Posts Tagged ‘Hiking’

Alexandria’s Canal Trail

The historic port town of Alexandria is one of the Potomac Heritage Trail’s most vibrant, happening places. There are shops, watering holes, and all variety of eateries. Alexandria also has the distinction of being an archaeological treasure. It’s one of the most studied towns in America. There’s an Alexandria Archaeology Museum in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, as well as several self-guided walking tours along The Alexandria Archaeology Trail. (more…)


Experience Art and Nature in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands

The Laurel Highlands is one of the most scenic and diverse destinations in Pennsylvania. Its unique typography and natural resources of mountains and rivers, offers a wide range of active outdoor experiences for visitors year round. Thousands of acres of state and federal park land throughout the region are open for hiking, biking, water recreation and wildlife viewing. Incredible vistas open over white water and quiet pools as the parks are crisscrossed with hundreds of streams and tributaries. Thanks to photographer paul g. wiegman for providing the wonderful photos that accompany this itinerary.
One of the region’s significant National Park Service sites is the Flight 93 National Memorial which is now open year round to the public. A short distance away is another iconic site commemorating the Quecreek Mine Rescue Site, celebrating the successful rescue of none trapped miners, an event that captured the attention of the world a decade ago.

Discover the many ways you can enjoy family fun, outdoor activities, parks , attractions, shopping, dining and cozy accommodations in the Laurel Highlands by visiting www.laurelhighlands.org.

Those interested in active outdoor adventures should not miss the following experiences while in the Laurel Highlands:

Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob

The Laurel Highlands actually provides the setting for two outstanding examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture: Fallingwater in Bear Run Nature Preserve and the nearby Kentuck Knob. Fallingwater, Wright’s most widely acclaimed work, dramatically cantilevered over the waterfalls, is considered to be the best all-time work of American architecture and is his most sublime integration of man and nature. The house on Kentuck Knob exhibits the extraordinary warmth, serenity and functionality of a home Wright designed for family living, Enhanced by a breathtaking vista, its wooded landscape is the setting for the notable collection of artifacts and post- World War II sculptures of owner, British Lord
Peter Palumbo. These famous architectural icons are open to the public throughout most of the year but reservations are essential.

Bear Run Nature Preserve

Bear Run Nature Reserve‘s 5,851 acres makes it the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s largest property. With more than 20 miles of well-marked trails, the reserve is managed to protect, conserve, and restore land and water for the diversity of the region’s native plants, animals, and their ecosystems. Streams and watersheds, forests, and common as well as rare native species are the focus of management.

The Great Allegheny Passage

The Great Allegheny Passage is a world-class rail-trail stretching from near Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD. Historic tunnels, bridges and viaducts carry cyclists and hikers on a nearly level scenic trip over and through the Allegheny Mountains. The trail follows the Youghiogheny and Casselman rivers for much of the way. In Cumberland, it connects with the C&O Canal Towpath providing a continuous non-motorized route to Washington, D.C.

Roaring Run Natural Area

This 3,070-acre tract of second and third growth forest in southeastern Westmoreland County is part of Forbes State Forest. Although the entire area is closed to all vehicles, it is open to hiking, cross-country skiing, and in the appropriate seasons, to access on foot by hunters and fishermen.

For specific hikes along the Laurel Highlands, check out our other step-by-step itineraries: Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail: Ohiopyle to Route 653, Route 653 to Route 31, Route 31 to Route 30, Route 30 to Route 271, and Route 271 to Seward.


Abner Cloud’s Georgetown

This is a fine little urban jaunt along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., following the C&O Canal from mile 3.1 to mile 0.5. There are terrific views of the Potomac River and the Rosslyn, Va., skyline. And the canal in Georgetown was once its Main Street, where buildings were oriented to take advantage of the waterway.
Coming into Georgetown from the west, you see how the canal once connected the countryside to the city. Above Georgetown, today’s canal traffic consists of canoes and kayaks. While out for a walk, you might be passed by a mule towing a boatful of tourists out of Georgetown. Plan to have lunch in Georgetown after an easy walk of about 5 miles roundtrip—which you can cut short to suit your desires.
The Walk
Information

Trailhead parking:  There is parking at Fletcher’s Boathouse and at parking meters in Georgetown. If you’re coming into the city by car, from I-495 Beltway, take the exit for Clara Barton Parkway west toward Carderock. Take the first right exit at Carderock Recreation Area and Naval Surface Warfare Center. Turn left at top of the ramp and cross over Clara Barton Parkway. Turn left again and reenter Clara Barton Parkway eastbound. Continue east under the Beltway to the end of the parkway at Canal Road. Continue on Canal Road to Fletcher’s.

Options: You can walk in the reverse direction by starting in Georgetown, reachable by public transportaiom.

Start.            Abner Cloud House, Fletcher’s Boathouse. Fletcher’s Boathouse has been operating since the 1850s. There is a canoe and boat rental, refreshment stand and bait shop, picnic area and a lot of friendly old-fashioned charm. It was operated by the Fletcher family for generations, and since 2004 has been managed by a park concessionaire. Fletcher’s is still the place where many city kids get their first fishing experience.

Across the towpath from Fletcher’s is the Abner Cloud House. It is the oldest structure on the canal, built in the early 1800s and predating the C&O project by more than two decades. Cloud’s house was a residence and storeroom for the grains and he shipped to Georgetown.

The paved trail running parallel to the canal and visible from time to time is the Capital Crescent Trail, built on the former bed of a B&O line.

0.9, Incline Plane site. This ranks among the canal’s more peculiar stories. During the go-go years of the canal, there were huge traffic jams clogging the final four locks and the terminus at Rock Creek. Traffic was especially bad when canal boats docked at Georgetown docks. The incline plane was built to get Potomac-bound boats around Georgetown without having to crawl through traffic—the same problem facing motorists today. The incline was a giant wooden ramp. At canal level, a 112-foot caisson was filled with water, allowing the boat to enter. Then, using a system of pulleys, the canal boat floated in the caisson like a toy boat in a giant bathtub. It was then lowered to the river. Despite numerous problems and accidents, the plane sped up traffic and remained in use until it was destroyed by flood in 1889.

