Appalachian Trail: Harpers Ferry, WV to Gathland State Park, MD
Length: 10.5 miles
Harpers Ferry is a historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. It was formerly Harper's Ferry with an apostrophe and that form continues to appear in some references. It is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where the U.S. states of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet. The town is located on a low-lying flood plain created by the two rivers and surrounded by higher ground. Historically, Harpers Ferry is best known for John Brown's raid on the Armory in 1859 and its role in the American Civil War. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town had a population of 286.
The lower part of Harpers Ferry is located within Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Most of the remainder, which includes the more highly populated area, is included in the separate Harpers Ferry Historic District. Two other National Register of Historic Places properties adjoin the town: the B & O Railroad Potomac River Crossing and St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters is located in Harpers Ferry and the town is one of only a few through which the Appalachian Trail passes directly. Harpers Ferry is also an outdoor recreation destination. Popular activities include white water rafting, fishing, mountain biking, tubing, canoeing, hiking, zip lining, and rock climbing.
Gathland State Park is a small state park located near Burkittsville, Maryland, in the United States. The park is composed of the remains of the estate of George Alfred Townsend (1841-1914), a correspondent during the American Civil War who wrote under the pen name "Gath". Several buildings remain on the estate, including the War Correspondents Memorial Arch, and the Appalachian trail passes through the grounds.