E-bike Lovers 2024

Multi-day C&O Canal E-bike Adventure

An E-biking Opportunity of a Lifetime

E-bike Lovers' four-day self-guided e-bike tour offers an outstanding e-cycling adventure. Each e-biking day has distinctive characteristics and offers unparalleled diversity with historic sites, towns, campsites, overlooks, locks, lock houses, aqueducts, waterfalls, tunnels, and hiking trails.

The four days of cycling provide unlimited e-biking opportunities on gravel cycling paths protected from motorized traffic. 

2024 Schedule

Friday, September 6: Arrival in Cumberland from Washington DC and overnight
Saturday, September 7: Cumberland to Hancock - 61 miles
Sunday, September 8: Hancock - Williamsport (or Hagerstown) - 32 miles
Monday, September 9: Williamsport (or Hagerstown) - Brunswick - 47 miles
Tuesday, September 10: Brunswick - Washington DC - 55 miles

Book accommodation soon in Hancock, Williamsport (or Hagerstown), and especially Brunswick as options are limited.

How You Can Participate

Visit E-bike Lovers' Meetup page to register for the 2024 C&O Canal Towpath E-bike Expedition

Small logo of e-bike lovers with an electric bike in black and white


C&O Canal Cycling Adventure: Briefer on Safety and Happiness

We are thrilled you're joining us for an exhilarating ride along the historic C&O Canal from Cumberland to Washington, DC! This journey promises breathtaking scenery, memorable experiences, and a fantastic opportunity to explore the great outdoors.

As we embark on this adventure together soon, we want to emphasize the importance of safety and happiness and share logistical details. These will be posted here prior to the tour.

In case the Pawpaw tunnel is closed, we will arrange for a shuttle from Cumberland to Hancock as the detour options are not suitable for our group.

Four Fabulous Days of E-biking on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath

The 184.5-mile Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C&O) canal runs along the Potomac River from Georgetown at the historic Milepost 0 to Cumberland in Maryland.

The Widewater section at the C&O Canal Towpath south of the Great Falls - E-bike Lovers.

Day 0: Cumberland

We arrive in Cumberland MD.

Book for the night of Friday

We stay at the Best Western Braddock Inn, 1286 National Hwy, La Vale, MD 21502. Tel: 301-729-3300

E-bike Day 1: Cumberland to Hancock - 61 miles

This section of the ride combines the C&O Canal Towpath with the asphalt Western Maryland Rail Trail. We will pass through the famous Paw Paw tunnel and arrive in Hancock via Little Orleans near Green Ridge State Forest.

Book for the night of Saturday

We stay at the Super 8 by Wyndham Hancock MD 118 Limestone Road, Hancock, Maryland 21750. Tel: 301-678-9717


E-bike Day 2: Hancock - Williamsport - 32 miles

The second day is a short 32-mile expedition from Hancock to Williamsport on the C&O Canal towpath and the Western Maryland Rail Trail. Add 6 miles to the tour to reach Hagerstown. 

Book for the night of Sunday

We camp at the Hagerstown / Antietam Battlefield KOA Holiday, 11759 Snug Harbor Ln, Williamsport, MD 21795

Warning - This is a Camping Site. But, they also rent out cabins.

You don't need to camp. There is plenty of accommodation in Hagerstown and some in Williamsport. 

E-bike Day 3: Williamsport - Brunswick - 47 miles

The group cycles 47 miles on the C&O Canal Towpath to reach Brunswick. We will stop for lunch in Shepherdstown and enjoy the views of the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry.

Book for the night of Monday

Warning: We camp in Brunswick at the Brunswick Family Campground, Airport Dr, Brunswick, MD 21716.

You don't have to camp, but book hotels soon in Brunswick as room availability is limited.

E-bike Day 4: Brunswick - Washington DC - 55 miles

Our last day brings the group to the majestic Great Falls for outstanding views of the Potomac river. We will have lunch at Whites Ferry, and arrive at Fletchers Boathouse and Milepost 0 in Washington DC.

