Harpers Ferry Holiday

Destination: Harpers Ferry, WV

| Activities: Hiking, Kayaking, Biking, and History

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 a.k.a "The Grand Old Ditch", 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: 14


  • 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 Blue Mountain Retreat with other really fun women


  • 1 - 3 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Three nights lodging
  • Meals and snacks from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • 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.
  • All activities listed in itinerary

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

Trip Documents

Trip Info

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 staying in the lovely Blue Mountain Retreat for the week. It is a private, spacious house with ample parking space. There is a wraparound deck with a dining area, and a living room full of comfy chairs to relax in after a long day of hiking.

The lodging has 9 bedrooms 4 bathrooms, 2 living rooms and 2 dining rooms. Some bedrooms can accommodate up to 4 people, but we will only have a maximum of 2 people per room.

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 Blue Mountain Retreat 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 trip lodging by 2:00 pm, plan to join us there for dinner at 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 our lodging.
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 bike about 8 miles to a campsite where we stop for lunch. Those wanting more cycling can continue up the towpath a bit further. 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 enjoy our final farewell picnic and end our weekend together by 1:30 pm. Those who are flying can plan flights out of IAD for anytime after 4pm.


(29 reviews)
4.7 Food
4.4 Lodging
4.8 Safety

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

Sort By:
Most Recent

Kristal H.
5 months ago

Ashley B.
6 months ago

Kathryn W.
6 months ago

Angie A.
6 months ago

I really enjoyed staying in one place rather than moving each night. It made it more relaxing and time for activities. I loved the mix of activities - zip-lining, canoeing, hiking, biking and "design your own adventure" time.

Michelle K.
6 months ago

The beautiful location, great guides and a fun group of ladies to enjoy the variety of activities

Marie C.
1 year ago

Although the trip was short, we had a fun group of ladies to interact with. And the meals prepared by the guides were fantastic!!!

Valerie W.
1 year ago

Linda G.
1 year ago

Carol E.
1 year ago

Mary K.
1 year ago

Yes. While I've never been on an AGC trip before, the pre-trip descriptions and packing list provided a helpful and accurate glimpse into a weekend I very much looked forward to -- especially because it was my first trip since COVID.

Laura B.
3 years ago

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.

Andrea C.
3 years ago

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

Janis S.
3 years ago

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

Deborah W.
3 years ago

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.

Mollie W.
3 years ago

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!

Judith L.
3 years ago

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!

Kathleen N.
4 years ago

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.

Christy D.
4 years ago

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.

Tricia O.
4 years ago

Linda R.
4 years ago

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

Susan M.
4 years ago

Had a great time with all the different activities!

Sally B.
4 years ago

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

Jane R.
4 years ago

Catherine G.
4 years ago

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

Cathy P.
4 years ago

Irene K.
4 years ago

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

Vicki M.
4 years ago

Shelly A.
4 years ago

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.

Marcia R.
4 years ago

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

  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 accommodations are double occupancy - you will be assigned a roommate.