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C & O Canal Towpath trail, section #2

Cross the Appalachian Trail as you explore this historic and scenic canal path from Point of Rocks, MD to Williamsport.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 52 miles
Duration: Multiple days
Family Friendly

Overview:  Civil War history comes alive on this section of the C & O Canal Towpath trail. Civil War enthusiasts will recognize such names as... more »

Tips:  - If you are biking, you will want a trail bike such as a mountain bike or hybrid w/ trail tires.

- Although this stretch of trail... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Bald Eagle biker hiker campsite

When you see H/B on the signs along the C & O trail, it stands for hiker/biker campsites. There are plenty of these camp areas, approximately five miles apart throughout most of the trail route. Most of these campgrounds are in nice locations, have fairly level tent-sites, and have water pumps to provide cooking water.
Some of the sites are... More

2. Brunswick Family Campground

This is one of the privately owned campgrounds along the towpath trail. It has shower facilities and is located between the trail and the river.

3. Brunswick, Maryland

Brunswick, Maryland is a good place to stop and refuel, but the nearest businesses are a ways off the trail and you'll have to cross a pretty busy railroad hub. The good news is that this is another possible spot to start/stop your trail ride if you want to utilize the MARC train service. I have included a link to the MARC website with this guide.

Not too far off the trail, as you head up the main road from the train station, you'll find this totally unpretentious eating establishment. It isn't fancy, but it has good food, reasonable prices, and friendly service. And remember, you're getting lots of exercise, so go ahead and eat dessert! You've got my permission - nay, my blessing.

5. Appalachian Trail junction

Near this site is where one of the greatest hiking trails in the world joins, temporarily, with the C & O Canal Towpath trail. It's easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled.
Only 41 miles of the Appalachian Trail wanders through Maryland and 3 miles of that runs along the C & O Canal Towpath.

6. Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

Utilize the footbridge located near this spot in the trail in order to access the town of Harper's Ferry; in the town, you will find lodging, and Amtrak station, the John Brown Wax Museum, and the Appalachian Trail headquarters.

7. Lock 34, Harpers Ferry

One of many historic locks along the trail.

8. Antietam Creek Campsite

Located between mile markers 69 and 70 on the trail, this camping area is also known as Antietam Creek Recreation Area. There is a ($10) fee for camping here and the area offers vehicle access.
It is very near the Antietam Creek Aqueduct and other historic sites.

9. Lock 38

Cross the Highway 34 bridge to access Shepherdstown and the lodging available therein.

11. Mercersville

Mercersville is also known as Taylor's Landing. Although there was a general store here for many years, this area is not a great place to find trail provisions.

12. detour

At this point you will leave the normal route of the canal/river and detour on the following roads: Dam 4 Rd., Dellinger Rd., & Avis Mill Rd.
The road and shoulder is fairly narrow and it's a good idea to have a blinking light somewhere on the back of your bike. Assuming none of the signs have been removed, this detour is fairly well marked,... More

13. Detour

If you are headed from Georgetown to Cumberland, you will rejoin the normal canal towpath at this point after your detour.

14. Opequon Hiker Biker Campsite

This is a fairly remote campsite with no vehicle access. It is a fairly peaceful place to spend the night with the ubiquitous water pump available for your H2O supply.

15. Falling Waters

The Potomac River crossing at an area known as Falling Waters was both a low point and a high point for General Lee during the Civil War.

16. Williamsport

Williamsport is one of the bigger towns located along the C & O trail. Trail users can find lodging, food, & beverages here.
This is also another important historical area for Civil War buffs.