It is fitting that Harpers Ferry and Bolivar partnered to become an A.T. Community. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s national headquarters reside in Harpers Ferry on Washington St., and the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Office is just a short walk up Camp Hill within Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This community is truly the epicenter of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Here in Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, a group of citizens and shopkeepers have come forward to show their support, forming the Trail and Town Alliance of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, a subcommittee of the Harpers Ferry Historic Town Foundation. Prompted by another outdoor regional eco-tourism initiative, this group has been working for the past several years to better understand and address the needs and interests of hikers, recreationalists and other visitors from around the area, along the Trail and beyond. More than 250,000 visitors come to the national historic park in Harpers Ferry, bringing over 15,000 people to the national visitor center of the Appalachian Trail. With the growth of local partnerships between two towns, five national parks, non-profits, organizations and businesses, the local community has not only come to understand the importance of outdoor recreation, but moreover has embraced hikers and ATC staff as an integral part of the long term economic viability of this community.
Located about 0.25 mile off the A.T. via the blue blaze trail, the ATC’s Visitor Center is a great place to learn about trail history, culture and traditions, not to mention the abundant hiking options that the Trail and its connectors offer. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to join in on local volunteer projects to help the 6,000 + volunteers from GA to ME maintain the Trail each year. To thru-hikers, it’s the town has become known as the "psychological halfway point" of the Trail.
Today, the community serves as a starting point for many day-hikes along the A.T. through Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The area offers a unique hiking experience with the comforts of civilization right around the corner.