Biking the C&O Canal

As Spring days go, yesterday was about as good as it gets. It was cool, but not too cool, with sunny skies and low humidity, which meant the air was clear and the sky was blue. A great day for a bicycle ride.

For the first time since we built the WV place, Hubby and I put our bikes in the truck and headed for Oldtown, Maryland, one of the access points for the C & O Canal.

Hubby Biking from the Parking Area to the Towpath

As luck would have it, Oldtown is just 15 miles from the WV place. Unless it’s been raining. Then we’d have to drive MUCH further. There’s a privately owned toll bridge that crosses the Potomac River between Oldtown, Maryland and Greenspring, West Virginia, but it’s a low water bridge. That means, if the water is running high because of recent heavy rains and/or snow melt, the bridge will be under water. (I wrote about the bridge in a previous post.)

Seriously, the weather could not have been any nicer. And every single turtle that lives in the canal was out enjoying it.

More Turtles Than You Could Ever Imagine

There were turtles everywhere. Pretty much every log or large rock that stuck out of the water had a turtle on it. Click on the image above, look closely and see how many turtles you can count. I see at least 20.

Both Hubby and I agreed that we’d never seen so many turtles before  in our entire lives. There were turtles of all shapes and sizes. If there’s a picture here that shows an empty log in the water, chances are good I got too close and the turtle or turtles that were on the log dove into the water to escape.

Hubby Riding Toward the Town Creek Aqueduct

I don’t know how many times we have driven or ridden our motorcycles past signs for the Town Creek Aqueduct. Just last week I told Hubby that one of these days I wanted to stop to see what it was. Now I know. The Town Creek Aqueduct is basically a water bridge that carried the canal across Town Creek. That section of the canal is empty now, which is why Hubby is biking through it, but the structure itself is still standing.

The Town Creek Aqueduct

It was extremely quiet and peaceful along the canal. Check out this next picture of the towpath as it continues beyond Town Creek.

C & O Canal Towpath Looking East From Town Creek

If we hadn’t gotten such a late start AND if our tender tushes were more-accustomed to riding, we would have continued for another 5 miles to Paw Paw. But we’d already ridden just under 5 miles and we still had to ride back to Oldtown, which is where we’d parked the truck. We’ll go farther one day…

Virginia Bluebonnets Blooming Alongside the Towpath
Recent Sign of Beavers Sharpening Their Teeth

We didn’t see any Beavers. They tend to be pretty bashful and are usually seen early or late in the day, not at midday, which is when we were there. I did see a Muskrat, though. He was floating in the water only a couple of feet away. I could tell he thought I didn’t see him, because he just laid there staring at me. Until I reached for my camera, that is. I don’t have any pictures of the little guy, so you’ll just have to trust me.

C & O Canal Towpath, Somewhere Between Oldtown and Town Creek

It really was a gorgeous ride. We are most definitely going to go back. If not before then, definitely in May or June when the Mountain Laurel are in bloom. This hill is covered…

Cliff Face Covered in Mountain Laurel

Despite only having my point-and-shoot camera along, I got some decent pictures. There are too many to post here on the blog, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out my C& O Canal set at Flickr, which is where the rest of the shots are posted.

11 Replies to “Biking the C&O Canal”

  1. Hey, this sounds like it may be fun to do with the kids – well at least 2 of them. I’m sure someone wouldn’t mind staying behind to hang out with Joey!

    1. We were actually thinking next weekend might be good for that. Don’t you have a kid seat for Joey? If not, like you said, I’m sure we could convince someone to stay behind with him. The canal towpath is pretty flat, just bumpy.

  2. What a great shot of those turtles!!! Growing up my Dad used to take my sister and I bike riding on a local tow path… thank you for sharing these pictures – it brings back lots of happy memories for me!

  3. Beautiful! We’ll have to check that out. We have an access to the The Great Allegheny Passage about a mile from our property. It hooks up to the C&O in Cumberland. Wanted to check it out this weekend but Nadya refuses to bike ride!

  4. LOL, just looked at the link you sent me on the Great Allegheny Passage! Great minds think alike..:)

  5. Kathy, that’s pretty funny. Last weekend we rode our bikes up into PA through Frostburg. We passed the GAP quite a few times. Those bike paths are such a great idea. That one, winding through the mountains should be particularly picturesque. I told Mike the C&O would be a great place to go cross-country skiing )if we were cross-country skiers, of course). Why does Nadya refuse to go bike riding?

  6. Wow, that looks like such a great place for a bike ride. That turtle pic is great, I only saw 17. Were you actually riding the bike when you took these? That’s pretty talented.

  7. Melissa, I nearly ran into the canal on several occasions just gawking at stuff. I had to stop frequently for pics. It’s a good thing Hubby was beside me most of the time instead of behind me. 🙂

  8. Excellent experience!
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    You and your husband may enjoy my friend’s blog @

    Chuck is a retiree who travels all over the world and the US. He has been blogging about his adventures for over a decade. His photos are great and he writes well (he is a retired English teacher, one of mine in fact). Enjoy.


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