We were en route from New Jersey back to Florida and visiting trails along the way. We enjoyed biking portions of the Western Maryland Rail Trail and C&O Canal Towpath and look forward to visiting again to explore more of this area. Scroll down or click on the links below for more details:
C&O Canal Towpath: The C&O Canal Towpath runs 185 miles along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal paralleling the Potomac River from Washington, DC, to Cumberland, MD. Although the canal today is mostly drained, it is now a National Historic Park and the towpath a popular recreational trail. A ride on the towpath is a ride through history including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and tracks a central component of transportation history. Sights range from urban to wilderness areas, and the 3,000+ foot Paw Paw Canal Tunnel. Activities along the towpath include hiking, camping, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, skiing, and visiting historical sites.
At Cumberland, the towpath joins with the Great Allegheny Trail to continue 141 miles to Pittsburgh, PA. Other trail connections include the Western Maryland Rail Trail (see below), the Mount Vernon Trail, and Appalachian Trail.
Western Maryland Rail Trail: In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and maintained by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the 22-mile paved trail runs on an old rail bed along the C&O Canal and Potomac River from Fort Frederick to Pearre Station, Maryland. Hancock, MD, at the midpoint of the trail is a quaint town with a lot of history in this area. This is a good example of a town that was recreated by its rail-trail - bypassed when I-70 was built, the town embraces the trail as a major attraction drawing people to the area. Crossovers to the C&O Canal Towpath (see above) can vary the ride.
More information on biking in Maryland (opens in a new window):
Bike Florida - Biking Outside Florida-Maryland
Our Top 10 FL Biking