From the north, the Appalachian Trail enters West Virginia at Harpers Ferry by way of a footbridge over the Potomac River. Only about four miles lie in West Virginia proper, passing within just a quarter-mile of ATC headquarters, then crossing the Shenandoah River, ascending the Blue Ridge at Loudoun Heights, and straddling the Virginia-West Virginia border for the next fifteen miles. The Trail also straddles the Virginia-West Virginia border several hundred miles farther south, near the New River.
Harpers Ferry is historic and scenic and is served by Amtrak and commuter trains that run into Washington, D.C. It makes an ideal location to start or end a hike. Get a map of Harpers Ferry(PDF), including local hiking trails, services, and attractions.
A.T. mileage 4 miles
Difficulty rating 2-3 (rating scale explained)
Elevation 265—1,200 feet
Guidebook Appalachian Trail Guide to Maryland and Northern Virginia with Side Trails
When to go
Mid-April through mid-June. September and October. Summer heat and humidity can occasionally be oppressive.
Very brief stays in West Virginia and Maryland. They are very low mileage and flat states. Hiking through them was very easy and very beautiful. By this point, the trees had really let out their leaves and spring was beating me up the coast. I night hiked for the second time on the trail during this period which was just amazing.
Video Trail Report from Thru-Hiker Tutts99