We arrive in DC on Tuesday


Towpath Conditions

See www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

Water on the C&O

Starting in spring 2023, NPS has signed well water in hiker-biker campsites as non-potable. Water from wells at paid campgrounds will remain potable. See more information on the NPS Current Conditions page.

Starting Time

You can start anytime between 8:30 and 10:00 AM from the Cumberland Visitors Center at the starting point of the C&O Canal. You can start earlier or later if you want. Gregory will be the last to leave Cumberland at 10 AM with a comprehensive toolset to assist with emergencies if needed.

Transport

Please email Gregory_maassen@ebikelovers.com your cell phone number and confirmation if you are using the shuttle from Washington DC. A friendly reminder that reservations will be closing this week. Don't miss your chance to secure your spot!

Stay Connected

Please email Gregory_maassen@ebikelovers.com your cell phone number and confirmation that you are joining us for the adventure.

WhatsApp

To facilitate communication and foster a sense of camaraderie among our group, we encourage you to join our dedicated WhatsApp group. This platform will be valuable for sharing important updates, exchanging helpful tips, and staying connected throughout the trip.

If you want to be connected to Gregory, you need to share your cell phone number when you email him, as we cannot rely on the meetup system for communication during the tour.

Check the Meetup event page every morning before cycling for the latest updates. The meetup page will be posted here prior to the tour.

RSVP

In the spirit of organization and consideration for our fellow e-cyclists, we kindly request that if your plans change and you cannot join us on this C&O Canal adventure, please promptly remove your name from the RSVP list. This will allow us to have an accurate headcount and make any necessary adjustments for logistics.

The Super Importance of Rain Gear

As we gear up for our epic journey along the C&O Canal, it's crucial to address one of nature's unpredictable elements: rain. While we hope for clear skies and sunny days, it's wise to prepare for the possibility of a downpour. That's why we can't stress enough the super importance of rain gear for this cycling adventure.

The Importance of a Towing Rope for E-Bikes

As we embark on our thrilling cycling adventure along the C&O Canal, it's essential to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. It is recommended to invest in a towing rope for your e-bike. This will ensure that you are prepared in case your bike breaks down and needs to be towed. It is not wise to depend on someone else having a towing rope, so it is best to have one of your own. See our review of the TowWhee towing rope:

https://ebikelovers.com/2020/11/18/this-towwhee-reduces-range-anxiety-and-gives-a-peace-of-mind

Why Bringing an Extra Battery is Essential

As we gear up for our thrilling journey along the C&O Canal, we cannot stress enough the importance of bringing an extra battery with you. You need to be able to bike 65+ miles on the first day! Remember to bring an extra battery charger! It will take some 6 hours to charge an e-bike battery, so plan well if you only bring one charger.

Don’t count on anyone towing you for miles if you throttle through your batteries in 20 miles!

Safety First, Always

Your safety is your utmost priority. Please wear a properly fitted helmet at all times during the ride. Safety vests or brightly colored clothing are highly recommended to enhance visibility. Keep your e-bikes well-maintained and check them thoroughly before we hit the trail. Safety goggles will keep bugs and branches out of your eyes.

Be Prepared

Before setting off, ensure you have the essentials. Bring along enough water to stay hydrated throughout the trip. Snacks, energy bars, and a packed lunch will fuel and prepare you for the adventure. Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions and remember sunscreen and insect repellent. A small first-aid kit and a basic toolkit for bike repairs will also be useful. Consider bringing GUP on the trail, so you may not need to change a flat tire:

See our review of GUP: https://ebikelovers.com/2021/03/11/fixing-a-flat-tire-has-never-been-easier-meet-gup-industries-kwiki-inflator-sealant-gup-kwiki/

Pace Yourself

Cycling the C&O Canal is a marvelous experience, and finding a comfortable pace that suits you is important. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. This isn't a race; it's about enjoying the journey, taking in the scenic beauty, and making lasting memories. Watch for fellow e-bike lovers and offer support or assistance whenever necessary.

