18629
Maryland
Bike the Entire C&O Canal: One of America’s Most Distinctive National Parks
Travel through the Paw Paw tunnel, enjoy a lock demonstration, see the Great Falls on the Potomac and explore historic towns as you bike the 185-mile C&O Canal Towpath.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 18629RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
999
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, C&O Canal History
Sharpsburg, MD
D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

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

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 Brunswick & Edward's Ferry, Harper's Ferry Natl. Park
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: There will be 35 miles of cycling with five optional pull out points.

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

Morning: Bicycle from Dargan to Harpers Ferry along the scenic C&O Canal Towpath. There will be a brief amount of time for an orientation and independent exploration of historic Harpers Ferry. Then bicycle on to the lunch stop in Brunswick (12 miles). For a short distance participants will be bicycling on a section of the Appalachian Trail that coincides with the C&O Canal Towpath.

Lunch: Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at the Brunswick Family Campground.

Afternoon: Continue cycling past the scenic and historic train station in Point of Rocks. Then - after crossing the restored historic Monocacy Aqueduct, considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the canal - finish at Edwards Ferry (23 miles).

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

Evening: Discover the various aspects of the C&O Canal's long history from George Washington's Pawtomack Company to a bloodline for the industrial revolution through an in depth presentation and lecture led by one of our expert instructors.

DAY
3
Bike Hist. Cumberland Term., Little Orleans By Paw Paw Tunn.
Hancock, MD
B,L,D
Super 8

Activity note: There will be 44 miles of cycling with four optional pull out points.Paw Paw Tunnel access may be limited, due to construction past downstream portal Ride for the day will end @ Paw Paw Tunnel if construction has begun.

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room. Pack an overnight bag to take along for this one night out along the trail.

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. Then bicycle toward Oldtown, established by early settler Thomas Cresap, for a picnic lunch (18 miles).

Lunch: Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch beside Lock 70 in Oldtown.

Afternoon: Continue bicycling past Oldtown, site of a Shawnee river crossing and an important trade route. Afterwards you will encounter the Paw Paw tunnel where you will need to dismount and walk your bicycles through (flashlights are needed). then continue the ride to Little Orleans (26 miles).

Dinner: Enjoy a dinner at a locally owned restaurant. There should be time for a quick shower at the hotel prior to leaving for dinner.

Evening: This is an evening for you to spend as you wish. Relax at the hotel after a long day's ride, or put on your walking shoes to explore Hancock on your own.

DAY
4
Bike Over the 110 ft Single Arch Fifteen Mile Creek Aqueduct
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: There will be 57 miles of cycling with five optional pull out points.

Breakfast: Enjoy continental breakfast in the hotel lobby. Gather your things for the return to Shepherd's Spring accommodations this evening.

Morning: Bicycle from Little Orleans, across another single arch aqueduct, past historic cement mill ruins, and through Hancock. Take time to stop for a quick look at Ft. Frederick, the nation's only Revolutionary period stone fort. Lunch stop is at McCoy's Ferry (31 miles). The group may choose to travel for 20 miles along the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail which parallels the C&O Canal Towpath.

Lunch: Enjoy a tasty picnic lunch at McCoy's Ferry.

Afternoon: Continue bicycling past the Four Locks area and Dam #5, into Williamsport and the Cushwa Basin. See the Conococheague Aqueduct with one wall missing from a mishap with a canal boat, then pass an unique railroad lift bridge as well as a restored lock and lock house. Along the Big Slackwater area of the recently restored towpath a series of concrete bridges holds the reconstructed towpath. Canal boats used the river and the towpath had washed away from many years of flooding. The 17 billion dollar flood-proof restoration was completed in 2012. (26 miles). It is only a short ride from here via van (15 minutes) back to Shepherd's Spring. After showers there is time for a short visit to the highlights 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: Delve into the relationship between the canal and the railroads during this presentation by one of our instructors. Each entity relying and competing with each other to serve the people of the area and the nation. By this time your rides will have familiarized you with many of the sites shown.

DAY
5
Bike Edwards Ferry to Georgetown
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L,D
Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center

Activity note: There will be 30 miles of cycling with three optional pull out points.Bikers will have limited access to view Great Falls, due to construction/closure of the Ulmstead Island bridge/trail Other detours may take place @ various points between Great Falls and Georgetown, due to numerous projects to some of the canal locks, and infrastructure in that area

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style breakfast along with fresh fruit and cereal selections in the Shepherd's Spring lodge dining room before joining the morning commuter route towards Washington, DC.

Morning: Bicycle from Edwards Ferry to Great Falls (16 miles). There will be time to stop and walk out to the Great Falls of the Potomac -- witness their majesty and come to a new understanding of why the Potomac was not navigable. After perusing the museum at Great Falls costumed park rangers or volunteers will tell stories of canal boat captains and their adventures on the C&O.

Lunch: Enjoy an delicious picnic lunch beside the canal at Great Falls.

Afternoon: Continue bicycling to Georgetown, using the paved Crescent Trail for the last few miles of the journey. (14 miles) Watch for views of the Washington Monument and Kennedy Performing Arts Center as you near the end of today's ride.

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

Evening: Enjoy Appalachian Dulcimers, guitars and banjos as the locals jam at O'Hurley's General Store in Shepherdstown. Wonderful harmonies from many different instruments as the locals wander in and out of this unique jam session.

DAY
6
Complete C&O Journey, Program Concludes
Sharpsburg, MD
B,L

Activity note: There will be 20 miles of cycling with two optional pull out points.

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

Morning: Finish the 185 mile journey by bicycling the last 20 miles from Dam #4 to Dargan. Pass Civil War river crossing sites, caves, and high bluffs mixed with farm fields along the berm side of the canal. (20 miles)

Lunch: Back to Shepherd's Spring with time to shower and pack up before having lunch in the dining room. Departure after lunch.