View Full Version : Harpers Ferry to Boiling Springs

07-15-2014, 19:20
Hi Everyone:

I have a week and I was thinking of section hiking Harpers Ferry to Boiling Springs in late September, roughly 100 miles. I would be flying into Baltimore and catching a shuttle to and from the airport. Just wondering your thoughts on if I should go North or South? Any recommendations for a responsible shuttle and any must see's or do's along this section. How busy the trail would be in late September for that stretch.

Or would there be a different 100 mile section that you would recommend? (I am close to Maine and was thinking the HMW but airfare seems very cheap at the moment so that is why I am leaning towards Harpers to Boiling Springs).

Last September, I did the Approach Trail at Springer to Winding Stair Gap and loved it. So any input would be greatly appreciated and thanks in advance!

Vibes Man
07-15-2014, 19:31
I live halfway between BWI airport and Harpers Ferry. Glad to pick you up at the airport and take you over to the ATC headquarters. It's not a problem. Hit me up as you get closer to your date. If it saves you time/money/hassle, I'm happy to assist.

07-15-2014, 19:50
Oh thanks Vibes Man, I will definitely keep you in mind and thank you for the offer!

07-16-2014, 01:01
That is a great area! Maryland is full of history, and southern PA has a mixture of terrrain (not-so-bad rock areas alternating with fields).

Another great 100 mile stretch is SNP, but I am guessing that would not work with flights....

07-17-2014, 16:49
My buddy and I are doing that exact stretch Sept 28 - Aug 3 starting in Boiling Springs. We are doing it south because we live in North Carolina and it just makes for a shorter drive home doing it that way. See you on the trail :)

07-17-2014, 17:14
I hiked Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs in April. Harpers Ferry to Boiling Springs was a nice segment. I recommend Mike's Shuttle Service in Boiling Springs. He provided an unplanned shuttle from Boiling Springs to Carlisle at a reasonable rate.

If you are willing to start or end a bit further north in Carlisle, there is a very inexpensive CAT bus that goes into Harrisburg that I used at the end of my hike.

07-17-2014, 18:06
I'd hike it south because Harpers Ferry is a great place to end a hike. And just before Harpers Ferry, you can catch the views of the Potomac and, upstream, the gap in the mountains from the Shenandoah meeting the Potomac, from Weverton Cliffs in MD. As the trail goes along the increasingly narrow ridge, just when you think you're at the end of the ridge, the AT makes a 90 degree right turn and a blue-blazed trail leads straight ahead, not much more than 100 yards, to Weverton Cliffs.

07-17-2014, 20:19
Thanks for all of the info! The week I have available is Sept 23 to Sept 29/30. I do like the idea of finishing in Harpers Ferry. If I came in a bit early, I would like to explore the town and history there. Did you do a food drop along that section or just carry it all? How busy would the trail be that time of year? I do carry a tent but would prefer to stay in the shelters. Thanks!

07-17-2014, 20:27
You could send a drop to South Mountain, Pa. which is about halfway and only 1.2 off trail.

07-18-2014, 05:54
I didn't have a food drop between Harpers Ferry and Boiling Springs but there are several places for quick resupply along the section close to the trail. AWOL's AT guide does a good job of pointing out the possibilities. If I do that section again, I would start with less food and buy supplies along the way.

07-19-2014, 10:21
thanks Coffee, So if I was looking at taking around 6 days for that stretch, you would have carried 4 days of food and buy the rest? How long did it take you for that stretch? Last year, I did the Approach trail at Springer to Winding Stair gap NC in 6 days but would like to move a little slower this time and take in scenery and history.

07-19-2014, 10:48
I covered the section in five days in late April. The first day was a short one from Harpers Ferry to the Ed Garvey Shelter. Second day was from the Garvey Shelter to Annapolis Rocks. Third day from Annapolis Rocks to Deer Lick Shelter. Fourth day from Deer Lick Shelter to Birch Run Shelter. And the final day from Birch Run Shelter to Boiling Springs (a long day).

I made two stops for food off-trail. The first stop was at the pizza restaurant (La Mattina) in Fayetteville, PA which was just a few tenths of a mile west of the AT crossing of US 30. The second stop was at the Green Mountain store, a couple tenths of a mile east of the PA 34 crossing. I just got snacks but they had a good selection of food.

There were several places where I did not stop or were closed. Pine Grove Furnace State Park has a small store but it was closed. There are also opportunities to buy food in Boonsboro MD (1.9 miles off trail), Smithburg MD (1.5 miles off trail - also Free State Hiker Hostel), Blue Ridge Summit PA (1.2 miles off trail), and South Maintain PA (1 mile off trail, but I think they just have a PO and restaurant, not a store). AWOL's guide has all of this info and more.

If I hike this segment again, I would probably start at HF with 2 1/2 days of food, resupply in one of the towns near PenMar with another couple days of food, eat at the Pizza restaurant, and stop in for snacks at Green Mountain store.