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Find the top rated cross country skiing trails in District of Columbia, whether you're looking for an easy short cross country skiing trail or a long cross country skiing trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a cross country skiing trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
|Trail Image||Trail Name||States||Length||Surface||Rating|
Following the Potomac River, the C&O Canal Towpath traverses the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park for 184.5 miles between Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and Cumberland, Maryland. For...
|DC, MD||184.5 mi||Brick, Concrete, Crushed Stone, Dirt||
Note: This developing route is not yet fully contiguous – it is just over 50% complete. Please refer to the Trail Map for more information on the existing sections of trail, as well as the online...
|DC, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, MT, NE, OH, PA, WA, WV, WY||3743.9 mi||Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone||
Closure Notice: The District Department of Transportation and the National Park Service are working on a construction project that began in March 2021 and will affect much of the southern segment of...
|DC||8.5 mi||Asphalt, Dirt||
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.
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!
Deep, sloshy, watery mud track; not even a trail. What a shame the National Park hasn’t improved this area. The GAP trail going northwest toward Pittsburgh is a dream to ride.
Love the artwork and the close proximity to many rest stops and places to eat & drink. I live in Alexandria, VA so I started on the Mount Vernon Trail, came into the city over the 14th Street bridge. Connected to the 15th Street cycle track to Pennsylvania Ave cycle track toward Union Station. Entered the MBT from Union Station. Looking forward to the continued work past Fort Totten. Felt so good to have all of this dedicated bike infrastructure. And it's only going to get better - so I'm saving that 5th star for the future :)
A nice ride. The hub is a good place to start.
We took electric scooters and did 16miles of this trail was so beautiful seen 6 deer 5 turkeys will glad go back and explore more
Me and my son ride this trail to get from Capitol heights metro to Minnesota/Nannie Hellen corner.. it has about 4 or 5 crosswalks lol
Awesome trail. Nice scenery with history along the way. Only did point of rock to Brunswick. Stopped at the brewery. Next trip will be to Harpers Ferry.
We did from Cumberland to DC then from DC back to Cumberland! August 2021 hot as hades in the high 90’s and thunderstorms! Had a blast! Camped the entire way except for 1 day at motel lol needed a shower! Awesome experience with a huge tunnel that we had to walk our bikes through like a mile ! Rode all over the DC area and visited many places ! DC is very bike friendly!
They allow ebikes as long as one observes the speed limits and rides courteously. Being able to ride to the Mall in DC and back is great exercise too. Path users are courteous and the Pedego Ebike Rental Shop is great when you have guests who want to join you. Bethesda food is a nice reward after the ride too. A favorite trail!
Tranquilo y sencillo para caminar. El estar junto al río hace muy grata la caminata o paseo en bici.
Starting at Nats Park (home of the Washington Nationals), we crossed the South Capitol Street bridge via a single-lane sidewalk with high railings on both sides. (This has now been replaced by a brand spanking new bridge with white arches that can be seen throughout the city.) On the southwest side of the Anacostia River, we encountered a surprisingly pastoral riverside trail that winds past playgrounds, basketball courts and a large outdoor roller-skating pavilion on the right. On the left, we could see boats motoring past the Navy Yard high rises and riverfront cafes, then further down, small marinas tucked into the wooded shoreline. Traffic on the trail was (and is always) very light with a few walkers, a few bikers and occasionally, a few fishermen hauling their tackleboxes, fishing rods and folding chairs to the water’s edge.
The trail meanders for about five miles before the exit to Benning Road which leads back to the Navy Yard on the opposite side of the river. But we recommend continuing on the trail for another five miles through lush forests and open marshlands, along quiet “country” roads (which are surprising in Washington, DC), past neighborhoods and athletic fields, and over wooden pathways that hug the shoreline. Our turnaround point was at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park, maybe two miles over the Maryland state line. There is a water bottle filling station and restroom there – along with a Dinosaur Walk. (Who knew?)
We returned to Benning Road to cross over the river and to pick up the trail, now on the northeast side of the Anacostia River. The return ride is visually interesting, but confusing. Rule of thumb: bear left whenever presented with a choice.
Navigating the Navy Yard area can be a bit challenging as residents and tourists crowd the outdoor cafes and spill out onto the expansive promenade. This wide swath of concrete and wood extends from the base of the Naval facility to Nats Park, an approximately half-mile stroll or slow, careful bike ride, past a very popular brewery.
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