Biking the C&O Canal

Peg and I finally decided to rent some bicycles and ride a little on the C&O Canal. River and Trail Outfitters makes this a very easy and convenient way to get your cycling fix taken care of without having to worry about transporting gear around. We made reservations online and then arrived at their main site just across the river from Harpers Ferry, WV to sign the standard waiver forms. From there it’s just a short drive to Brunswick, MD were the bikes are actually kept. The bikes are your basic single speed cruisers that are perfect for the flat paths of the canal. Since we hadn’t been on bikes for more than 15 years, we decided to take the easy 5.5 mile ride back to Harpers Ferry for our first adventure.

Lock-31Potomac river

The C&O Canal offers great scenery for the entire route. You pass by several locks and an old lock house, Lock 31, as you make your way towards Harpers Ferry. The Potomac river also bubbles along side of the canal in several spots.



There are all sorts of critters to watch as you pedal along. On our trip we saw plenty of turtles, ducks, butterflies, and wood chucks.


If you have good eyes you may even catch a lizard our two watching you. I shouted to Peg to stop pedaling when I spotted this 12-inch lizard on a stump. Even though it was right next to the trail at almost eye level to Peg, she missed it until I pointed it out. Then she screamed and giggled.


There is a footbridge across the Potomac were you can lock the bikes at and then walk into town. This makes a great stop to use the restrooms if you aren’t one of those “be one with nature” types. We stopped and had lunch outside at the Cannonball Deli. They have a small menu but the food was great! I had the Falafel wrap which made me smile. Yum! Don’t forget to stop at Swiss Miss for the best frozen custard around.

River and Trail Outfitters has four hour and all day rentals. You can easily ride to Harpers Ferry, stop for lunch, and return to Brunswick in four hours time.


  1. Awesome pics! Looks like you all had a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing. =)

  2. Wow,that sure likes nice! It got to 118 last Saturday here in AZ and dust storms last night have left a layer of dirt on everything----your hike looks heavenly. Great photos!

  3. @Jamie - Thanks Jamie!

    @Bill - But that's a dry heat... It was only 94 but because of the thunderstorms the day before the humidity was brutal. I heard about the dust storm being so bad it shut the airport down; not good.

  4. Yay! Glad you and Peg got some biking in.