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.