2.1, Key Bridge, Alexandria Aqueduct. Passing under the Key Bridge, there is a pocket park and exhibit on the Alexandria Aqueduct—another curious C&O story. Not to be left out of the massive public works project that was the C&O, Virginia built an aqueduct over the river. This connected to another canal on the Virginia side that carried canal boats to the port at Alexandria. To country folks visiting the city in the canal era, seeing boats sledding down the incline plane or floating high above the Potomac was the 19th century version of a George Jetson universe.

2.2, the 34th Street footbridge.

2.6, C&O Canal Visitor Center.

C&O Canal National Historical Park

C&O Canal Trust

Cultural Tourism D.C.


Fort Washington and Oxon Hill

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Talk about a wonderful day enjoying history and scenic views of the Potomac River only minutes from Washington, D.C.! Here are three fascinating historic sites on the river only minutes apart by car. You can spend hours exploring Fort Washington’s immense fortification and garrison—with some of the most amazing views of the Potomac you’ll ever find. Oxon Hill Park and Farm offers a chance for exploring nature and for kids to see farm animals and learn about life near the Nation’s capital. The architecture and gardens Oxon Hill Manor offers an elegant sojourn into one of Washington’s finest estates—not to mention a romantic place to watch the sun go down.

You can visit these sites in any order, but in summer mornings are the best time to see Fort Washington; you can explore the grounds before the sun gets too high.

Fort Washington. Fort Washington was part of the original defenses of the Capital, first completed in 1809. After being destroyed and rebuilt, it was improved over the years and remained in use through World War One. From the massive doorways at the entrance, to the gunnery posts, to the bastions and garrisons, it’s just a cool place to explore and hang out. Fort Washington Park has a wide variety of activities.  There is a 3-mile trail that follows the perimeter of the park boundary, offering the opportunity for wildlife viewing.  Birdwatchers enjoy the quite solitude of the park to find that one special bird.  If fishing is for you, the park is located right along the Potomac River where there are many different types of fish waiting for you.

One Sunday a month from April to October the park has Civil War artillery demonstrations.

Oxon Cove Park/Oxon Hill Farm. The park has been home for many generations of human habitation during the past 10,000 years–beginning with the Native American peoples who hunted for wild game and gathered plants up until the 17th century. You can explore on your own and see farm equipment, historic structures, our Visitor Center, and barnyard. Explore Oxon Cove Park’s 512 acres by strolling along the lower fields, walking the nature path or riding the bike path along Oxon Cove.
 It’s a pleasing spot for a picnic, too. There are picnic areas, no reservations required. Food is not sold in the park, so pack a lunch.

Oxon Cove is listed second in this itinerary for those who are ready for a picnic lunch after exploring Fort Washington. It is next door to Oxon Hill Manor, so if you’re not ready for lunch, visit the manor first.

Visitor information for all three sites is available on the porch of the bookstore.

Oxon Hill Manor, a few miles up river from Fort Washington. The mansion as we see it today was built in in 1928, but the former home was built for home to the nephews of George Washington, and the nephew of John Hanson, the first president elected by the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation. In the 49-room mansion, check out the graceful spiraling staircase and ballroom especially. Wonder the English gardens and enjoy stunning river views. Tours are available by appointment. The manor is managed by Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation.

To reach Fort Washington From I-95/495 take exit 3, Indian Head Higway South/MD 210.  Travel about 4 miles to Fort Washington Road, turn right.  The park is located at the end of the road.

From Waldorf, MD: MD228 to Indian Head Highway/MD210 North.  Turn left onto Old Fort Road.  Continue to end of road, at the stop sign turn left onto Fort Washington Road, continue to park.


Snavely Ford Trail, Antietam National Battlefield

Here’s a pleasant circuit walk along the surprisingly wild Antietam Creek less than a mile from the C&O Canal. The hike meanders along one of three fronts in the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day of the Civil War. Wild turkey, beaver, barred owls, and other wildlife inhabit the stream valley. Cows can often be seen grazing on the other side of the creek. The lovely bucolic countryside belies the carnage that took place along the creek on September 17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) took place in three phases over 12 square miles. Down by the creek, Union General Burnside tried to move his army over the bridge and into Sharpsburg. The streamside trail preserves the landscape that saw the deaths of thousands. Now it is alive with towering oaks and maples, blackberries on the edges, and the scent of paw paws by the bank.

From the parking area, descend the walk to Burnside Bridge and turn right onto the narrow footpath next to the creek. Pass a small dam that creates enough of a waterfall to give paddlers a thrill. Ancient beech line the creek and uplands, while the bottomland is still thick with the lower story of second-generation forest. The pathway leading right, at 0.5 mile, ascends steeply to Georgians Overlook; from there southern troops trained their rifles on federal troops approaching the bridge.

The river bends sharply west at about 1 mile. The hillside to the right is home to wild turkey, barred owls, and deer. In spring, there are Dutchman’s britches flapping in the breeze; in fall, the paw paws give the forest a banana smell.

At 1.4 miles, reach Snavely Ford, the crossing point for several divisions of Union soldiers on a flanking maneuver. They made their way up the hill toward Sharpsburg here; the road they traveled is still visible to the left beginning at about 1.6 miles. Uphill, the forest cover changes to thick red cedar. On early evening hikes, you may see several deer leaving the cedar cover to follow the trail down to the creek.

At the top of the hill, at 2 miles, a dirt road to the right leads to an old homestead. To the left, the parking area is 0.5 mile down a dirt cart path.

For more information: Antietam National Battlefield.


Big Savage Tunnel on the GAP

One popular adventure along The Great Allegheny Passage segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is a ride through the Big Savage Tunnel onto the Eastern Continental Divide.  The Big Savage Tunnel is closed from November through April, but in warm weather it’s an easy, pleasing bicycle ride for people of all biking abilities.  Begin your trip in Cumberland where the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail meets the C & O Canal Towpath.

Coal, minerals and timber extracted from these mountains made their way into Cumberland on narrow-gauge railroads. The region’s abundant natural resources and its location on the river made Cumberland one of America’s early industrial centers. The wares made there were shipped east along the railroad and the C&O Canal.

