Train to Trail – Harpers Ferry Winter Backpacking Trip – Hiking in Virginia

Join Mike and I for for a “Train to Trail” Winter Camping, Backpacking, Campfire cooking, & Hiking adventure in Harpers Ferry, WV.

We tried something a bit different for fun on this winter camping trip – instead of driving, we decided to take an Amtrak train directly to the trailhead.  This is actually and idea that Mike and I had been kicking around for a while now.  The first challenge was finding an interesting trail that was actually close to a train station, without a need for secondary transportation or an excessive walk.  After a bit of research, we determined that Harpers Ferry, West Virginia fit the criteria quite well.  The train practically dumps you right on the Appalachian Trail.  We booked our tickets, packed our bags, and hit the trail, er, I mean, train station.

With 4 days and 3 nights off, we had a decent amount of time to play with on this trip.  The challenge however, would be that we needed to plan an out and back trip that didn’t put us to far away from the train station on our final morning, rather than doing a loop like we normally prefer.  Fortunately, we quickly realized that to be a perfect excuse to do a a laid back, more camping, less hiking  kind of trip.

The plan?  After leaving the train behind,we would hop on the Appalachian trail for a few miles – just long enough to feel the seclusion of the deep winter woods, and set up a base camp for the duration of the trip.  Other than that, we really had no hard set plans, other than relaxing, having a good time, and brushing up on our campfire cooking skills.  Did we succeed?  I guess you’ll just have to watch and see…

Trailhead:  Harpers Ferry Amtrak Train Station

GPS Data for this trip available on the Trip Data Page.

Harpers Ferry Winter Route Overview Sintax77

Harpers Ferry Winter Route Overview Sintax77

Trails Used
Leave Harpers Ferry via Appalachian Trail South
After around 3 miles, bushwack West to unofficial campsite.
Return via Appalachian Trail North

Notable Gear Used on this Trip by Mike
Gregory Palisade 80 backpack
EMS Down Parka
EMS Ascent Hard shell Jacket
MSR Whisperlite International stove
Dream Hammock Thunderbird Hammock
Hammock Gear Burrow 20 top quilt
Hammock Gear Incubator 20 underquilt
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp with doors
Portable bluetooth speaker with fancy lightshow
GSI cookset

Notable Gear Used on this Trip by Sintax77
EMS Longtrail 70 backpack (2011 version)
Montbell UL down parka
EMS Ascent Hardshell
MSR Rapidfire stove (see my video on it here) *no longer manufactured – modern equivalent is the MSR Windpro.
MSR Flex Skillet
Dollar Store tongs and turner for cooking
Sea to Summit Alpha Cutlery Set
Fozzils Bowl / Plate
Dream Hammock Darien Hammock
Hammock Gear Burrow 0 top quilt
Hammock Gear Incubator 0 underquilt
Hammock Gear Cuben Hex Tarp (standard model, no doors)
Pocket Chainsaw
SOG Flash I tanto blade pocket knife

8 thoughts on “Train to Trail – Harpers Ferry Winter Backpacking Trip – Hiking in Virginia

  1. Sintax77, but watching your videos for years, keep it up man!
    Was looking at the dutchware half-wit but unsure on dat bug protection. Thoughts vs the Dream full enclosure? Worried about those big beetles and stuff landing on me and climbing up and in (OH camper). Plus no zipoffs while sleeping seems like a loss.
    Thoughts? Maybe a review?

  2. I like the notable gear list that you guys used. It’s a nice feature to reference when comparing checklists. If you could list that with all of your backpacking videos, I know I would appreciate it.

  3. Hey Sintax77. Love your videos and learning so much. I am a high school teacher teaching a survival in nature type course and it covers gear, trip planning, safety, etc. So I’ve referenced some of your videos in class.

    Wondering what are those camping stools that Mike and you used on this trip. We see them in the video at 53:57. What are they? Brand, quality and weight? Do you like them?

    Keep the videos coming. Thanks.

  4. They are Byer TriLite stools, weighing in right around a pound or so. For faster paced ultralight adventures, or trips with minimal camp time, I usually leave it at home, but for trips where time at camp is more important – it’s soooo worth the extra pound. The only downside is that the 3 points of contact make it a bit susceptible to tipping over, but I find it to be an acceptable trade off for the weight. It also packs down super small.

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