How to Hike the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia

Stretching from Georgia to Maine, Appalachian Trail spans through 14 states and leads hikers alongside 2,200 miles of rugged terrain surrounded by astounding beauty all the way. Completing the trail is a daunting task and takes an average of 4 to 6 months to complete. However, The Mountain State is the perfect place for those looking to explore a portion of this nationally known wonder.

Harpers Ferry

The historic town of Harpers Ferry is home to four miles of the Appalachian Trail as well as the conservancy – the trail’s headquarters. Stop by the Visitor’s Center to pick up resources such as guides and maps, shop souvenirs and learn more about the perfect day-hikes available. Sitting at an elevation between 265 and 1,200 feet, the slice of the trail here is deemed easy to moderate.

When in town, find yourself just a few steps away from Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the confluence of the stunning Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Stroll the streets to witness locations of many of the key moments of early American history. Experiencing the many museums, locally owned shops and authentic Appalachian dining options are also a must.

Monroe County

A portion of this famous footpath also weaves in and out of southern West Virginia for about 20 miles along the Virginia border in Monroe County. The famous footpath can be accessed along the crest of Peters Mountain by hiking up Groundhog Trail from Sugar Camp Farm. Much higher than the section of the trail found in Harpers Ferry, here the maximum elevation reaches 4,000 feet and the terrain is ranked from easy to challenging.

While here, don’t miss exploring the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory. This hidden gem functioned as an operating fire tower until 1972. Now guests can climb this structure to see migrating birds soaring through the sky at an elevation of 3,800 feet on Peters Mountain along the eastern Continental Divide.

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This post was last updated on May 16, 2023