Even though I grew up in the area and my family lives literally across the Potomac river from Brunswick MD I don’t remember ever spending and significant time on the C&O canal towpath. We always seemed to ride bikes on the W&OD trail in Purcellville VA which is paved. So for mothers day I figured I’d come see mom and take a trip to visit the monks in Poolesville MD with an overnight along to river. The Path has numerous campsites along the entire length that are free and have access to treated water. As far as the camping goes it is totally luxury to have these amenities. As I am from the western area of the trail and I was heading to Poolesville area I drove to Point of Rocks Md and headed east. I fully expected the campsite I would be staying at to be filled with people on a weekend but it wasn’t and only one couple showed up around 7pm and we chatted around the fire into the night.
Logistically, I should have brought fenders on the bike, wider tires for the muddy sections, and most importantly bug spray. The skeeters weren’t too bad around the fire but any other time of year I could see it being torture. I’ve seen every kind of bike out here from mountain bikes, hybrids, a tandem, and even one dude riding a fixed gear with panniers! Again some 32c tires or larger would have helped me from simply ice skating through the muddy sections and wouldn’t have hurt smooth out the ride either. The monacacy aqueduct (where I am having a snack and typing this from right now) is simply an amazing engineering feat for being almost 200 years old. Don’t expect total seclusion on this ride but the camping is free, the riding is pretty good (although a slight grade always kinda bugs me, I like the rollers cause you get a break occasionally) and the history and scenery is quality. For a S24O this is a pretty awesome trip.