From Cumberland,  trail follows the old Western Maryland Railroad on a spectacular passage above Jennings Run, trending northwest up to Big Savage Mountain, where the views rival any in the East.

Trailhead parking is at the railroad depot in Frostburg, Md. You can find breakfast and snacks near the depot at The Trailside Inn or climb the hill to trail friendly Frostburg with many eateries, small locally owned shops and historic buildings.   As frequent trail users say, “It’s worth the climb!”  A comprehensive map and business directories, as well as itineraries for many one day and multiple day trips can be found in the Allegheny Trail Alliance’s TrailBook, the travel guide to the Great Allegheny Passage (www.gaptrail.org)  Once you’re on the trail, you won’t need a map or compass to find your way but there is so much to do and see, you may want to plan ahead.

It is 6.8 miles to Big Savage Tunnel, named for surveyor Thomas Savage who, along with the rest of his party, was stranded here in the winter of 1736. According to the legend, he offered himself up as food to save the rest of the party from starving. A rescue team showed up, saving Savage’s life. His companions were so grateful that they named the Savage River for him. Fortunately for the traveler of today, food is easier to get now!

In summer, you can take a 2.5-mile hike up and over the tunnel.

If you’re on bike and want to continue on, it’s only another 1.2 miles to the Eastern Continental Divide, elevation, 2,375 feet. The Keystone Viaduct, a magnificent, curving 910-foot structure, is about 5 miles from the tunnel. From there it’s another mile to Meyersdale, Pa., where there are eateries and a B&B only blocks from the trailhead railroad depot.

For information on the Great Allegheny Passage, see www.gaptrail.org. For information on Frostburg and Meyersdale, see our Travel Services page.


Civil War Defenses of Washington

In 1861 President Lincoln ordered construction of a ring of fortifications to protect the Union Capital during the Civil War. The result was 86 forts and 93 batteries connected by 32 miles of military roads. Today a network of 20 preserved sites forms a linear ring of parkland and trails in Washington, D.C. For a brochure describing the Civil War Defenses of Washington, see http://www.nps.gov/cwdw/planyourvisit/brochures.htm.

This 5.6-mile stroll down tree-line sidewalks and wooded paths visits three of these sites and includes a walk through Glover-Archbold Park, a favorite natural area of Capital City residents. There’s no need to pack a lunch because the midpoint of the segment goes right through Tenley Circle. Both ends are accessible via public transportation. You can also walk just the north or south portions, using the Metro station at Tenley as an end point.

Trailhead

Start: Oregon Avenue at Fort DeRussey in Rock Creek Park.

End: Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park at Canal Road and Foundry Branch.

Parking: Oregon Ave., near Fort DeRussey (0.0), Fort Reno on Chesapeake Street. (2.0), Canal Road (5.6)

The Walk

0.0            Fort DeRussey, at the Oregon Avenue entrance to Rock Creek Park. Fort DeRussy was built on a hill to provide crossfire on the approaches to Fort Stevens on the 7th Street Pike (now Georgia Avenue) and to control the countryside to west of today’s Rock Creek Park. It supported Fort Stevens in the only battle fought in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War, July 11-12, 1864. The parapet’s earthworks still display the openings where guns were mounted. The moat around the parapet is evident, and rifle trenches outside the parapet can be seen. From here, go south on the Western Ridge Trail.

0.1            Military Road.

0.4            Grant Road. Turn right

0.6            Broad Branch Road. Turn right.

1.2            36th Street. Turn left

1.5            Cross Connecticut Avenue.

1.6            Turn right on Ellicott Street.

1.7            Reno Road. Turn left, then immediately right on Fort Drive.

1.8            Cross Nebraska Avenue.

1.9            Fort Reno. Named for Major General Jesse Lee Reno, who died from wounds received at the Battle of South Mountain in 1862, it was built during the winter of 1861 shortly after the Union Army’s defeat at the First Battle of Manassas. Situated at the highest point in Washington, Fort Reno eventually became the largest and most heavily-armed fort circling the city. Its commanding views of the surrounding countryside made it an important link in the defense of Washington.

2.0            Chesapeake Street, at south end of park. Go south on 40th Street away from park.

2.3            Cross Tenley Circle; stay on 40th Street.

2.4            Veasy Street. Turn right, then left at the end of the street.

2.5            Van Ness Street. Turn left.

2.6            Turn right on foot trail into Glover-Archbold Park. A three-mile trail runs the length of the park, which stretches from the Potomac River nearly to Tenley Circle. With seven stream crossings along the way, the defining feature of the route is Foundry Branch.

3.3            Cross Massachusetts Avenue.

3.7            Cross Cathedral Avenue.

3.9            Cross New Mexico Avenue.

4.1            Reach footpath to Battery Kemble and Palisades Park. For a side trip to Battery Kemble, turn right here, then turn right at the trail fork. Cross 44th Street at Edmonds Street; then stay on the trail. Cross Foxhall Road. Cross 49th Street into Palisades Park. People who grow up in Washington, D.C., know Battery Kemble Park as one the best sledding hills in the city.

4.4            Trail junction. Continue straight.

4.8            Trail junction. The path leads left (east) into Whitehaven Park.

5.1            Cross Reservoir Road.

5.6            Tunnel under Mac Arthur Boulevard. Reach C&O Canal Towpath at Canal Road and Foundry Branch.

For information

C&O Canalwww.nps.gov/choh/

DC Heritage Tourism Coalition, www.culturaltourismdc.org

Fort Dupont Recreation Center, www.nps.gov/fodu

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, www.cr.nps.gov/museum/collections/keaq.html

NPS National Capital-East, (202) 690-5185. www.nps.gov/nace

NPS National Capital-Central, (202) 426-6841, www.nps.gov/nacc

U.S. National Arboretum, www.usna.usda.gov

Rock Creek Park, www.nps.gov/rocr

Washington Parks and People, www.washingtonparks.net


Hiking The Lostlands Trail

The Potomac-Garrett State Forest is calling you to come and hike the 3.5 mile Lostlands Trail to the Potomac River. Pull off the socks and shoes and dip your toes in the icy headwaters of the North Branch of the Potomac River which divides Maryland and West Virginia. Listen closely and you might hear the ghosts of George Washington traveling to set the Fairfax Stone. Hike back on the dirt access road and take a side trip to see the ghost remains of the CCC built fish hatchery in the forest. www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/potomacguide.html.

