Climbing

Maryland Heights rugged cliff face on a sunny day
Maryland Heights rugged cliff face on a sunny day

NPS Photo / A. Blalock

All climbing activities, including traditional, top rope, belay, lead climbing, bouldering, etc. within the legislative boundaries of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in the state of Maryland are open to climbing.

Historically, the cliff faces within the legislative boundaries of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, specifically the Maryland Heights Cliff in the "Elk Ridge” area, have been widely considered to be some of the best climbing in the tri-state area, drawing hundreds of visitors to the cliffs each year. Within the park, there is a broad range of rock types, as well as a broad range of climbing.
 

Regulations and Guidelines

  • Climbing on or around Jefferson Rock or anywhere along Shenandoah Street is prohibited per the Superintendent's Compendium.
  • Observe posted route closures; contact the park for specific closure areas.
  • Leave historical and natural objects undisturbed for the next visitor.
  • Please help protect your national park by not using vegetation as an anchor, do not deface, damage, or alter the natural rock surface, and practice Leave No Trace Principles. Do not leave gear on the cliffs or rocks.
  • Minimize erosion on your approach and descent. If an obvious main trail has been created, use it. Go slow on the way down to avoid pushing soil down the hill. Avoid walking on vegetation whenever possible
 

Climber Registration

  • Because the Lower Town Information Center is currently closed, climber registration is not required at this time.
  • Registration is required for all persons planning to climb on the cliff face on Maryland Heights. The free, required registration is in the best interest of the climber and the climbing community as it ensures climber safety, documents climbing use, and becomes part of a historical database.
  • To register before your climb, visit the Lower Town Information Center, ask the ranger or volunteer for the climbing registry book, and fill out your information in the log.
 

Safety Tips

  • Make sure all of your gear is in good, working condition.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Take drinking water.
  • If climbing during the summer months, follow these summer tips.
 

Peregrine Falcon Nesting

  • The Maryland Heights cliff face often closes between early April and mid-August in order to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Exact dates and locations may vary annually.

Last updated: August 14, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-6029

Contact Us