HI - Harpers Ferry Hostel & Campground




The Hostelz.com Review

HI - Harpers Ferry Hostel & Campground is rural retreat across the river from historic Harpers Ferry in a pretty location on the Appalachian Trail, overlooking the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers below.

The Location

The hostel is well positioned for hiking and bike rides. From Harpers Ferry and the train station, it is around a two-mile walk along the river and then up a short, hilly road. The majority of the scenic walk is flat but unpaved and if you are arriving on foot and after dark, be warned that there is no light on the route (it is primarily a cycle path sandwiched between the river on one side and a canal/railroad tracks on the other) and there is no legitimate place to cross onto the road. The hostel advises that you cross over the railway tracks with caution (though there is a sign that states trespassing is prohibited); the alternative is to walk several miles around. There is a decent-sized car park for those driving.

Those traveling without a vehicle and hoping to cook at the hostel should come with plenty of supplies, as the only stores within easy reach are a garage and a tiny local shop which seems to open sporadically and sell very little other than beer (which is not permitted at the hostel anyway).

Rooms and Bathrooms

There are basic dorms (single sex and co-ed) as well as a couple of private rooms; during our stay in late fall, these were a little cold and musty and definitely appear to be in need of a good vacuuming (there are lots of dead stinkbugs knocking around!). The bathrooms are functional and clean and consist of cubicle-style showers with just curtains for privacy. There is also a free-for-all basket with left-behind shampoos, which is handy.

Common Spaces

The communal lounge/kitchen area is cosy and has a well-fueled log burner during chilly nights, a book swap area, and a good selection of board games. The kitchen is fully equipped with all the necessary items and there is a free, cook-your-own pancake breakfast every day. The hostel sells soft drinks and a few snacks, but nothing more substantial than packets of noodles. There is a rather lengthy lockout between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., which seems a little excessive.

The grounds of the hostel (which double up as a campground) are one of its best features; as well as offering a nice view of the river, fires are permitted and you can buy logs to burn in the fire pits in the garden. There is a covered porch and also a decent-sized, sheltered area with picnic benches and mosquito nets for outdoor dining.


HI - Harpers Ferry Hostel & Campground is a quiet and relaxing place to stay, but it is definitely not for those who want to get out at night!
by Laura T
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Hostel exterior
The lounge/fire place
Dorm room
Porch area
A bench in the garden overlooking the river


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "HI - Harpers Ferry Hostel & Campground" at 19123 Sandy Hook Road.)


19123 Sandy Hook Road, Harper's Ferry, Knoxville, Maryland, USA
39.326546, -77.700535 (accuracy not guaranteed)
None (if you know the URL of their website, tell us and we'll add it)
+1 (301) 834-7652
+1 (301) 834-2022
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How is HI - Harpers Ferry Hostel & Campground rated on other websites?

  Cleanliness Location Atmosphere Overall
(26 ratings)
Not listed on HostelBookers.
No reviews yet.
(1 ratings)
HI Hostels
(29 ratings)

Hostelz.com Guest Reviews

Good Option for C&O Canal Cyclists
Have stayed here several times in dorms and camping while riding the C&O Canal. Friendly staff and nice facility. It's a bit of a climb to get to but you are far away from the train tracks so the trains don't keep you awake all night. When I stayed, they offered all-you-can-eat ice cream at night and pancakes for breakfast which was a real plus. I really recommend this hostel.
Age 54, US
Luck of the Draw ...
I have stayed at this hostel several times. When the lady is working, she is very nice and goes out of her way to make sure you are enjoying your stay at the hostel. Conversely, the man that works there seems cold and even gives you the third-degree. The hostel itself is pretty much no-frills. There is one free I-net station and a few board games scattered about. However, the hostel is remote and I have never seen anymore than three guests there at one time. So, good luck on getting a board game going. On the pancake breakfast, if the man is working, make sure you clean up immediately and thoroughly. He'll get angry if you don't. Here is hoping you get the lady when you check in.
Age 50, USA
Awful place for campers!
Don't stay here if you're camping! We were biking the C&O canal and it seemed like the closest place from what we heard. It was a steep climb up to the place and 5 miles away from a grocery store. I wish we had stayed at the Brunswick Family Campground instead which we discovered later (closer to the trail and food). At the hostel, we were treated poorly by the staff who refused to let us use the bathroom more than once despite a $5 extra fee per person for "bathroom facilities usage" (they changed their wording on these rules once we were confused why we were only allowed into the building once for a paid shower). Instead we used a disgusting port-a-potty and garden hose for all our needs. The worst part is how poorly we were treated by the staff who guarded the hostel door, argued with us about their bathroom policy and were very aggressive despite their role as a host. Perhaps if I was a sketchy teenage wanderer who was out to abuse and destroy hostels this would make sense, but as a 30 year old middle school teacher, I had never been treated like this and it made me very upset!
Campers are treated poorly, bad location if you don't have a car
Beware camping at this hostel. You are not welcome generally. You can pay for bathroom access, but soon after doing this the staff decided that they would only allow us to use the bathroom once, although we were not previously informed of this policy. Apparently this is their new policy because they changed the signs the next morning to say that you only get to use the bathroom once. Otherwise you have to use a port-a-john outside, with no sink. So you are not getting your money's worth when you pay for the bathroom. Overall the staff were rude. Getting to the hostel walking or biking is dangerous because it is at the top of a steep hill and is on a busy, winding road with fast driving trucks and cars. The yard also has a ton of no-see-ums. Generally very unpleasant place.
Very nice hostel and very friendly staff
I have stayed here twice. Once while hiking on the Appalachian trail. And once while bicycling the C&O Canal. The hostel was a few hundred yards from both. I enjoyed my stay both times. The lady in charge was very nice. As with all hostels it was a no frills type of place. But it was very clean and comfortable. It also had a computer that you could use for free. It had a more cozy feel than most city hostels have. I think that this is because it caters to hikers and bikers who are looking for a quiet place to relax. It is also very affordable. I will stay here again when i bike the C&O Canal again.
pete from baltimore
( USA)

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