• Sun beginning to set at Harpers Ferry, as seen from Maryland Heights. Photo by NPS Volunteer Buddy Secor.

    Harpers Ferry

    National Historical Park WV,VA,MD

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Harpers Ferry watergap

View of the water gap and the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Point.

NPS photo

When visiting the park, the natural features of the area can almost be overwhelming. From the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains that steeply rise above the historic district to the rushing waters of the Potomac and ShenandoahRivers bordering the town, one is in awe of the surrounding beauty. Seventy percent of the park is covered with eastern deciduous forest with the predominant soil type here being a shaly silt loam. Quartzite, phyllite, and limestone are the predominant rock types, each playing a role in the formation of such popular sights as the Stone Steps and the water gap. Floodplain communities line the banks of the Potomac and ShenandoahRivers. Visitors have the opportunity to experience these plus many more beautiful and exciting natural features.

Did You Know?

Intake arches channeled water to power industry on Virginius Island.

Virginius Island was a thriving 19th-century industrial town along the Shenandoah River. By 1859, there were about three dozen buildings there.