50th Anniversary

In 2021, the Harpers Ferry Park Association will commemorate 50 years of providing aid and support to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The commemoration will feature monthly hikes and special programs and events that aim to honor our loyal members and leadership, celebrate our accomplishments, grow our membership, generate funds, and most importantly, set a vision for the future. Our goal is to create an experience that will connect park visitors to the natural beauty, unique history, and cultural heritage of Harpers Ferry and to inspire present and future generations of park supporters and advocates.

 

Become a Member and Support the Association's ongoing mission.

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Event Schedule

(Events Subject to Change)


Trails Less Traveled: Murphy Farm

Saturday, January 30, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Murphy Farm
($10 Donation per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required)

Description: The Murphy Farm has been farmed since before the Civil War. The relatively flat farm loop contains the former site of John Brown’s Fort, a pilgrimage point for early Civil Rights activists; a dazzling view of the Shenandoah Valley; and markers and cannons commemorating General A.P. Hill’s staging during the Sept. 15, 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry. A trail detour, which is more rolling and rocky, will take us to earthworks that are part of Philip Sheridan’s extensive fortifications around Bolivar Heights.

Our hike leader is Jim Silvia, a Certified Tour Guide in Harpers Ferry who has led Civil War to Civil Rights tours on the Murphy Farm for several years. He owns an 1840-era home in Bolivar built to house an armory worker.

1.5 to 3 miles, depending on weather and trail conditions, rated MODERATELY EASY, with half the hike on dirt farm path and up to 1.5 miles on trails in wooded ravines. Meet on the plaza in front of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Visitor Center, 171 Shoreline Drive.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are limited spaces available. Registration is required. We also require masks and social distancing measures to keep our guides and visitors safe.

Trails Less Traveled: Where They Lived - A Tour of Armory Worker Homes

Saturday, February 27, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
($10 per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required)

Description: As the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry grew, new workers needed new houses, but real estate in the Lower Town was limited. Building up the hill became a solution for many. Hear some of that story and take a walking tour of Armory Houses in the Camp Hill neighborhood of Harpers Ferry’s Registered Historic District. Listen as some town residents share stories of their 19th-century homes.

Ed Wheeless is a software engineer in his day job. But his passion as a Harpers Ferry resident is serving as the chair of the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Historic Town Foundation. He formerly chaired the Historic Landmarks Commission for the town and operated a bed and breakfast out of his home on Camp Hill.

Park and meet at the Old Shipley School parking lot (below Curtis Freewill Baptist Church at 850 Fillmore St., Harpers Ferry). The walk will include some hills and uneven sidewalks. We will not be entering houses. Masks are required, and social distancing will be encouraged. Proceeds from this program benefit the Harpers Ferry Park Association’s ongoing mission of supporting the park’s interpretive and educational programs and providing aid to conservation and preservation projects.

Trails Less Traveled: Where They Rest - A Tour of Harper Cemetery

EVENT FULL
Saturday, March 20, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
($10 per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required, Limited to 30 Participants)

Description: A group of local historians takes us to the final resting places of key figures in Harpers Ferry’s history. Educators. Politicians. Stewards and leaders. Learn about these citizens--some well-known, and some lesser known--who shaped this small town in big ways.

Meet at the Cemetery Gate, Fillmore & York Streets, Harpers Ferry. On the tour expect short but hilly walks on grass surfaces between graves. Masks are required, and social distancing is encouraged.

Trails Less Traveled: Hike the C&O Canal at Harpers Ferry

EVENT FULL
Saturday, April 17, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
($10 Donation, Open to Public, Registration Required, Limited to 30 Participants)

Description: Join hike leader David Gilbert, author of "The Walker's Guide to Harpers Ferry", as we hike up the C&O Canal from Lock 33 to Dam No. 3. Learn about the race between the C&O Canal and B&O Railroad to reach Harpers Ferry, the Salty Dog Saloon and Prohibition, John Brown's Raid, and George Washington's eventful canoe trip down the Potomac River rapids here in 1785. We'll visit remnants of two Armory dams -- one of which the government shared with the C&O Canal, with some acrimonious consequences. We'll even talk geology and explain how the mountains and rivers have converged to create this extraordinary place.

2 to 2-1/2 hours long, about 4 miles round-trip, beginning and ending at The Point in Lower Town Harpers Ferry.

Trails Less Traveled: 19th Century Virginius Island Tour

Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
($10 donation per person, open to public, registration required, includes Virginius Island Trail Guide, Limited to 30 Participants)

Description: This hike will take visitors past ruins of factories and dwellings, discussing how the island—now consumed by nature—was once a thriving industrial and residential community. As a bonus, expect an abundance of Virginia bluebells to adorn the way.


