• 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

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  • Change in Park Hours

    The park is currently open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last shuttle bus departing Lower Town at 6:45 p.m. More »

  • Murphy Farm Closure Sept 2-4, 2014

    The Murphy Farm will be closed to public access Sept. 2-4, 2014 to allow application of fertilizer to the hayfields. For further information please click on the "More" link or contact the park’s Resource Management Specialist at 304-535-6038. More »


Eastern water snake

Queen snake near Bull Falls.

NPS photo

Don't be surprised to find an eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina) or a black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta) crossing your path when exploring the park. These reptiles are often seen both in the mountains and within the lower historical district. Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), and stinkpot turtles (Sternotherus odoratus) also live in the park. Other snakes found here include the eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), queen snake (Regina septemvittata), northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), and timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). Lizards frequently spotted within the park's forests include the five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus) and the northern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus).

Previous inventories identified 5 turtle, 10 snake, and 3 lizard species in the park. An ongoing reptile survey will be completed in 2003, providing an even more accurate and detailed inventory of the park's reptiles.

Did You Know?

Robert Harper was granted an exclusive ferry concession in 1861.

Robert Harper operated a ferry across the Potomac River in 1747. His heirs, the Wagers, maintained the operation until 1824 when a bridge was built across the Potomac.