C&O Canal

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SHARES
  
AVERAGE RATING
***
3.14 out of 5
View Topo Map

Easiest
183.0
miles

Fire Road
↑ 100 ft
↓ 400 ft
230
elevation (ft)

Out & Back
Trail Description
About this trail
The trail is a great, cheap, 3 day weekend (or less, depending how fast, and how far you want to go) getaway that runs the length of the C&O Canal, which would have extended to Ohio if it weren't for the railroads. It is primarily flat, with a slight upgrade to Cumberland from DC. The trail is about 183 miles long (one way), and past Great Falls (great scenic point), there are water wells at intermittent trailside campsites, as well as port-a-johns. The water is a little discolored, probably due to rust and iodine used to purify the water - it is safe to drink. The best view I've ever seen from a Port-a-john is a the Paw Paw Tunnel, where the trail goes 3/5 miles through a mountain - have a light - it's longer than it would seem, trust me. Best times to go are late spring, early fall for unreal seasonal color changes - bring a tent, your significant other, maybe a camera, and marshmellows. We rode the trail in a little over 2 days, camped trailside, bathed in the river (really friggin cold water), ate MRE's. There's food in Cumberland, Hancock, and Harpers Ferry primarily - plan to take at least 3 days to really take in all there is to see. Historic Harper's Ferry, the rapids along the Potomac, especially at Great Falls, the museums, canal locks, historic houses, trestles, etc. It's worth it - screw Disney. You can also purchase reading material dedicated to this trail - I'm not exactly a historian. For me, it's a great escape from the concrete jungle I live in. Avoid weekends when it's nice if tourists, and family scrimmage lines on the trails annoy you - up to Great Falls, the trail is very popular. As you head west, watch for deer, black snakes. Bring paniers, and have fun.
added by Guest
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (224 total check-ins)
  ABW928   1 week ago
  ABW928   on Feb 16, 2019
  ABW928   on Feb 10, 2019
  ABW928   on Feb 9, 2019
  ABW928   on Feb 3, 2019
Photo & Video Gallery (36)
Trail Photos & Videos (36)
 
Reviews (23)
 

Gramcounter


May 31, 2018
 
Review: C&O canal North of Point of Rocks in currently impassible. The first bridge North of Point of Rocks is completely washed away and impassible at the moment. Also look out for some serious sinkholes on either side.

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Gramcounter

June 29, 2016
BigBenG Gramcounter  
 
Review: Wonderful trail close to DC for a quick ride. The scenery along the Potomac is absolutely beautiful.

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August 27, 2015
Guest   
 
Review: Flat, wide trail that is relatively smooth. Some mud will linger after rain. Good recreational or beginner trail.

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Gramcounter

June 24, 2015
 
Review: boring.

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Trailblazer

November 1, 2014
 
Review: We rode our mountain bikes from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington DC. We started downtown Pittsburgh on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and rode southeast to Mile 0 in Cumberland, MD (backwards according to the mile markers). The trail follows the scenic Youghiogheny and Casselman rivers. We then picked up the end of the C&O Canal Towpath (in Cumberland) and followed the Potomac River to mile 0 in Georgetown, Washington DC (backwards again per the mile markers). There were so many great sites to see along the way. It was truly a beautiful ride full of history. See the video "Pittsburgh to Washington DC, 374 miles off-road" posted in the video section. This is a must-do ride.

Similar Trail: None that I know of

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Gramcounter

October 30, 2014
bastian Gramcounter  
 
Review: This trail runs from George Town D.C. To Pittsburgh P.A. I've only ridden from the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center to George Town and back, That alone is about 35 or so miles. Although the trail there is nothing more than a wide gravel road, mostly flat, it's just enjoyable. It's very scenic on both sides. On one side you have the Potomac river and on the other side you have the C&O Canal. It works, Weather you're on a cyclocross, a mountain bike, gravel/road, or hybrid. Perfect for family outings or if you are training in speed and distance. Rain or shin. If one decides to do the whole trail there are hotels and camp sites along the way. One can get a group of friends together ride to George Town to grab some burgers and brews and ride back or shuttle... Worth checking out at least once.

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Gramcounter

August 31, 2014
montgomery Gramcounter  
 
Review: Went out with the family

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Gramcounter

April 7, 2014
 
Review: Straight up Mickey Mouse. Fine if you want to go for a jog while pushing a stroller, or if you're a history buff, but not a place to go ride. Its cool, just know what you're looking for.

If you're super agro, you can try to throw down the entire length of the trail in one or two days but it gets real old after about 4 hours.

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Gramcounter

October 30, 2014
bastian Gramcounter  
 
Review: I would love to see you ride the whole trail in 1-2 days

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Trailblazer

May 24, 2013
 
Review: Not many MTB trails inside the district. Rode this trial a couple years ago. I want to ride it again. Nice Beginner trail.

Similar Trail: C&O ( which this trail parrallels and ends up very close to)

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Trailblazer

May 10, 2013
 
Review: Someday, I will ride this whole trail. I rode parts of it and its pretty good.someday, I will be i n the calleva c&o biking trip. I could go now becvause I am 12 years old but unfortunately, I didn't singn up for it.

Similar Trail: Kal-Haven trail, michigan

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C&O Canal MTB Trail 3.14 out of 5 based on 23 ratings. 23 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
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