RoadRUNNER’s Bucket List Roads: Harpers Ferry Road

May 14, 2016 View Comments by

Harpers Ferry

What Is It? The nation’s path to the American Civil War was accelerated when abolitionist John Brown led his famous raid on the federal arsenal and armory at Harpers Ferry, VA (West Virginia today) in October 1859. Some 20 miles north of Harpers Ferry, and almost three years later, the single bloodiest day of the Civil War was fought at Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, MD. Connecting these two iconic Civil War sites, Harpers Ferry Road provides riders with a technically challenging stretch of tarmac through back-in-time countryside.

Scenery: Harpers Ferry and the Antietam Battlefield are two of the best-preserved historic sites in America. Cruising through the mid-Atlantic backroads connecting them, riders don’t have to use a lot of imagination to visually picture Confederate and Union armies marching and fighting.

Curves: Harpers Ferry Road is an almost constant series of elevation changes, blind curves, and tight turns.

Traffic: Usually light during the week, but can be heavier on weekends.

Distance: 18 miles

Time Required: Plan a full day to visit both Civil War sites and ride—at least once, if not more—the relatively short but highly entertaining Harpers Ferry Road.

Technical Difficulty: Not as technically challenging as high alpine switchbacks, but on a scale of one to five (most difficult), it’s at least a four.


National Park Service: Harpers Ferry
Antietam Battlefield
Best Biking Roads: Harpers Ferry Road


Harpers Ferry Road
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Tags: Categories: Destinations, On The Road