C&O Mile 0 - 10: Washington, DC

Tags: Georgetown, Lockhouse, C&O Canal Lodging,

Washington DC is one of the world's great cities and a visit to where the C&O Canal National Historic Park begins is never complete without a side trip to the Washington Mall.  The DC region is very bike friendly, and it is actually quicker and more convenient to get around by bike. 

 The Georgetown section of the C&O Canal is planning for extensive renovations to “improve the park’s unique stone structures, locks. Towpath, plazas and street crossings to maximize the park’s educational recreational and aesthetic potential.” Included in those plans are a new working canal boat.   As of this writing, major restoration work has necessitated well marked detours around Lock 3 in Georgetown.  For more information

Even though this section of “the towpath” is in heavily populated neighborhood of Georgetown, it never seems to be unacceptably crowded.  Many bike riders will opt for the paved Capitol Crescent Trail which runs parallel to the C&O for 2.6 miles, before it veers north to Bethesda, thus taking a lot of the pressure off the towpath. 

The actual 0-mile marker is located below Thompson Boat Center and is not contiguous with the towpath.  Most folks will start at the towpath at 29th street adjacent to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela embassy for their “official” start. Proceeding west on this single-track stone-paver section, cyclists will ride a few short blocks on the north side of the canal where they will cross to the south side at the Francis Scott Key Memorial.  Of interest to movie fans, The Exorcist steps are just one more block West of this bridge.  Underneath the Whitehurst freeway is the Capital Crescent Trailhead. 

After only about a mile and a half from where one crosses the canal to the south side, cyclist will find them selves in a relatively serene peaceful setting removed from the crowds and hustle of DC 

 Parking in and around DC is often problematic.  The Rock Creek trail parking lot is close to the canal. Cyclist=t can take the Rock Creek trail north less than 1/3 of a mile to its juncture with the C&O canal. 

Great way to stay in DC.  The C&O Canal Trust has refurbished lockhouses for families to stay while visiting the area.  Each Canal Quarter lockhouse has been furnished with furniture and accessories from a different time period, and each tells a different story about the development of the C&O Canal.  The nightly rentals are very reasonable, and the location could not be better!  www.canaltrust.org for more information. 

Georgetown, Photo by Sebastain Walworth
Great Falls Tavern  Photo by  Cheryl Nelson
Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Jim Rowan

How to use the map: The map below contains points of interest for this section of the trail! Click the upper left hand button to see a menu with a list of all points. Items on this map are grouped by Category or trail, and can be toggled on or off through this menu to get a better picture of  a specific category of options. All items contain their description from the table below, as well as google-maps information as availble. Click on the upper right hand button to view the map in greater detail.


How to use the table: The table below contains points of interest for this section of the trail! Click on the heading of each section in order to get a sorted list of items (i.e. see all items by Mile on the trail, or all places with Food.) The upper right contains a search bar -- use this to find all items with a specific word (i.e. all 'locks' or all 'attraction'). All items below also exist on the map above, grouped and labeled by type for clarity and convenience. 


Blog Posts & Related Info

January 25, 2019

Michael Castle Trail (Delaware)

Ben Cardin Trail (Maryland)

The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal (C&D Canal), which connects the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays for both commercial shipping and recreational boating, now boasts an asphalt trail from Delaware City, Delaware, to No...

July 15, 2018

Ahhh…Coastal Delaware!  Over twenty-five miles of oceanfront property with a mix of small resort towns with all the touristy services (restaurants, hotels, etc.) and State Parks with miles and miles of undeveloped beach.  So, you have a choice: Go to a beach with just...

July 3, 2018

Congratulations to Cumberland (MD) resident Bill Derlan whose name was selected to win a bicycle valued up to $600 from Cumberland trail Connection.

I spoke with Bill today and he told me that he has been riding his son's old (15+ year) bike and is looking forward to hi...

July 3, 2018

It seems like the weather in the Mid Atlantic region went from cool and rainy to extremely hot and humid overnight!   As the temperature climbs into triple digits it is vital to remember how to keep cooler while riding.

Stay hydrated with water.  Yes, I know the ma...

June 20, 2018

While bike touring (often referred to as "bikepacking"), I have stayed in relaxing B&B’s, hotels, and vacation homes. Bike touring while camping however, requires a different set of skills, but can be just as relaxing and rewarding.


I recall years ago when riding...

June 15, 2018

Given all the rain we have had recently here in the Mid-Atlantic, the choice either is to ride in the rain or stay home.   And those of us who do extended day bike-packing trips understand that not every day is going to be 65 degrees and partly cloudy.

So either by...

May 28, 2018

The word is out….some of the best accommodations for cyclists and visitors alike to the DC area and the C&O Canal National Historic Park are the C&O Canal Trust Lockhouses.

No flowers or candlelit dinners for my wife on Mother’s Day!  Cheryl choose for us to go bik...

May 23, 2018

Trust me on this one... if you are planning a day or multi day bike ride, Cumberland is worth considering as a stop, base or layover.   The C&O Canal National Historic Park and Great Allegheny Passage converge in downtown, and access is easy with plentiful services and...

May 13, 2018

This morning, I met a very nice older gentlemen from Florida on the C&O Canal, who was riding from Pittsburgh (via the Great Allegheny Passage to its confluence with the C&O Canal at Cumberland, MD) on his electric bike.  For those of you unfamiliar with electric bikes...

May 6, 2018

I gave a presentation recently on biking and bike trails at the Rotary Club of Cumberland’s weekly meeting.  Following the meeting I received a very nice email from one of the members saying that my talk inspired her and inquiring as to what she should consider when pu...

Please reload

© MidAtlanticBikeTrails.com

Our site is always growing, and looking for the most up to date information! If you see something missing, would like to write a blog post, or are a business looking to advertise on our site, please let us know and send an email!