C&O Mile 50 - 70: Brunswick & Harpers Ferry
Tags on this page: Brusnwick, Harpers Ferry, C&O Canal Lodging, C&O Canal, Bike Packing, Bike Touring, C&O Canal Lodging, Camping
This fifteen-mile section of the Canal has interesting features; the Appalachian Trail, The Maryland town of Brunswick and Harpers Ferry, WV.
Brunswick is a great trail town that features a nice campground (Brunswick family campground) that is immediately adjacent to the towpath. The campground has a large grassy area for “thru bikers” and is widely used by individuals and groups. And while the campground can accommodate lots of tents, the showers and restrooms can and do get crowded on weekends. The campground is also immediately adjacent to a large CSX railyard and MARC station, so earplugs are a necessity for sleeping. Several restaurants are available in town, including a brewpub called the Smoketown Brewing Station and the Potomac Grill. Some of the pizza joints make deliveries to the campground. The towpath can be dusty for about .6 mile as the towpath shares use of this section with the access road to the campground.
White blazes that are prevalent on the 2,175 miles between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, become obvious for the next 3 miles on the towpath from mile marker 58 to Harpers Ferry (WV). Harpers Ferry is called the epicenter of the Appalachian Trail, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has its national headquarters here, as does the National Park Service’s Appalachian Trail Park Office. At this section of the canal you will find a whole gamut of outdoor recreation enthusiasts; fly fisherman after the numerous smallmouth bass in the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, kayakers and rafters, thru and day hikers on the AT, cyclists, bird watchers and history buffs. The railroad trestle that is converted to a pedestrian bridge will test your back muscles as you climb the stairwell with your fully loaded bike.
Once across the bridge, you will find narrow streets and hills of historic Harpers Ferry with numerous restaurants, B&B’s and a few hotels to serve the many visitors. Cyclist should take note that there are only a few B&B's in "Lower Harpers Ferry" in the historic center. It is called lower for a reason...other sections necessitate a climb. There is also a Econo Lodge Hotel less than a mile (via Shenadoah Street and Rt 340) upon entering Harpers Ferry from the pedestrian bridge. We have stayed at several Harpers Ferry B&B's while biking the C&O and recommend (this is not a paid endorsement) giving the Stone House B&B consideration. Like all buildings in Lower Harpers Ferry, it is very old and small. But rooms are very nice and innkeepers are friendly folks who are used to cyclist and our needs.
Harpers Ferry is one of those places along the C&O Canal where you should plan a longer stay. There is a lot to do and see and it is in a really beautiful setting.
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.