Community is what we seek and the outdoors is where we find home—we know this from the generations before us. Jefferson County in particular has a rich and well-preserved history of outdoors and community. With numerous scenic trails and historical locales and a vibrant dining scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
All Trails Lead Here
HARPERS FERRY is the mid-point of arguably the most famous hiking trail in the United States. The Appalachian Trail passes through town as it travels up and down the Eastern mountains for over 2,100 miles and through 14 states. Here, you can get a great taste of the trail and meet current and former thru-hikers. The headquarters for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has been in Harpers Ferry since 1972.
The Appalachian Trail is just the beginning of the trail scene in Jefferson County. There are three routes you can choose from when hiking the Maryland Heights Trail. Each option includes time on the Appalachian Trail and leads to the Maryland Heights Overlook. This vantage point is not to be missed, with a spectacular view of Harpers Ferry, the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, and the expansive mountain beyond.
The six-mile Loudoun Heights Trail is also a great way to experience the Appalachian Trail and see some great views of Harpers Ferry. This out-and-back trail features incredible riverscapes and will provide a good workout.
The C & O Canal Trail runs from Harpers Ferry to Shepherdstown, hugging the Potomac River. This 13-mile river trail is popular for hikers, bikers, and runners. The path is well-maintained and wooded, providing shade and quiet time as you traverse the trail.
The 5.4-mile Shannondale Springs Trail in Charles Town is popular for birding, hiking, and walking as it loops along the Shenandoah River. Just outside Charles Town in Summit Point, try three different trails at Cool Springs Preserve. The Perimeter Loop, Linda’s Loop, and Old Orchard Trail Loop are all well-marked and perfect for hikers and nature lovers.
JEFFERSON COUNTY boasts a flavorful variety of unique, locally owned restaurants, creating a cosmopolitan dining scene on a charming scale. In Shepherdstown, go for fine dining at The Press Room or try Lilah, an American–international fusion restaurant featuring a wood-fired oven. In Harpers Ferry, dine with a view: Try The Rabbit Hole for river vistas or The Town’s Inn for mountain views and a menu brimming with local ingredients. In Charles Town, share exotically spiced kabobs at Mediterranean Café or a culinary experience with the very finest and freshest of ingredients from local farms at the Hillbrook Inn. For a trip back to simpler times, start your morning with a delicious breakfast at the Country Cafe in Bolivar—a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
Beer is Our Craft
Honoring a long list of abolitionists in Charles Town, Abolitionist Ale Works offers a funky selection of unique brews and great food. While most of the flavors rotate, a few favorites are kept on tap. Alpha Mayle IPA, the brewery’s top seller, is made with Citra and Simcoe hops. Shenandoah Saison is aged in a wine barrel with locally grown plums. The rotating selections make it imperative to return again and again.
Bavarian Brothers Brewing is a testament to Old World flavors that also honors our Appalachian heritage. From the beers to the food, a unique, relaxed, delicious experience is what it is all about. Located within the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, the brewery has a great sense of energy and excitement and has become a favorite spot for the inn’s guests as well as locals. Enjoy an Erwin’s Angry Ale or Carol’s Royal Stout, which both pay homage to the original owners of the inn.