Get back to your vacation house rented from Railey Mountain Lake Vacations www.rentals.deepcreek.com or Long & Foster Deep Creek Rentals www.deepcreekresort.com/ and take a quick swim in Deep Creek Lake before getting dressed for dinner. Enjoy the best offering of the day from Chef Jason Fickes at the Will O’ The Wisp www.willothewisp.com or take a short drive into Oakland to sample the offerings at the legendary and historic Cornish Manor Restaurant www.thecornishmanor.com .

Wake up in the morning and head down into Friendsville for a hike up the Kendall Trail www.garretttrails.org/northern-region-trails.html along one of Maryland’s only scenic and wild rivers, the Youghiogheny River. Stop for coffee and breakfast at the coffee & bakery next to the Riverside Hotel www.riversidehotel.us/about.html Enjoy yourself and nature!

Getting there: Traveleing west on I-68 West in Hancock. Go 69 miles on I-68, exit south on U.S. Highway 219 toward Deep Creek Lake, and go 26 miles to Oakland, Maryland. Stay on US 219 when it turns left in Oakland; when US 219 turns right outside of town, go straight onto Maryland Highway 135. In about 2 miles, turn right onto MD 560 just outside of Mountain Lake Park. In 2 miles, turn left onto Bethlehem Road (staying right at the fork at 2 miles). In 1.4 miles, turn left onto Combination Road, then in half a mile, turn left onto Potomac Camp Road. The forest headquarters is about a mile further on the left. To find the trailhead from the parking area, cross the road and walk 75 feet back up the road; look for a wooden marker.

See www.garretttrails.org and find out more at www.facebook.com/garretttrails


Hiking In The Hemlocks Of Swallow Falls

Here’s a terrific little hike for people of all ages. It packs into a small package some of the outstanding features of hiking the Allegheny Front, including a stretch along one of the eastern United States’s most notable whitewater rivers, the Youghiogheny. There are picnic tables and a pavilion, so a prehike picnic makes for a real kid pleaser. Start off in the cool old-world Hemlock Groves of Swallow Falls State Park in Southern Garrett County www.stateparks.com/swallow_falls_garrett.html.

The trailhead is just beyond the comfort station and kiosk at the north end of the parking area. Traveling southeast (right) from the kiosk, immediately find yourself in a stand of huge, ancient hemlocks and white pines. To protect these 300-year-old trees and their ecosystem, the 40-acre grove is designated a Sensitive Management Area, which means the grove is managed as a wilderness. Trees are allowed to fall or burn as nature wills; only trees blocking trail access are cleared.

Head past the former camping site of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone on this loop trail which passes Muddy Creek Falls the tallest waterfall in Maryland. Hike past large boulders and rock outcroppings enjoying the magnificent beauty of the area. Remember to pack your camera to capture the memories.

Head north on Hwy 219 to Deep Creek Lake for lunch at Brenda’s Pizzeria www.brendaspizzeria.com Enjoy New York Style Pizza or mouth watering baked ziti.

Getting there: From Interstate 68, take exit 14A and drive 19 miles south on Maryland Highway 219, passing Deep Creek Lake; turn right onto Mayhew Inn Road. Drive 4.3 miles north, and then turn left onto Sang Run Road. In 0.25 mile, turn right onto Swallow Falls Road (Garrett County 20), which leads west to the park entrance in 4.7 miles.

See www.garretttrails.org and learn more at www.facebook.com/garretttrails.


Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail End-to-End

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail (LHHT) is one of few remote backpacking footpaths in the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail network. And it’s a beaut! It follows Laurel Ridge through state game lands, forest and other parkland. Along the way, there are hemlock groves, mountain streams, hardwood forests and the sounds of wildlife.

Once you’ve climbed the ridge out of Ohiopyle, the terrain is moderate enough for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. For the hardiest of hikers, there are winter backpacking/skiing trips along the LHHT.

Best of all are the overnight camps spaced along the way. There are eight camps along the 70-mile trail extending from Ohiopyle to the thousand-foot Conemaugh Gorge near Seward. Each camp has shelters, tent pads, water and privies. Advance registration is required. See the Resources section below.

This itinerary covers the entire LHHT, divided into five hikes.

We would like to thank photographer paul g. wiegman for providing the photo that accompanies this itinerary.

Hike 1: Ohiopyle to Route 653

Leaving the banks of the Youghiogheny River, the yellow-blazes of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail climb nine miles in stages from 1,200 feet to almost 2,800 feet. The second half of the section is gentle with the elevation hovering near 2,400 feet. The trail is well built, but rocky in places—a sturdy hiking shoe is a good choice here.

Start: Ohiopyle.

End: Route 653.

Miles:19.0

Points of Interest: Ohiopyle; Laurel Highlands Trail park office.

Parking: Ohiopyle (0.0 mi.); Maple Summit Road. (11.4 mi.); Laurel Ridge State Park office (overnight permits) (19.0 mi.).

Water: Ohiopyle; Ohiopyle Shelter; Route 653 Shelter.

Restroom or privy: Ohiopyle; Ohiopyle Shelter; Route 653 Shelter.

Provisions: Ohiopyle.

Camping: Ohiopyle Shelter; Route 653 Shelter. All shelters and campsites on the LHHT must be reserved in advance. A fee is required.

Hike Data

0.0 Ohiopyle. The depot houses restrooms and a visitor center. The store, B&Bs, hotel and outfitters are all within a few blocks.

0.2 Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. Turn onto the yellow-blazed path. The trail is marked with mileposts. Except for the few miles at either end, the grades are gentle. It is open only to hikers.

6.5 Ohiopyle Shelter.

11.4 Maple Summit Road.

18.7 Route 653 Shelter.

19.0 Route 653.

Hike 2: Route 653 to Route 31

This section is a pleasant ridge top walk with expansive views. Early on the trail passes through house-size boulders before climbing gently to 2,994 feet, the highest point on the Potomac Heritage Trail. This is the most open section of Laurel Ridge. The trail crosses several ski slopes and open areas of the Seven Springs Ski Resort. The remnants of a tree farm provide a different look as the trail eases down to Route 31.

