Groups can step back into West Virginia’s past at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry. The small, historic community sits at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers and has plenty of things for groups to explore and do.
As the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail, Harpers Ferry is home to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the trail’s headquarters, and is considered one of the best walking parks in America.
Visitors can hike over 20 miles of trails varying from easy, riverside strolls to 4-mile hikes across Civil War battlefields and 8-mile adventures to the tops of mountains. While hiking, groups can catch a glimpse of the towering Blue Ridge Mountains and learn about the region’s history and wildlife, including peregrine falcons.
Living history and historic trade rangers, in partnership with the Harpers Ferry Park Association, offer workshops focusing on 19th-century skills and trades. Some of these workshops include gardening, blacksmithing, cooking and tin-making. Groups can register for the workshops in advance with the Harpers Ferry Park Association.
Living History weekends and programs throughout the year give groups an opportunity to see historical demonstrations and park staff dressed in period clothing.
In Lower Town, the most-visited area of the park, groups can view historic buildings and explore museums, exhibits and a bookshop. Some popular stops in Lower Town are The Point and John Brown’s Fort. The Point is where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, and from there, groups can see three different states at once: Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
At John Brown’s Fort, groups can see where John Brown and his followers barricaded themselves in 1859. The building’s complex history dates to 1848, originally beginning as the federal Harpers Ferry Armory’s fire engine and guard house.
Rangers also offer guided tours of the park, which can be arranged in advance.
For more information, call 304-535-6029 or visit nps.gov/hafe.