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Biking the C&O Canal Towpath

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Road Scholar
Program #13306RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Edward from Verona, PA Number of programs attended: 13
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/03/14
Shepard's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center is an excellent place to hold the Biking and Walking event. Very good accommodations with excellent buffet meals. I have been on a few of these bike trips and the Bikers and Walkers on this trip are the finest and friendliest group of people I have met yet. I am proud and it's my honor to have met you all...

Linda from Atlanta, GA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/03/14
What a great way to meet other people, see beautiful scenery and learn about another part of the country. This as a very enjoyable trip and very well organized. The lodge was "basic" but comfortable, the staff was extremely accommodating and the leaders of the biking portion (Susan and Norm) were not only efficient, but entertaining, as well. The combination of the leaders' personalities and abilities AND the mix of people on this trip made this one of the most "fun" tours I have ever taken. The purpose of this trip was, initially, to see a part of the country I have not visited before in an "active" way, but I also came away with new friendships. Great trip!

Ron from Ashland, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/03/14
This was an excellent trip. Very informative and fun leaders (Susan and Norman). The Shepard's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center was a great venue - pretty setting, great home-made food and accommodating to vegetarians. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The "sag" support for our bike ride was superb - comfortable vans, picnic lunches, snacks, water, repairs and friendly drivers. Best of all, our group of 13 riders got along very well and some of us will certainly stay in contact after the trip - and hopefully will ride bikes together again some day.

Doris from Raleigh, NC Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/15/14 - 06/20/14
I thought the trip was well organized and that the leaders did a good job of accommodating both the riders who wanted shorter distances and the riders who wanted to ride the total mileage. Our ride leader and general herder of the cats, Susan, was fantastic. She kept us organized and on schedule. And, she calmly handled the "bumps" that a few folks experienced along the way. Also, we had great sweep riders who were friendly and competent. It was a really nice touch to have our final dinner with candles and white table cloth and then go for an evening of entertainment at the General Store in Shepherds Town. We had a good group of 14 congenial and friendly participants.

Karen from Pawleys Island, SC Number of programs attended: 23
Date attended: 06/15/14 - 06/20/14
This was a very educational program. Our week was challenging in that the temperatures were high. Most sections of the towpath are bumpy with a very coarse gravel.

Marilyn from Mission, KS Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 04/13/14 - 04/18/14
A very interesting educational program with outdoor biking activities. Shepherd's Spring is an excellent Program Provider that delivers an outstanding outdoor experience (biking) and delivers great insight to the historical sites of the area.

Elizabeth from Lancaster, PA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/01/13 - 09/06/13
I enjoyed this trip very much. Biking the C&O Canal has always been on my "to do" list and this program made it possible. Comfortable accommodations every night and great meals allowed me to really enjoy the ride. An exceptional support staff got us on and off the trail every day.

Ann from Tampa, FL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/02/13 - 06/07/13
This was my first Road Scholar experience. Just sorry I waited this long to begin. My husband and I have already signed up for another, and we continue to study the catalogs. A truly rewarding and enriching experience. Thanks to all the staff and guides for making this adventure work so smoothly.

Jane from Parkesburg, PA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/02/13 - 06/07/13
An excellent program in a lovely location which combines bicycling with some time to see sights of interest along the way. I recommend it!

Mary from Tallahassee, FL Number of programs attended: 22
Date attended: 06/02/13 - 06/07/13
What a wonderful program! I have attended over twenty RS programs, and this is among the very best. Welcoming and well-organized leaders, beautiful canal trail (generally paralleling the glorious Potomac), sturdy and well-maintained trail bikes. Gravel bike trail somewhat challenging, but our moderate pace made everything go well. Excellent van support for those who wanted to take a break. I strongly recommend trail bike (not hybrid) for this trip, and some prior preparation makes it more fun and less work. Trip accurately described as moderately challenging.

John from Cheltenham, PA Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 06/02/13 - 06/07/13
This was a great trip with much to see and enjoy, not to mention great meals and accommodations.

Pat from Duluth, GA Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 05/05/13 - 05/10/13
The best part of this trip for me was the wonderful staff especially Junior and Susan. They were always smiling and accommodating. We had 1 1/2 days of rain so that created some challenges but no one complained. The food was great and the night lectures interesting. Just be prepared to bump along on this trail as the surface is gravel in most places.

Stephen from Greenville, SC Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 05/05/13 - 05/10/13
The C&O bike trip was a strech for us (we made it!). It allows for halting your daily ride if you need to. The tow path is not paved and its surface is a packed gravel. If it rains significantly for several days during your trip you should expect to get muddy. The lodging, food and retreat setting are comfortable, delicious, clean, simple (no TV but WiFi yes) and to us a welcome change from usual motel/hotel living. The leader and retreat staff anticipated our needs and were a model for a "how can we serve you" attitude. As a result of this experience we plan to try other week long Road Scholar bike adventures.

Bruce from Lambertville, NJ Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 05/05/13 - 05/10/13
While my partner and I had great fun, we realized this bike trip is not for everyone. The trail can be challenging - muddy when wet, with lots of areas that have stones, roots, ruts, and other surface issues that at best slow down a good rider, and can frustrate a less skilled biker. Bikers with their own bikes should be cautioned not to ride with thin road tires. Also, the accommodations may not be to everyone's taste. Rooms are spartan with iffy phone reception and wireless limited to the lobby. Nonetheless, we found ourselves enjoying the experience because the folks at Shepherd's Spring care a great deal about their retreat and the folks they are hosting. They are all very warm and accommodating. When conditions precluded biking, there were interesting alternatives as the local area is filled with Civil War history. The speaker's are knowledgeable and those who rise to the challenge on the trails will be rewarded.

Barbara from Portland, ME Number of programs attended: 13
Date attended: 04/21/13 - 04/26/13
If you are seeking a biking experience in a beautiful setting choose this program. The trails are easily managed and the accommodations at Shepard's spring are excellent. It truly is an energizing week.

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"Just like the old days--watching the mules tow our canal boat!" Uploaded By: Linda
"Just like the old days--watching the mules tow our canal boat!" Uploaded By: Linda

"One of the many sites along the path" Uploaded By: Linda

"New friends enjoying the canal" Uploaded By: Linda

"Our biking group" Uploaded By: Linda

"Heading to a lock house. We bike south so the canal is always on our left and the river is on our right." Uploaded By: Pat

"Thrusday night farewell dinner with MD crab cakes on the menu - delicious. Can you tell that I Iike to eat." Uploaded By: Pat

"We got rained out so Junior took us for ice cream at Nutters in Sharpsburg, A fun treat." Uploaded By: Pat

"Buffet lunches were very good with hot soup and coffee." Uploaded By: Pat

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
7 Field trips
9 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances


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