Start: Route 653.

End: Route 31.

Miles: 12.0

Points of Interest: Laurel Run Overlook; Seven Springs area.

Parking: Route 653 (0.0 mi.); Route 31 (12.0 mi.).

Water: Grindle Ridge Shelter.

Restroom or Privy: Grindle Ridge Shelter.

Provisions: None.

Camping: Grindle Ridge Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0 Route 653.

2.5 Laurel Run overlook.

5.4 Grindle Ridge Shelters.

7.5 Seven Springs. The Laurel Highlands Trail cuts right through a ski resort here. The open ski slopes offer wide open views.

8.0 Highest point on PHT, 2,994 feet.

12.0 Route 31.

Hike 3: Route 31 to Route 30

The scenery on this hike offers one delight after another. Probably the most scenic built structure is the metal bridge that carries the PHT over the PennsylvaniaTurnpike.

Start: Route 31.

End: Route 30.

Miles: 15.0

Points of Interest: Pennsylvania Turnpike Bridge; Beam Rocks.

Parking: Route 31 (0.0 mi.); Route 30 (15.0 mi.).

Water: Route 31 lot; Route 31 Shelter; Turnpike Shelter; Route 30 parking lot.

Restroom or Privy: Route 31 Shelter; Turnpike Shelter.

Provisions: None.

Camping: Route 31 Shelter; Turnpike Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0 Route 31.

1.7 Route 31 Shelter.

6.0 Pennsylvania Turnpike Bridge. This massive iron bridge shows how serious the state was about getting this trail built.

7.4 Turnpike Shelter.

10.2 Beam Rocks.

15.0 Route 30.

Hike 4: Route 30 to Route 271

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail follows a gentle path high above the isolated valley of Mill Creek. The views here to the northwest of the trail are especially nice during the winter months. Close to Route 271, the trail passes through a series of rock formations worthy of exploration. Note that the Route 271 shelter is about 0.7 miles off the trail near the parking area.

Start: Route 30.

End: Route 271.

Miles: 11.7 (The section is only 11.0 miles excluding a visit to the shelter or parking lot).

Points of Interest: Card Machine Run; Mill Creek Valley; rock formations.

Parking: Route 30 (0.0 mi.); Route 271 (11.7 mi.).

Water: Route 30; Route 30 Shelter; Route 271 Shelter; Route 271.

Restroom or Privy: Route 30 Shelter; Route 271 Shelter.

Provisions: None.

Camping: Route 30 Shelter; Route 271 Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0 Route 30.

0.7 Route 30 Shelter.

2.2 Card Machine Run. There is a wonderful bog and spring here.

4.7 Mill Creek Valley.

10.2 Rock formations.

11.0 Route 271 crossing of Laurel Highlands Trail.

11.6 Route 271 Shelter (via side trail).

11.7 Route 271 parking lot (via side trail).

Hike 5: Route 271 to Seward

There are spectacular views of the Conemaugh River Gorge to the north. Johnstown is to the east. The going is easy throughout, and culminates in a five-mile descent to Seward. The trail passes an old stone quarry and the remains of an incline plane. Both were used to gather materials for the construction of a railroad bridge in Johnstown.

Start: Route 271.

End: Seward.

Miles: 13.3

Points of Interest: Conemaugh Gorge; Seward.

Parking: Route 271 (0.0 mi.); Seward. Pa.(13.3 mi.).

Water: Route 271; Decker Avenue Shelter; Seward.

Restroom or Privy: Route 271; Decker Avenue Shelter; Seward.

Provisions: Seward, one mile from the terminus of the LHHT. To reach Seward, turn right on the road at end of the trail, and follow it to Route 56 on the Conemaugh River. Turn left to Seward.

Camping: Decker Avenue Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0 Route 271. Mileages in this section are counted from the trail crossing. If you walk from the parking area add 0.7 miles to all distances.

1.9 Cross Peak 2669.

8.0 Side trail to Decker Shelter (0.3miles).

8.7 Picnic area and lookout tower, east of trail.

11.6 Old quarry site.

13.3 Seward, northern terminus of the LHHT.

Resources

Laurel Ridge State Park
(LHHT overnight permits)
(724) 455-3744
www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Ohiopyle State Park
(724) 329-8591
www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
(814) 536-6615
www.conemaughvalleyconservancy.org.

Keystone Trails Association
www.kta-hike.org

The Hiking Guide to the Laurel Highlands Trail, published by the Sierra Club, provides natural history and interpretation of the entire 70-mile path. The book is recommended for planning an extended hike on the LHHT.


Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail: Route 271 to Seward

This segment marks the end of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail and the conclusion of a magnificent journey of some 450 miles from Point Lookout in southern Maryland. There are spectacular views of the Conemaugh River Gorge to the north. Johnstown is to the east. The going is easy throughout, and culminates in a five-mile descent to Seward.

The trail passes an old stone quarry and the remains of an incline plane. Both were used to gather materials for the construction of a railroad bridge in Johnstown. The bridge was said to be the site of many deaths during the Johnstown Flood of 1889, when buildings and debris piled against it. The incline plane was in use until 1930; the bridge still stands.

We would like to thank photographer paul g. wiegman for providing the photo that accompanies this itinerary.

Start: Route 271.

End: Seward.

Miles: 13.3

Points of Interest: Conemaugh Gorge; Seward.

Parking: Route 271 (0.0 mi.); Seward. Pa.(13.3 mi.).

Water: Route 271; Decker Avenue Shelter; Seward.

Restroom or Privy: Route 271; Decker Avenue Shelter; Seward.

Provisions: Seward, one mile from the terminus of the LHHT. To reach Seward, turn right on the road at end of the trail, and follow it to Route 56 on the Conemaugh River. Turn left to Seward.

Camping: Decker Avenue Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0       Route 271. Mileages in this section are counted from the trail crossing. If you walk from the parking area add 0.7 miles to all distances.

