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Biking Along the Potomac River on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Beside the Potomac River the C & O Canal stretches 184.5 miles from the mouth of Rock Creek in Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. Its 74 lift locks raise it from near sea level to an elevation of 605 feet at Cumberland. The towpath was originally built 12 feet wide as a path for mules that pulled canal boats. Today, the towpath provides a nearly level byway for hikers and bicyclists.

Interesting points are the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center (mile 15) where canal boat tours are offered in the historical setting, Harpers Ferry, WV (mile 60), and the 3,118 ft. long Paw Paw Tunnel (mile 155).

Lock areas are particularly beautiful. Many of the lock keepers houses are still there. And there are Civil War historic markers along the way. It is sobering to think that you are riding directly through an area where major battles were fought, and many lives were lost, during that war.

Wildlife is abundant along the way. We've seen river otters, deer, turkeys, and various types of water foul among other more common creatures.

If you enjoy group bicycle tours, check out Bike and the Like. It sounds like a great tour.

See the official C & O Canal Trail home page at the National Park Service site. They offer a contact link if you require further information.


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