A self guided bicycle tour along the C&O Canal from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. Tour includes options for 3, 4, or 5 day trips.
Distance, Parcours, and Accommodation
36-64 miles daily, 3, 4, or 5 days, flat terrain, gravel surface. Daily mileage varies by itinerary (longer trip, shorter riding)
- Full Itinerary
- Hand-picked campsites that have the best the canal has to offer (and avoids noisy areas)
- Gear Checklist
- Logistics for travel and safe parking
- Dozens of options for things to do, places to eat, and things to see
- Ride with GPS downloadable route with waypoints, places of interest, elevation profile, and mile marks
Enjoy a gravel bike tour along the scenic shores of the Potomac River. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal traverses over 180 miles from historic Cumberland, MD to the heart of Georgetown in Washington D.C. For over 100 years, the canal was a transportation hub for the surrounding communities. Today it serves as a recreational reminder of local history and provides habitat for the resident wildlife. The tour will begin in historic Cumberland, Maryland.
This is an easy-medium difficulty tour. Expect easy terrain on crushed limestone and moderate cycling days. This tour is specifically designed to be well supported for beginners and is appropriate for anyone who is comfortable on a bike. Consider this a bike tour with a safety net. Keep in mind that the campsites are basic. Portable toilet facilities and water are available, but you will be staying right on the canal. You may miss a shower, but you’ll get the real towpath experience.
Go on an adventure and learn why the best way to see the world is by bicycle.
What You’ll Love
The C&O Canal is a quintessential summer ride for area cyclists. On this trip we will enjoy the gently sloped canal towpath as it winds through small towns from Western Maryland, to West Virginia, and all the way down to Washington DC. Shaded for long stretches in the “Green Tunnel” you will experience what it was like two hundred years ago for traders carrying goods to market along the canal. We can think of few better ways to spend a long weekend then cycling, camping, and campfires along the shores of the Potomac.
The Tour (abbreviated 3-day itinerary below, full 3, 4, or 5-day itinerary included with purchase)
Day 1 – Begin at the start of the C&O Canal towpath in Cumberland, MD. (recommended hotel list provided). The 58 mile first-leg will follow the C&O Canal towpath to Hancock, Maryland. Don’t miss the incredible river views and canal architecture along the way!
Day 2: Another 64 miles downhill along the towpath will take you to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The towpath passes by Antietam National Battlefield where one of the most important battles of the civil war was fought. This section of the canal has picturesque views as you pass the Big Slackwater Area.
Day 3: The final day will take you 62 miles from our campsite near Harpers Ferry to Georgetown in Washington, DC. No trip on the canal would be complete without a stop at the world famous Great Falls! After a bit of meandering through Georgetown we will take you all the way to the elusive Mile Marker 0. Congratulations you’ve just cycled the entire C&O Canal Towpath!