All my hikes in Harpers Ferry Easter weekend were short. But all were wonderful. I had good weather and great views. Two of the hikes were on battlefields, and I’m combining them into a single post even though they were done on separate days in separate, but close, locations.
On Saturday I walked the loop at the Murphy Farm. The two mile trail starts at the Visitors Center for the park, and aside from a moderately steep drop to cross a stream the trail is level, and for most of its length a wide crushed limestone surface. And if you are not in the mood to cross the stream or want a shorter hike there is a trailhead with parking at the farm. Highlights of the short walk were the cannons and historical marker for the Battle of Harpers Ferry, and two vistas of the Shenandoah River.
The second walk was Easter Sunday, and consisted of a mile on Bolivar Heights. Everything is “heights” around Harpers Ferry – Bolivar Heights, Maryland Heights, Loudoun Heights – because the town was built into a hillside and on a flood plain. Being located next to the river is great for transporting goods, but not helpful when defending against an army occupying high ground. There’s a quip allegedly from some Civil War figure that he’d rather have to attack Harpers Ferry a dozen times than defend it once. Seeing Bolivar Heights and Murphy Farm made me think there’s some truth to that witticism.
A hundred and fifty years later what was a helpful view for battle is now a marvelous vista. I walked the flat portion of the trail facing the confluence of the rivers, and as the photos show I had a great view. Like Murphy Farm the Bolivar Heights trail has canon and historical markers, but its the views that make the hike.