When hiking in West Virginia, you will be treading on the same ground as abolitionist John Brown who made Harpers Ferry the place mentioned in history books today. Brown and 21 others raided the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry with the plan of using the stolen weapons to instigate an uprising among the slaves. U.S. troops rallied and stormed the firehouse where Brown was hiding out and either killed or captured all who were there. Brown survived the siege and was captured by then colonel Robert E. Lee. Brown was tried for treason and executed. This event ignited passions on both sides and historians say it was the impetus that led to the war between the states.

The U.S. Armory and Arsenal was established in Harpers Ferry in 1799. The only other such facility was in Massachusetts. Before the Civil War began, the Harpers Ferry arsenal produced more than 600,000 weapons, including muskets and other firearms.

The location of Harpers Ferry at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers makes it an ideal place to go hiking in West Virginia today. It is that precise location that made it easily accessible to both Union and Confederate troops. In addition, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad had a station there making it a desirable supply route for both sides.

Control of Harpers Ferry was transferred eight times between the Union and Confederation in the years from 1861 to 1864. In fact, in order to keep the Confederacy from accessing the arsenal, in 1861, Union forces made an unsuccessful attempt to destroy it. Local citizens were able to save the manufacturing equipment and move it to confederate headquarters in Richmond.

In September 1862, in the Battle of Harpers Ferry, Confederate General Robert E. Lee invaded the town and forced the surrender of Union Troops after a four-day battle. Even though the Confederate Army was actually outnumbered two to one by the Union troops, Lee divided his army into four groups. They surrounded the town and were able to capture it in what turned out to be the largest U.S. surrender of troops in any war until World War II. The town remained under Confederate command until mid-summer 1864 when the Union again gained control.

Don’t Just Take Our Word for It…

Kathleen NelsonKathleen Nelson
19:49 05 Feb 24
Exciting enough for the twenty something's, gentle enough for my grandkids, great time for all
Kelly RhodesKelly Rhodes
01:04 06 Nov 23
Excellent experience! Group of kids did the zip line tour and had an absolute blast. The guides Logan and Caden were excellent! So fun and everyone felt very safe and comfortable because of them.
Gabriel LeeGabriel Lee
17:56 05 Sep 23
We went white water tubing here with a party of 10 people and had blast. The initial bus ride to the drop off point was a bit long but they sent us in right away. The entire trip down stream took about 2 hours. The water level is a bit low and towards the end the water does get fairly shallow and you need to be careful with the slipper rocks. The white water wasn’t intense at all with it maybe passing as a category 1 not the 3-4 as noted but that was also due to the low water levels. Definitely pack sunscreen and water shoes and you’ll have a great time
Liam AmiriLiam Amiri
13:11 27 Aug 23
This adventure center is very well organized and safe. Loved it.Just make sure before coming for water activities you are wearing proper shoes and you have phone and wallet bags that can be attached to you at all time. Don't lose your stuff in the water...
Alexia StricklandAlexia Strickland
15:11 14 Aug 23
I normally do not write reviews but A group of us went for my boyfriend’s 29th birthday and had a blast. Bella and Kayden were the absolute best Zipline instructors. They were fun, personable and informative with our instructions. We did the Zipline/White water Tubing package and enjoyed the whole day. The facilities were clean, friendly staff, and the team were very accommodating to our requests even when they didnt have to. Definitely want to come back!
Elizabeth HoustonElizabeth Houston
03:47 26 Jun 23
Such a great and full day for our family! Would highly recommend! We did ropes course and rafting. Patrick was awesome with the ropes! He was helpful and so patient. My 10 year old was not feeling the 3rd level fall-but really wanted to do it. Patrick really encouraged him in the best way to jump to it! We had a break in between and the Harpers Ferry Brewery next door was an added bonus we could walk to easily (we went back after too). We ended the day rafting with Liam as our guide. What an experience! He was very friendly, funny and confident on the water. He went out of his way for us to get the most out of the rafting experience. Such a great day-we all really enjoyed ourselves.