Appalachian Trail: Keys Gap to Harpers Ferry

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Appalachian Trail: Keys Gap to Harpers Ferry is a 13.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length13.9 miElevation gain2,290 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingRunningDog friendlyForestRiverRockyFee
Description
Waypoints (0)

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $20 per vehicle or $15 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot or bike the fee is $10 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $35.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (160)
Photos (1,570)
Recordings (150)
Completed (395)
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Andy B
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Hiking
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Whitney Newkirk
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Hiking

Great hike! Always lovely views in wild and wonderful West Virginia! Never been disappointed with this states untouched beauty it’s truly other worldly.

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jessie st
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Hiking

Beautiful day to hike. trail was well maintained. saw a few hikers but mostly solitude. great 6 mile trail with food and beer at the end!

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Justin Thompson
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HikingMuddyRocky

It’s not as amazing as the Smokies portion but it’s within a quick drive from Dulles. So when I work in DC I spend at least one afternoon here. They’ve put in a boardwalk over the wettest portion. Not a lot of views except at the power line crossing and coming into Harpers Ferry. But, a lot of wildlife including deer, turkey, grouse, rabbit, and squirrels to keep you entertained.

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se7en hikes
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BackpackingIcyMuddy
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Charlie Bradle
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Hiking
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Janet Arellano
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HikingGreat!Private propertyRocky

Fairly flat trail without views until you get to Harpers ferry. We veered off and walked to the brewery that overlooks the river. Loudoun heights is a nice view of the Shenandoah river. Uphill on the way back from Harpers Ferry.

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Tara Landry
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Hiking
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A B
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Tim Tomkinson
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Owen Yancey
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Great!

The start of the trail is not representative of the scenery encountered throughout, as it is a bit rundown; however, the trail offers some great variety. The hike to Harper's Ferry is comfortable with a slight downhill grade, but rocky. Near the town, coming into view of the Shenandoah River is such a magical moment, matched only by the views crossing the bridge walking towards the town. We stopped for a quick lunch and a drink before heading back towards the car, which was needed for the return trip. The return trip is definitely more difficult due to the constant incline. Throughout the hike, traffic was fairly low except for portion spent in Harper's Ferry National Historic Park, which is moderately-heavily trafficked.

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William Bogard
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Backpacking

Pretty average section of the AT. No real views but still a pleasant hike. However, there are some sections that are extremely rocky and mostly small rocks that absolutely kill your feet.

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Emishi Ashitaka
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Hiking
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Lance Blevins
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HikingGreat!

I went on this trail Yesterday with my Boy Scout troop, I was so much fun to hike with them and have a good time hiking the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia

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Attila Gergely
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Hiking

Nice shaded hike starting at Keys Gap veering off to Split Rock and ending up at Harpers Ferry Brewing Company for some well earned beers!

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Scott Segal
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Ursula Pfeil
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Hiking

Tougher trail than we anticipated. It was a hot and humid August day. Not much to see til you approach Harpers Ferry. Very rocky in places. Bring lots of water to drink. Cool off at the river before heading back up for the return trip. Be ready for the climb back. Took longer than we expected, but better to take it slow than sprain an ankle.

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C.M. H.
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Hiking

2 miles up and back

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Esayas Wureta
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Hiking

It’s a shaded trail and great for the summer. While the view is nice once you reach harpers ferry, there isn’t much until than.

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Kyle Silvis
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Hiking

This was a fun trail to complete. It was very challenging. Hiking in the afternoon heat certainly didn’t help. It was relatively uneventful until you got closer to Harpers Ferry and descended into town. The foot bridge was reopened on July 3 so you are able to cross the Potomac again. Not sure why there’s a note that says it’s closed as of July 2020. Bring plenty of fluids. I drank my water pouch, a water bottle, and three Gatorade‘s. Thankfully I was able to grab another drink in town otherwise the ascent back would have been that much more challenging. Oddly enough I didn’t see anybody else on the trail and the trail head parking was almost empty. I did get to see many many deer. The trail was mostly wide except for a few parts. Terrain was rocky in some spots but overall not too bad. Harpers Ferry is full of history.

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Hannah Mackey
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HikingBugsMuddyRockyScramble

Unfortunately, the footbridge over the Potomac River is still closed from the derailment in December. Still was nice to stop in Harpers Ferry, enjoy a bite and swim in the Shenandoah. This was a great section hike and not super busy for a Thursday morning/afternoon. My app cut out at one point and didn’t record my full time/distance, but still ended up around 13/14 mile marks, finishing in about 5.5 hours (not including time spend in Harper’s Ferry relaxing). Moderate is a good rating, quite rocky at points, and the mile or two coming from Harpers Ferry is a steep incline, but easy hiking the rest of the way back. Lots of wildlife, too. :)

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Julie Busseau
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HikingRocky
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kate mussman
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HikingBridge outRocky

This trail was a great hike! Fair warning, Harper's Ferry is currently closed due to a train derailment. My understanding from another hiker was that it is supposed to open up shortly after the July 4th holiday. Also, there is NO parking fee to park at Keys Gap. and is easy to find (also there is a gas station not even a tenth of a mile away). The trail is VERY well maintained, and I ran into several people during the course of my hike that were taking care of the trail. Please don't mind my map, as I got off the trail a little bit as I decided to go up towards the AT Visitor Center, and wish I hadn't. I should have just stuck to the AT to get down to Harper's Ferry, as I ended up wandering through some neighborhoods until I was able to get down to the town. The trail had a LOT of rocks, and I was incredibly grateful to bring along my hiking poles as apparently I wasn't stepping high enough to clear the rocks so I was stumbling a lot, lol. There is one portion of the hike where you have about 1,000ft decline in about a mile. It wasn't terrible on the downward portion of the hike, but you know what they say. What goes up, must come down, or in this instance vice versa. I think this hike was well rated at moderate, and was a nice introduction to the AT for me.

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