A Visit to Harpers Ferry – 9/12/11

I am in this part of West Virginia for work this week. I arrived at the hotel early in the afternoon and took the opportunity to see Harpers Ferry while I was in the area. I parked at the lot at US340 and Shenandoah St. – This lot is part of the National Historic Park and costs $6 to park the car – this fee covers 3 days, but the parking lot does close after dark.

I headed north on the AT at the road intersection and headed toward town. A short way down the trail there is a blue blaze side trail that leads to the ATC headquarters. This is a pretty cool place and worth the side trip to visit. I looked around the museum shop and got a AT magnet for my car. I headed down High St. toward the old lower town – very steep going down but a neat walk into the historic area. There a lot of cool old buildings that are here and I would love to explore more fully sometime in the future. I found the AT in the lower town and headed over the bridge into Maryland.

I was a bit jumpy going across the bridge – it is pretty high up and its a long way across. It shares the trestle across the Potomac with an active rail line. Glad there was not a train going across while I was walking. At the end of the bridge, the train goes through a tunnel and the trail goes down a cool staircase down to the C&O towpath.

This trail was nice and level – may be the flattest stretch of the AT – and covered with gravel. This was a bit tough on the feet but the walking was quick. I made good ground headed along the river. Along the way there were a bunch of walkers and bicyclists. In all a nice walk. Saw some geese and deer along the trail. Also quite a few canoe/kayakers in the river. I reached the turnaround at Weverton and headed back to Harpers Ferry.

I saw a train going by on the way back which was pretty neat. There were many remnants of the canal along the path, including remains of 2 canal locks. I recrossed the bridge and headed up the 1800’s era stone steps through the town. There were some neat ruins along the way. I continued on and passed Jefferson Rock – a really cool historic place with nice views up and down the Shenandoah River.  I saw a couple more deer on the way back to the car and finished up the hike at the parking lot.

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