1.9       Cross Peak 2669.

8.0       Side trail to Decker Shelter (0.3miles).

8.7       Picnic area and lookout tower, east of trail.

11.6     Old quarry site.

13.3     Seward, northern terminus of the LHHT.

Explore the Trail Corridor

Johnstown. Just east of trail’s end. The Johnstown Flood Museum recounts the horrific events of 1889. Also, there is an active incline plane railway here. It was built in 1891 as a way to get people to higher ground during floods and to help develop the hillside.

Conemaugh Gorge. The ill-fated Pennsylvania Canal passed by here headed for Pittsburgh. It was an amazing achievement consisting of 277 miles of canal and 177 locks. There were 118 miles of railroad. It was completed from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in 1829, but by 1864 it was no longer in use, outpaced by the railroads. Today Conemaugh Valley Conservancy (CVC) is working to open trails in the Conemaugh Gorge. The trail system features four stone-arch bridges built in 1907. Eventually these trails and others will be linked to form a Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Greenway along the canal’s former route. To find out about the trail’s progress visit the conservancy website.

Resources

Maps

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/lhht/index.htm

Laurel Ridge State Park

(LHHT overnight permits)
(724) 455-3744

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Ohiopyle State Park
(724) 329-8591
www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
(814) 536-6615
www.conemaughvalleyconservancy.org.

Keystone Trails Association
www.kta-hike.org


Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail: Route 30 to Route 271

www.laurelhighlands.org

The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail follows a gentle path high above the isolated valley of Mill Creek. The views here to the northwest of the trail are especially nice during the winter months. Close to Route 271, the trail passes through a series of rock formations worthy of exploration.

Note that the Route 271 shelter is about 0.7 miles off the trail near the parking area.

Start: Route 30.

End: Route 271.

Miles: 11.7 (The section is only 11.0 miles excluding a visit to the shelter or parking lot).

Points of Interest: Card Machine Run; Mill Creek Valley; rock formations.

Parking: Route 30 (0.0 mi.); Route 271 (11.7 mi.).

Water: Route 30; Route 30 Shelter; Route 271 Shelter; Route 271.

Restroom or Privy: Route 30 Shelter; Route 271 Shelter.

Provisions: None.

Camping: Route 30 Shelter; Route 271 Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0       Route 30.

0.7       Route 30 Shelter.

2.2       Card Machine Run. There is a wonderful bog and spring here.

4.7       Mill Creek Valley.

10.2     Rock formations.

11.0     Route 271 crossing of Laurel Highlands Trail.

11.6     Route 271 Shelter (via side trail).

11.7     Route 271 parking lot (via side trail).

Exploring the Trail Corridor

Laughlintown, Pa. . This is a village full of history. The Compass Inn Museum dates to 1799 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Inn was a stagecoach stop, 1820-1862, on the route which later became Route 30.

Resources

Maps

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/lhht/index.htm

Laurel Ridge State Park

(LHHT overnight permits)
(724) 455-3744

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Ohiopyle State Park
(724) 329-8591
www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
(814) 536-6615
www.conemaughvalleyconservancy.org.

Keystone Trails Association
www.kta-hike.org


Laurel Highlands Trail: Route 31 to Route 30

The scenery on this hike offers one delight after another. Probably the most scenic built structure is the metal bridge that carries the PHT over the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We would like to thank photographer paul g. wiegman for providing the photo that accompanies this itinerary.

Start: Route 31.

End: Route 30.

Miles: 15.0

Points of Interest: Pennsylvania Turnpike Bridge; Beam Rocks.

Parking: Route 31 (0.0 mi.); Route 30 (15.0 mi.).

Water: Route 31 lot; Route 31 Shelter; Turnpike Shelter; Route 30 parking lot.

Restroom or Privy: Route 31 Shelter; Turnpike Shelter.

Provisions: None.

Camping: Route 31 Shelter; Turnpike Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0       Route 31.

1.7       Route 31 Shelter.

6.0       Pennsylvania Turnpike Bridge. This massive iron bridge shows how serious the state was about getting this trail built.

7.4       Turnpike Shelter.

10.2     Beam Rocks.

15.0     Route 30.

Exploring the PHT

Pennsylvania Turnpike Bridge. Take a few minutes to examine this massive structure. This is a fine example of Pennsylvania’s commitment to foot trails.

Beam Rocks. There are many pinnacles and crevices to explore in this area of jumbled boulders. A blue blazed trail leads to the area. There are also three other marked side trails in the area which are worth a visit.

Resources

Maps

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/lhht/index.htm

Laurel Ridge State Park

(LHHT overnight permits)
(724) 455-3744

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Ohiopyle State Park
(724) 329-8591
www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
(814) 536-6615
www.conemaughvalleyconservancy.org.

Keystone Trails Association
www.kta-hike.org


Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail: Route 653 to Route 31

This section is a pleasant ridge top walk with expansive views. Early on the trail passes through house-size boulders before climbing gently to 2,994 feet, the highest point on the Potomac Heritage Trail. This is the most open section of Laurel Ridge. The trail crosses several ski slopes and open areas of the Seven Springs Ski Resort. The remnants of a tree farm provide a different look as the trail eases down to Route 31.

We would like to thank photographer paul g. wiegman for providing the photo that accompanies this itinerary.

Start: Route 653.

End: Route 31.

Miles: 12.0

Points of Interest: Laurel Run Overlook; Seven Springs area.

Parking: Route 653 (0.0 mi.); Route 31 (12.0 mi.).

Water: Grindle Ridge Shelter.

Restroom or Privy: Grindle Ridge Shelter.

Provisions: None.

Camping: Grindle Ridge Shelter.

Hike Data

0.0       Route 653.

2.5       Laurel Run overlook.

5.4       Grindle Ridge Shelters.

7.5       Seven Springs. The Laurel Highlands Trail cuts right through a ski resort here. The open ski slopes offer wide open views.

8.0       Highest point on PHT, 2,994 feet.

12.0     Route 31.

Exploring the Trail Corridor

Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Due to its elevation this area is often encased in fog. The mist offers an opportunity to listen and get close to wildlife. Even if it is clear, you can stop and sit awhile along the edge of one of the ski slopes and see what flies by.

