They say the C & O Canal Towpath trail is 184.5 miles long. It felt a lot more like 185 miles to me!!
I’m only partially joking. You see, I had already biked most of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in Pennsylvania before I even got started on the C & O trail. And boy was I sore. You might assume that my legs needed assistance, but I assure you that the trail became assiduously tiring and my assorted aches and pains were mostly centered around… Well you get the point.
Most people start their ride on the C & O trail somewhere near Thompson’s Boat House in the Washington D.C./Georgetown area. However, since I was coming from Pennsylvania, I began my C & O adventure in Cumberland, Maryland.Tired or not, I was incredibly impressed by all that the C & O Trail had to offer. It goes without saying, that the trail is beautiful, and it was even more so because the fall leaves were just starting to blush with their autumn colors.
But there was much more than just outward beauty to be found along the trail. There was an abundance of history and historical markers. There were friendly people, plenty of diversionary side paths, and an incredible diversity of terrain. From beginning to end, riders will experience the wilderness feeling of a national park to the urban refinement of Georgetown. And, as you can see by some of the pictures, there was also a surprising array of wildlife along the trail.
I was even pleased by the bike shops I encountered on my travels. C & O Bicycles in Hancock, Maryland serves both the C & O Canal Towpath and the Western Maryland Rail Trail. I was able to replenish both my biking supplies (ie. replacing a tire pump I had lost along the trail the night before) and my food supplies. They had a fully stocked general store that included everything from Power Bars to some of the best apples I’ve ever eaten.
Smoketown Brewery (See comments below.) - http://www.smoketownbrewing.com
Potomac Street Grill - http://www.potomacstreetgrill.com
Suggested Bike Rental / Repair
Three Points Cycle in Brunswick, MD