Leaving Harpers Ferry Bright and Early on Day #3

There’s no denying that Harpers Ferry is a beautiful town and historical park, and it should be explored thoroughly. However, it’s a great place to have a burger at the end of the trail, and it also offers one last scenic view of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers that inspires hikers and bikers alike to press on and see more.

Lock House at Lock #29









The old lock houses along the canal are in varying states of repair. At some locations, nothing remains but the foundation, but many are still intact and remind visitors of what life was like in a bygone era. In fact, there are three lock houses on the canal that have been fully restored and are available for lodging. That’s another Polly post in the making!

Historic White's Ferry

Upon reaching White’s Ferry, we were disappointed to find out that the kitchen was closed at the snack bar. Recent flooding had tainted the water supply, so the 8 oz. burger we had eaten in the past was unavailable. Bummer! However, there were a few snacks and drinks on hand, so we went outside and spent the next hour watching the ferry (named after Confederate General Jubal Earley) carry cars across the Potomac in back-and-forth nonstop action, This is the only working ferry on the river, so we enjoyed the entertainment as much as our refreshments.

Great Falls





Great Falls is one of the most popular destinations on the C&O Canal. There are a number of reasons, but the most obvious is a class-five rapids on the Potomac. It’s hard to imagine such dangerous water on a river of that size, especially within ten miles of Washington, DC.


Also, this area is home to the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center, which offers both souvenirs and information pertaining to the canal. For those who have a more hands-on approach, mule-drawn boat rides are available on the Canal Clipper during the warm season. This replica canal barge literally takes one back in time to the glory days of the C&O.

Great Falls Visitor Center

C&O Canal Boat

A Beautiful View of Great Falls

The zero mile marker is the end of the line for those who start their ride in Cumberland, Md. The post is located behind the Thompson Boat Center, but it’s difficult to reach from the end of the towpath. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC, one takes a right at the end of the actual path and crosses a busy four-lane downtown street. From there, it’s a matter of heading toward the river and spotting the boathouse. It may sound simple, but we asked two city police officers for directions along the way, and neither seemed to know a thing about it. Maybe they should buy bikes and give the C&O a try!

We made it! 184 1/2 Miles!

Finally found the -0- Mile Marker in Georgetown!













If you landed on this page first, click here to read about Day #1 & Day #2 of our biking trip. Enjoy!

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6 Responses to “Day 3 on the C&O Canal (Polly #3)”

  1. I enjoyed my visit here. It’s like I was on the journey but without all the extraneous work y’all did to get there!

    Great photos and the water looks so inviting in some areas. Y’all did a great job~ It’s certainly something to be proud of. These life experiences are fond reflections.


  2. Thanks, Missy. I hope there are many more excursions along the C&O. It’s a wonderful place that is well worth the visit. You never know what’s going to be around the next bend in the trail. Sometimes it’s something that’s absolutely breathtaking!

  3. what a great adventure, I read all three days worth

  4. Thanks, Mel! Much appreciated. It was a good time.

  5. Hey, looks cool. I would like to go there.

  6. K.W.,

    It is a cool place, and I would highly recommend a bike ride of any length on the C&O. I hope you get to try it sometime.