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“Great bike ride on the C & O Rail Trail”
Review of C&O Canal Towpath

Reviewed October 27, 2015

We got on the rail trail (flat and paved) at Hancock MD and rode about 5-6 miles south (between mile markers 115 and 120) along the Potomac River and the old C & O canal and then returned to our starting point. We got there late in the afternoon and didn't have time to ride further but it was a wonderful ride through meadows, woods, and rock formations. Along the way we saw deer and many birds. There are historical placards all along the trail which are very interesting to read as well. It would be fun to ride the entire 185 mile trail but jumping onto to this small section was a nice treat at the end our day.

Thank Don W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed July 20, 2015

I can only speak about the sections we biked: Brunswick to Monocacy Aqueduct (round trip) and then Dargan to Harpers Ferry (and back). This trail is more like flat mountain biking than bike touring. The trail is all dirt, which turns to mud after it rains. And given the shady tree coverage of most of the trail, I would think it stays muddy for quite some time. The trail from Brunswick to Monocacy was very, very muddy and wet, with puddles, tree roots etc. The areas near the boat launches were a bit better, with some evidence of stone or gravel, but then it quickly returned to mud. I actually fell with my bike after the mud got the best of me and took my bike sideways - off into vegetation and down a slope towards the canal. So...if this happens to you also watch out for stinging nettles, I landed in quite a bunch and my legs were in bad shape for hours. Also be alert for snakes, we ran across a 5ft rat snake on the trail. Add in the heat, humidity and mosquitos, it was an adventure not to be forgotten.

The section from Dargan to Harpers Ferry was better the next day, not as much mud and nice scenery near the river - but yet lots of tree routes and rocks to deal with. It was fun to see the river and visit Harpers Ferry after arriving via bike. The aqueducts, old locks, lock houses and the river views are pleasant as is the sense of history, but I won't be hurrying back to complete this trail any time soon. And just for the record, we rode gravel road bikes with wide but not aggressive tread tires.

Thank fairfax28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 1, 2015

A group of 4 of us (two 28 year old rather athletic girls, a 60+ experienced cyclist, and me - a just turned 60 very amateur cyclist) biked from Pittsburgh to DC along the GAP and C&O Towpath in June 2015. We did the whole trip in 6 days - 5 60+ mile days, and one 45 mile day.

Anyone who has reviewed this here and says it is a piece of cake for amateurs (1) did a relatively small portion or relatively few miles per day, (2) had good weather, (3) did it during a relative dry spell so the trail was at best conditions.

We had good weather throughout while riding, but there were storms overnight nearly every night and the trail was in rather tough shape. We hit many, frequent, deep and large mud slicks. There are large tree routes, sometimes hidden in mud slicks, as well as pot holes, sticks, and rocks. I had recently purchased a Salsa Vaya bike (a "gravel grinder" touring bike), and while I cursed my local bike shop for this rather heavy, wide tired bike on the two day climb in good conditions from Pittsburgh to Meyersdale, I blessed them every bit of the way on the C&O. We did 60 miles a day, which was a bit much, especially for these conditions. We did one 45 mile day, which was the hardest of all due to particularly bad conditions that day.

I do not want to discourage anyone from doing this trip - it is not to be missed! Just be prepared. If you hit bad weather, try to have some flexibility in your schedule to accommodate. We were completely encrusted in mud from head to toe (and bikes) every day. If you don't like dirt, make sure you go at a dry time! We did too many miles a day to stop and enjoy the area as much as we would have liked. Next time, I would do is slower. You will never see anything quite like it!

Don't miss the Mile 0 marker in Georgetown. It is well hidden on a little patch of grass just beyond Thompson's Boat House!

2  Thank Pat B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 28, 2015

This pathway stretches for many miles and they're all quite nice. We have previously explored the towpath out of Georgetown and it's very beautiful but there are more people on the path in this area. We began this biking adventure in Leesburg, VA at the White's Ferry point on the trail (rented our bikes from Get Out and Go Tours) and biked 25 easy miles up the river to Harper's Ferry. You can lock your bike up at the pedestrian bridge into town or carry it up stairs to walk into town (which is across the river). We stayed at Towns Inn at the bottom of town and explored the historic city before continuing our ride the next day up the towpath to Williamsport (40 miles). That may sound like a lot of miles to some folks but with a nice picnic lunch break (which the hotel provided) halfway along the trail it's not that hard since the path is pretty flat. We stayed at Elmwood Farm B&B which I'll review separately but the great thing about this accommodation is they cater to bikers. They picked us up at the towpath in Williamsport and in the morning they drove us back to the tow path further down river to shorten our return journey. It was a great 3 days along the C&O Canal riding by restored locks and beautiful views of the river. We can't wait to ride another segment! (FYI: There is a trail guide available on line that identifies where you can find services along the towpath that is very helpful when planning your trip.)

2  Thank Merry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed May 19, 2015

Rode from DC to Pittsburgh on C&O / GAP with friends.
Took about 4 1/2 days. We averaged 75 miles a day.
Would like to redo it and take longer so I could get off and visit towns.
We ate really good food

Thank Richard A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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