There is no need to go fast. Plan for an average of 10-12 mph and stop frequently to enjoy this incredible adventure.

Your Happiness is Your Responsibility

As we embark on our exciting cycling adventure along the C&O Canal, we want to emphasize that your happiness is in your hands. See our full disclaimer here: https://ebikelovers.com/disclaimer/

Our code of conduct is available here: https://ebikelovers.com/code-of-conduct-ebike-lovers/

Conclusion

We are thrilled to have you on this incredible journey along the C&O Canal. By prioritizing safety, embracing personal responsibility, and fostering a supportive and positive environment, we will create a cycling adventure that is both safe and full of happiness. So, let's embark on this adventure with enthusiasm, respect, and a shared commitment to make the most of every moment.

Reminder: Bring rain gear, invest in an extra battery and charger, and bring a towing rope!

Faq

Are you charging money?

Nope, everything will be coordinated at actual costs. A commercial vendor-organized trip can set you back over $1,200. Adventure Cycling charges $2,200 for the GAP and C&O tour.

See for alternatives:
https://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/fully-supported-tours/co-canal-gap/
https://www.nobleinventionbiketouring.com/trips/co-canal-towpath-5-day/

Understandably, tour operators have limitations and operating costs, including double occupancy requirements, cancellation fees, biking with people you don't know and possibly dislike, no e-biking with class 3 bikes, etc. We have none of these limitations.

Your Costs. If you only camp and have two batteries, this trip can cost around $300.

Transport to Cumberland: $80
Camping with electricity: $35 per night (2x)
Camping without electricity: $0 per night (1x)
Cumberland Hotel: $80
Other costs: $70

What About Transport Costs?

E-bike Lovers is teaming up with https://2wheelescapes.com for the C&O expedition tour.

Our e-bikes will be transported in a closed trailer and protected with moving blankets. The van will seat 14. Don't wait too long to reserve your seat in the van.

A second van and trailer are available if we have more takers. Depending on how many will travel with E-bike Lovers from Washington DC to Cumberland, transportation costs will be substantially lower than when using U-Haul.

We leave between 5-6 PM for Cumberland from Washington DC unless posted otherwise.

If you join our shuttle, we will drop you off in Cumberland at your hotel, B&B, etc. But sign up soon, so we know how many will join.

The price depends on how many people take the shuttle. It is $295 per van+trailer and $15 per person. Each van accommodates 14 passengers. If we need to reserve a second van+trailer, we will have to pay another $295 +$15 per person for the second van. We can accommodate a maximum of 28 shuttle lovers.

We will average the costs as we explore the C&O together. Worst case scenario: $54 per person (2 vans+trailer+15 passengers). Not bad!

You can arrange transport by yourself. There is no requirement to use the shuttle, but we encourage you to do so to share costs of transportation.

What about Transport by Train to Cumberland?

Amtrak allows e-bikes, but they have a maximum weight limit of 50 lbs. Depending on availability, a ticket from DC costs between $43 - $100 one-way tickets (not much of a cost saving and comes with the potential hassle of hauling the bike on board, etc.).

See more information here: https://www.amtrak.com/bike-faqs

Do you Book Hotels?

You are responsible for booking your own accommodation, but we will be happy to provide recommendations. Book as soon as you can as accommodation is limited along the route.

Camping. Really?

It depends on what you want. You can book the most expensive hotels along the route or camp. It is up to you. We will overnight in places where you have a choice. BTW, we don't suffer while camping. It can be very comfortable if you know what you're doing.

Can I RSVP while I am not sure that I will participate?

Yes, please RSVP if you have any interest in the tour. You will need to commit to paying shared transportation costs two weeks before departure in July 2023.

