Saturday, April 3, 2010

Appalachian Trail Access: Harpers Ferry, WV

For our upcoming section hike of the Appalachian Trail, we plan to access the trail at Harpers Ferry, WV. Harpers Ferry is a true trail town in that the Appalachian Trail actually runs throught the town. Get to the town and you've gotten to the trail.

Section hikers will likely arrive by train. Harpers Ferry is served by both Amtrack and Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC). The train station is located just off the Appalachian Trail near the foot bridge to Maryland.

We plan to take a Greyhound bus to Washington DC and then switch to the Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) service's Brunswick line to Harpers Ferry. The Greyhound depot is four blocks north of Union Station. Some Greyhound schedules actually stop at Union Station enroute to the bus depot.

The disadvantage of taking a commuter train to Harpers Ferry is they only run in the afternoon. Thus, most hikers will arrive in Harpers Ferry long after both the ATC Headquarters and The Outfitter at Harpers Ferry have closed for the day.

As one can't fly or take the bus legally with fuel canisters or alcohol, where to obtain fuel suddenly becomes a concern. One can spend the evening at a local hotel or the KOA campground and purchase fuel in the morning. Another option is to hit the trail and fuel up somewhere north or south of Harpers Ferry. The Bears Den Hostel is south of Harpers Ferry and sells fuel. North bound (NOBO) hikers have it a bit tougher. We plan to head south and overnight along the trail on Louden Heights and obtain fuel about 9:00 a.m. when places open.

By the way, The Outfitter at Harpers Ferry has been known to allow some hikers to overnight on their backporch. Call ahead and don't abuse the priviledge, if granted.

Related Posts:
Greyhound Bus: Harpers Ferry WV

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