1 mile, rated EASY, with no elevation gain, but on dirt paths over uneven terrain.

Trails Less Traveled: Stone Fort Hike

Sunday, April 25, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
($10 donation per person, open to public, registration required, limited to 15 hikers)

Description: Join us for a guided hike filled with nature and history. Abe Lincoln wanted to inspect the stone fort on top of Maryland Heights but wasn’t able to make it all the way up…can you? We’ll pass three Union gun emplacements and some beautiful overlooks before reaching the fort at the top of Maryland Heights. Along the way we’ll see osprey and bald eagle nests and other native (and some exotic) species. Come prepared with proper footwear, plenty of water, and a lunch or snack to eat at the top.
 
The hike leader is volunteer Dave Cahan. Dave hikes the park's 25 miles of trails frequently and is familiar with the historic and natural features of each.
 
7+ miles, rated MODERATELY DIFFICULT, 1000ft elevation gain, steep walking on dirt roads and trails. Meet at The Point in Lower Town Harpers Ferry.
 

Bookshop Open House

Saturday, May 1, 2021 | Bookshop, Lower Town

Description: On May 1, 1971, the first “National Park Bookstore at Harpers Ferry” opened its doors, offering unique interpretive and educational products for parks across the country. Over the next five decades the bookshop moved, expanded (and closed for a few floods!), and changed its focus to Harpers Ferry, but has always remained our biggest source of revenue to support park programs. Please join us to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this occasion, and our 50 years of support to the National Park Service.

  • Book signings with our best-selling authors
  • Upper Porch Sale
  • Special Deals
  • Membership Specials
  • Refreshments
All sales benefit our mission to support the interpretive and educational programs of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the National Park Service.

*Masks required inside federal buildings.

Trails Less Traveled: Bark Ranger Walk in Lower Town

Saturday, May 22, 2021 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
($10 Donation, Open to Public, Registration Required)
 
Description: Join us for a guided hike along two rivers. We’ll walk along the Armory Canal Trail to visit the remains of Dam 3 on the Potomac. Returning to the lower town, we’ll explore the Point and the walking bridge before walking along the Shenandoah to Virginius Island and back to town via Shenandoah Street. Along the way we’ll discover some history and learn about the BARK Ranger program and areas open to pets in Harpers Ferry. At the end of the hike, participants may choose to have their dogs sworn in as official BARK Rangers.  Please come prepared with a leash, dog waste bags, proper footwear, water, and any other necessities for hiking comfort and safety. Dogs that do well around other dogs and groups of people are welcome on this hike.

Retired in 2017, hike leader Dave Cahan enjoys spending much of his time fishing and hiking.  Since January 2018, Dave has been a volunteer at Harpers Ferry.  He hikes the numerous park trails, answers visitor questions, and reports downed trees and other trail problems.  His dog Rosie is one of the park's first BARK Rangers.

3.5 miles, rated EASY, flat walking on dirt or grass roads and trails. Meet on Potomac Street, across from the Harpers Ferry Train Station, near the caboose.

Trails Less Traveled: Family Friendly Hike along the Armory Canal

Saturday, June 12, 2021 | 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
(Free, Open to Public, Registration Required, Limited to 20 participants)

Description: Bring your entire family on this hike along Potomac Street and the old Armory Canal. Learn about its place in the early history of Harpers Ferry. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water, sun screen, and a hat. People of any age capable of walking this distance are welcome; strollers may be challenged on the uneven terrain.
 
Hike leader Clark Dixon is a retired Superintendent for the National Park Service and a Master Naturalist. He loves introducing people to the public lands of West Virginia.
 
2 miles, rated EASY, flat walking on dirt roads and trails. Meet at the Harpers Ferry Train Station, near the entrances off the parking lot.

Trails Less Traveled: History on the Rocks

Saturday, July 24, 2021 | 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
($10 Donation, Open to Public, Registration Required, Limited to 25 participants)

Description: The site for this tour may be familiar to Park visitors, but the content is rarely covered. Discover how a historian interprets the geology of Harpers Ferry, and how bedrock made history and made history possible.

Our guide David Fox served as an interpretive park ranger at Harpers Ferry for 30 years, retiring in 2018. He is interested in everything the park has to offer but especially John Brown’s raid, African American history and the intersection of natural and cultural history.

Two blocks in length, EASY and accessible. Meet on The Green across from the Harpers Ferry Bookshop on Shenandoah Street.

