West Virginia Hiking, Nature March 18, 2021
The Gorgeous Half-Mile Hike In West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle That Will Lead You Past A River And Ruins
There are so many gorgeous trails in West Virginia that it’s hard to pick a favorite. But this easy, level trail that runs along the Shenandoah River past ruin after ruin in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is definitely in the running!
Hidden away along the banks of the Shenandoah River in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is a short but fascinating walk through history that you can take at any time of year.
Start at the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park's public parking area on the corner of US-340 and Shenandoah Street. From the parking lot, follow the trail along Shenandoah Street toward "Lower Town" until you reach the first set of ruins: an old pulp mill.
The trail passes right through the towering walls of the old pulp mill, located on a small island (Virginius Island) formed by an old canal and the river.
Just past the pulp mill, the trail forks. To the right, it winds along the Shenandoah River past the Staircase Rapids. To the left, it follows the pulp mill waterway along the edge of the old Shenandoah Canal to an old railroad bridge and beyond.
No matter which fork of the trail you take after the pulp mill, you'll eventually end up at another old mill ruin: a cotton mill located on the banks of the Shenandoah River.
Piles of rubble dot the riverbank, along with outlines of old walls and water tunnels.
The river itself also contains a few old ruins: huge stone bridge pillars from the original Shenandoah River Bridge, now bereft of the bridge itself.
The trail continues on past a blacksmith shop and old arsenal site before finally ending at the staircase up to an overlook of the point where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet.
From here, it's just a short jaunt to Harpers Ferry Lower Town, where you can shop, eat, or peruse even more historical sites.
Have you taken the time to stroll this historic trail past river and ruin? To confirm your route, find it on Google Maps
here. It’s well worth seeking out the next time you find yourself in Harpers Ferry, as is the nearby stairway hike past six more historic sites. And if you need a place to stop and rest in between the two, try this delicious candy museum! Address: Harpers Ferry, WV 25425, USA