Flip-Flop Kickoff

April 22-23, 2023 (Sat & Sun)

Celebrating and promoting alternative long-distance hikes starting mid-trail on the Appalachian TrailHarpers Ferry, WV; Bolivar, West Virginia; and Brunswick, MD

About the Flip-Flop Kickoff

Join us for educational workshops and to see off a group of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who are following the flip-flop route, starting in Harpers Ferry.

Flip Flop Festival 2019

Photo credit: Appalachian Trail Conservancy

This free event is led by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and supported by the Trail & Town Alliance of Harpers Ferry & Bolivar, and the towns of Bolivar, WV; Harpers Ferry, WV; and Brunswick, MD.Featuring hiking workshops and a send-off breakfast for flip floppers, the Flip-Flop Kickoff is a fun and educational event in Harpers Ferry, a scenic and historic town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.In previous years, this event was known as the Flip-Flop Festival. We've since changed the name to Flip-Flop Kickoff to better reflect the focus on supporting flip-flop thru-hikers.

What's a Flip-Flop Thru-Hike?

The traditional Appalachian Trail thru-hike starts in Georgia and ends in Maine.But an increasing number of long-distance hikers are brave enough to hike the 2,200-mile AT by starting in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, which is known as the psychological halfway point. After hiking the northern half, they circle back to hike the southern half.This alternate route helps conserve the trail and allows hikers to avoid crowds of thru-hikers who start in Georgia.At the Flip-Flop Kickoff, we encourage this alternate itinerary by helping long-distance hikers learn how to prepare for a thru-hike, and celebrating flip-flop thru-hikers who set off from Harpers Ferry that weekend.

Contact Us

Want to ask questions about the festival? Or volunteer to help?Contact us via email: trailandtown[at]historicharpersferry[dot]orgOr on Instagram: @harpersferrytrailsOr via our Facebook event page: Flip Flop Kickoff

Schedule for 2023

Flip Flop Festival 2019

Photo credit: Appalachian Trail Conservancy


Morning Meet & Greet with RefreshmentsWorkshops
- Location: Interpretive Design Center (IDC) Pavilion and Curtis Freewill Baptist Church, Harpers Ferry, WV
Pack Shakedowns
- Location: IDC Pavilion, Harpers Ferry, WV
Evening Cookout
- Location: Brunswick Family Campground, Brunswick, MD (stay tuned for further information about shuttle options)

SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 2023

Flip-Flop Thru-Hikers Send-Off Breakfast
- Location: Social Hall at Camp Hill-Wesley United Methodist Church, 601 Washington St.
- Time: 7:30am
- Our signature send-off for flip-flop thru-hikers is a pancake breakfast. Community members are welcome to join, too. It's free for flip floppers, and a pay-what-you-can donation is asked of community attendees.
Group Photo and Sendoff
- Location: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Harpers Ferry, WV
- Time: 8:45am

Workshops for 2023

Flip Flop Festival 2019

Photo credit: Appalachian Trail Conservancy


Location for all workshops: Interpretive Design Center (IDC) Pavilion and Curtis Freewill Baptist Church, Harpers Ferry, WVSchedule TBD.

Where to Stay and Park

Harpers Ferry is a quaint and historic West Virginia town, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.

This area offers a wealth of fantastic hiking, cycling, rafting, and climbing opportunities, with restaurants, shops, art galleries, indoor and outdoor exhibits, all set close to world-famous historic sites related to the Civil War, African American History, and the explorer Meriwether Lewis.Parking is available on the streets throughout Harpers Ferry and Bolivar (some spots are metered); at the Harpers Ferry Train Station; and at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park's Visitor Center at 171 Shoreline Drive, from where you can catch a shuttle to town. Both the train station and visitor center require a fee to park, which supports the park.While you're here, we hope you'll stay at one of our many local inns and B&Bs, walk on one of our scenic trails, and enjoy a meal at one of our restaurants. Experience Harpers Ferry offers ideas for where to stay and eat. And Harpers Ferry Trails offers an overview of nearby hikes and restaurants.