Resources

Maps

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/lhht/index.htm

Laurel Ridge State Park

(LHHT overnight permits)
(724) 455-3744

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Ohiopyle State Park
(724) 329-8591
www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
(814) 536-6615
www.conemaughvalleyconservancy.org.

Keystone Trails Association
www.kta-hike.org


Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail: Ohiopyle to Route 653

Leaving the banks of the Youghiogheny River, the yellow-blazes of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail climb nine miles in stages from 1,200 feet to almost 2,800 feet. The second half of the section is gentle with the elevation hovering near 2,400 feet. The trail is well built, but rocky in places—a sturdy hiking shoe is a good choice here.

We would like to thank photographer paul g. wiegman for providing the photo that accompanies this itinerary.

Start: Ohiopyle.

End: Route 653.

Miles:19.0

Points of Interest: Ohiopyle; Laurel Highlands Trail park office.

Parking: Ohiopyle (0.0 mi.); Maple Summit Road. (11.4 mi.); Laurel Ridge State Park office (overnight permits) (19.0 mi.).

Water: Ohiopyle; Ohiopyle Shelter; Route 653 Shelter.

Restroom or privy: Ohiopyle; Ohiopyle Shelter; Route 653 Shelter.

Provisions: Ohiopyle.

Camping: Ohiopyle Shelter; Route 653 Shelter. All shelters and campsites on the LHHT must be reserved in advance. A fee is required.

Hike Data

0.0       Ohiopyle. The depot houses restrooms and a visitor center. The store, B&Bs, hotel and outfitters are all within a few blocks.

0.2       Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail. Turn onto the yellow-blazed path. The trail is marked with mileposts. Except for the few miles at either end, the grades are gentle. It is open only to hikers.

6.5       Ohiopyle Shelter.

11.4     Maple Summit Road.

18.7     Route 653 Shelter.

19.0     Route 653.

Explore the Trail Corridor

Ohiopyle. This little place is a major hub for recreation. It is most famous for whitewater rafting, but there is also a network of short trails. It’s a memorable spot for fishing, too. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing offer the best way to solitude in the woods in winter. Just a few miles north on Route 381 is Fallingwater, the famous home built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Laurel Highlands. The LHHT is one of Pennsylvania’s premiere hiking trails. It’s especially fine for beginning backpackers: there are long stretches of level terrain and shelters spaced within easy walking distances. On this hike, the positions of the shelters on this trail make this segment an ideal two-day backpack. The first day covers less than seven miles, but tackles much of the climbing. The second day has one tough mile.

Resources

Maps
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/lhht/index.htm

Laurel Ridge State Park

(LHHT overnight permits)
(724) 455-3744

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Ohiopyle State Park
(724) 329-8591
www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
(814) 536-6615
www.conemaughvalleyconservancy.org.

Keystone Trails Association
www.kta-hike.org


Cultural Tourism DC Heritage Trails

Everyone knows about the Smithsonian, the White House and shopper-friendly Georgetown, but where can you experience the rich culture of DC neighborhoods and a bit of everyday life?

Cultural Tourism DC, an independent coalition of more than 230 culture, heritage and community organizations, encourages metro-area residents and visitors to explore the authentic culture of the Nation’s capital via “DC Neighborhood Heritage Trails.” Developed by Cultural Tourism DC in conjunction with community groups, who collect neighborhood stories and images, three of these trails are found along the Potomac Heritage Trail route.

A Self-Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail

Discover – or see with new eyes – this traditionally African-American enclave in Far Northeast when you follow A Self-Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail. With its signature, small, wood-frame houses on large lots, Deanwood looks like a country town. The community developed in the 1890s on the site of a tobacco plantation when the city’s big real estate interests and government focused on areas closer to downtown. The Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail can be accessed from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station near Fort Mahan Park and the Fort Circle Parks Trail.

Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail

Lace up your walking shoes and experience Brightwood by following the signs on this self-guided DC Neighborhood Heritage Trail. Indulge your inner Civil War buff in one of DC’s early communities, where you will see the site of the only Civil War battle to take place within the District of Columbia. The Brightwood Heritage Trail is near Fort Stevens, accessible from Rock Creek Park just south of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and intersects the Civil War Defenses of Washington hiking route.

River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail

Until the 1950s, Southwest was Washington’s largest working-class waterfront neighborhood. Then, in one of the Nation’s first experiments in “urban renewal,” nearly all of Southwest was razed to build something entirely new. The Southwest Heritage Trail is situated along the PHT bicycling route between the C&O Canal Towpath (near Thompson’s Boathouse) and the Frederick Douglas Bridge, passing north of Fort McNair.

To view the entire suite of Cultural Tourism DC’s Neighborhood Heritage Trails, go to Neighborhood Heritage Trails.


The Ira Gabrielson Trail Hike

Situated along the headlands of the Potomac River Gorge, the Gabrielson Trail links over 1,500 acres of Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) lands along the Potomac River. Retrace ancient paths through pristine natural areas on foot or horseback. The Gabrielson Trail is a 12-mile long segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and links to other nearby trails, parks and attractions. Begin your journey at Algonkian Regional Park near Sterling, where you’ll find ample parking in a lush, green, shaded environment–a perfect place to begin your hike.

Algonkian Regional Park

Featuring a waterpark, a golf course and club house, vast picnic areas and a boat launch, 850-acre Algonkian Regional Park is bordered on one side by the Potomac River and open year round. The official start to the Ira Gabrielson Trail can be found near the middle of the park itself, just beyond the open picnic shelter area before the park’s Riverfront Cottages. Hiking here is mostly flat on a blazed and well-used footpath. Your pace will likely be brisk considering the conditions. Continue east through and out of the park on to the Lowe’s Island segment of the trail for about a mile. Lowe’s Island is a private golf course and housing development, and some distance the River along Old Sugarland Run. The Seneca Tract Once you pass through Lowe’s Island, you will be on the Seneca Tract, another part of the NVRPA system. The trail takes a few twists and turns here but stays largely near the water, especially along the Seneca Breaks–one the of the famous five falls of the Potomac River. Visible are remnants of the Pawtomack Canal and Metagraywacke rock formations common to the area. Over time, the rocks were worn down by the flow of water, though resistant rock outcroppings, ledges and boulders remain prominent above the waterline and throughout along this section of trail. Considerably rockier and somewhat narrower than at Algonkian, hikers should use considerable caution here; in addition, it’s not unusual for the area to be muddy after wet weather. After 1.5 miles the trail moves to the left and just along the river to the banks of Nichols Run.

