13306
Sharpsburg
Biking the C&O Canal Towpath
Bike the historic C&O Canal Towpath with experts, exploring Harpers Ferry, tasting regional cuisine and learning about the nation’s early history.
Program No. 13306RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
935
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Shepherd's Spring
D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: Participants using facility's bikes will test and fit bikes and helmets.

Afternoon: Arrive at Shepherd's Spring Conference Center Lobby between 2 and 4 pm to get rooming assignment and detailed information about the ride. Bike selections and helmet fittings takes place at 4pm so bikes can be loaded for Monday's ride.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner served buffet style with a wonderful salad bar and tasty dessert in the Lodge dining room.

Evening: Get acquainted with fellow riders, rules of the trail, and your ride guides. Introduction to the C & O Canal National Park with detailed daily itineraries distributed. Time for questions and answers on the Park and the ride.

DAY
2
Bike from Cumberland MD, Canal Place Museum, Oldtown MD
Shepherd's Spring
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: 19 miles of cycling, with an option to bike an additional 10 miles to the Pap Paw Tunnel (others may choose to ride in the van to the tunnel).

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Travel to the terminus of the C&O Canal in historic downtown Cumberland, MD. There will be some time to discover the C &O Canal Museum in the historic Western Maryland Railroad Station while the bicycles are unloaded and readied for departure. Pose for pictures under the C &O Canal sign and then begin the journey by bicycle from mile 184 at Cumberland. Stop at lock #75, the first we'll see to examine the ruins, then on to Spring Gap. (9 miles).

Lunch: Enjoy a bagged lunch served with a hot soup fresh from our kitchen along the Potomac River at Spring Gap.

Afternoon: Then bicycle from Spring Gap toward Oldtown, established by early settler Thomas Cresap (10 miles). Choose to either load into the vans and drive to the Paw Paw Tunnel or ride the additional 10 miles to the Paw Paw Tunnel. Explore the Paw Paw Tunnel with a flashlight - or keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel!

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Join one of our experts as they discuss the origins and tell the story of how the C&O Canal transitioned from a working industrial canal to a National Park renowned for its tranquility.

DAY
3
Bike from Clear Spring, MD to Sharpsburg, MD, McMahon's Mill
Shepherd's Spring
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: 27 miles of cycling along the canal towpath

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Travel by van to Clear Spring, unloading at Four Locks. Bicycle from Four Locks to Williamsport, crossing over the Conococheague Aqueduct and passing by the Cushawa Basin. Lunch stop is at Potomac Fish and Game Club (15 miles).

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at McCoy's Ferry- one of many former ferry sites along the river.

Afternoon: Continue on the path towards Dam#4. Ride past historic McMahon's Mill and travel along the Big Slackwater section of the river where the towpath has recently been restored with a series of concrete flood-proof bridges. The bike ride ends at Taylors Landing - once known as Mercersburg, after traveling past caves and farm fields staying close to the river's edge. After this it is just a short van ride back to Shepherd's Spring at the end of the ride.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Travel the geographic formation of the Potomac River Basin with our geologist guide.

DAY
4
Monocacy Aqueduct, Visit Harper's Ferry, Canal & RR Talk
Shepherd's Spring
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: 26 miles of cycling with approximately an hour of walking in Harper's Ferry.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Travel by van a short distance to Antietam Aqueduct to begin the day's ride. From there cycle to Harpers Ferry (9 miles). There will be time to take a short walk across the river bridge into Harpers Ferry for independent exploration of this historic town by foot. Home of John Brown's fort, Civil War history, Lewis and Clark outfitters, Storer College and 19th century manufacturing, it has also seen the problems encountered when two mighty rivers collide. We continue bicycling from Harpers Ferry to the railroad hub of Brunswick for a lunch stop. (5 miles)

Lunch: Enjoy a bagged lunch served with a hot soup fresh from our kitchen along the Potomac River in Brunswick, just past the Railroad yards.

Afternoon: Bicycle from Brunswick to the restored 7 arch Monocacy Aqueduct, considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the canal (12 miles). Pass by the scenic Railroad station at Point of Rocks along the way. The return trip to Shepherd's Spring will include a drive through tour of Antietam National Battlefield.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet style dinner with a salad bar, followed by dessert, in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Evening: Join us for a slide show presentation of some of yesterday's scenery as it looked during the operation of the canal with the same photographs taken in recent years. Randy Anderson leads the presentation while delving into the relationship between the canal, the railroads, and the people of the area. You'll recognize many of the sites from yesterday's ride.

DAY
5
Bike from Great Falls to Whites Ferry
Shepherd's Spring
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: 21 miles of cycling, traveling up stream. Bikers will have limited access to view Great Falls, due to construction/closure of the Ulmstead Island bridge/trail

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet breakfast in the Dining Room with fruit and cereal selections. Prepare for the Washington, DC commute to begin today's bicycling

Morning: Travel more than an hour by bus to Great Falls to begin today's ride. Before getting on the bikes there will be a guided walk to the majestic Great Falls with the National Parks Ranger. Following the telling of stories about the falls and canal boats there will be a picnic lunch with the walking group.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at Great Falls along a portion of the canal with water!

Afternoon: Bikers will load their bikes and travel up stream to end at Whites Ferry. Traveling along a portion of the canal with water, they will pass more lock houses as well as one of Donald Trump's many golf courses. You can see the mansion located across the river. Along this path, they will pass Seneca Creek Aqueduct where the red stone was found and used for building other structures along the canal. Bikers will also pass Edwards Ferry where the Maryland Campaign crossing happened during the Civil War. Bikers will end at Whites Ferry, a privately-operated Ferry. A convenient store is located at this stop.

Dinner: Return to Shepherd's Spring for a wonderful banquet meal on the last evening of the program.

Evening: The evening is concluded with song and music from the canal era presented by a local soloist. A great way to relax after the banquet.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Shepherd's Spring
B

Activity note: Bikers can spend time exploring the area on their own. As their transportation permits, they can hike the trails of Shepherd's Spring, visit Antietam Battlefield, or explore some of the surrounding historical towns. Check out at 10:00

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room.

Morning: Bikers can spend time exploring the area on their own. As their transportation permits, they can hike the trails of Shepherd's Spring, visit Antietam Battlefield, or explore some of the surrounding historical towns. Check out at 10:00