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5th Annual Flip Flop Festival

  • Dates: 27 – 28 Apr, 2019
  • Location: Harpers Ferry, WV, United States

Come celebrate the beginning of the outdoor season in beautiful Harpers Ferry! The Flip Flop Festival is for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to experience and learn about all that this scenic and historic area has to offer. Although the festival celebrates hikers called "flip floppers" who start their 2200-mile journeys in Harpers Ferry, it has become so much more.

The Flip Flop Festival offers music, food vendors, games, and a variety of activities and workshops so you can jump right in and experience the many great outdoor activities that Harpers Ferry has to offer. Or, you can learn more about that activity you've always wanted to try.

Harpers Ferry offers a wealth of fantastic hiking, cycling, rafting, and climbing, with restaurants, shops, art galleries, indoor and outdoor exhibits, all set close to world-famous historic sites related to The Civil War and African American history in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Birdwatching, forest bathing, cycling, star-gazing are some of the activities and workshops that will be offered in 2019.

Why the name "flip flop festival"?

The festival was originally created for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers to learn how to do a "flip flop" thru-hike--starting in the middle to avoid the crowds of traditional starters in Georgia, hiking north and doing a "flip" back to Harpers Ferry and hiking south. The festival has since expanded to celebrate all things outdoorsy in Harpers Ferry.

We still offer an in-depth program for hikers who want to learn how to be successful flip-floppers. A flip flop thru-hike is a new sustainableway to hike the length increasingly popular 2200-mile Appalachian Trail. By starting in the "psychological halfway point" of the Appalachian Trail of Harpers Ferry, "flip-flop thru-hikers" help conserve of this magnificent American treasure while avoiding the crowds of almost 4,000 thru-hikers who start in Georgia, the traditional starting point. A variety of workshops will be offered covering hiking basics, health and safety, trail etiquette, and hands-on packweight reduction sessions.

Come kick off the beginning of the outdoor season with us!


  • DATE/TIME:  April 27, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and April 28, 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • LOCATION:  799 Washington St, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019

Pre-Festival Workshops


  • 3-6 p.m. — Backpack Shakedowns • What’s in your backpack? Expert hikers review your gear and help you safely skinny down the weight in your pack. One-on-one appointments.


Hiking Workshops

  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Backpack Shakedowns continue
  • 10-10:50 a.m. — Hiking for Beginners
  • 11-11:50 a.m. — Long-Distance Hiking on the AT
  • 12-12:50 p.m. — Leave No Trace Low-Impact Backpacking
  • 1-1:50 p.m. — Staying Found on the A.T.
  • 2-2:50 p.m. — Health & Wellness on the Trail
  • 3-3:50 p.m. — Trail Etiquette & Trail Magic
  • 4-4:50 p.m. — Flip Flopper Panel Q&A

Workshops for Outdoor Enthusiasts

  • 10-11 a.m. — The Birds of Virginius Island • Explore the nature-filled Virginius Island and see if you can spy a few of Harpers Ferry’s 170 bird species with Deb Hale, a local birding enthusiast and volunteer of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society.
  • 11-11:50 a.m. — Introduction to Birding
  • 12-12:50 p.m. — Local Hikes and History
  • 1-1:50 p.m. — Bicycle Touring
  • 2-2:50 p.m. — Thru-Cycling the C&O and Great Allegheny Passage Trails
  • 2-3 p.m. — The Machine in the Garden • Join former National Park Service archeologist Dr. Paul Shackel for an exploration of Virginius Island and its industrial and social history. Registration required: 304.535.2908.
  • 3-3:50 p.m. — Women on the Trail

Don’t Miss the Fun!

  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Games on Mather Lawn

SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2019

  • 7:30-9 a.m. — Hiker Pancake Breakfast at Camp Hill-Wesley Church
  • 9-9:50 a.m. — Flip Flopper Send-Off at the ATC Headquarters


For the A.T. Thru-Hiker (Open To All) 

  • 10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Backpack Shakedowns continue
  • 10-10:50 a.m. — Not Finishing is NOT Failing & Hiker Hacks
  • 11-11:50 a.m. — Backpacking Food and Trail Nutrition
  • 1-1:50 p.m. — Best Foot Forward: Care for Your Feet

Inspiration to Get Outdoors

  • 2-2:50 p.m. — Appalachian Trail 14 State Challenge: Plan an exciting day visit to every Trail state
  • 12-12:50 p.m. — Forest Bathing: How to Reconnect with Wild Places and Rejuvenate Your Life
  • 1:30-3 p.m. — Melanie Choukas-Bradley book signing of The Joy of Forest Bathing: Reconnect with Wild Places and Rejuvenate Your Life (ATC Visitor Center)

Nature and History Walks and Talks


  • 1-3 p.m. — Guided African American History Hike (Meet at ATC Visitor Center) • Former National Park Service Ranger David Fox leads a two-hour interpretive hike of Harpers Ferry sites significant to African American and Civil War History featuring spellbinding stories and stunning views.
  • 8:30-9:30 p.m. — Constellations and Celestial Objects: Gazing at the Night Sky (Mather Lawn)

Don’t Miss While You’re in Harpers Ferry

  • Saturday afternoon — Town of Harpers Ferry Craft Beer Garden at the Gazebo**
  • Friday & Saturday Evenings — Harpers Ferry Ghost Tour***

For more information about the festival, transportation, parking or camping for the event, visit the ATC Headquarters & Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry or online at

Make your lodging and camping reservations now: We encourage you to patronize our A.T. CommunitySupporters.

For a detailed schedule and more information, visit

*Note to flip flop thru-hikers: You are encouraged to spread out your start times and locations. Consider starting a day or two after the festival (we'll have a smaller send-off at 9:00 am on Monday, April 29). Or do a "shakedown" hike through Maryland in advance of the festival to make the most of the educational sessions (then resume your hike further north after the festival). Information about shuttle service providers can be found at

This event is sponsored by the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Trail & Town Alliance and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Liability Waiver may be required.

**The Craft Beer & Food Tasting is not an official event of the Flip Flop Festival nor is it officially sponsored by the Flip Flop Festival or any of its sponsors and partners.  This event is operated and managed solely by the Harpers Ferry Parks & Recreation Commission, and the Flip Flop Festival and its sponsors and partners may in no way be held responsible or liable, legally or otherwise, with respect to this event.

***The Ghost Tour of Harpers Ferry is not an official event of the Flip Flop Festival nor is it officially sponsored by the Flip Flop Festival or any of its sponsors and partners.  This event is operated and managed solely by “O’ Be Joyfull” Historical Tours, and the Flip Flop Festival and its sponsors and partners may in no way be held responsible or liable, legally or otherwise, with respect to this event.


Leave a comment
  1. Steve Fopeano | Mar 11, 2018

    I reserved a tentsite at the HF Campground 1.5 miles by trail on the Shenandoah River from the Amtrak Station. 408 Alstats Rd 25425. 800 326 7233. Very nice people. $34/night Fri and Sat, $24 for Sunday 

    The HF KOA has all sorts of non camping amenities and charges an extra fee  

  2. lpotteiger | Jan 26, 2018

    Camping is available at two locations just outside Harpers Ferry:

    More camping options within reasonable driving distance are listed here:

    Note there are 2 hostels in Harpers Ferry/Bolivar, and one more in Knoxville, Maryland, about a 10-minute drive away (or 5 miles on foot).

  3. Steve | Jan 12, 2018
    Will there be tent sites/facilities available at the festival? 
  4. Tonya King | Oct 16, 2017
    do you have a date set for the annual hiking event in Hot Springs 2018

    Leave a comment