This past week I finally got around to biking on the C&O Canal Trail along the Potomac River. This trail is one of the longest bike trails in the United States. Going 134.5 miles from Georgetown to Cumberland it provides bikers and hikers the opportunity to do a multi-day ride with a great shaded trail.
The trail is easy to get to along the Clara Barton Parkway off the Capitol Beltway. The exit is for Glen Echo just before going into Virginia. I parked at the first parking area off the Parkway at Lock 7 shown above. There are other parking areas at locks farther down the Parkway and at Fletcher's Boat House near Georgetown.
Originally built to haul coal and other goods between Georgetown and Cumberland in the 1830's it was made obsolete by the B&O railroad just a few years after its completion.
The effects of recent flooding of the Potomac can be seen below.
The trail surface is hard dirt with gravel. It is a good smooth surface for hybrid or off road bikes. Road bikes could use the trail but it would not be ideal.
From Lock 7 to Georgetown and back is about a 13.5 mile ride.
It is easy to grab a sandwich at Gypsy Sallie's under the Whitehurst Freeway at the end of the bike trail and eat at one of the benches along the river.