Nichols Run

Protected by undisturbed forest, Nichols Run remains one of the most pristine watersheds in Fairfax County today. Along with Jefferson Branch, this outstanding wetland complex is home to several rare plant and animal species, including purple fringeless orchids and wood turtles. The trail here runs for a half mile or so entirely along the water’s edge through exceptional scenery.

Upper Potomac Parklands

Another NVRPA property, the Upper Potomac Parklands is a series of parcels that run along the Potomac East of Nichols Run. The trail here is approximately three miles along the water’s edge. Primary sites during this leg of the trip include an excellent view of some of the more significant islands of the Potomac. These are formed by water cutting into stone upstream as far northwest as Harper’s Ferry, and carrying the resulting stone and silt downstream, where it’s deposited here forming soft gravel islands. These island ecosystems support many globally rare natural communities. Also along this portion of the trail, hikers may spot several examples of the area’s native birds of prey – hawks, falcons, owls and bald eagles – that hunt the area for small birds, mammals and fish. This final leg brings hikers into Riverbend Park, and the end of the Ira Gabrielson Trail. Restrooms and parking are available on the up- and downstream ends of this hike, at both Algonkian Regional Park and Riverbend Park, and the latter includes a visitor center with exhibits that portray the history and natural features of the area. For more information on parks in this area, please visit the NVRPA web site.


Tidal Occoquan to Pohick Bay Paddle Tour

This trip begins with a launch at Occoquan Regional Park, located near Lorton across from the Town of Occoquan, and continues downstream on the Occoquan River, around Mason Neck Peninsula in the Potomac River, before ending at Pohick Bay Regional Park. The entire route is roughly 16 miles, and because the trip includes open tidal water, the tour is best for paddlers with at least a moderate level of experience. The distance from Occoquan Regional Park to Mason Neck State Park (and another take out) is 5 river miles. In addition to a public boat launch area, Occoquan Regional Park includes restrooms, a seasonal snack bar, kayak and canoe rentals, playfields, interpretive exhibits and picnic tables, and serves as an anchor for the Fairfax Cross County Trail, the Laurel Hill Greenway, and the PHT.

En route to Mason Neck State Park, Conrad Island is one of the first features you’ll notice upon entering Belmont Bay. The island recently was created from dredged soils and is a favorite fishing spot for many birds, including cormorants, osprey and eagles. Kane’s Creek is a tidal inlet to the State Park, with the creek providing a view of a marsh ecosystem supporting resident and migrating waterfowl and raptors. The park offers outstanding bird watching, fishing and beachcombing, as well as hiking trails through marshes and forests and year-round launch access.

The river trip from Mason Neck State Park around Shady Point, High Point, Sycamore Point, and Hallowing Point is 11 miles. Adjacent to the Park, Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge is home to an active heron rookery and provides critical habitat for wildlife. Visible on your left, you are likely to bald eagles, osprey, blue heron, turkey vultures, butterflies, geese and seagulls. This Refuge also includes the Great Marsh – also visible from the water – a 285-acre freshwater marsh and the largest in northern Virginia. Please note that boating access is prohibited on the islands, as well as within the wildlife refuge. End your water trail journey at Pohick Bay Regional Park, which includes a year-round boat launch; rental kayaks, pedal boats, sailboats and canoes; a waterpark; a playground; a golf course; and tent camping, RV camping, and basic cabins.

To continue exploring on land, take advantage of the hiking and equestrian trails in the park and at Meadowood, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and visit nearby Gunston Hall, George Mason’s former home. For more information on activities and accommodations, visit the NVRPA web site or the Fairfax Tourism site.


Nature and History Abound in Prince William Forest Park

Just a couple miles from Marine Corps Base Quantico and about 35 miles south of Washington, DC, Prince William Forest Park is a haven for hikers, cyclists and campers. (more…)


A Visit to Indian Head, MD and Mattawoman Creek

Located just 18 miles south from the Nation’s capital, the Indian Head Rail Trail is a 13-mile multi-use path in Charles County, Maryland. (more…)


From Riverbend to Great Falls

This 2.5-mile roundtrip hike features sections of the Potomac Heritage Trail in Riverbend Park and adjacent Great Falls Park and brings you up close to a scenic portion of the Potomac River. Riverbend Park, a Fairfax County park, is a popular place for fishing, kayaking, and hiking with over 10 miles of trails. Trails vary in difficulty, and some are available for horseback riding and mountain biking. (more…)

A Gourmet Picnic in the Lockhouse

CQlogo(19)See the inside of a rustic lockhouse–at midnight–when you spend the night in historic Lockhouse 6, enjoying the solitude and quiet evenings just like a lockkeeper’s family did. With a stop in Potomac, MD, you can pack in provisions for a memorable candle-lit meal canalside. Not too far upstream from Lockhouse 6 are the renowned Great Falls of the Potomac; it’s an easy 5-mile bike ride.

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Birding By Day, A Night In Pennyfield Lockhouse

Enjoy what many say is the best birding along the entire Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, then spend the night in a Canal Quarters at Pennyfield Lockhouse. A short hike along the historic C&O Canal offers sweeping Potomac River views, and hugs close to rocky cliffs that tumble into the canal. The canal is “watered” from Pennyfield to Violettes Lock, so you’ll see kingfishers in flight and herons patiently awaiting lunch.

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See Mount Vernon From Piscataway Park

Piscataway Park 4Explore Mt. Vernon’s Viewshed Year Round by Land or by Water at Piscataway Park

Depending on which direction you are traveling, Piscataway Park sits at the beginning or the end of the Southern Maryland segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.  Piscataway, is, however, much more than a landmark.  It is an experience unto itself, one that can be enjoyed by land or by water.

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