Please contact Gregory if you have any questions.

What we don't do!

I love Backroads, the tour company. Can I expect the same from you? Nope. We don't provide bicycles, food, shuttles along the route, guides, etc.

This is not a guided full-package event. You will need to book accommodation and coordinate transportation yourself. Of course, we will help everyone as much as we can before, and on tour, as we are E-bike Lovers and have biked the C&O Canal before, but we are not a commercial touring company and cannot take any responsibility for the safety and well-being of participants in this self-guided tour.

I don't have an e-bike. Am I welcome?

Everyone is welcome even if you plan to cycle the C&O Canal Towpath on a regular bicycle.

What about food and water?

The park has 31 hiker-biker campsites and five drive-in campsites with potable water pumps treated with iodine.

Drinking water is generally available from mid-April (around the 15th) to mid-November (around the 15th) at Hiker/Biker and Drive-In Campsite locations, approximately every 5 to 7 miles. Potable water may not be available at each hiker/biker campsite. Please plan to bring water purification tablets with you if you plan to use this unpleasant tasting water. We will not, but you certainly can if you like to!

Well water within the park is treated with iodine - do NOT drink if you have any iodine allergies or if you are on medication for an overactive thyroid. In general, well water is clean and able to be used without additional treatment. However, you are advised to boil or treat the water before use for your own protection.

Water availability is subject to change. Always bring plenty of water with you when camping as a backup option. Please plan your trip accordingly.

Source: www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/safety.htm

There are plenty of restaurants along the C&O Canal Towpath in the small canal towns. Bring snacks!

what about toilets?

The park has 31 hiker-biker campsites and five drive-in campsites and each camping site has sanitation facilities ranging from portable restrooms to toilet blocks. We also stop along the route in canal towns. 

do i need to stay with the group?

There is no requirement to stay with the group. This is a self-guided adventure and you decide how and when you like to e-bike. You set your own pace and distance each day. We solely provide a recommendation on how to organize the ride. If you like to stay overnight in Little Orleans between Cumberland and Williamsport, and add an extra day, you are most welcome to do so. If you want to go faster and bike the C&O Canal Towpath in fewer days, you are most welcome to do so.

do you have a sweep?

We will have a sweep and lots of equipment to keep your e-bike going. We love to tow and we hope you will give us the pleasure to do so in case your e-bike breaks down.

how many batteries do i need to bring?

You should bring a minimum of two batteries as the longest distance is 61 miles if you find accommodation in Hancock. The nearest accommodation in Berkely Springs is 6 miles from Hancock. So, this is close to 67 miles that you will need to e-bike on the first day and have not booked accommodation in Hancock.

What about e-bike battery charging?

That is a very good question. We will have to charge the batteries. Such is life with e-bikes.

Depending on how many batteries you have and how much you want to bike in eco mode, you will have to find accommodation with electricity.

Hagerstown has a KOA camping with electricity. Brunswick also has a camping site with electricity. If you stay in a hotel or B&B, you charge there.

Training Schedule

If you want to join this adventure, it is important to test your ability to e-bike 61+ miles in one day as we need to cover this distance on day one of the e-bike tour. As we assume that you are already e-biking frequently 20-30 miles on our rides, you should be able to cover the first day of the tour in an entire day relatively easily. Here is a general outline to help you prepare for this distance.

Assess your current fitness level: Before starting any training plan, it's essential to evaluate your current fitness level. Consider factors such as your cycling experience, average speed, and any pre-existing health conditions. This self-assessment will help you set realistic goals and tailor the training plan to your abilities.

Gradual mileage increase: Begin your training with shorter distances and gradually increase the mileage over time. Aim to increase your weekly mileage rides by about 10% to prevent overexertion and reduce the risk of injury. Start with distances that are comfortable for you and gradually work your way up to 65 miles.

