This stretch of the trail is highlighted by the absence of towns and amenities… which is a feature if you’re doing this ride for an escape. If you’re taking your time riding the trail, this is a fantastic segment to take a break at one of the campsites and fill up on water. There’s one small store about a mile off the towpath in Downsville, but other than that, plan for a different segment for stores and civilization. 

The fun part about this section is a portion of the trail called Big Slackwater between MM84-88. For years, we had to do a long (cough cough boring) road detour around this section until the NPS built the concrete trail hugging the banks of the Potomac. After miles of crushed limsetone, it usually feels great to transition for a few miles on a smooth surface! Keep an eye open for hoards of swimming teenagers during nicer weather. If the river levels are high, it’s not unusual for this portion to be under water… that puts you on the (cough cough boring) detour, but it’s always well-signed if NPS closes the trail.


MM 82.7 Big Woods