Washington County, Maryland is a beautiful destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with miles of trails perfect for hiking, biking, and more. If you’re looking for a unique and peaceful hiking experience, however, the hidden gems found along the C&O Canal may be just what you need.
The C&O Canal, or Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, is a historic 184.5-mile canal that runs along the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. The canal was used for transportation until the early 1900s, but today it serves as a popular recreational destination with a variety of activities and sights to enjoy.
Here are just a few of the hidden gems you can discover while hiking on the C&O Canal in Washington County, MD:
1. The Paw Paw Tunnel – This impressive tunnel is over 3,000 feet long and was built to allow boats to bypass a section of the Potomac River with dangerous rapids. Today, you can walk through the tunnel (bring a flashlight!), which is a cool and unique experience.
2. Little Pool – This small body of water is a great spot for a picnic lunch or a refreshing dip on a hot day. It’s located about 1.5 miles from the Paw Paw Tunnel and is a peaceful and secluded spot.
3. Rocky Ridge Trail – This trail is a bit more challenging, but offers great views of the Potomac River and the surrounding mountains. It’s a 3.5-mile loop trail that starts and ends at the C&O Canal, so you can make it as short or long as you’d like.
4. Four Locks – This area of the canal features four historic locks, as well as a lockhouse that has been restored and turned into a museum. It’s a great place to learn about the canal’s history and enjoy a picnic lunch.
5. Antietam Aqueduct – This aqueduct is one of the most impressive structures along the C&O Canal, spanning 150 feet over Antietam Creek. It’s a great spot for photos and offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
No matter which hidden gems you choose to explore, hiking along the C&O Canal in Washington County, MD is a wonderful way to spend a day. With so much history and natural beauty to discover, you’ll want to come back again and again.