Long-distance rides: Incorporate one or two long-distance rides per week to build endurance. Start with a distance that challenges you but is still within your current capabilities. Each week, increase the distance of your long ride by approximately 10-15% until you reach your target distance of 65 miles.

WeekMileage Goal
125 miles
227 miles
330 miles
433 miles
536 miles
639 miles
743 miles
847 miles
951 miles
1056 miles
1161 miles
1265 miles



Interval training: Include interval training sessions to improve your speed and overall cycling performance. Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity efforts and recovery periods. For example, you can perform short bursts of increased speed or resistance for a specific duration, followed by a period of active recovery.  You can start e-biking with the motor turned off for additional resistance training or find hills and e-bike in eco mode. This type of training can help you develop the necessary strength and stamina for longer rides.

Rest and recovery: Allow adequate rest and recovery days in your training schedule. Rest days are essential for your body to repair and adapt to the training stimulus. Don't e-bike every day when you are training. Listen to your body and take additional rest days if you feel fatigued or experience any signs of overtraining.

Cross-training and strength training: Consider incorporating cross-training activities, such as swimming or strength training, to improve overall fitness and prevent overuse injuries. Strength training exercises targeting your leg muscles, core, and upper body can enhance your cycling performance and endurance.

Nutrition and hydration: Pay attention to your nutrition and hydration during training. Fuel your body with a balanced diet, including carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle repair, and healthy fats for sustained energy. Stay adequately hydrated before, during, and after your rides.

Remember, this e-bike training outline serves as a general guide, and it's important to customize it based on your individual needs and abilities. It's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified coach for personalized training advice.

Stay committed, train consistently, and gradually increase your mileage to achieve your goal of e-biking 65 miles in one full day with an e-bike. Best of luck with your training and enjoy the journey!


The Elevation Profile of the C&O Canal

The C&O Canal has a gradual elevation decline from Cumberland to Washington DC. The towpath is nearly flat as towing the canal boats required a leveled pathway. The 74 water lift locks raise the canal from sea level in Washington DC to 605 feet in Cumberland. You will be cruising "downhill" for 184.5 miles on a 12 feet wide towpath.

Our route includes the beautiful 28-mile Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) that parallels the C&O Canal Towpath for its entire length if you have a class 1 e-bike. Class 2 and 3 e-bikes follow the C&O Canal.

Gravel Path Quality

The quality of the gravel path varies. The C&O Towpath Rehabilitation Project of the C&O Canal Trust, is making excellent progress, but not all sections are in perfect condition yet. The section between Cumberland and Hancock especially needs more work. 

The National Park is not paving the pathway. The base layer of the new towpath surface is crush and run gravel, also known as CR-6. You will recognize the new smooth surface in sections that are rehabilitated. 

About the C&O Canal

"Operating for nearly 100 years, the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber, and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural, and recreational treasures."


https://www.nps.gov/choh

Also check out the C&O Canal Trust, the wonderful organization in charge of many restoration projects.

184.5

Miles

+1,668 ft

Elevation Gain

3%

Maximum Grade

74

Locks

-2,304 ft

Elevation Loss

-2.4%

Minimum Grade

1

Tunnels

11

Aqueducts

0%

Average Grade


Meet The Team


Gregory Maassen, E-bike Lover's resident long-distance e-biker (he just biked 4,700 miles across America), and Nathan Merris, E-bike Lover's Chief Technology Officer will be your mentor and "guide" on this unique self-guided group expedition.

founder e-bike lovers

Dr. Gregory F. Maassen

Gregory is a multimedia, strategic digital marketing specialist, videographer, and former manager of IFC/World Bank and USAID programs. He is an active long-distance e-cyclist and founder of E-bike Lovers.

chief e-bike technology officer

Nathan Merris

Nathan is a former Mercedes Benz automotive master technician and is currently a software developer. He is an active member of the E-Bike Lovers' leadership team and the organization's chief e-bike technology officer.

