Laws & Policies


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.


Superintendent's Compendium

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.


Park Regulations In Brief


Frequently referenced park regulations

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.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is a trash-free parkVisitors are expected to carry out the trash and recycling they generate and dispose of it properly at home or at another appropriate destination. 

You are responsible for removing all trash and recycling for proper disposal when you leave the park. We encourage you to come prepared when you visit: bring the materials you will need to package and carry your trash out of the park when you depart.

 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 on park shuttle buses is also prohibited. Pet excrement must be bagged and disposed of properly outside the park. Harpers Ferry NHP is a trash-free park--learn more.

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.

To prevent the degradation of the values and purposes for which the park was established, the following park areas are closed to the possession of all watercraft (boats, canoes, kayaks, etc.) to include inflatable devices (inner-tubes, air mattresses, etc.).

  • The Goodloe E. Byron Memorial Pedestrian Walkway

  • The Potomac River shoreline from the upstream CSX Railroad Bridge to the Point (confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers)

  • From the confluence upstream along the Shenandoah River to the Rt. 340 Bridge.

  • The Lower Town historic area and Virginius Island between the Shenandoah River and Shenandoah Street to above the Rt. 340 Bridge.

  • All park owned land between the CSX Railroad tracks and the park entrance road (Shoreline Drive)

  • The park entrance road from the Rt. 340 Bridge to the Visitor Center parking area.

Exception: There is an established river access corridor to the Shenandoah River for river recreation purposes. The corridor extends from the River Access parking area at the end of Shenandoah Street (intersection with Rt. 340) to the upstream side of the Rt. 340 Bridge. For the purpose of this regulation the river access corridor shall be defined as an area extending 50 yards on either side of the trail leading from the parking lot to the river shore.


Picnicking is available at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park at a designated picnic area adjacent to the Visitor Center parking lot (171 Shoreline Drive, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425). Its location by the parking lot provides ample parking for vehicles and buses.

The picnic area includes 14 tables in a mostly shaded area. Restroom facilities are available at the Visitor Center plaza.

For more information, visit the Picnicking page.

The use of fires and stoves are prohibited in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Use of bicycles is limited to the established roadways open to motor vehicles.

Bicycles should not be ridden on park trails.

The downhill portion of Shoreline Drive and the "administrative use only" roads on Virginius Island and Maryland Heights are also closed to bicycles.

Cyclists must dismount and walk their bicycles on the pedestrian footbridge over the Potomac River.

Pursuant to NPS Policy Memorandum 19-01 and 36 CFR 1.5(a)(2), Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, will allow E-bikes wherever traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.

Learn more about bicycling at Harpers Ferry.

Using roller skates, skateboards, roller blades, coasting vehicles, or similar devices is prohibited.

Camping in the park is prohibited.

Possessing or using a metal detector is prohibited.

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.

Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing from its natural state: (i) Wildlife, (ii) Plants, (iv) Gathered wood from within the park is prohibited.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or the possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage is prohibited.


Records of Determination

Records of Determination (RODS) outline the reasons a restriction, condition, public use limitation or closure has been established, are available for public viewing. To meet Section 508 compliance, the RODs are the exact content from the signed/letterhead versions. The signed versions are filed in the Superintendent's Office.



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 the ATF's State Laws and Published Ordinances - Firearms (34th Edition) page.

Maryland State Law
See Maryland Code, Public Safety, Title 5
See also Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 4
See also the Maryland State Police Firearms Information page
Maryland Attorney General

West Virginia
West Virginia State Law
See sections 61-7-1 to 61-7-15 and 20-2-6a
See also the WV State Police Legal Division FAQs page
West Virginia Attorney General

Virginia Law
See sections 18.2-279 through 18.2-312
See also the Virginia State Police Firearms/Concealed Weapons page
Virginia Attorney General

Federal law also prohibits firearms in certain facilities in this park; those places are marked with signs at all public entrances.


White-tailed Deer Management

The National Park Service (NPS) developed a Deer Management Plan/Environmental Assessment to provide an effective deer management strategy that supports long-term protection, preservation, and restoration of native vegetation, wildlife and other natural and cultural resources in the park.

Last updated: September 7, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

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