Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is regulated by Federal Law, regulations set forth by the National Park Service, and site-specific regulations designed to preserve the resources of the park while providing a positive and safe environment for visitors. These regulations are stated in the Superintendent's Compendium, which is available on this page. If you have questions or need clarification about the information provided, please email us.
Park Regulations in Brief
- Alcohol: The consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or the possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage is prohibited.
- Bicycling: Use of bicycles is limited to the established roadways open to motor vehicles. Bicycles should not be ridden on park trails. Cyclists must dismount and walk their bicycles on the pedestrian footbridge over the Potomac River.
- Camping: Camping in the park is prohibited.
- Climbing: All persons shall register online through the park's online climbing registry before climbing any cliff or rock in the state of Maryland, and shall check out upon completion of climbing with park dispatch.
- Fees: Entering designated entrance fee areas for which recreation fees have been established without paying the required fees and possessing the applicable permits is prohibited. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is a designated fee area.
- Fires: The use of fires and stoves are prohibited in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
- Fishing: Fishing shall be in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State within whose exterior boundaries a park area or portion thereof is located.
- Littering: All trash shall be disposed of in appropriate trash receptacles. Using government refuse receptacles for dumping household, commercial, or industrial refuse is also prohibited.
- Metal Detectors: Possessing or using a metal detector is prohibited.
- Natural Resources: Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state: (i) Wildlife, (ii) Plants, (4) Gathered wood from within the park is prohibited.
- Pets: Pets must be leashed at all times and may not be left unattended and tied to an object. Possessing a pet in a public building or public transportation is also prohibited. Pet excrement must be bagged and deposited in a trash receptacle.
- Picnicking: Picnicking is allowed only at certain park areas and at the visitor center picnic area (see definition below and also see the Superintendent's Compendium for other restrictions).
Picnicking is defined as more than the mere possession or consumption of food at these locations. It may include such activities as the spreading of blankets or ground covers, setting up tables and/or chairs, cooking of food on portable grills or other cooking devices, storage of food in coolers or other containers, or other similar social activities.
- Resources: Collecting natural and cultural objects, including wood, plants, animals, minerals, or other objects is strictly prohibited. Walking on, climbing on or disturbing a structure or its furnishing or fixtures, or other cultural or archeological resources or monument, or statue, is prohibited.
- Skating: Using roller skates, skateboards, roller blades, coasting vehicles, or similar devices is prohibited.
This list is only a summary of park regulations and does not reflect all federal or state laws and regulations enforced. Please consult with park staff for more information about regulations or consult the Superintendent's Compendium below.
This 22-page document is the Superintendent's Compendium of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority. The document goes into detail regarding the Code of Federal Regulations which pertain to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. (Superintendent's Compendium, PDF)
Code of Federal Regulations
This three page document is the portion of 36 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) that pertains to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. It is divided into three parts: Visiting Hours, Public Use Limits, Closures, Designations; Activities that Require a Permit; and General Regulations. This document goes into more detail than the park regulations in brief. (Harpers Ferry specific, Code of Federal Regulations)
Launching, Landing, or Operation of Unmanned Aircraft within Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
This one page document is an addition to the Superintendent's Compendium regarding rules and regulations at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This document states "36 CFR 1.5 (a)(1) - General Closure - Launching, landing or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the Superintendent." Please read the entire document for more information. (Launching, Landing, or Operation of Unmanned Aircraft)
As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess firearms in this park.
It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park. As a starting point, please visit our state’s website.
Maryland State Law
See Maryland Code, Public Safety, Title 5
See also Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 4
Maryland Attorney General
West Virginia State Law
See sections 61-7-1 to 61-7-15 and 20-2-6a
West Virginia Attorney General
See sections 18.2-279 through 18.2-312
Virginia Attorney General
Federal law also prohibits firearms in certain facilities in this park; those places are marked with signs at all public entrances.