Appalachian Trail

Location: Eastern West Virginia
Trip Starts: WV 9 (Keys Gap)
Trip Ends: Potomac River
Total Distance: 6.3 miles
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trails Used: Appalachian Trail
Trail Traffic: Moderate to Heavy
Trip Type: Day or Overnight Hike
More Information:

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
799 West Washington Street
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
(304) 535-6331


West Virginia officially has only 2.3 miles of the Appalachian Trail and part of it runs right past the Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) headquarters and visitor center at Harpers Ferry. However, nearly twenty-three miles of the Trail hug the Virginia/West Virginia border in both Northern and Central Virginia.

At Keys Gap, the Appalachian Trail follows a wooded ridge above the Shenandoah River and passes Jefferson Rock, an overlook with impressive views of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. It then climbs to a ridge that overlooks Harpers Ferry from the south via a blue blazed side trail leading to Loudoun Heights. This site was an important and strategic location during the Civil War and the Confederacy bombarded the town from these heights during a siege lasting from September 13-15, 1862.

In Harpers Ferry, the Appalachian Trail passes the ATC headquarters and continues along the river. There is a Harpers Ferry National Historical Park located here with interpretive exhibits that tell the detailed history of the area, including the destructive floods which have ravaged the community since the 1700’s. The Trail leaves the State of West Virginia via a footbridge over the Potomac River just past the historical park and joins briefly with the C&O Canal Towpath in the State of Maryland.

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