Posted by Gregory Maassen on January 17, 2021 - Latest revision March 1, 2021  Reading time: minutes remaining

Trail 4 – Maryland: E-biking from Sycamore Landing to White’s Ferry

The C&O Canal Towpath seen near lock 25

The C&O Canal Towpath seen near Lock 25.

The scenery is particularly fine everywhere along this 22-mile round trip

From Sycamore Landing, this trail leads to White's Ferry at the Potomac River on the C&O Canal Towpath. From the ferry, you return via River Road in Montgomery County's rustic farmland.

The asphalt roads after the Montgomery Agricultural Preserve are infrequently travelled by motorized vehicles. They are open and wide, and provide plenty of space for all travellers to enjoy the scenery and tranquility of the area. Picture credit: Wandel Guides, 2020.

The scenery is particularly fine everywhere along this 22-mile round trip. You will be biking in hilly terrain after River Road.

This trail has three viewpoints. Use Google Maps or other app to navigate to each viewpoint. Click on Send to Device in the left top corner of the map (see below) to upload the trail to a smartphone.

Viewpoint 1: Sycamore Landing to White's Ferry

Sycamore Landing is a small kayak / canoe access point off River Road near Potomac, MD. It is 1.7 miles from the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, on River Road Poolesville, MD.

From the parking lot at Sycamore Landing, enter White's Ferry in Google Maps as your destination. Follow the C&O towpath until you reach the ferry. Make sure to use the biking direction setting for Google Maps or any other app on your smartphone. 

There are several camping grounds along this section of the C&O Canal where you can picnic, BBQ and use facilities. The gravel road becomes smoother after Lock 25 as the C&O Trust's Towpath Resurfacing Project completed Mile 30.8 (Edward's Ferry) to Mile 35.5 (White's Ferry) in 2019. 

The White's Ferry Store and Grill is a local favorite for its hamburgers. You can see how high the water has been during the floods of 1972, 1985 and 1996 on the wall in between the three windows on the right.

Viewpoint 2: White's Ferry to River Road

The route through the Montgomery Agricultural Preserve on River Road is a seldom-traveled road of packed-gravel that is like the towpath.

From White’s Ferry, follow biking directions to 23300 River Road, home of River Road Honey. They have a product stand at the entrance to their driveway based on a honor system. 

The route leads through the Montgomery Agricultural Preserve with great views of the area. This picture shows a private path not accessible to the public, in between agricultural plots seen from River Road.
Did You Know?
Historic White's Ferry carries passengers between Maryland and Virginia since the 1770's

The ferry is the last of 100 ferries that used to operate on the Potomac River. The ferry connects Whites Ferry Road in Montgomery County, Maryland with Whites Ferry Road in Loudoun County, Virginia.

People walking at Whites Ferry in Maryland


Viewpoint 3: Sycamore Landing via Westerly Ave

From River Road, follow biking directions to Westerly Ave, Poolesville, followed by directions to Sycamore Landing. The smooth and wide asphalt roads are in hilly terrain and are perfect for e-biking. 

Jars of honey at the honor stand at 23300 River Road. We tried it ourselves, and the honey is delicious.

Trail Characteristics

A summary of trail characteristics

70%
Gravel Paths
90%
Flat Terrain
30%
Asphalt Roads
10%
Hills
Comfort Station Score 60%

Comfort stations are available along the C&O Canal Towpath and at White's Ferry. There are no restrooms available during the last 11 miles of the trail and the starting and end points of the trail.

Which E-bikes Are Allowed on this Route?*

trail

Class I e-bike

CLASS II E-BIKE

CLASS III E-BIKE

Capital Crescent Trail in DC 

Rock Creek Park Trail

Other Roads - Asphalt

What Members Say About this Trail

Below is a summary of the pros and sometimes cons of this trail

Pros of the Trail

  • Beautiful rustic farmland on quiet country roads with infrequent motorized traffic
  • Good food options at the White's Ferry Store & Grill
  • Plenty of parking at Sycamore Landing
  • No stop signs and traffic lights on the trail
  • Picnic tables and restrooms at camping sites on the C&O Canal's towpath and White's Ferry
  • There is a stand with honey on River Road

Cons of the Trail

  • The trail is partly on gravel roads
  • Comfort stations are not available after the halfway point of the trail

Conclusion

E-Biking from Sycamore Landing to White's Ferry is a wonderful experience. Explore the C&O Canal Towpath and the Montgomery Agricultural Preserve on a seldom-traveled road of packed-gravel that’s like towpath surfaces.

Have a great lunch at White's Ferry Shop and Grill or picnic at campsites along the towpath with its Eastern Painted Turtles. Pick up some delicious honey from the road stand on River Road.

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to David Winer, Chair of the Friday Biking Group, for his suggestion to bike in this area. 

*Please see the disclaimer before e-biking and using our trails and GPS files. Trail requirements were compiled on 16 Sep 2021, They may be incorrect and may have changed. 
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