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Explore the best rated trails in Chambersburg, PA. Whether you're looking for an easy walking trail or a bike trail like the Lower Trail and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. With more than 27 trails covering 4097 miles you're bound to find a perfect trail for you. Click on any trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
For scenic views and a step back in time this trail is a must. It's muddy, especially right after rain. We avoid our e-bike on this trail due to the mud, but it's mainly flat. Paw paw tunnel is a must see, but it's nothing out there along the way. Harpers Ferry is gorgeous and historic. Bring your Bug Guard you'll need it. And your swim tube.
Beautiful countryside. You will encounter very few people. Trail quality ranges from good to rough. South of Hopewell the trail becomes a gravel road. I believe there has been a slight improvement in road condition but you may dislike the ride based on what sort of tires you ride. The road ends after a couple of miles and trail continues. The trail is not mowed as frequently as one would expect. I ride a recumbent trike and the overgrown grass in the middle makes it difficult to ride. If you ride a trike, I would recommend you stay away from this trail.
If you're looking for a nice flat trail that you can look at the scenery and not have to pay constant attention to people, where the next sharp turn is, and looking .25 mile ahead for where the trail is going , pick a different one. While most of the trail is flat and 90% of it is paved there are a lot more hills that we were expecting, and sections it can be confusing to navigate because the route in some spots is not well marked or the trail splits and comes back together for walkers/bikers making the map not very useful.
There is no bike access to West Virginia from Maryland on the bridge yet. I hate leaving my bike in Maryland and walking all the way to West Virginia. It stinks.
Surprised to see this amazing trail that has great bed and breakfasts along it is not noted as part of the Great American Rail Trail. It sure would help demonstrate more GART completion if it was.
It is a very mixed surface, lots of variety. The part along the canal was nice.
We rode this trail on a warm Tuesday morning in April. We Began our ride on the Heritage Rail Trail at Brillhart Station and rode north into York. After several blocks on city streets we arrived at the north end of the Broad Street Greenway. It began as a paved trail that transitioned to a wide sidewalk. As you would expect there are lots of roads to cross. The highlight was at the southern end of the trail, there is a new trail through the York Veterans Memorial Park, from East Boundary Avenue to Rockdale Avenue, that adds about another quarter of a mile to the off road ride. We took roads, through mostly upscale neighborhoods and by York College, back to the Heritage Rail Trail. The road sections from the Heritage Trail and back again we almost as long as the, Broad Street Greenway and the York Veterans Trail. It was a nice trail, but I see no reason to do it again.
I just returned from my third ride on the Western MD. I've ridden the entire trail and it's great to get in a half century ride. Starting from Little Orleans one can ride west a short distance to a gate at a high bridge over the Potomac River. West Virginia has not completed any of the proposed section to the west. Riding back east after a short distance you reach the blocked off Indigo Tunnel. The tunnel is blocked due to endangered bats. A zig-zag ramp leads down to the C&O Towpath. You ride the towpath about 2.5 miles and take a similar zig-zag ramp back up to the Western MD. Except for this detour the entire route is paved asphalt. There are areas of either frost or root heaves but not too bad. When the leaves are off there are nice views of the C&O Towpath, the canal and the Potomac. Most of the path is in the woods with a few fields here and there. At times the trail runs along a high, narrow path pretty high above the river. There are historical markers, some benches and a small shelter or two. The first, and only town on the trail is Hancock, MD. It is about half way between the endpoints. There are the regular amenities not far off trail such as a few fast food joints and a Sheetz. The top attraction for trail eats is Buddy Lou's right on the trail and at a cross-over to the C&O. Needless to say it gets busy in the summer. Buddy Lou's isn't open every day however so plan accordingly. There is also a bike shop in town right by the trail. After Hancock its a fairly straight run to the end at Big Pool. Some this section is close to I70 and some very close (less than 20 ft) so there can be a bit of traffic noise. This is my least favorite part and would probably rate the trail at 4.5 stars if I could. At Big Pool there is a parking area plus some benches, a restroom and a bike repair station. It's a nice place for a lunch break if you're doing a round trip. All together I can wholeheartedly recommend the Western MD. We have even used it as the half of a loop with the other half on the C&O.
