Description - The Washington Heritage Trail loops through the three counties of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. These counties include Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan. This circular byway leads visitors across a landscape rich in historic, natural, and scenic resources.
From forest-covered mountains and valley farmlands to picturesque historic towns and vestiges of bygone industries, traveling the Washington Heritage Trail offers a rural retreat from the hustle and bustle of major Metropolitan areas. All along its length, the Trail interweaves beautiful scenery with small towns that beckon visitors to take their time exploring the shops, restaurants, historic sites, and cultural activities.
The Eastern Panhandle holds special significance to the history of the nation's first president, George Washington, and his family, many of whom vacationed, built homes, and operated estates here. Seven Washington family homes or estates can be seen from the Trail, one of which (Claymont Court) is open to the public.
Many towns are also associated with the Washington's. For example, Charles Town was visited and established by the Washington's, and Berkeley Springs was surveyed by young George Washington. These towns can still be experienced today. Many other towns remain intact and showcase abundant historical and architectural resources dating to the late 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, the Eastern Panhandle contains 21 separate National Register Historic Districts and an additional 126 National Register Historic Sites. The vast majority of these sites are located along the Washington Heritage Trail and can be viewed or explored by visitors.
- The Washington Heritage Trail is known for it's Archeology, Cultural, Historical, Natural, Recreational and Scenic Attractions.
Directions from : The Washington Heritage Trail is easily accessible from major cities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. It is less than two hours from Baltimore and Washington, about three hours from Pittsburgh and Richmond, and less than four hours from Philadelphia.
- From Baltimore: Take I-70 west to U.S. 340 west near Frederick. You can then follow U.S. 340 to Harpers Ferry to reach the eastern portion of the Trail, or you can follow I-70 west to Hancock, then 522 south into Berkeley Springs to reach the western portion of the Trail.
- From Washington D.C.: Take I-270 north to U.S. 340 west near Frederick. Follow U.S. 340 to Harpers Ferry and the eastern portion of the Trail. To reach the western portion of the Trail, follow I-270 north to I-70 west. Stay on I-70 west to Hancock, then take U.S. 522 south to the community of Berkeley Springs and the northern portion of the byway.
- From Northern Virginia: Take Route 28 north to Route 7 west through Leesburg. Just outside of Leesburg, take Route 9 north to Charles Town and the eastern portion of the Trail.
- From Richmond: Take I-95 north to Route 17 west. Follow Route 17 west to Route 66 west past Marshall, then return to Route 17 west to Winchester. In Winchester, follow Route 81 north towards Martinsburg to reach the central portion of the Trail, or take U.S. 522 west to reach the western portion of the Trail.
- From Pittsburgh: Take the PA Turnpike (I-79, I-70) east to I-70 at Breezewood. Continue through Hancock to U.S. 522 south to Berkeley Springs and the western portion of the Trail. You can also reach the eastern portion of the Trail by continuing on I-70 east from Breezewood to Hagerstown, and then following I-81 south towards Martinsburg.
Driving the Byway: Starting in Charlestown in the southern section of the byway, travel east on US 340. Continue on US 340 to Harper's Ferry or turn left onto County Road 230 and travel north to Shepherdstown. From Shepherdstown, travel southwest on SR 480 until the turnoff to County Road 10. Travel northwest on County Road 10 which later changes to County Road 36 until you reach Martinsburg. From Martinsburg, travel north on SR 9 to Hedgesville. At Hedgesville continue on SR 9 to Berkeley Springs. From Berkeley Springs, you can continue on SR 9 to the community of Pawpaw, or you can drive southwest on County Road 9/10 until it joins will US 522. Stay on US 522 until the turnoff to County Road 38/10. From County Road 38/10, turn right onto County Road 28/2, then turn left onto County Road 11. At the community of Unger, turn left onto County Road 13. Stay on 13 until the turnoff to 13/5. Travel Northeast on 13/5 until the turnoff to 7/13. County Road 7/13 continues past the community of Shanghai to County Road 20. Travel south on County Road 20 until the community of Gerrardstown. At Gerrardstown, travel southwest on SR 51 to the turn off to County Road 51/1. Travel south on 51/1 to 13/3. 13/3 leads back to Charlestown and US 340.