Williamsport to Little Orleans - Two Wheels, One Heart - CycleBlaze

October 13, 2023

Williamsport to Little Orleans

The tale of two trails

Dam 5 on the Potomac
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Waffle House was calling me to start the day. There are over 1,900 Waffle Houses in the USA and luckily one is directly in front of my hotel. After a down home breakfast, I retraced my tracks and headed down the hill through Williamsport to the Cushwa Basin. The basin allowrd canal boats to turn after their freight had been loaded or unloaded. 

I turned west immediately crossed the Conococheague Aqueduct  they allowed me to pass over Conococheague Creek. It was a short 6 miles cycle to dam 5 on the Potomac. This is one of the most scenic spots on the C&O. The morning was perfect, sunny and warm.

The slackwater behind dam 5
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Back on the bike, we came to Fort Frederick, A British fort built during the French and Indian War. I normally cycle up to the fort but opted to continue on the trail. There is a cut off to the Western Maryland Rail Trail just past Big Pool. I missed it and cut over after a few miles from another road. 

The Western Maryland Rail Trail is a beautiful smooth shaded trail into Hancock. I highly recommend C&O cyclists take the trail as a break from the C&O for a smooth and beautiful 25 mile ride. Hancock is a canal town that has a lot to offer in terms of shops and dining. My group opted to eat at Buddy Lou's, and eclectic ice cream shop, restaurant, and gift shop along the trail. I very much recommend it.

BuddyLou's on the trail
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I made the mandatory stop at the C&O Bicycle Shop on the edge of Hancock. This is where you can buy C&O and Great Allegheny Passage memorabilia. The owner stocks a good inventory of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and cycling gear. It is a fully equipped bicycle shop and worth a stop. 

I continue on the Western Maryland Rail Trail to its end a few miles from a Little Orleans. I headed under the railroad underpass to Bill's Place, an Eclectic neighborhood bar that also serves as a camp store for the nearby campground. I had the Maryland crab soup said to be their specialty which was delicious. 

The shady Western Maryland Rail Trail
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About a half an hour later the shuttle for Town Hill Bed and Breakfast loaded up my bike and headed up a 7 mile ascent on a winding mountain road to the inn on the National Road. It has a commanding view from an overlook of the valley below. It has done an excellent job of accommodating cyclists from the trail. Definitely put this on your list if Little Orleans is a stop on your C&O tour. 

Town Hill Bed & Breakfast on the National Road
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Today's route

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It was a super day on the trail! 

Tom on the trails

Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 208 miles (335 km)

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