Launching spots near Harper’s Ferry NP, WV

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I’m going up to Harpers Ferry, WV tomorrow morning, looking for a legal place to launch from. The National Park boundaries extend along most of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in the West Virginia elbow, the Maryland side way up the mountain and the areas upstream Shenandoah on both Virginia and West Virginia sides. See the NPS map.
Maps - Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)

The most likely areas are near the two bridges, the first adjacent to the Harpers Ferry Amtrack Station and the 2nd bridge where the Appalachian trail crosses the Potomac River.

There does appear to be a little carve out right near the point on the West Virginia side next to that 2nd bridge, very close to the historic area. I believe it may be land owned by one of the railroad companies. That looks like the ideal place with all of the major points of interest accessible for filming. Weverton cliffs, historic areas of the town, railroad bridges, bridge ruins, rock islands, the C&O canal and truly one the most beautiful historic scenic areas you’ll ever witness.

I have an indelible memory of crossing that 2nd railroad bridge in complete and total darkness on my first ever visit to Harpers Ferry 40 years ago, attempting to find a connection to the C&O canal on the opposite side of the river from the train station, based on someone’s sketchy directions I didn’t bother to write down at a keg party a few weeks prior. We had no map, no flashlight and had never backpacked before. Stepping from tie to tie barely visible about midway, we hear a train coming through the tunnel. We didn’t know about any tunnel, but saw the light, heard the air horn. We find a thin rickety railing and climb over it, hanging on for dear life with 50 lbs. of canned food, wine and beer on our backs. It was at this point we realize that we’re hanging on that railing directly over a river... a 150 yds wide Potomac river. It was so dark, we could only hear the river 40 ft. below. As the train came through the tunnel, our sphincters tighter than a bugler’s lips, it veered off to what was apparently another railroad bridge roughly parallel to the bridge we were hanging over, splitting a Y in the tracks. We did eventually get across that bridge, vault our packs over the 8 ft. fence we had to climb over, cross a 2nd set of tracks, find what appeared to be the C&O towpath (canal not watered in this portion), and set up a lean-to with plastic (for some unknown reason cause I packed a tent). It rained.

So, you can see that Harpers Ferry holds a very special place in my history of fawlty endeavors. The fall colors should be outstanding this week and Harpers Ferry is a beautiful place for 4 batteries worth of flights. If anyone knows good launch spots and/or wants to meet up, let me know.
 
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I was checking it out when I was in Shepherd town in February.
I think when you get there you will find the perfect place to fly from. I isn't hard to see places to fly from outside the park boundaries. A guy did a You Tube video of the abandoned hotel near the historical district.
 
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I was checking it out when I was in Shepherd town in February.
I think when you get there you will find the perfect place to fly from. I isn't hard to see places to fly from outside the park boundaries. A guy did a You Tube video of the abandoned hotel near the historical district.
Yes, I saw that video around the abandoned hotel. I don’t know how accessible that hotel is and was under the impression it was fenced off, but figured I could find a place in the general area. While that is an interesting part of the Potomac River, it’s not close enough to the town and most scenic views. I’m gonna look for a legal location outside the Park boundaries near the point in WV where the train tracks are. I would take my kayak and paddle out into the river, but we’ve had a lot of rain and it’s more effort than I have time for on this venture. Once I’ve scouted it out and checked with the NPS in town, I’ll know for next time.
 
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I found a spot right on the point outside of the big stone walls that define the park boundaries.

I was able to get off one flight when the sun was out. I had a list of shots I wanted to film, but on the return first flight, I got a low battery warning. As I was descending, the battery got critically low and decided to come down a couple feet out from the shore into the water. I was able to grab it just as it was descending into the water. I dried it off, blew it out as best I could, but it was only half working. I'd give it another try, but I live in a big no fly zone near DC, so...

I've been pretty frustrated with this P3 4k. Even with the Itelite DBS, I lose signal often. With a clear LOS, I can't get more than about 1/2 to 3/4 miles out before signal loss. I've been half-hoping it would just crash so I can collect the insurance on this beast and buy a Mavic 2. Anyways, here's a couple pics.
 

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I flew again this weekend. The P3 is still on the fritz and I wasn’t gonna miss the fall season so I got a Mavic 2 Pro. Studied up as much as I could in 3 days. I flew this time from the abandoned hotel way up on the bluff above the town. Aother place to fly is on the rocks across the Shenandoah from the town. There’s a small dirt parking area downriver that would require a hike upstream also a wide shoulder off Rt. 340 that appears to be ok to park at, which is just across the Shenandoah from the point. The ranger told me the point outside the wall is still in the NP.
 

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