PAN Access Advisory

River Access in the Harpers Ferry Area



Millville - the put-in for paddling the Staircase section of the Shenandoah. The campground operated by River & Trails Outfitters continues to be the site of choice. Beginning on Memorial Day weekend, the parking fee is $10 per vehicle on weekends, $5 on weekdays. Best bet is to save money by consolidating boats onto as few vehicles as possible. An alternative is to purchase a summer season pass for $50. Before Memorial Day weekend or after Labor Day weekend, parking is usually free, depending upon whether somebody's there to collect money. If nobody's there, Park to the left, avoiding the bus and raft unloading area.

Bakerton - the put-in for paddling the Needles section of the Potomac. River Riders took over the facility in 2009 and has offered special parking passes to club members for $10 per season. Also, daily parking is available for $5 per person. To purchase the parking, go to the River Riders' base on Alstadts Hill Road on the hill behind the old flea market property at the intersection of Rt. 340 and Millville Road and mention that you are an MCC member to get the club rate. Problem? Ask for Liz or Amber.

Take-outs on the Potomac below Harpers Ferry, used for both the Staircase and the Needles, have become increasingly difficult. Potoma Wayside on the Virginia shore has very limited parking, is very busy in season, and has a path culminating in a climb to the top that "builds character", as the late Roger Corbett would say. Across the river at the once commonly used Sandy Hook access, the railroad has closed the railroad crossing and the Railroad Police are enforcing the now illegal crossing.

The Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is located just downstream from Potoma Wayside, immediately after going under the Rt. 340 bridge. In 2017, the HFAC charges: $10/day per person - park on their property, set your own shuttle, take out on their property, and put your boat on their truck for ride up the hill to your car.

The Weverton take-out requires a long walk through the woods and down the tow-path, but it does have an authorized on foot at-grade Railroad crossing. The Brunswick take-out requires an additional 5 miles of paddling, with the last 3 miles consisting of flatwater; however, there is an authorized at-grade railroad crossing for vehicles and the boat ramp offers the convenience of easy access and close parking. The Knoxville takeout, located just below Weverton has very limited parking and requires, like Sandy Hook, a prohibited railroad crossing enforced by the Railroad Police. So this access, rarely used even in the old days, is illegal and not an option.


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