Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

Planning a 3 day Bicycle/Camping trip on the C&O trail using a cargo trailer. Advice from someone with
experience doing the trail this way would be appreciated Thank You
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 08:25 PM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

Bike a large portion of the canal when I was a kid. Actually... a good bit as an adult.

You will have a blast!

Mostly a good dirt / gravel path. Mostly flat or very slight grade.

At times there are towns close that have stores or other services.

Camping is available along the tow path. See the NPS site for details and locations. Water is available from pumps occasionally. Plan on carrying water, but pump locations are detailed on NPS maps.

Many places to get to the river for a swim or for fishing. A Maryland fishing license is required. They offer a tourist X # day license so it can save a few dollars. Buy and print it online. No display requirement.

Small mouth fishing is good. Depending on the section, you can wade the river only going waist high. The ripples are best. Typical baits or plastics. Cat fishing is good as well.


Make sure to bring tire patch kits and a pump.

Let me know if you need any other details.

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 03:35 PM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

That's a fantastic bike trail.
I agree with everything Bluetick says.
I've done parts of it twice now, both with my eldest son who was a teenager at the time.

The first time we started at Harpers Ferry.
Rode the 60 some miles to D.C. Stayed in a hotel and spent the next day at the Smithsonian. Then rode back to Harpers Ferry, but broke the return trip in half and stayed in Leesburg. (Took the Whites Ferry boat across the river to get there)

The second trip we camped along the way.
Started in Cumberland. I left my car with a cycling outfitter there.

I broke the trip up into roughly 30 mile segments.
First day we did 30 miles in the afternoon and camped.
Next day, 30 miles in the morning with a long break at midday,
then 30 miles in the afternoon and camped.
Same thing the next day. Then the final morning we did 30 miles into D.C.
The outfitter delivered my car to the hotel.

We each had a hard tail mountain bike set up with panniers.
I also pulled a single wheel trailer.

The trail at the time was rough in a lot of places until we got close to D.C. Perfectly ridable, just not paved so there were a lot of places where the trail becomes one narrow worn down track. I don't know if they've improved it. If the conditions are the same I would not recommend riding it with a road bike or touring bike. A mountain bike or cross bike will work the best. If you do go with a road or touring bike, I'd put on some wide tires. A single wheel trailer is best. If it hasn't been improved, several sections will be difficult with any kind of two wheel trailer.

Be sure to have a flashlight ready if you're riding the part of the trail that goes through the Paw Paw tunnel. I also brought one duraflame type fire log for each night of camping.

Harpers Ferry is a great place to spend some time. Lots of places with good food there.

In addition to the tire patch kit and pump, I brought new tubes for the bikes as well as the trailer. Saves a lot of time if you're trying to make a spot by a certain time and get a flat. For some reason, I got a lot of flats with the trailer on that trip.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

Thanks for all the input. All your experiences I'm sure will add to making my trip being as memorable as yours. The part about the flats I could do without
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 10:50 PM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

I probably overstated the flats. I just remember it being a pain to change the trailer wheel the two times it needed changing on the trip.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-20-2012, 12:03 AM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

Pack a rod, buy a tourist license and fish the ripples. Sharpsburg area is good, as are several areas around Williamsport and westward. Small mouth - pumpkinseed tubes... and similar colors. You can walk across the roiver in many places. Sneakers and shorts are best outer wear.

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 11:10 PM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

A few friends and I are thinking about doing this next summer. We will probably hitch a ride out to Pittsburgh with his son on his way back to Pitt, and then take the train back to Philly after a night or so in DC.

Post some pics of your ride, plus some must haves/wish you hads after you finish if you can!

Good luck!

Live, Love, Laugh.

If that don't work...

Raise, Aim and Fire. [img]<<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/uzi.gif[/img]
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 03:37 PM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail


Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park

184 miles - Cumberland to Washington,DC


Use the following for maps, camping info and other information for any portion of the canal.


http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm



If you do the section from Cumberland to Williamsport - more or less - you will go through the Paw Paw Tunnel. Very cool..

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 04:44 PM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

If you have time be sure to stop at Ft.frederick State park. They have ice cream at the camp store and good camping. Also a restored CCC camp building.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 05:30 PM
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Re: Bicycle/Camping C&O canal trail

Not to mention the restored five sided stone fort. Indeed - a good stop.

Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
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