On Your Left

Bicycles, Travel, and Photography

C&O Canal

The C&O Canal was built in the 1800s and abandoned in 1920s. The canal is 184.5 miles long with 75 locks along the way to raise the water level. While cycling is on a mostly flat path, there were hills all around. The grade was less than 2% for the entire C&O Canal Tow Path.

Parts of the canal still have water and signs of life, although no-one fishing there was intending on eat any catch. We heard that pollutants were often let into the canal and river to avoid flooding other areas.

I asked a park ranger about the depth of the canal. He said the canal is up to 5 feet deep and has between 5 and 10 feet of “muck” under the water. I certainly wasn’t inspired to wade in!

Other parts of the canal are algae filled or are simply empty of water. The various locks range from fully operational to decayed and only partially visible.

Riding the canal tow path (heading west) meant that the canal was the right and the Potomac River was on the left.

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Posted on: Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in: bicycle