The main Canal Towpath Trail follows the route of the once great commercial canal between Washington, DC and Cumberland in Maryland. Now dried up in most places, and filled with trees or grass, the canal is a lengthy 185 miles. Without interruptions, the trail can be hiked or biked from its trail head in Georgetown, DC all the way to its terminus in Cumberland. In early spring, late fall and winter, rebarkable views of the Potomac carry you and your furry hiking buddy forward. Camping is available along the way for both vehicles and walk- or bike-ins, for a small fee.
Along with the Towpath located inside the park itself, there are four other puplightful trails scattered along the canal's length. The Billy Goat Trail is a pupular hike, divided into 3 sections. Only Section C is open to doggos because Section A contains hazards and risks for pups, and Section B is closed indefinitely because of flooding. Section C offers furbulous river views and a small waterfall along its 1.6-mile length.
The forested, 2.1 Ford Mine Trail hops over streams and across hills to the ruins of an old gold mine. Wildflowers, mammals and birds accompany the trek, and your fur-baby will have a blast sniffing and listening for the scents, rustles and birdsong. Overlook Trail begins at the Lock 19 trailhead and travels for about .5 mi to the Gold Mine Spur. The Paw Paw Tunnel Hill Trail's 2 miles of strenuous hiking treats you and Fido to the pawsome sights from the grassy top of the tunnel, interpretive signage and views of Paw Paw Bends.
A fee for entrance to the towpath trail is levied at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. Vehicles are charged $15.00 for parking, and walk or bike enthusiasts over 16 are charged $7.00. The rest of the entrances are free. Trash bag dispensers pop up along the trails, so there's no excuse not to clean up after your fur-pup.
Whether you and Fido travel the full 185 miles of the towpath trail, or meander along one of the other trails available in the park, Chesapeake and Ohio Trails offers something for everyone!