Harpers Ferry

Located at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers in West Virginia, Harpers Ferry is named for John Harper, who operated a ferry service across the rivers in the mid-1700s.

The ferry sites, the small town between the rivers, and the locations of historic events are preserved as part of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
.  This place 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 (Storer College). It is also the headquarters and psychological mid-point of the Appalachian Trail.

Hiking Trails
Scenic Driving West Virginia

Several short hikes in this hilly town give you rewarding views for a certain amount of effort... A 5-minute stroll up the stone steps from High Street brings you to Jefferson Rock for a view that Thomas Jefferson declared was "worth a voyage across the Atlantic."

For even more of a cardio workout, climb the Maryland Heights Trail, which gives you an outstanding view of the town and both rivers from the Maryland side of the Potomac.


Under the auspices of the National Park Service, the town of Harpers Ferry has been restored to
look much as it did in 1860, when it was a thriving rail and trade center with about 3,000 residents, including about 150 free blacks who worked as craftsmen. Many of the existing homes are historic, and some are included in the National Register of Historic Places. The resident population today nunbers about 300.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry Crossing

Harpers Ferry Crossing

Sources: National Park Service

Scenic Routes and Byways West Virginia
Scenic Routes and Byways
West Virginia

by Su Clauson-Wicker
GPP Travel, 2013

Compiled by freelance writer and travel editor Su Clauson-Wicker, the second edition of this driving guide updates Scenic Driving West Virginia by Bruce Sloane, published in 2002.

Although it is a relatively small state, West Virginia's weather has a wide range of variation across four very distinct seasons. Each drive has its preferred travel season in this book, from the peak bloom of rhodendrons to the best viewing of waterfalls; some drives are not recommended in winter.

"The scenic drives in this book were selected to display the most interesting scenic, historical and unique features of diverse sections of the state," notes Clauson-Wicker. "It's only a slight exaggeration to say that every road in West Virginia is a scenic road. Even the Interstates are beautiful, and every road in the Monongahela, George Washington, and Jefferson National Forests is a scenic road."

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