Jefferson County connects with both the Potomac River and Shenandoah River, and there are many ways for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the water. If tubing is your way to float, there are three companies offering full-service via private facilities in the vicinity of Harpers Ferry — River & Trail Outfitters, River Riders, and Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. During the warm months these outfitters get busy and the rivers get crowded, so book ahead. If you’re in the mood for a quieter adventure, head up to Shepherdstown. The team at Pedal & Paddle (115 W German St) can hook you up with tubes, kayaks and various options for full or self service adventures on the upper Potomac.
Jefferson County Parks & Recreation maintains Moulton Park (716 Millville Rd, Charles Town) on the banks of the Shenandoah River for public boating and fishing access. There is a small parking lot near the camping/picnic areas of the park and a larger parking lot for boat trailers near the ramp. The park is open daily year-round, with portable restrooms and camping available June to September (or later depending on the weather). The park is designated trash-free (no receptacles provided), so visitors should carry out their own trash.
The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources maintains river access points below the Millville dam on the Shenandoah River (2428 Bloomery Rd, Charles Town) and in Shepherdstown on the Potomac River (at the end of N. Princess St). The Millville location is marked by a small “fishing access sign” across from the Potomac Edison substation. WVDNR just renewed its lease on the Shepherdstown boat ramp and parking lot for another ten years, but parking is currently limited due to the construction at the nearby water treatment plant (this construction is expected to continue through the summer). The WVDNR website provides rules for use of these stream access points (WVDNR.gov).
Water quality on the upper Potomac River (above Harpers Ferry) is generally considered acceptable for swimming. Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a resource for information for this river. On the Shenandoah, the water quality varies. Friends of the Shenandoah River posts updates and report cards on its website (FOSR.org).By Staff Contributor