Upcoming Celebrations

A.T. 75th Anniversary Weekend Celebration in Harpers Ferry

  • Dates: 11 – 12 Aug, 2012
  • Location: Harpers Ferry, WV, United States
  • Address: ATC Headquarters - 799 Washington Street

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the National Park Service (including Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (HFNHP) and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office), and the Friends of the Appalachian Trail in Harpers Ferry-Bolivar are hosting a weekend celebration for the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) on August 11 and 12 at 799 Washington St., Harpers Ferry, WV. Event highlights include guest speakers, workshops, activities, displays, food, music and a parade.

A variety of Trail-related programs will run on Saturday and Sunday around Harpers Ferry. The Mather Training Center, part of the historic Storer College campus, will host presentations from Trail personalities including Leonard Adkins, author and five time A.T. thru-hiker, Gene Espy, second person to thru-hike the A.T., and Lucy Seeds, daughter of the first solo female thru-hiker, “Grandma Gatewood.” The National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV will also host a Saturday evening presentation by A.T. Museum president Larry Luxenberg about the history of the Trail.

Other programs include Leave No Trace™ techniques, tips for female hikers, a thru-hiking workshop, animals and wildflowers of the A.T., a photographic tour of the Trail, famous women of the A.T., poems and stories of the A.T., night sky astronomy, and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club's (PATC) influence on the development of the Trail.

Children's activities, including a 14-state mini-hike of the A.T. and a climbing wall, will be offered on the lawn of the Mather Training Center. Temporary tattoos will also be available.

Guided hikes ranging from moderate to strenuous will be offered Sunday morning by the PATC. All hikes will include a portion of the A.T. and views of the Shenandoah or Potomac River. Festival participants can register for the Sunday morning hikes at the PATC booth on Saturday, August 11.

Representatives from different Trail-managing agencies will also speak about the importance of the A.T. and its history over the past 75 years. Some speakers include Mark Wenger, Executive Director and CEO of the ATC; Rebecca Harriett, Superintendent of the HFNHP; Larry Luxenburg, President of the A.T. Museum; Harry Bridges, 50-year PATC member; Kweli Kitwana, A.T. Ambassador for Harpers Ferry-Bolivar; and Joe Anderson, Mayor of Harpers Ferry.

Musical performances will begin Saturday at 2 p.m. and run until 8 p.m. Performers include local favorites Chelsea McBee and Justin Staines, and Trail musicians Randy “Windtalker” Motz, Eric “Fiddler” Zimmerman and Mary Sue “Southern Harp” Roach. The Will Freed Band from Ohio will be the final act.

Other displays include “Appalachian Trail, Dream to Reality” by Ethan Haskiell, a fourth grader who won second place at the West Virginia Social Science Fair, Trail history from the A.T. Museum, and a display by REI about the “10 Essentials” of hiking. There will also be a “Walk a Mile in my Shoes” shoe drive inspired by “Peace Pilgrim,” the first female thru-hiker. Those attending the weekend event are encouraged to bring their gently-used shoes, which will be donated to a local charity at the end of the celebration.

The PATC will host an open house of Highacre in Harpers Ferry on Saturday and Sunday. Highacre is considered the premier facility in the club's system of more than 30 rental cabins and houses along the Trail. The PATC will also have a display featuring their club's involvement with the A.T. and have a table for hike registration.

Throughout the weekend all festival participants will receive discounts at various merchants and restaurants in Harpers Ferry and have the opportunity to win free prizes such as an REI tent and an ENO hammock.

The event is sponsored by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and Friends of the A.T. in Harpers Ferry-Bolivar. Proud supporters of the event include REI, the Town of Harpers Ferry, River Riders, the Delaware Nature Society, the Teahorse Hostel and the Harpers Ferry Guest House.

Program Schedule
Musical Performances
Guided Hikes
Lodging and Camping
Directions and Parking
Volunteer Opportunities


Leave a comment
  1. Lisa J | Aug 10, 2012

    I'll only be coming for Sunday the 12th (my hubby and son will be coming into town, both SoBos who started at Katahdin May 21).  Will the parking still be an issue on Sunday, and will the parking and shuttle at Cavalier Heights Parking Lot still be available on Sunday?  Where might we picnic?  and will through hikers still be welcome at the usual establishments?

  2. Carl Goodman | Jul 31, 2012
    Congratulations on 75 AT years!  I thru-hiked the AT in 1999 (GAME) and have been an AT Ridgerunner in the GSMNP for 10 years. For 3 months every year (from March thru May) I maintain and monitor hikers entering the park on the AT from Fontana Dam NC TH up through Derrick Knob Shelter. The AT has been and will always be special in the lives of my wife and I.  We are currently hosting the Greenbelt NP Campground at Greenbelt, MD. Since we are so close to Harpers Ferry we plan to attend the celebration on Sunday.  Looking forward to the festivities.
  3. Laurie Potteiger | Jul 26, 2012

    Hi Milton,

    Great to learn you will be coming with your family. There are no fees for the event or any of the activities. 

    However, there is limited parking in Harpers Ferry (although we will have access to some lots not normally open to the public). If you arrive in Harpers Ferry Saturday after those fill up (probably 11am or 12 pm), you will have to park in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park lot at their main entrance (near the stoplight at the junction of US340 and Washington St), which has a $10/vehicle entrance fee that is good for 3 days. We will be providing shuttles.

    You might be interested to know that another 1974 thru-hiker is attending and will be representing the '74 class year in the parade. Contact me if you would like more information.

    Laurie Potteiger

    [email protected]

  4. mlton parker | Jul 17, 2012
    Is there a registration fee?  I hiked the AT in 1974 and 1982. Had some interesting encounters. 1974 was when I hiked the trail , got married and went to Israel. What kind of costs can I expect? Please let me know.  I have always enjoyed hiking, but have been out of it for a log time. i really miss it. I plan to bring my family. Thanks. Milton " paw paw" Parker. Yes , I am a very strong supporter of the native tree Asimina triloba    better known as the  American paw paw. My good friend is Neal Peterson of Harpers Ferry.
  5. Laurie Potteiger | Jun 01, 2012


    Here are the answers to your questions:

    1) Most events will be taking place at ATC HQ, the Oddfellows property (uphill from ATC), and the lawn and classrooms of the Mather Training Center. Speakers and music will be in the courtyard between the Mather Training Center and the Interpretive Design Center (or on the covered patio in case of rain. These locations are all at the top of the hill at the high point of Harpers Ferry. The parade is tentatively planned to start near the bank in Bolivar and following Washington /High Street to The Point.

    2) People will be staying in a variety of nearby hostels, B&Bs, motels, and campgrounds. 

    3) The event tentatively will kick-off with our speakers at around 11am Saturday at the courtyard (between Mather and the IDC, about 0.1 mile from ATC. The last events Sunday are expected to end around 5 pm.

    Stay tuned for more details!

  6. john creasy | May 23, 2012

    How many people would you expect?

    Where exactly will these events be taking place?

    Where would the majority of people be staying?

    When/where would it start on Sat., and end on Sun?

    Thx. JC

    Leave a comment

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