View Full Version : Planning C&O Canal(MD) bicycle trip, have questions.

06-03-2013, 21:30
In a few weeks, a freind and I will be riding our bikes along the C&O Canal from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, DC. I have ridden most of the canal over the years, but never more than I could ride round trip in one day, and I never really looked at the campsites with the idea of hanging a hammock. I know to stay away from the campsites that are close to easy access points, and I have those crossed off of the list for the most part. Does anybody know of any specific campsites that just won't work well for hanging a hammock? ...or any sites that they would highly recommend?

We don't really have a set in stone itenerary for how far we will be travelling each day, but we figure that we can have a nice leisurely ride doing either 40 or 60 miles per day. If I was riding solo, I would probably just try to do this in two days not stopping to see the historical landmarks and stuff because I have visited it all before, but my riding buddy is not from the U.S., so he will be wanting to stop and see all of it and take pictures. I plan on doing this unsupported, but will have a third friend that will be following us in his truck since he can't really ride a bike much anymore, he will carry some extra supplies and be our ride home at the end or if we get completely rained out, and he might also meet up with us occasionally for lunch or whatever.

Sorry if I am rambling.

06-04-2013, 11:39
I've done a multi-day biking trip along the C&O canal four years in a row now. Mostly south of your planned route, though. In any event, I've never had trouble finding a spot to hang a hammock. Hope this helps.

06-04-2013, 14:33
It might be worth a PM to MedicineMan; I'm pretty sure he and Poof did a trip through there a ways back and hung the whole way. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember a video trip report on it...

06-06-2013, 13:31
my advice is to try and stay at the campsites with working water pumps. many are broken or have handles removed because of not passing health inspections. i personally filtered the water from pumps just incase

06-06-2013, 18:42
FLRider remembers well :)
We did the C/O last year....no trouble with hang spots....we did spend on night in a motel to charge batteries and have a shower, 3rd night I think.
Good advice on the handles from Pebbles.....we never treated any pumped water.
It is a wonderful trail that we'd love to do again, N to S next time....just only so much vacation time.
There is a 3 part vid series on my youtube channel.

06-06-2013, 21:10
Thanks for the information and advice. I was thinking that it might not be a bad idea to filter the water from the wells anyway. Anybody know of any specific wells that are out of order other than the one at Swain's Lock? The NPS website only lists that one as being out. I'll be sure to watch those videos.

06-06-2013, 21:13
bbrins, sorry, too many miles/trips ago to remember details. Water never was an issue for us though; seems like the next campsite/water potential is always just 5 more miles so we never fretted it.

06-09-2013, 14:37
Go to http://bikewashington.org/canal/plan-camping.php
It lists the campsites. Several are very poor for the train noise. The campsites near Paw Paw tunnel are good for hammocking. Others you have to move into the woods away from the 'open tent fields'. Better have long straps- some of the trees are very large.

06-09-2013, 14:45
Mile posts 144 to 156 west of hancock were the best. Several sites west of Harpers Ferry were hangable too. I havent hung east of HF but rode it. Avoid sites just east of Hancock - noisey!
Beans in the Befrey is a great place to eat.

06-09-2013, 18:56
Thanks for the additional info. I have been to the Bike Washington website, I don't recall seeing much about hammocking, but there is a good bit of general C&O Canal towpath trip planning information on there. You reminded me of something I was forgetting, earplugs.

06-16-2013, 21:49
Big Woods is not hammock friendly. The last picture I posted was from there. I decided to take the two big trees rather than try to fight my way through the brush and nettles. You can find a spot at Cumberland Valley. Last night I stayed at Jordan Junction. There's a really nice secluded spot to the left as you are facing the river. The Mosquitos weren't bad either.

There's a homeless guy who lives on the canal in Williamsport. Some folks are weirded out by him, but he's ok. I see him all the time. Once you say hello to him, he will be less odd. He stayed there last night as well.

06-17-2013, 13:09
Brings back memories of my C&O ride from Cumberland to DC. We stayed at Motels. Now that I'm a hanger, sounds like time to get back on the bike.

06-17-2013, 13:16
OldMart, did you see we are doing a HF group bike and hang on the Greenbriar River trail June 28-July 1.....low mileage days...awesome campsites by the river.
Maybe it is time to get the bike out. I just dropped mine off at the shop this morning for more goo into the tires.