Points of Interest and Accommodation Along the C&O Canal Towpath

Click on the icon in the top left corner to filter points of interest including camping grounds, hotels, and overlooks. Click on the icon in the top right corner to see the map in full size.

Overnight

Location

Friday, Cumberland

TBD

Saturday, Hancock

Super 8 by Wyndham Hancock MD

118 Limestone Rd, Hancock, MD 21750


Avoid accommodation in Berkely Springs. You will need to cross the Potomac from Berkely Springs to Hancock on a very narrow, very high-speed bridge. This is not a place to be on any bicycle!

Sunday, Williamsport or

Hagerstown

Hagerstown / Antietam Battlefield KOA Holiday

11759 Snug Harbor Ln, Williamsport, MD 21795


Warning - This is a Camping Site

You don't need to camp. There is plenty of accommodation in Hagerstown and some in Williamsport.

Monday, Brunswick

Brunswick Family Campground

Airport Dr, Brunswick, MD 21716


Warning - This is a Camping Site

You don't need to camp. There is accommodation in Brunswick, but not much. Book soon! There is accommodation in Harpers Ferry, but the Byron Memorial Pedestrian Walkway across the Potomac River is accessible only after climbing steep steps. It is not e-bike friendly.

Tuesday, Washington DC

Home, Sweet Home.

Are E-bikes Allowed on the C&O Canal Towpath?

The term “e-bike” means a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less not more than 750 watts (1 h.p.).

  • E-bikes are allowed in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park where
    traditional bicycles are allowed.
  • E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited.
  • Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited. The Superintendent has designated these areas open to electric bicycles:
  • Trail areas where the e-bikes are allowed include the Towpath, Berma Road, and the Capital Crescent Trail (Pedaling required). The maximum speed on these routes within the park is 15 m.p.h.
  • Public roads and parking areas used by motor vehicles

https://www.nps.gov/choh/learn/management/upload/CHOH-Supt-Compendium-3-8-2022.pdf

One of the lockhouses that were built along the C&O Canal Towpath. Most of the 74 locks along the canal had a house for the lock keeper - E-bike Lovers

One of the lockhouses that were built along the C&O Canal Towpath. Most of the 74 locks along the canal had a house for the lock keeper - E-bike Lovers.

Day

From

To

Distance

Total Distance

Day 1

Washington DC

Cumberland

-

-

Day 2

Cumberland

Hancock 

61

61

Day 3

Hancock

Williamsport or

Hagerstown

32

93

Day 4

Williamsport or

Hagerstown

Brunswick

47

140

Day 4

Brunswick

Washington DC

55

195

Although the C&O Canal is 184.5 miles, you will need to e-bike to accommodations. Expect a minimum of 195 miles, possibly more, of e-biking during the tour.

Are E-bikes Allowed on the Western Maryland Rail Trail?

Electric Bicycle Policy

The operation of electric bicycles is permitted in all State Park areas where motorized vehicles are allowed, e.g. interior public-use roads, parking lots, etc. Except as described below, electric bicycles are prohibited on State Park trails and other areas not designated for motorized vehicles, regardless of trail width or surface (paved, gravel, natural surface).

Class 1 (only) electric bicycles are permitted on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail and the Western Maryland Rail Trail. On the two permitted rail trails, Class 1 electric bicycles are regulated the same as all other bicycles, and are subject to all applicable bicycle rules and regulations regarding operation and safety equipment.

As per § 11-117.1 of the Transportation Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, a Class 1 electric bicycle is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.

https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/Statewide-Maryland-Park-Policies.aspx

Paw Paw Tunnel

"The Paw Paw Tunnel is one of the most significant engineering features on the Canal. To save building six miles of canal along the river, the C&O Canal Company decided to construct a tunnel through a steep topographic ridge now called Tunnel Hill. 

When work began on the tunnel in 1836, the builders estimated the project would be completed within two years.

