arial view of harpers ferry
arial view of harpers ferry
C&O canal towpath appalachian trail sign
abandoned brick harpers ferry building
brick island on Shenandoah river
charming virginia town harpers ferry

Harpers Ferry Holiday

Destination: Harpers Ferry, WV

Harpers Ferry, located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, is known for both its great natural beauty and its historical significance. As a result it is a center point for numerous activities: hiking on the Appalachian trail and other Civil War historic trails, biking on the gently graded C&O Canal towpath, canoeing down one of the lively rivers, and visiting the historic old town. Mid-April in this area is beautiful with many flowering trees and shrubs and temperatures typically in the 60s and 70s, there is no better place for an active and relaxing long weekend getaway. Maximum Group size: 13


  • Hiking up the Maryland Heights Trail while imagining what it was like to drag 9 ton cannons behind you
  • Biking on C&O Canal Towpath alongside the gorgeous Potomac River
  • Paddling the historic Shenandoah River while singing John Denver songs
  • Learning about the history of Harpers Ferry
  • Hanging out at the Harpers Ferry Hostel with other really fun women

Departures and Prices

May 14 to May 17, 2020
$920.00 - Available
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  • 1 - 3 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Three nights lodging
  • Meals and snacks from dinner on Friday through lunch the following Monday
  • Dinner in town at a Harpers Ferry restaurant
  • Bike and canoe rental and canoe shuttles
  • Transportation during the trip including airport transfers at the specified times.

What's not included: Travel to and from IAD, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, and travel insurance.


Each day includes 3 to 5 hours of activity and the variety of activities (e.g. hiking, bike riding, and canoeing) require a good all-around fitness level, so this trip requires being in good physical condition. The trip is rated 3. Prior to beginning the trip, participants should be engaging in aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. Rating:1 2[3] 4 5

On this trip we will be hiking, cycling, and paddling, as well as learning about the history of Harpers Ferry. No experience is necessary in any of these activities, we'll teach you everything you need to know.

We will be taking over the entire Harpers Ferry hostel for the weekend. The hostel has two large bedrooms, with 5 to 6 bunkbeds in each room; and 2 private rooms. And while all of the beds are bunks, no one will need to sleep on a top bunk. There are 2 separate bathrooms, each with 3 toilets and showers. There is also great dining and living space.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

If you're flying in, we'll pick you up at 12:30pm at the Washington-Dulles Airport (IAD). If you're driving, plan to meet us at the Harpers Ferry Hostel at 2:00pm. We'll settle in and then go out for our first hike. The Maryland Heights hike is a 3.1 out and back to a gorgeous overlook with spectacular views of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers and fascinating Civil War history. Our hike follows a worn military road, leftover from the Civil War, that steeply winds its way up the mountain and turns onto a wooded path leading down to the cliffs. Alternatively, if you prefer something that is flatter but no less scenic, an out and back hike on the C&O canal towpath is a delightful option. If you cannot get to the hostel by 2:00 pm, plan to join us for dinner at the hostel at 6:30 pm and an evening of relaxation and games.
After a hearty and relaxed breakfast we head to the Shenandoah River above Harpers Ferry for some delightful canoeing. This lovely Class I waterway for paddlers offers ripples and ledges, interspersed with flatwater sections that afford relaxation. Winding its way through the scenic Shenandoah Valley, nestled between the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, the river is home to heron and osprey, and deer sometimes break through the thickets to drink at the water's edge. If you have never paddled before, no worries - you will get the instruction you need to have a fun and safe day. And if that weren't thrills enough, we'll try a nearby zipline. If you have wanted to give ziplining a try, this is a perfect place to start.

We'll end the day with another hearty dinner back at the hostel.
The C&O Canal Towpath stretches for 185 miles from Washington DC to Cumberland, Maryland. Running parallel to the Potomac River, the path is both flat and tree-shaded, and can be navigated on either fat tire or regular tire bikes (although fat tire is preferable). We will cycle about 8 miles to a campsite where we stop for lunch. Those wanting more cycling can continue up the towpath to the town of Shepardstown, WV (about 40 miles total). Others may choose to visit the town of Harpers Ferry (we can lock our bikes up and walk in), or return to the hostel to have some time to relax, go for a walk, or enjoy a quiet moment to read. Tonight we'll go out to dinner at a nearby local restaurant.
This morning we will walk along the towpath into the Harpers Ferry Lower Town Historic District, which sits on the point of land where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers converge. George Washington convinced the Federal Government to build an Armory & Arsenal here and this, plus its geographic location, has determined much of the town's history. This is also the site of John Brown's ill-fated raid of October 16, 17, and 18, 1859. Several park exhibits and museums occupy restored 19th century buildings in the Lower Town today. To get the most from our visit, our local tour guide will tell us the fascinating history of this unique town. We will then return to the hostel for our final farewell lunch and end our weekend together by 1:30 pm. Those who are flying can plan flights out of IAD for anytime after 4pm.

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*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

Meeting new people from all different walks of life, with all different stories. The Appalachians are beautiful, Harper's Ferry was a great town to visit. All the activities were enjoyable, although the hiking was my favorite.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 5/3/2019-5/6/2019

This trip was one highlight after another, absolutely loved everything.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 5/3/2019-5/6/2019

Great tour guides, who made the trip fantastic in every way.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 5/3/2019-5/6/2019

All of the activities were really wonderful, the hostel was great too! The highlight for me was the guides - Sharon and Claire are truly remarkable people. They treated each person with respect and care and everyone felt welcome and appreciated.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 5/3/2019-5/6/2019

I enjoyed everything about the trip, but the highlight was biking in the rain! We were determined to get our bike ride in, and even though it started pouring on the way back in, it was worth it!

Harpers Ferry Holiday 5/3/2019-5/6/2019

It was a lovely mix of people. The guides were friendly and facilitated great interaction among us. The location was interesting and there were ample opportunities for different things to do. The hostel/lodge was well located and comfortable. The history of the area was a big plus!

Harpers Ferry Holiday 5/3/2019-5/6/2019

Bikes were very old and I had a kids bike that had smaller tires and the seat kept slipping so it was difficult to keep up with the others. Perhaps a different bike company? Highlight - walking up to Maryland Heights - a first for me. Being taken care of from the minute I got there was great! All of the women and the encouragement from them was awesome.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

Yes for the most part. The hostile was a little uncomfortable for me. Lot of people in a small space. The bed was a little uncomfortable. This didn't put a damper on the trip as a whole though. For me it was good that it was a shorter trip.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

The canoe trip was wonderful and Harpers Ferry is a wonderful destination.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

Had a great time with all the different activities!

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

The meals were a wonderful surprise - I hadn't expected such great food. Everything was well planned and well executed.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

biking, canoeing, excellent food and, as usual, great company

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

Great scenery, time of year (spring blooms), biking on tow path

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

Highlights of the trip are always the wonderful camaraderie of the women and guides. And the exceptional food!! AGC trips always exceed my expectations. They run so smoothly, and even when having to resort to a plan B due to weather, remain fun and memorable.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

great group of women, jelled quickly, lots of laughing and bonding.

Harpers Ferry Holiday 4/19/2018-4/22/2018

  1. Where do we eat?

    The guides will be cooking breakfasts and most dinners in the hostel. Before you leave in the morning the guides will put out lunch 'fixings' and you'll take a packed lunch. You'll go out for one dinner where you can order off the menu; other nights you'll relax in the hostel and have dinner there.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    f we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise you'll be sharing a bunkroom with 4 or 5 other women (no one will need to take a top bunk).