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“Spend a day in the cradle of the Civil War”

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!
Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
126 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Spend a day in the cradle of the Civil War”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 November 2011

Harper's Ferry offers small, free history museums, beautiful views, nature walks, unique small shops and an increasing variety of restaurants. A little more than an hour from Washington, the steep inclines of this town nestled at the confluence of two rivers, offers a good workout in addition to the history. The National Park Service continues to add to the displays; the John Brown Museum offers interactive computer displays and short movies, along with historical pictures and artifacts. There's also a small, but decent book store with unique reads on the Civil War and local history. Walk across the railroad trestle across one river and you can walk on a level path or hike up a strenuous path for gorgeous view of the whole area (you have to navigate steps, however). While the Park Service encourages you to park at a visitor's center a short drive away, we can usually find free, three-hour parking all the way in town near the train station (drive as far as you can to the last left). There is handicapped parking there, too. The restaurants can be a little pricey and some only accept cash, but the location is fun. Follow the steps up past the prominent church up the hill and continue on the steps to the cemetery above with spectacular views of the river valley and town below.

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank Maryland54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Washington, DC
Level Contributor
303 reviews
223 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
“Ok - for a half day trip from Washington DC”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 November 2011

Been to Harpers Ferry on different occasions but this is first time in 10 years. First the parking, cannot remember where I parked in the past but this time I did not want to take the Shuttle from the external parking sites, so parked at the Amtrak train station which turns out to be the same price $6 as the external sites that require a shuttle. The Amtrak station is at the base of Harpers Ferry so no extra walking needed. My favorite spots are Jefferson Rock and then the walk over the Railroad bridge into Maryland Heights. If you enjoy hiking, hiking on the Maryland side is interesting.

Visited November 2011
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Thank CodyDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Duluth, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Very expensive to park in Harpers Ferry???”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2011

Had a great and enjoyable visit to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park this past weekend. I was very confused by the previous post stating that it is "very expensive" to park at Harpers Ferry. The cost is only $6 per vehicle to park at the park entrance area and take a quick shuttle ride to the Lower Town. The entrance fee is good for three days and is a bargain for an entire family! This past weekend was a fee free weekend in honor of Veteran's Day so there was no charge at all!
There are at least eight no parking signs in the area the previous poster parked at.....and all are clearly visible from both sides of the road. Anyway, it's pretty obvious that you can't pull off and park in this area even if there were no signs. It is a public road with a very small shoulder. Probably should have followed the clearly marked brown colored signs to "Visitor Parking" and you wouldn't have gotten into this predicament in the first place! Sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me!!!
The park is a wonderful place to visit for history and scenery alike. Thank you National Park Service for protecting this national treasure!

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Serge B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bethesda, Maryland
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Amazing tours from park rangers”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 November 2011

My wife and I just spent a wonderful day at harpers ferry national park. It is a beautiful and fascinating place and our trip was made very special by the incredible guided tours we took. The first was the very useful and informative top to bottom tour that gives an informative framework for you to really understand the history of harpers ferry and how the topgraphy has been so crucial to past events. We had a pair of fantastic guides for this tour Jim prentice and another smart ranger. You truely start to appreciate the significance of harpers ferry to the history of our country from this tour and they work very well together. We also took a second tour with Jim of the armory and again learned a lot about harpers ferry and its centrality to the civil war, end of slavery and so much more. We just hope Ken burns decides to make a documentary so those Americans unable to visit get to understand how geography and man shape the history of this amazing and important place.

Visited November 2011
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5 Thank RajPurohit5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great combination of incredible scenery and national history.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 November 2011

Harpers Ferry is a small town that has seen some of this nation’s more interesting moments. Lewis and Clark, John Brown’s Insurrection, Civil War battles, major flooding, not to mention some pleasant inner-tubing down the Potomac.



If you are lucky enough to approach from the VA/MD side, you will be treated to an incredible view of the town. The best way to enter the park is to take the bus from the visitor’s center. Parking in the old town is extremely limited and there are a lot of tourists there. It will cost about $6 per carload.



The town itself is not huge, maybe a few blocks at the most. On the main strip, the buildings house historical exhibits, most with NPS interpreters in period dress. The exhibits are not huge. It might take an hour or two at the most. Don’t miss the plaque high on the wall on the first building on your right hand when you get off the bus. It records the peak flood heights over the last century and a half. The two streets leading off the main street contain private shops, restaurants and snack bars. If you are in the mood for some shopping (or looking to get out of the elements), don’t miss the NPS bookstore on the main street. The prices there are very reasonable.



The other great attraction is the natural setting of Harper’s Ferry. The town is snuggled between several high hills and has the Potomac flowing at the base of town. A fun thing to do is to take the footbridge over the river and walk next to the train tracks. This will deposit you on part of the Appalachian trail/C&O Canal.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank Susan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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