended

Thank countrygirluk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

If you're a lover of American history, this is the place to go. There is so much to see and do you can easily spend a day. The history of the ferry, the arsenal and armory, the raid of John Brown, the history of Storer College, the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, the Appalachian Trail... and the list goes on! We visited in December and it was very easy to park and make our way around the town, but I can image it would be very crowded during the busy tourist season. We ate a late lunch at one of the local restaurants, which was acceptable, but I would recommend packing a picnic as there are not many restaurants, they're busy and a bit pricey for what's offered. Be sure to go to Swiss Miss for the soft serve frozen custard, it is ridiculously creamy and yummy! All in all a great day trip!

Thank Patti M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2013

I've visited here three times in the last year - once with my teenage brother-in-law, once with with a gang of 20 teenaged Boy Scouts, and once with a pair of friends when we walked in on the AT. It was enjoyable by all three groups, and is a great deal at only $10 per carload (Thanks national parks system!)


- The historic John Brown Firehouse is a must see.
- Walk up the Appalachian Trail a short ways to take in the view at Jefferson Rock.
- Explore the lower town where the munitions factories were. Today, it's filled with interesting museum exhibits and the national park bookstore. Just over the park border are small restaurants, ice cream, and gift shops.
- Walk the bridge across the river to check out the C&O Canal on the other side. Those really up for adventure can climb to the Maryland Heights for a breathtaking view of the town.
- The old Catholic Church (still open and used) and the old Protestant church (just a shell) on the way to Jefferson Rock.

BACKPACKERS: You can stow you car at the lot for a time for only the admission fee ($10) and the time it takes to fill out a hike plan at the ranger station next to the parking lot at the visitor's center. We left ours there for three nights, no problem. As a bonus, you can take the park bus back to the lot at the end of your trip, instead of walking the extra few miles.

3  Thank mikebickerson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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