(B) C&O Canal Tow Path
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This trail follows the C&O Canal from its point of origin, where it empties into Rock Creek in Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland, 185 miles northwest of Washington. This provides an uninterrupted trail connection from the D.C. trails to the Appalachian Trail at Harper's Ferry (a distance of 60 miles), which is part of a national trail system extending from Georgia to Maine and the West Coast.
The first few blocks of the Tow Path in Georgetown is on brick sidewalk, after which the path is graveled. A pedestrian bridge over the canal at 34th Street provides access to Key Bridge and trails on the Virginia side of the river. About one-half mile west of Key Bridge, a ramp from the Tow Path leads to the Capital Crescent Trail (trail A) and a pedestrian tunnel beneath the canal that provides a connection to the Glover Archbold Trail (trail F).
At Fletcher's Boat House, about three miles from Rock Creek in Georgetown, you can switch over to the Capital Crescent Trail (trail A) and continue north on the palisades above the river, or return to Georgetown. You can also cross Canal Road and scramble up the Battery Kemble Trail (trail C) on the left (north side) of Battery Kemble run (stream). This will allow you to return in an 8.5-mile loop via trails E, G and F, or in a 9.5-mile loop using trails E, G, I (or H), J and B. See the end of the Capital Crescent Trail section for an alternative route to the Battery Kemble Trail that avoids the dangerous crossing at Canal Road (there is no pedestrian crossing at Fletcher's Boathouse and traffic moves fast).
Metro Access: From the Foggy Bottom Metro station, walk south toward the Watergate on New Hampshire Avenue, and turn right (toward the river) on Virginia Avenue. Go across Rock Creek Parkway and turn right on the Rock Creek Trail/Bike Path (trail J). After crossing Rock Creek, turn left onto the C&O Canal Tow Path.
More C&O Canal Information:
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal & Towpath
Potomac Conservancy C&O Canal Page
Kathy Bilton's C&O Canal Page
C&O Canal Association
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