Author Topic: Best jumping off point on CO Canal for heading south  (Read 580 times)

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Offline tonythomson

Best jumping off point on CO Canal for heading south
« on: December 04, 2013, 10:23:44 am »
Hi, planning to start at Pittsburgh - head along the G A River Trail onto the CO Canal.
And at some point head south to Orlando. 
I don't want to get into Washington or the busy surrounding areas, so what is the best jumping off point on the CO after the Appalachian Mountains to  start heading south?
Thanks for your help
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Best jumping off point on CO Canal for heading south
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 03:50:39 pm »
I'd suggest you shoot for Front Royal, VA, and take Skyline Drive down to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  If you like climbs (and views), that is.

Two problems with that are (1) getting from the C&O to Front Royal, and (2) this routing will involve some E-W overlap.  For #2, you'll have to decide how you want to get south towards Orlando from not-Washington; one possibility would be to catch the Adventure Cycling TransAm from Rockfish Gap towards Charlottesville, then take the Atlantic Coast south.  If you like the hills, you could tke the BRP down south of Asheville, NC, and head southeast from there.

Re: #1, you've got three or four choices.  You could cut south from Hagerstown along (parallel to) U.S. 11; go south from Harper's Ferry; cross the Potomac at Brunswick; or take Chain of Rocks bridge through Leesburg, the W&OD to Purcellville, then southwest.  I've only taken the 11 route before they finished I-81, but there's a fair few towns with way too much traffic for my liking.  U.S. 15 from Chain of Rocks to Leesburg is narrow and winding, but still a long way to go on that kind of road on a bike with more traffic than I like.  Somebody else will have to discuss the other two routes.

You might reconsider going into Washington, although it'll add a day or two.  You can go into D.C. on the C&O with only bike, jogger, and walker traffic, cross the Potomac (0.5 mile or so), and then leave D.C. in Virginia on the W&OD out to Purcellville, very much like the C&O except with a handfull of road crossings.  In between you have some great restaurants.  :)


Offline briwasson

Re: Best jumping off point on CO Canal for heading south
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 08:59:53 pm »
Yes, don't necessarily discount going through D.C., as the city has a really good network of bike trails that go all sorts of places. Check out the bikewashington.org website to see all your options, including the W&OD noted above (which you can also access by crossing the Potomac at White's Ferry and heading up to Leesburg.