Self-Guided Opportunities
 
Cycling
Location C&O Canal
Lock 67 to Little Orleans
Trail Access Town Creek Aqueduct
From I-68 take the Industrial Boulevard Exit 43 B. Follow Industrial Boulevard to Route 51 south. Continue approximately 20 miles. Turn right onto the dirt road at the Town Creek Aqueduct sign. Follow the dirt road to the end. You may park your vehicle off to the side.
Distance 15 miles one way
Time 4 to 6 hours
Trail Packed stone surface
Skill Level All abilities
Suitable For Families? Yes
Hazards/Restrictions Trail is not well suited for thin tires
Potable Water Water pumps are available at hiker/biker stops along the way, approximately every 5 miles.
Natural Features Scenic Potomac River -- Floodplain shoreline rich and abundant in wildlife, including beavers, white-tailed deer, colorful wood ducks, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, ospreys and occasionally bald eagles.
Historic/Cultural Features The C&O Canal is a 184.5-mile towpath that runs along the Potomac River. This section of the canal runs through the Ridge and Valley Province in Maryland. Originally created to operate as a conduit of eastern coal, the construction for the canal began in 1828 and was completed in 1850. The canal was still eight years from completion when the first railroad locomotive arrived here in 1842. The canal played a big part in the Industrial Revolution providing a water-based highway for commercial trade. The railroad became a quicker, more efficient mode of transportation. The canal was susceptible to flooding and suffered extensive damage that finally led to the closing of the canal. For additional information on the C&O Canal, see the references listed below.
Bike Rentals/Services Grouseland Tours, 814-784-5000
Rocky Gap State Park, 301-784-8403
Camping Drive in camping is available on the C&O Canal, 301-739-4200
Hiker/biker camping is available approximately every 5 miles, 301-739-4200
Primitive camping is available at Green Ridge State Forest, 301-478-3125
Improved camping is available at Rocky Gap State Park, (301) 722-1480 or 1-888-432-2267
Other Points of Interest Locks -- Lock houses
Scenic Potomac River
Paw Paw Tunnel
Other Accommodations Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort, 1-800-724-0828
Town Hill Hotel Bed and Breakfast, 301-478-2794
Inn at Walnut Bottom, 301-777-0003
Rocky Gap State Park chalet and mini cabins, (301) 722-1480
Fees or Permits Camping Service Charge, camping permit required. The National Park Service is trash free and appreciates that you pack out what you pack in.
Description Enjoy this easy ride on a level trail within the C&O Canal and the Potomac River providing a "watchable wildlife" opportunity. Visitors are encouraged to bring a lunch and stop at the Paw Paw Tunnel picnic area to enjoy it. This is a 3,118 foot tunnel that is brick lined and to this day is considered an architectural wonder. Depending on individual interests a variety of field guides would accent this trip. Examples: Mammal Tracks, Wildflowers, Eastern Birds, Fishes and Eastern Trees.


Resources
  • C&O Canal Companion (Mike High)
  • Land of the Living - History of Green Ridge State Forest and Eastern Allegany County (John Mash)
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal: A Guide to Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Maryland, District of Columbia and West Virginia (National Park Service)
  • Rocky Gap State Park homepage
Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • Tire repair kit or tube
  • Bike pump
  • Helmet
  • Be aware of your skill level and make safety your constant companion