Trails Less Traveled: Virginius Island Interpretive Tour

Saturday, August 21, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
($10 Donation Per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required, includes Virginius Island Trail Guide, Limited to 30 participants)

Description: This hike will take visitors past ruins of factories and dwellings, discussing how the island—now consumed by nature—was once a thriving industrial and residential community.


1 mile, rated EASY, with no elevation gain, but on dirt paths over uneven terrain.

50th Anniversary Membership Weekend

Friday, September 17 - Sunday, September 19, 2021

Description: Come back to the Ferry September 17 to 19 and help us celebrate 50 years of supporting Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. We hope that our members will join us during this event and participate in the following activities.

Most events have limited space, require pre-registration, and are for members only. Register early by clicking this link or visiting https://bit.ly/HFPA50. You can also mail us the included form or call us at 304-535-6881. Deadline to RSVP is September 1st. Not a member, but see a program you’d love to attend? Become a member here.

***Schedule subject to change.

Trails Less Traveled: Lower Town Lantern Tour - The Price of Freedom

Saturday, October 2, 2021 | 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
($10 Donation Per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required, Limited to 75 participants)

Description: Discover the stories of three people whose names are not well-known, but whose involvement in John Brown’s raid and the Civil War contribute to the meaning of freedom. 

Our guide David Fox served as an interpretive park ranger at Harpers Ferry for 30 years, retiring in 2018. He is interested in everything the park has to offer but especially John Brown’s raid, African American history and the intersection of natural and cultural history.

This short and EASY walk will be less than one hour and include John Brown’s Fort, the Point (Confluence of rivers), and the Fort obelisk. Participants are advised to bring a flashlight. Meet on The Green opposite the Harpers Ferry Bookshop, Shenandoah Street.

In the Footsteps of John Brown

Saturday, October 16, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Description: On the 162nd anniversary of the first day of John Brown’s “Harpers Ferry Invasion,” this tour brings to life the landscape of a dramatic event in the Harpers Ferry story. Add lesser-known trails and perspectives to the well-known headlines of this pivotal event in American history.

Our guide David Fox served as an interpretive park ranger at Harpers Ferry for 30 years, retiring in 2018. He is interested in everything the park has to offer but especially John Brown’s raid, African American history and the intersection of natural and cultural history.

2 miles across Lower Town Harpers Ferry, Virginius and Halls islands. Uneven steps and tripping hazards; not accessible.
 

Trails Less Traveled: Bolivar Heights to the Nash Farm

Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Description: Trails will take us through woodland and meadows, starting with scenes of September 1862 and ending at a farm donated to Harpers Ferry NHP by a prominent family that may be used in the future as an environmental education center. Along the way, walk through paw paw groves, see some of Harpers Ferry’s biggest trees, and catch occasional views of the Potomac River below. We will return to Bolivar Heights walking along Prospect Street with its collection of historic and modern houses.

Hike leader Chris Craig is a Certified Tour Guide in Harpers Ferry and a regular hike leader for the Sierra Club. He formerly operated a bed and breakfast out of his Harpers Ferry home. 

2.5 miles, rated MODERATELY EASY on dirt trails over rolling terrain. Meet at the Bolivar Heights parking area.

Olde Tyme Christmas Member Reception

Friday, December 3, 2021 | Time TBD
(Free, Member Only Event)

Description: Whew! Help us finish off a year of commemoration with holiday cookies and cider in the Bookshop. Special shopping discounts for members.

Trails Less Traveled: Olde Tyme Christmas Hike along River and Ridge

Saturday, December 4 and December 11, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
($10 Donation Per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required)

Description: Enjoy hiking in Park and town during Olde Tyme Christmas. We will meet at the Park Visitor Center, 171 Shoreline Drive, and ride the Park shuttle to the lower town. From there we will walk along the Shenandoah on Virginius Island before climbing a little piece of the Appalachian Trail on the flank of Camp Hill. Expect wintertime expansive and rocky views and possibly some wildlife. We’ll also view some history along the way: ruins of mills that once bustled along the Shenandoah, Jefferson Rock and Robert Harper’s house. Ending the walk in the town business district, you may opt to join us in one of the restaurants for lunch and refreshment. Or, you can enjoy some of the special programs of Harpers Ferry’s 50th annual festival.

Hike leader Chris Craig is a Certified Tour Guide in Harpers Ferry and a regular hike leader for the Sierra Club. He formerly operated a bed and breakfast out of his Harpers Ferry home.

2.5-mile, MODERATE hike on earthen trails, mainly flat, but with short, steep climbs.