I enjoyed being able to get used to my Catrike Villager on a paved trail, close to a town yet still adjacent to farm fields and Antietam Creek. I was able to practice shifting gears on various uphills and downhills. I will definitely visit this again!
I have done the C&O/GAP trip 4 or 5 times now and loved it every time. everyone is friendly and on the C&O you can go as little or as far as you want per day. Camping areas every 10 miles so you cant get yourself stuck.
I love the GAP but prefer the C&O because its more of a trail vs just spinning away road ridding like always. Much of the C&O feels like you are in the woods away from things but without ever really being far should you need help. its the perfect amount of "adventure" for normal people.
Don't over pack, towns and stops all along the trial. Its flat so its easy to over do it.... but once you hit the PawPaw detour you will question if you really needed the laptop, espresso machine, and mini fridge :)
Test ride your bikes loaded, make sure its still fun to ride and remove the silly stuff you really don't need.
Bring/try and keep 3 water bottles full in case a pump or two is out, and drink more than you think you need to
bring snacks and eat more than you think you need to
ride a bike with around 38c-50c (1.5"-2") tires and do not pump them up to the max pressure listed on the sidewalls. that number on the side of the tire is the maximum and not even close to ideal pressure (google tire pressures for dirt roads on bikes), not a rule, you can totally go with thinner tires, I had no problem with my 32c tires last time but it is far more comfortable with a bit more rubber between you and the trail especially if you don't ride all the time.
Makes me sad when I see people complain about the C&O trail surface, thats why I go.... We have millions of miles of road to ride starting at our doorsteps why make more. Just use the proper tire and pressure for a TRAIL and your golden.
This is a very good trail. It would be better if it went through the old tunnel and was extended over the Potomac with the existing bridge. Very remote from the little orleans side.
In the last week of October 2022, while heading to N. VA. to attend a hobby show,
I decided to bring along the bike to sample some bike trails along the way.
First stop was the Cardinal Greenway. Next I transited to N.VA via Ohio, Pennsylvania,
W. Va & Maryland. Oct 27 2022, I took My first ride on the "Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
National Historical Park" towpath (here after 'C&O'). By comparison to other trails I've
done, this trail is packed gravel, so a change of wheels/tires was in order. The surface
reminded Me of the Forest Service roads at De Soto NF, so I felt right at home. My start
point was Carderock Recreation Area. The access road actually goes through a tunnel
'under' the canal & towpath! This is milepost 10.5. From there I went west toward mp 16.6,
Swain Lock (lock 21). On the way you will encounter 'the Great Falls' of the Potomac. Stop
and check out the walkway to the Olmsted Island & Falls Overlook. Spectacular, and this is
just 10 miles west of Wasington DC! I then visited the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center, then
returned to Carderock for lunch. After a break, I headed east getting as far as mp 7 (lock 7),
before returning to Carderock. I was running out of time, & decided to save the rest of the
east leg for another day. [21 miles total, and lots of sightseeing!]
After visiting the 24th "International Paper Modelers' Convention" 2022 (the point of the road trip)
on Sunday, Oct. 30th, I decided to Return to the 'C&O', and complete the eastern leg. Starting at
the Lock 8 parking area, walking the bike down a flight of 'stairs', I started the ride at mp 8.3 in the
Seven Locks area, heading east. Soon encountered the Capital Cresent trail, which crosses the C&O
on an old railway bridge, then runs parallel into the city. Just for comparison, I rode the Cresent, which
is asphalt, into town, and the C&O out. With a brief hour of sightseeing by bike around the National Mall
(because I was there) then back to the start. 3 hrs/22 miles. Will return again, as this was just a recon
ride [the whole C&O is 184.5 miles] I only scratched the surface!
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