The tunnel ultimately required 14 years to complete due to labor issues and violence, funding shortfalls, work stoppages, and the challenges of digging a 3,118-foot tunnel through the hard, loose shale.

The tunnel opened in October 1850 with rockslides continuing to be a challenge throughout the tunnel’s history."

www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/paw-paw-tunnel.htm

Front and Rear Lights

The Paw Paw Tunnel is dark, very dark. You will need a light. You could use a cellphone light to find your way through the tunnel.

Most e-bikes come with lights installed. Make sure to check your lights before e-biking the C&O Canal Towpath. WireCutter recommends this headlight and taillight if your e-bike has no lights or needs an upgrade.

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Reflective Safety Vest

The greater your visibility, the better. Consider e-biking with a lightweight safety vest.

Tire and Pedal Reflectors

Many tires have a reflective strip along the sidewall for additional visibility when e-biking. Reflectors are also available for the pedals and LED lights can be added to the rim of wheels.

Statistics

14

The years it took to complete the Paw Paw Tunnel.

3,118 ft

The distance of the Paw Paw Tunnel.

1850

The year the Paw Paw Tunnel opened after 14 years of construction.

5,800,000

The number of bricks used to construct the Paw Paw Tunnel.

Other Facts About the Paw Paw Tunnel

  1. 1
    The construction of the Paw Paw Tunnel nearly bankrupted the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company.
  2. 2
    There were occasional fistfights between boatmen who refused to afford each other the right-of-way.
  3. 3
    There are rumors that the Paw Paw Tunnel is haunted.
  4. 4
    The Paw Paw Tunnel is one of the greatest engineering feats of the C&O Canal.
  5. 5
    The paw paw tree is common throughout the Eastern United States. The name of the tunnel was associated with a Potomac crossing in the area that dates back to colonial times.

About the C&O Canal Towpath

"The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. It operated as a conduit of eastern coal, suffered extensive and finally fatal flooding, and then resisted being paved as a highway."

The goal was ambitious: to improve on nature with a navigable waterway from tidewater at Georgetown to the Ohio River.


In 1828, amid Fourth of July fanfare and canal fever across the nation, ground was broken for the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. Before construction ended in 1850, the C&O Canal was obsolete. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad completed the link to the West, while the canal stopped far short of the Ohio River.


Source: NPS C&O Canal Brochure

Weather

The C&O Canal Path's elevation varies from some 650 feet in Cumberland to sea level in Washington DC. The elevation of the Towpath doesn't drastically affect local weather patterns and the temperatures are stable throughout most days. Maximum temperatures reach up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

As we bike at an average of some 14 mph and are mostly under the shade of the canopy of trees along the canal, you can expect fine e-biking conditions in the month of July.

Although the chance of rainfall is less than 40%, you should be prepared and pack pants and jackets. We recommend the watertight Adidas Five Gore-TEX mountain bike cycling shoes,  the Showers Pass Transit Rains Pants and L.L.Bean's Pathfinder Gore-Tex Shell Jacket. These products were used by Gregory during the 4,700-mile cross country cycling tour and performed extremely well. 

Rain

The greatest chance of rain is in July when it is the warmest on the C&O Canal Towpath

Fog

Expect some fog very early in the morning.

Temperatures

E-biking on the C&O Canal towpath is pleasant during the summer as the canopy provides shade and protects e-bikers from the wind.

The C&O Canal National Historical Park is the 11th most visited National Park in the nation, with over 5 million visitors a year – that’s more than Yellowstone, Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon! Featuring a 184.5 mile towpath, the Park is popular with hikers and bikers, as well as paddlers who enjoy the neighboring Potomac River and its offshoots.

www.canaltrust.org

How You Can Participate

Visit E-bike Lovers' Meetup page to register for the C&O Canal Towpath e-bike expedition

Small logo of e-bike lovers with an electric bike in black and white

A Great opportunity

enrich your life

Volunteer with E-bike Lovers