The Pedalshift Guide to Bicycling the C&O Canal

The Chesapeake and Ohio National Historic Park is a bike touring paradise. Perhaps the skinniest of land run by the National Park Service, this ribbon of trail connects Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD over the course of 184.5 winding miles of trail. Bicycling the C&O Canal multiple times every year means I’ve been able to collect tons of information for your next trip here! This page is a work in progress. Stay tuned for more information and updates.

Latest update: June 2020

Water sources 

Road Detours


NPS is beginning its phased reopening of the campsites and other elements of the towpath. This changes from week to week and there is always the possibility that amenities re-opened will be closed later if conditions warrant. Be sure to check the NPS C&O conditions page for the latest.

The washout at mile marker 52 has a workaround! Check out this video for more details and listen to episode 127 of the Pedalshift Project.  A low water crossing has been added in this spot since the video was made, making this crossing even easier, however after heavy rain it’s possible the creek levels will be higher than the crossing. Use caution at any time, but especially then. Consider a shuttle when water levels are high!


Washington, DC – Capital Beltway (MM0-MM9)

Capital Beltway – Great Falls (MM9-MM20)

Great Falls – Edwards Ferry/Leesburg (MM20-MM30)

Edwards Ferry/Leesburg – Dickerson (MM30-MM40)

Dickerson – Point of Rocks (MM40-MM50)

Point of Rocks – Harpers Ferry (MM50-MM60)

Harpers Ferry – Antietam/Shepherdstown (MM60-MM70)

Antietam/Shepherdstown – Taylors Landing (MM70-MM80)

Taylors Landing – Opequon Junction (MM80 – MM90)

Opequon Junction – Williamsport (MM90 – MM100)

Williamsport – Ft. Frederick (MM100-MM110)

Ft. Frederick – Little Pool (MM110-MM120)

Little Pool – Hancock – Leopards Mill (MM120-MM130)

Leopards Mill – Little Orleans (MM130-MM140)

Little Orleans – Stickpile Hill (MM140-MM150)

Stickpile Hill -Paw Paw – Town Creek (MM150-MM160)

Town Creek – Pigmans Ferry (MM160-MM170)

Pigmans Ferry – Cumberland (MM170-MM184.5)


Reviews and pictures coming soon. I’ll be evaluating each of the 30+ official hiker/biker sites based on:

  • Physical location
  • Access to vehicle parking (for good and for bad)
  • Noise
  • Beauty
  • River access (for good and for bad)
  • Proximity to resources in nearby trail towns
  • Relative cell phone signal strength
  • Any other relevant factors unique to the site

These are the 31 free hiker/biker sites on the C&O. You see video and listen to my reviews for each of the 31 on the Pedalshift YouTube page, or right here:

For rules and more, check out the camping page on the C&O NHP website.