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C&O Canal and W&OD "Interchange"

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C&O Canal and W&OD "Interchange"

Old 12-18-05, 04:19 PM
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C&O Canal and W&OD "Interchange"

Hi there!

For the folks in the DC area. . .

I'm looking for the safest passage between the C&O Canal and W&OD rail path on the DC-Arlington end. I seem to remember several posted on the web, but can't resurrect 'em just now.

[Well for that matter it'd be good to have a nice way to connect the Purcellville [western] end of the W&OD with, say, Brunswick, Maryland or Harpers Ferry [or Shepherdstown] in West Virginia on the Canal.]
 
Old 12-18-05, 05:02 PM
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The two trails cross and run parallel near Fletcher's Boat House. Connection is at the boathouse.
That's about 3 miles from Georgetown.

Or you can connect closer to Georgetown, or in Georgetown itself.

For a western connection, cross at the bridge at Brunswick.
Right on Tollhouse (less than a mile)
Left at T on Dutchman's Creek
Right at T on Irish Corner Road
Turns into Mountain Road (bear right)
Stay on Mountain Road for several miles, than left on Legard Farm Road (if you reach Hillsboro you've gone too far)
Right at T on Purcellville Road
Straight for several miles to Purcellville.
You could just stay on the Berlin turnpike/route 287 from Brunswick to Purcellville, but it is very busy and not bike friendly. Mountain Road is a beautiful ride with little traffic.

For Leesburg, cross at White's Ferry, take White's Ferry Road up to route 15.
Left to Leesburg, watch for traffic.

Last edited by cc_rider; 12-18-05 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 12-18-05, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cc_rider
The two trails cross and run parallel near Fletcher's Boat House. Connection is at the boathouse.
That's about 3 miles from Georgetown.
I think you're confusing the W&OD with the Capital Crescent Trail, which does indeed run parallel with the C&O Canal towpath for the last 3 miles or so. When you get to Georgetown on the canal towpath, shortly after you pass underneath an arch of the big concrete Key Bridge, there is an incline going to a little footbridge over the canal. Cross it, then turn left and head up a paved path back toward Key Bridge. You can ride on the sidewalk across Key Bridge to Arlington. On the Arlington side, wait at a light to cross the traffic lanes to head back up river. There's a sidewalk bike path. You'll be going uphill on the Custis Trail, which will soon begin to parallel I-66. After several mostly uphill miles (I'm guessing about 3 miles), you'll come to an intersection where the Custis Trail meets the W&OD trail. Left goes to Alexandria. Right goes to Purcellville.
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Old 12-18-05, 10:51 PM
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Check out this Yahoo Group link for a wealth of information regarding the C&O Towpath:
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/coTowpath/
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Old 12-19-05, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Coyote!
Hi there!

For the folks in the DC area. . .

I'm looking for the safest passage between the C&O Canal and W&OD rail path on the DC-Arlington end. I seem to remember several posted on the web, but can't resurrect 'em just now.

[Well for that matter it'd be good to have a nice way to connect the Purcellville [western] end of the W&OD with, say, Brunswick, Maryland or Harpers Ferry [or Shepherdstown] in West Virginia on the Canal.]
This is an ever more and more important prospective linkage, particularly: 1) if one could safely get to the northern end of The Skyline Drive, and 2) in light of the continuing development of the route to Pittsburgh (the Great Allegheny Passage - I think is the name)..... so is there a decent link between the W&OD and the C&O ???... I am having trouble collectively interpreting the dialogue on this thread at this point.
Thanks.
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Old 12-19-05, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BikePackin
This is an ever more and more important prospective linkage, particularly: 1) if one could safely get to the northern end of The Skyline Drive, and 2) in light of the continuing development of the route to Pittsburgh (the Great Allegheny Passage - I think is the name)..... so is there a decent link between the W&OD and the C&O ???... I am having trouble collectively interpreting the dialogue on this thread at this point.
Thanks.
Coyote asked about "the safest passage between the C&O Canal and W&OD rail path on the DC-Arlington end." I think my initial response answered that. I described a safe and easy link. I should have added that the Custis Trail is entirely paved, and while relatively hilly for a trail, the grade isn't really that bad. Coyote specifically asked about the DC-Arlington end.

Now getting from somewhere along the C&O Canal to Skyline Drive is an entirely different question. It would probably be a good idea to start a new thread if you are seeking that information, BikePackin.
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Old 12-19-05, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl
I think you're confusing the W&OD with the Capital Crescent Trail.....
Doooh!
That's what I get for firing off a quick response after 10 hours at work on a Sunday with a raging head cold.
You are, of course, correct about the Arlington connection. Turning from Key Bridge it looks like a sidewalk, except for the yellow stripe down the middle. Watch the signs and stay on the Custis Trail, which generally runs along the I-66. After about 3 miles it makes a sharp left under the highway. Make a right at the T and the next T is the W&OD (left at the T is a park with toilets and water)

Here's a link for the Custis trail.
https://bikewashington.org/trails/wad/custis.htm


Originally Posted by axolotl
...the Custis Trail is entirely paved, and while relatively hilly for a trail, the grade isn't really that bad.....
Let's not mention the 16% double switchback near Lyon Village.

Last edited by cc_rider; 12-22-05 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 12-22-05, 08:57 AM
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Previous messages have provided a correct description of how to get from C&O to Capital Crescent across Key Bridge up the Custis and then onto W&OD, but it can be a bit confusing, so ...

There's also a nice, interactive map showing all these trails at:

https://www.commuterpage.com/website/...o%20Work%20Day

You may even be able to use that map to look at the Purcelville end.

and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association website has links to more detailed discussion of the trails at:

https://www.waba.org/new/paths/pathmap.php

I don't know of any way to get from the Capital Crescent trail to Key Bridge that doesn't involve either a short hike-a-bike over the C&O Canal, or a slightly longer ride through really nasty Georgetown traffic. You can go from Capital Crescent to the bike path down the East side of the Potomac, across 14th street bridge, then South on the Mount Vernon trail, past the airport, and then you should find the southern terminus of Four Mile Run trail, which parallels and in some places joins up with the W&OD as it runs through Arlington.
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